The Biotechnology Leadership training program (BLP) will supplement Caltech's exceptional academic research by teaching students how to conduct high-impact and relevant biotechnology research that can be further developed, commercialized, and used to promote human health. This training will focus on translating academic research into relevant medical technology and products and will expose students to a variety of biomedical career opportunities beyond academic research. The goals of the BLP are to train the next generation of biotechnology leaders by i) introducing students to different caree options, ii) introducing students specifically to industry-focused biomedical research, and iii) informing students about important nonscientific concerns that govern the translation of academic research projects into commercial products, including financial, regulatory, ethical, and legal issues that can accompany product or technology development and implementation. With 21 outstanding faculty from three Caltech Divisions, Caltech's interdisciplinary BLP will focus on micro- and nano-medicine due to Caltech's strength in this area, its importance for the future of health, and the huge opportunities for technology development. The BLP will support trainees for interdisciplinary research developing molecular sensors and controllers, (low cost) microscale/nanoscale medical diagnostics, and microscale/nanoscale therapeutic materials and prosthetics. Many of the training faculty and their students have developed products for human health and successfully translated their research to industry; this BLP will build upon this exceptional Caltech track record to train the next generation. The BLP will draw trainees from PhD programs in bioengineering, chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, neurobiology, and medical engineering. Trainees will be required to take specific courses in mathematics, biochemistry or physiology, entrepreneurship, and responsible conduct of research. They will intern in industry during their training, and will participate in program activities that include visits to innovative companies, seminars from industrial leaders, and training in entrepreneurship. Collaborations with industry and among different research groups will be encouraged. The BLP will support 8 trainees per year (six with NIH funds, two from Caltech funds); students on other support (e.g. outside fellowships) will also participate in the program. We expect the BLP to provide new opportunities to recruit and train exceptional under-represented minority, disadvantaged and disabled students for leadership roles in micro/nanomedicine.

Public Health Relevance

The Biotechnology Leadership Program will help train exceptionally talented Caltech predoctoral students to effectively translate academic research into technology and products in the area of micro/nano medicine and will prepare them for a wide range of careers in medical research and industrial practice. Examples of future breakthrough technologies include seamlessly integrated artificial organs and tissues, molecular sensors and devices for early detection of cancer and other diseases, and new ways to control the behavior of cells, tissues, and organisms to improve health. Caltech will train the next generation of academic and industrial leaders in these areas.

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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California Institute of Technology
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Obana, Maiko; Silverman, Bradley R; Tirrell, David A (2017) Protein-Mediated Colloidal Assembly. J Am Chem Soc 139:14251-14256