The Chemistry-Biochemistry-Biology Interface (CBBI) Program at the University of Notre Dame is an established NIH-funded program, which trains graduate students in a multidisciplinary environment that provides them with significant training at the interface of chemistry and biology-related disciplines. The goal of the CBBI Program is to produce PhD scientists who have in-depth training in the student's core discipline, cross-discipline training to work effectively at the interface, and enhanced interdisciplinary communication skills. The CBBI Program has been very successful and has established an outstanding training environment for our predoctoral trainees. Since 2007 we have trained 55 students, 33 of whom have completed PhD degrees in an average of 5.19 years, including 8 underrepresented minorities (URMs), 6 of whom have already received PhD degrees. Our 55 trainees have 207 publications, of which 94 are first-author publications. This represents 3.76 publications per trainee and 1.71 first-author publications per trainee. The 8 URMs have produced 37 publications, of which 17 are first-author publications; this represents 4.63 publications per URM and 2.13 first-author publications per URM. During the past 9 years, our attrition rate has been extremely low, with only 3 of 55 trainees (5.5%) who did not complete a PhD degree. Not a single trainee has left the program without a PhD degree in the past 5 years, the current cycle of the training program. The characteristics of the CBBI Program include: a large applicant pool of highly qualified candidates, a strong record of collaborative and multidisciplinary research, a diverse and strong group of experienced, productive, and federally-funded investigators available to serve as research mentors, an extended cross-disciplinary research internship outside the mentor's laboratory, training supplementation with multidisciplinary seminars, trainee meetings, an annual symposium, experienced and effective program administration, mechanisms for continuous evaluation and improvement of the training program, professional development and career placement, excellent research facilities, and strong institutional commitment. We propose to continue to train PhD scientists with the skills and expertise to solve challenging biomedical problems, regardless of discipline. The University of Notre Dame enthusiastically supports this training program, and will continue to provide a generous fellowship match to the CBBI Program and additional resources, including the cost of the research internship for all trainees, upon renewal of funding by the NIH.
Cutting-edge biomedical research is highly multidisciplinary, requiring contributions from a diverse group of collaborators. The Chemistry-Biochemistry-Biology Interface (CBBI) Program at the University of Notre Dame has met this need for cross-disciplinary training and produced researchers with a synergistic combination of scientific skills and expertise, broad knowledge across diverse scientific disciplines, and excellent communication skills. Our goal is to continue to train PhD scientists with the skills and expertise to solve challenging biomedical problems, regardless of discipline.
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