The overall goal of the Rutgers Biotechnology Training Program is to provide outstanding predoctoral students with an integrated multidisciplinary educational and research training experience in biotechnology.
The specific aims are to: 1) increase the number of well-trained PhDs able to conduct cutting-edge research in biotechnology and related areas; 2) to increase the number of under-represented minorities receiving biotechnology related-degrees; and 3) to enhance the overall training experience by re-envisioning predoctoral education through a diversified set of enrichment activities with appropriate reinforcement throughout the training period. This comprehensive program builds on our nearly 30 years of prior experience and continuous NIGMS support in this area. Students in the program receive a broad understanding across biomedical disciplines and the skills to independently acquire the knowledge needed to advance their field, as well as the ability to think critically and independently, and to identify important research questions and approaches that push forward the boundaries in their areas of study. The program provides 2 years of funding to meritorious students, with the contractual understanding that students will participate in all program activities for their entire graduate careers. The training experience involves a unifying and multifaceted curriculum which includes: 1) specialized courses and experiential activities that provide the student with critical perspectives of the field from multiple vantage points; 2) summer industrial internships; 3) training in responsible conduct of research and rigor/reproducibility; 4) an annual symposium; and 5) a PhD dissertation research project in one of the laboratories of our 43 participating faculty mentors who are appointed in many different life science and engineering departments. We are requesting 13 NIH-funded predoctoral positions per year for 5 years. Rutgers has committed significant matching fellowship support (7 matching fellowships), stipend and tuition supplements, and other salary and administrative support. Industrial interaction is exceedingly strong, with industrial investigators participating in the teaching of courses, presenting at the Annual Symposium, hosting summer interns, providing matching support, serving on thesis committees, and occasionally hosting students for a part of their PhD dissertation work. The participating graduate programs and departments, together with several biotechnology related centers provide exceptional facilities for comprehensive biomedical biotechnology research and education. Vigorous and extensive recruitment efforts are expended to attract applicants to the program, and only students of exceptional abilities and motivation are admitted. The program also vigorously recruits students from under-represented minorities into the biotechnology field with documented excellent long-term success. Student progress is continuously monitored through progress reports and via individual development plans. These documents, as well as surveys of the students? progress in their careers after they leave the university will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the program.
The proposed training program produces highly trained graduates that apply the tools of science and engineering to significant research problems in biology and medicine. With their unique skills and perspectives, graduates of the program are well prepared to advance human health and welfare through original discoveries, and through the development of new drugs, materials, and devices for use in exploratory investigations, diagnosis, and therapy. These professionals will play a critical role in maintaining our country?s leading role in biotechnology on the world scene.