The Houston Area Molecular Biophysics Program has guided and directed research training in molecular biophysics for Ph.D. students in the Houston-Galveston area since 1989. A five-year renewal with two additional slots (11 total) is sought to allow continued excellence and innovation in training outstanding students working at the cutting edges of this increasingly important field. Under the direction of the program director and a steering committee with two representatives each from the five graduate schools of the Gulf Coast Consortium (Baylor College of Medicine, Rice University, University of Texas Health Sciences Center, Houston, University of Texas Medical Branch, and University of Houston) the program provides for common didactic and seminar courses, two local annual research conferences, monthly trainee meetings, attendance at national meetings, and annual presentation and review of trainee research progress. All students are required to participate in training in the responsible conduct of research. Mentors include 46 faculty members at six institutions, working in 16 different departments and involved in three interdepartmental graduate programs. Trainees are selected in a highly competitive process from students whose projects in mentors'laboratories provide training in molecular biophysics. While trainee selection is based on merit, the program is committed to enhancing diversity and has been very successful in recruiting and retaining members of underrepresented groups. Research strengths include x-ray crystallography, macromolecular NMR, molecular electron microscopy, a wide range of spectroscopic and microscopic techniques, single molecule methods, computational biophysics, membrane biophysics, protein folding, nucleic acid structure and ultrastructure, thermodynamics, kinetics and mechanistic enzymology. Supported students who complete the program publish an average of 4.5 papers from their thesis research, including many in high impact journals, and go on to successful careers in academia, industry, government agencies, and private organizations. The heavy involvement of institutions of the Texas Medical Center as well as the University of Texas Medical Branch ensures that students are involved in and exposed to research relevant to human health. The quantitative and interdisciplinary skills that are emphasized in the program are critical for advancing biomedical research and making breakthroughs in our understanding of human disease processes and in the design of new therapeutics and diagnostics.
The Houston Area Molecular Biophysics Program is a multi-institution training program for Ph.D. students preparing for research applying the principles of physics to important medical problems and to the basic biology underlying medical research. The heavy involvement of institutions of the Texas Medical Center as well as the University of Texas Medical Branch ensures that students are involved in and exposed to research relevant to human health. re critical for advancing biomedical research and making breakthroughs in our understanding of human disease processes and in the design of new therapeutics. Training in Molecular Biophysics and the quantitative and interdisciplinary skills that are emphasized in the program enable research careers leading to fundamental understanding of human disease and development of innovative approaches to diagnostics, therapeutics, and disease prevention. Biophysics provides tools used by all specialties in biomedical research and in medical practice.
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