The University of Virginia has developed into a top-tier research and teaching institution in the area of molecular biophysics. A key component of this effort has been the development of outstanding research training programs particularly in the areas of structural biology, membrane biophysics, and cellular biophysics. All three of these areas are key focus areas for development by NIH and UVA is well-positioned to train future leaders in these areas. The Interdisciplinary Program in Biophysics at UVA is a Ph.D. granting program in existence for more than 40 years. This highly interdisciplinary program with faculty from 9 different departments in the School of Medicine and the College of Arts and Sciences clearly epitomizes the strength and diversity of our programs as well as the pervasive spirit of cooperation and collaboration among the faculty. A reorganization of the graduate programs here at UVA in 2003 created seven entry portals, including a Structural &Computational Biology and Biophysics portal, through which students may enter graduate school in the biomedical sciences. Admission is based on academic record, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, and previous research experience. All first year students are supported by the School of Medicine and take a common core curriculum (biochemistry and biophysical chemistry, cell biology, molecular biology and genetics) as well as advanced courses in their areas of specialization. Students also carry out three laboratory rotations and attend a journal club and seminar series in their area of interest. Selection of a mentor is completed by the end of the first year, at which time students may elect to pursue their Ph.D. through the Interdisciplinary Program in Biophysics or any other Ph.D. granting department or program. As an outgrowth of our training efforts in the area of molecular biophysics, we are seeking training grant support to create a Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP) which would provide support for students in their 2nd and 3rd years of graduate school, irrespective of choice of Ph.D. program. Individuals working in the area of molecular biophysics would be chosen on a competitive basis by the Steering Committee of this program. MBTP students would participate in advanced courses, as well as in the Biophysics journal club and seminar series, and complete their Ph.D. with the degree program selected by the student and mentor. They would remain associated with the program throughout their careers at UVA.
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