The core mission of the proposed Developmental Biology Training Program is to produce highly qualified independent research scientists trained to take a broad interdisciplinary approach to developmental biology problems. The investigators have built a longstanding (30 year) active training program centered in the Committee on Developmental Biology (CDB), which benefits from significant Institutional and programmatic support, a well-established course curriculum, and a group of 31 vibrant, well-funded faculty trainers. This program has a proven track record in recruiting highly qualified trainees who go on to successful research careers in academia and industry. NIH support will allow them to formalize training of what is currently an informal grouping of trainees from within and beyond CDB. Trainees who matriculate to other degree-granting units such as Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, Genetics, Neurobiology, and Organismal Biology &Anatomy, significantly enhance the interdisciplinary nature of research and training endeavor. A program is proposed that will ensure all trainees receive appropriate education in developmental biology, and of equal importance, facilitate interactions among trainees to enhance their learning experience. This mission is entirely consistent with the philosophy of the Division of Biological Sciences to avoid artificial boundaries and to encourage broad based interaction and collaboration. The DBTP trainers are a combination of experienced mentors and talented junior faculty. There are longstanding strengths in developmental genetics and the cellular basis of development processes. In addition, over the last decade the University of Chicago has built focus areas in developmental neurobiology and evolutionary developmental biology - the biannual student run symposium on the Developmental Basis of Evolutionary Change is one of the premiere national "Evo-Devo" meetings. The organizers request support for a total of six predoctoral trainees. They will support a combination of incoming students with clear interests in developmental biology, and students from related disciplines whose interests focus on developmental questions in the first year of study. A carefully designed curriculum has been developed including six formal courses in developmental biology, additional courses in molecular biology, genetics, cell biology, neurobiology, and evolutionary biology, and a wide range of supplemental activities including an annual retreat, journal club, and several seminar series. To enhance these training activities further the organizers propose to develop an annual one-day developmental biology symposium. Thus the program should produce researchers trained in a variety of areas directly relevant to human health and disease. Developmental biology studies at the University of Chicago include the generation of animal disease models, studies of cancer and stem cell biology, as well as research into the underlying basis of birth defects that affect humans. The interactive environment within the Division of Biological Sciences allows collaborations that facilitate the movement of discoveries from the laboratory bench to the clinic.
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