The goal of this Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) training program is to prepare 18 predoctoral students to become next-generation scientists in the biomedical sciences. This goal will be achieved through recruiting top students and training them in cross-disciplinary research, critical thinking, writing and communication, and the responsible conduct of research. Other distinctive components of the program are: a) a course on cutting-edge research at the CBI, b) workshops on entrepreneurship, intellectual property management, and networking, and c) participation in Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) experiences, which will further enrich the skillset and professional preparation of the trainees. The program will directly benefit from the close research relationship and physical proximity between Arts, Sciences, & Engineering (AS&E) and the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) at the University of Rochester, and its established record in innovation and entrepreneurial translation of scientific discoveries into new businesses. The program includes 33 outstanding preceptors chosen from six departments and programs within AS&E (16 preceptors) and SMD (17), all of whom have a strong record of intra- and interdepartmental interactions in research and advising activities. A central theme of the program, as shared by the research interests of the preceptors, is the development of fundamental knowledge and strategies to support the generation, development, and delivery of new therapeutic agents for the prevention and treatment of human diseases. Trainees will conduct research in one of the four main areas around this unifying theme: Synthetic Chemistry, Drug Discovery & Delivery, Drug Target Identification and Sensing, and Structure and Function of Biomolecules. The Program Director and two Deputy Directors will be aided by a Steering Committee comprising three additional faculty members. The CBI trainees will be drawn from the strongest students in the participating departments, with a particular emphasis on expanding trainee diversity through outreach activities, recruiting a diverse pool of applicants, and retaining and nurturing students in the program. New CBI trainees will start in Year 2 of their PhD program and will participate in the core CBI course, a course on responsible conduct of research, and a course on effective writing and communication. All trainees will develop and implement Individual Development Plans (IDPs), participate in at least one professional development workshop, invite and host 2 seminar speakers per year, organize and participate in an annual retreat, and engage in monthly CBI lunches to discuss topics suggested by the group. In Year 4 of their PhD program, trainees will serve as PLTL workshop leaders for CBI courses, continue in professional development, and present a talk at the CBI retreat. Trainees also will complete and defend their theses supervised by one of the 33 program mentors. It is expected that students completing this program will be exceptionally well prepared to pursue a variety of careers in the life and biomedical sciences. Success in this program will also be determined by increased diversity of trainees and in the pool of applicants.

Public Health Relevance

This program will attract top graduate students and train them at the interface of chemistry and biology by highly qualified mentor/educators at a major research university. This training will help prepare the next generation of the biomedical and scientific workforce for a wide range of careers in research and entrepreneurship. Moreover, the program will provide additional training and experience in teaching as well as the communication of chemistry/biology science that will lead to an improved understanding of human health and new treatments for diseases.

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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Fabian, Miles
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University of Rochester
Schools of Arts and Sciences
United States
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Moore, Eric J; Steck, Viktoria; Bajaj, Priyanka et al. (2018) Chemoselective Cyclopropanation over Carbene Y-H Insertion Catalyzed by an Engineered Carbene Transferase. J Org Chem 83:7480-7490
Belashov, Ivan A; Crawford, David W; Cavender, Chapin E et al. (2018) Structure of HIV TAR in complex with a Lab-Evolved RRM provides insight into duplex RNA recognition and synthesis of a constrained peptide that impairs transcription. Nucleic Acids Res 46:6401-6415
Sreenilayam, Gopeekrishnan; Moore, Eric J; Steck, Viktoria et al. (2017) Stereoselective olefin cyclopropanation under aerobic conditions with an artificial enzyme incorporating an iron-chlorin e6 cofactor. ACS Catal 7:7629-7633
Moore, Eric J; Zorine, Dmitri; Hansen, William A et al. (2017) Enzyme stabilization via computationally guided protein stapling. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:12472-12477