New experimental and computational/theoretical biophysical approaches have been developed at a rapid pace recently, placing the field of Molecular Biophysics in a position to drive future major advances in biomedical sciences. This proposal describes a Molecular Biophysics Training Program at UT Southwestern that will train a next generation of biophysicists to master new and standard biophysical approaches, analyze and interpret complex sets of data, in rigorous and reproducible manners. The Program aims to develop a broad understanding of biology, to allow our trainees to use molecular biophysical advances to answer the most important biomedical questions. As research becomes more complex, researchers must communicate effectively, both within interdisciplinary research teams and to a lay public. Quantitative biophysical researchers will also need to represent society in general. This proposal aims to develop a diverse group of biophysical trainees with the breadth of skills to become leaders across the biomedical workforce. We will achieve these goals by providing high quality research training through a rigorous curriculum that couples principles and methods of physical sciences and mathematics to studies of cell and molecular biology. We will teach students to become conversant with the scientific literature and be able to effectively and critically communicate research findings, as implemented in Works In Progress seminars, Journal Clubs, the Molecular Biophysics Discussion Group or MBDG seminar series and a yearly research symposium. Enhanced training specific to T32 appointees will include annual Advisory Meeting and Mini-Symposium, and unique opportunities within the MBDG and research symposium. Trainees will be drawn from the interdisciplinary Molecular Biophysics Graduate Program, which has faculty from many different Departments and Centers, allowing the Training Program to draw from the Graduate Program?s resources. The Training Program is, however, also structured to evolve with trainees? needs as they navigate an ever-changing scientific and professional landscape. We request funding for 6 predoctoral slots each year to pursue the mission and goals of the Training Program. There are currently 26 training grant eligible students in the labs of 26 participating program faculty, who are well-funded and have research portfolios cross the spectrum of interdisciplinary, biophysical methods, providing different, complementary approaches to a variety of important biomedical questions. Collectively, the faculty have trained 58 students in the past 10 years; 93% of their graduates still in science. The training program is unique (minimal overlap with other T32 programs on campus) as participating faculty are united by their use of biophysical methods. The quality and quantity of students, the participating faculty with strong training records, diverse and well-funded scientific portfolios, and the uniqueness of the training program?s focus form a rock-solid foundation for this Molecular Biophysics Training Program proposal. !

Public Health Relevance

This proposal describes a training program that will use rigorous didactic and research curriculum as well as other training activities to train graduate students at UT Southwestern to become experts in the field of biophysics and in the principles of rigorous and reproducible science, and to develop a broad understanding of biology, with the goal of applying methods and principles of physical sciences and mathematics to a range of biomedical problems. The program also aims to cultivate skills for our molecular biophysics trainees to work within interdisciplinary teams, communicate research skillfully to a broad audience, to increase the impact of their research. Finally, the program will provide opportunities for graduate students to identify a fulfilling career path, based on their experiences and values as well as their skills. !

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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Flicker, Paula F
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University of Texas Sw Medical Center Dallas
Schools of Medicine
United States
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