The mission of the proposed "Chemistry of Life Processes (CLP) Predoctoral Training Program" is to educate the next generation of transdisciplinary scientists that will be capable of extending and integrating the perspectives and approaches of the life sciences and chemistry to complex scientific problems in the field of biomedical research. The complex problems encountered across length and time scales in treating disease require a broad repertoire of skills along with the capacity to harness teams possessing a range of diverse expertise to advance the discovery of new therapeutics and diagnostics. In order to address the pressing public health needs of the 21st century, the next generation of researchers must be able to think and communicate in a common language that spans chemistry and biology. The proposed CLP predoctoral training program will address this need by providing Northwestern University graduate students with the opportunity to integrate graduate studies in chemistry and the life sciences to a degree beyond that of any training program currently active at Northwestern University. The depth and breadth of its coursework requirements, novel immersive cross-disciplinary lab experience, and unique mentoring structure of the CLP program, coupled with a strong shared training environment, set this program apart from other Northwestern training programs in biomedical research. The program is built upon the highly collaborative, transdisciplinary biomedical research programs of 44 mentors with extensive expertise in the areas of drug development, synthetic biology, and potential molecular targets for therapeutic intervention. This application requests support for a total of 45 training slots over five years to create a vibrant cohort of peers with a common identity in sufficient numbers to support student-driven program activities. Trainees will be supported by the program starting in the fall of their second year and will be supported throughout the course of the second and third years of graduate education. Five students will be accepted into the program in the first year of the proposed training grant, and ten students will be supported annually in years 02-05. Northwestern's Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, the administrative home of the proposed training program, will provide CLP trainees with a robust ecosystem for transdisciplinary research and training that is comprised of a highly collaborative team of faculty that span chemistry and the life sciences, unique shared resources that provide a seamless pipeline for drug discovery and development, an enabling infrastructure with expertise in development and management of education and training programs, extensive experience in translation of discoveries for the good of society, and a physical environment that drives transdisciplinary collaboration and interaction.
The proposed institutional training program will support integrated, cross-disciplinary education and training of chemistry and biology graduate students with the goal of providing them with the tools and perspectives needed to address the complex problems that are at the center of 21st century biomedical research.
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