The Quantitative Cell and Molecular Biology (qCMB) Training Program will provide comprehensive and flexible training in quantitative approaches in order to facilitate transdisciplinary and collaborative research in the broad field of Cell & Molecular Biology. The Program will produce outstanding graduates with the skills to meet the computational and professional demands of modern life science research. The objectives include to produce more graduates able to apply computational approaches to solve biological problems, build and sustain an accessible curriculum to provide training in this area, encourage and support transdisciplinary collaborations, provide training and professional development opportunities to better prepare students for the workforce, and facilitate completion by fostering a supportive and inclusive environment. The qCMB program is designed to support students engaging in collaborative research projects requiring the generation and analysis of large biological datasets particularly those generated through sequencing, imaging and flow cytometry. It combines recently developed computational and quantitative coursework with a new gateway course developed for this program, and innovative approaches to encourage reproducible research. Progress will be monitored through annual reports, seminars and committee meetings. Trainees will be prepared for entry to the workforce through personalized career mentoring, along with professional skills training, mentoring from industry professionals and guided access to internship experiences. Trainees will be welcomed and supported regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation or disability. The program will facilitate this through peer mentoring, established events such as an Annual Picnic, and Poster Symposium. We will build a qCMB community through monthly meetings, and a summer symposium/retreat. Preceptors will be supported through required training that will hone their mentoring skills and convey strategies to ensure mentees engage in reproducible research. Existing and new collaborations between preceptors working in areas such as Biology of Single Cells, Post-Transcriptional Control, Genome Architecture & Function, and Protein Structure & Function will provide students with opportunities to engage in transdisciplinary quantitative/computational research that requires comprehension of cell and molecular biology. Preceptor mentoring plans and effectiveness will be evaluated by the qCMB leadership. Potential trainees (8-10 each year) are recruited into the existing interdisciplinary Cell & Molecular Biology PhD Program, and rotate during their first year to identify a lab/preceptor that fits their research interests and mentoring needs. At the end of the first year, three trainees entering qCMB labs will be selected for support through this award and each will be supported for two years before transitioning to the preceptor's research grant or other fellowship for stipend support. The award will support a total of 15 trainees, who will transition to positions in academia, or industry that require data analysis, collaboration and research experience.
The goal of our training program is to create a new generation of biologists with the skills to both generate and analyze as well as interpret the complex data produced by modern approaches such as next generation sequencing, live cell imaging and flow cytometry. Our graduates will apply their training in Quantitative Cell & Molecular Biology to study problems related to cancer, infectious disease, stem cells and development. At the same time, they will receive career guidance and develop transferrable skills to facilitate their success after graduation.