This application proposes the second renewal of Boston University's NIH training program, Translational Research in Biomaterials (TRB). The mission of the TRB is to develop PhD students into interdisciplinary and translational research scientists and engineers. Through their TRB training, students acquire a fundamental and quantitative understanding of materials, surface science, biomaterial-tissue response, and molecular and cell biology, as well as training experiences in interdisciplinary programs that promote discussion and scientific inquiry in areas outside students? ?comfort zones.? New for this renewal are: a junior faculty mentoring plan, integrated student governance, better data collection, and more targeted efforts for underrepresented minority recruitment. Furthermore, we expand the educational, research, and training opportunities for TRB Fellows to include BU?s NSF ERC in Cellular Metamaterials and partnerships with Massachusetts General Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. The cornerstones of the TRB program are the curriculum and the program elements that combine interdisciplinary research, quantitative science, engineering, and translational-based courses in clinical trials and business, with student-organized seminar club, dinners with clinicians, training in professional ethics, individual career plans, and professional development workshops.
Our aim i s to teach the unique skills and competencies that are essential to thrive in a multidisciplinary collaborative team striving to meet common goals in research, development, translation, and, ultimately, commercialization. Since 2009, the BU TRB has had 35 interdisciplinary trainees (15 women, 20 men; 26% minority; 97% retention; 100% employment; 5.1 years average PhD completion; 14 graduates and 20 current students, one of whom will graduate next month) who have excelled on multiple fronts, including publishing papers (99), filing patents (7), oral (47) and poster (155) presentations at local and national meetings, and participating in societal / community activities (e.g., President of the BU Student Association of Graduate Engineers, tutoring for high school students, etc.). All trainees have been supported after their TRB funding ended through independently written fellowships (one NIH NRSA F31, one NIH NRSA F30, seven NSF GRFP awards, one US Pharmacopeial Global Fellowship Award, one CIMIT Engineering Fellowship, one Glacier NSF GK12 Fellowship, one BUnano Cross- Disciplinary Fellowship, one Clare Booth Luce Fellowship, and one Ford Foundation Fellowship) or the NIH R21 / R01 grants of their mentors. In this renewal, the continuation of the TRB, with eight trainees per year funded via NIH, is aligned with the expertise of participating faculty, the availability of a large and strong applicant pool eligible for and interested in the TRB program, and an extramural funding base to provide the appropriate research environment and continued support for NIH trainees beyond their first two years supported by the TRB.

Public Health Relevance

Training young scientists and engineers in translational research in biomaterials facilitates the implementation of biomaterial-based technologies to the clinic. Specifically, the TRB curriculum enables students to develop the creative, analytical, quantitative, and professional skills they need to make new and differentiated products in areas from diagnostics and drug delivery to tissue repair. These advances will improve patient care in multiple areas of medicine.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZEB1)
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Erim, Zeynep
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Boston University
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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