In recent years, new demands are being placed on biomedical researchers and clinicians thanks to changes in the way we acquire, analyze and interact with data. Many areas of biomedical science are transitioning from being data-poor and hypothesis-rich to extremely data-rich and (comparatively) hypothesis-poor. Conducting rigorous research in this new environment can be challenging, as it requires grounding not just in biology, but also in mathematics, computation and statistics. This application requests support for a pre-doctoral training program designed to produce Ph.D.s with sufficient skills in fundamental biology, mathematical and computational modeling, and data science to attack these challenges head on. The program is built upon a free-standing, interdisciplinary Ph.D. program that has been developed and refined over the past dozen years, and offers training at the interface between the biological sciences and mathematics, computer science, physics and engineering. Eight pre- doctoral trainee slots are requested, for appointments intended to last two years each. Highlights of the proposed program include an extensive didactic curriculum; a focus on critical thinking skills; an emphasis on collaboration and collaborative learning; close mentoring, opportunities to develop multiple career skills; and active student involvement. The 31 program faculty members come from 14 different departments in five schools at the University of California, Irvine, and conduct research on diverse topics within biology and medicine. The program enjoys strong campus support, and an administrative and intellectual home within the UCI Center for Complex Biological Systems, a National Center for Systems Biology with a long- standing commitment to promoting interdisciplinary education at all academic levels. The proposed program will prepare trainees for careers in biomedical research, teaching, and communication in both academic and non-academic settings.
Brief Narrative The skills needed for biomedical research are changing, thanks to a growing influence of ?big? data. This program seeks to train the next generation of researchers in an interdisciplinary mode?blending biology with mathematics, computer science, engineering and physics?so that they can function effectively as scientists and educators in this new research environment.