The objective of this Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Predoctoral Program is to provide cross-disciplinary training to talented students with diverse interests that will enable them to apply the mechanistic and atomistic perspective of chemistry to important biological problems. The program brings together 42 faculty trainers from eight academic units at the Univ. of Delaware representing disciplines of organic chemistry, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical biology, structural biology, molecular biology, cell biology, systems biology, bioinformatics, molecular biology, cell biology, microbiology, virology, and developmental biology. The faculty trainers include both new and established researchers with vibrant research programs in biomolecular science and experience in training graduate students. A diverse trainee group (with a focus to recruit and retain URMs) with varied educational backgrounds are selected on the basis of their desire to explore multidisciplinary problems at the interface of chemistry and biology, their GRE scores, undergraduate GPA, letters of recommendation and research background. Eight trainees are admitted each year through existing graduate programs of Chemistry & Biochemistry, Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, Biological Sciences or other CBI trainer departments and university supported for their first year. A second, funded track of admission to the CBI program is outlined; students with a strong interest in research at the interface of chemistry and biology will be invited to apply at the end of their first or second year of their graduate studies. All trainees will satisfy the degree requirements for their specific departmental program in addition to the requirements for the CBI program. Three one semester courses will be selected from a diverse list of course offerings from six departments. A key feature of the CBI program is the laboratory rotations each trainee undertakes to provide them with hands-on experience in the different disciplines. Between courses and laboratory rotations students are expected to have exposure to concepts and methods from the atomistic to the cellular. Students are empowered by this background to think creatively about biological and chemical problems that are relevant to human health. This proposal aims to provide students with a menu of university funded internships (local pharmaceutical/biotech firms, National Labs and new collaborations to enhance their career development. All trainees are required to participate in a series of quarterly responsible conduct of research (RCR) workshops, a 2-day University sponsored RCR and a January workshop of data reproducibility and rigor. A weekly seminar series brings the CBI community together and provides trainees numerous opportunities to present their own work, as well as learn from both faculty trainers and outside speakers. Each trainee undertakes an intensive independent research experience culminating in a dissertation representing an original contribution to a field at the chemistry-biology interface. This program follows and builds on a successful 25-year model for training scientists with both broad scientific knowledge as well as solid foundations in a chosen core discipline.
Advances in molecular medicine are often impeded by traditional training paradigms in which chemists and biologists often do not speak the same scientific language nor understand advances in each other?s fields. This CBI T32 program provides predoctoral trainees opportunities to learn to share ideas across a variety of fields in order to fertilize new ideas and innovations that require working knowledge of both chemistry, biology and engineering.