The program, Convergent Graduate Training in Engineering, Physics and Biology, will train students to apply experimental, computational and theoretical approaches from engineering and physics to address grand challenges in the life sciences. Trainees will enter through 8 participating departments/programs (Biomedical Engineering; Chemical and Environmental Engineering; Mechanical Engineering & Materials Science; Applied Physics; Physics; Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry; Molecular, Cellular, and Development Biology, and Computational Biology & Bioinformatics). We seek funding for 6 student slots per year, which we will use to fund 3 students per year, in their 2nd and 3rd years. It is University policy to support all students in their first year. We will recruit equal numbers f engineering/physics and biology trainees. Trainees will develop both disciplinary and interdisciplinary expertise and the ability to collaborate and communicate with colleagues from a variety of disciplines. To rapidly bring all students to common level of basic knowledge, we will offer primers in biology and in mathematics and computation, which incoming students will take as needed. Trainees will study an innovative, common curriculum that is co-taught by faculty with diverse but complementary backgrounds, many of whom have research collaborations. The curriculum encompasses biological imaging, systems biology, and biological physics, emphasizing the interconnected roles of experiment, computation, and theory - across all length scales. All courses promote student collaboration and peer learning. In the Integrated Workshop course, for example, students with an engineering or physics background work with students with a biology background on modules that have been designed to require their combined skills. The program curriculum is crafted so that trainees complete both the training program and home department course requirements before the end of their second year, so that time to PhD is not increased. A significant advantage of our proposed training program is that it will benefit from the university support, departmental buy-in; recruiting, admissions and career services infrastructures; and new interdisciplinary courses put in place for the five year pilot program, Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology, initiated in 2009 by the Director and co-Directors. We have a proven history of attracting a strong applicant pool, with 45 students currently in the program (2009-2014; 3/4 of 2009 students have graduated; fourth student is scheduled to graduate Aug 2015), 28 of whom are training grant eligible (2 of these are URM). The program we propose incorporates enhanced strategies by which to further increase the number, quality and diversity of our applicant pool. We have also put in place a number of metrics and methodologies for assessing our program's effectiveness. In summary, the training program has been crafted to ensure that trainees who complete it will be superbly equipped to lead biomedical research endeavors to the enhancement of public health in the USA.
The program 'Convergent Graduate Training in Engineering, Physics and Biology' will prepare students to lead cutting-edge biomedical research endeavors that will result in the enhancement of public health in the United States.
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