The aim of this program is to train doctoral students in the biology of the plasma membrane and intracellular membrane systems. Now in its 14th year of funding, the Training Program in Integrative Membrane Biology (TPIMB) continues to play a central role in interdisciplinary graduate training within the School of Medicine of the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Offering a broad range of training at the interface of systems and cellular physiology, the program focuses on the role of the biological membranes in mediating and integrating the interactions of cells with their environment. The TPIMB is guided by three central ideas. (1) Cellular and systems physiology can be studied effectively by examining the biophysics, biochemistry, and cell and molecular biology of the channels, pumps, transporters and receptors of the plasma membrane and intracellular membranes. (2) Modulation of gene expression and the genetic programs required for tissue differentiation can be understood in part through studies of the channels and receptors of the plasma membrane and the signaling cascades they initiate. (3) The pathophysiology of many inherited human disorders can be understood through studies of the organization and function of integral and peripheral membrane proteins. The laboratories involved in the TPIMB, which are highly interactive and well funded, offer students training in a broad variety of topics and techniques. Faculty trainers are selected for their active research programs, good extramural support, and commitment to mentoring graduate students. Trainees are chosen based on their interests, their undergraduate records and research experience, letters of recommendation, and scores in standardized tests. Students in the program take didactic courses on membrane structure and function, membrane biophysics, and the links between membrane disorders and human disease Students also participate in activities outside the classroom and laboratory, including weekly faculty or student research talks, an annual retreat, monthly get-togethers, and a brief but intensive curriculum dealing with the responsible conduct of research. Considerable institutional support is provided for these extracurricular activities, for the graduate faculty, and for graduate training in general. Although recent funding has been limited to 6 students per year, new faculty recruitments and a growing pool of students interested in the biology of epithelial, neuronal glial and muscle membranes suggest that an increase to 9 stipends per year is warranted.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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National Institute of General Medical Sciences Initial Review Group (BRT)
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Cole, Alison E
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University of Maryland Baltimore
Schools of Medicine
United States
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