This Biotechnology training program at the University of Minnesota has been in existence for twenty-five years. This program has brought together gifted trainees and 38 faculty trainers from biological, physical and engineering disciplines (8 departments and graduate programs) and has created an innovative, cross- disciplinary research and educational endeavor. A unique feature of this program is that it crosses not only disciplinary but also cultural boundaries by bringing together students with life sciences and engineering backgrounds. We will expose life science students to the many opportunities offered by applying engineering principles to research questions while conversely training engineering students in the fundamentals of molecular, cellular and genetic processes of biological systems. In this renewal application, we propose to continue our success in training future scientific leaders and innovators in biotechnology. Our new conceptual framework will be on ?From Genomes and Biological Systems via Design and Synthesis to Processes and Products?. This new emphasis reflects the technological and scientific advances made that enable accelerated engineering of biological systems. Our training program will take full advantage of the breadth of disciplines represented by our faculty to prepare our trainees for these new directions in biotechnology. We have developed a cross-disciplinary curriculum that teaches quantitative approaches for biological questions via our core course: ?Analysis, Design and Synthesis of Biotechnological Systems? and a summer workshop on ?Genomes to Products?. Our trainees participate in workshops, seminars and retreats for additional cross- disciplinary, career and professional training. We leverage our extensive alumni network to expose trainees to ?real world? biotechnology, diverse careers and prepare them for successful careers in biotechnology. A trainee organized alumni symposium connects former trainees with current trainees. An internship and company visits give students insight into industrial biotechnology. A series of workshops provide training in research conduct and ethics, research reproducibility and rigorous experimental design. We continue to emphasize diversity in our training program by using mechanisms that facilitate inclusion of trainees from underrepresented groups. Mandatory training for responsible research conduct is in place. Furthermore, we will continue provide trainees with a global perspective through our international exchange program. The proposed training program will produce well rounded PhD engineers and scientists to lead our country?s biotechnology advances in future generations.

Public Health Relevance

This Biotechnology training program at the University of Minnesota has been in existence for twenty-five years. It is a unique program and the only one at the UMN for biotechnology education. This program has brought together trainees and faculty trainers from biological, physical and engineering disciplines and has created an innovative, cross-disciplinary research and educational endeavor. Our new training emphasis from genomes to products reflects recent technological and scientific advances that have given rise to new technologies and opportunities for accelerated engineering of biological systems. This program will take full advantage of the breadth of disciplines represented by our faculty to prepare our trainees for these new directions in biotechnology.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS)
Institutional National Research Service Award (T32)
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NIGMS Initial Review Group (TWD)
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Brown, Patrick
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University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Schools of Medicine
United States
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