The core mission of the pre-doctoral Developmental Biology Training Program (DBTP) is to produce highly qualified, independent research scientists who are trained to take a broad interdisciplinary approach to developmental biology problems. This mission is consistent with the philosophy of the Division of Biological Sciences (BSD) at the University of Chicago, which seeks to avoid artificial boundaries between disciplines and to encourage broad based interaction and collaboration. The interdisciplinary and collaborative nature of the DBTP is enhanced by the structure of the BSD: researchers in all of the clinical and basic science departments are housed in close proximity and united under one administrative and intellectual framework. The DBTP trainers are a vibrant group of thirty-two well-funded researchers, including both experienced senior faculty and talented junior faculty, who are based in nine different basic science and clinical departments. To produce researchers trained in a variety of areas relevant to human health and disease, the DBTP builds on long-standing University of Chicago strengths in developmental biology: of particular importance in this context is the research being conducted in the genetics of model organisms, in mouse molecular genetics, in evolutionary developmental biology, and in developmental neurobiology. Further, during this first funding period, strategic new hires have enabled the program to expand or develop research strengths in the following areas: the cellular basis of development, stem cell biology, and the use of computation/modeling/systems level approaches in developing systems. DBTP trainees are carefully selected from six interdisciplinary graduate training programs: training grant support begins as they enter their second year of graduate studies and generally extends for two years, subject to competitive renewal. We propose to continue to support four trainees each year, allowing us to be highly selective while maintaining a critical cohort of current and previous trainees. Trainees benefit from a strategically designed curriculum that includes three core and three supplemental formal courses in developmental biology, and from an extensive range of supplemental training-related activities. Among these activities are the DBTP sponsored developmental biology Seminar Series and journal/data presentation club, an annual retreat, biennial DBTP mini-retreats, and a biannual, student-run, one-day DBTP symposium. In summary, the DBTP integrates a wide range of varied training approaches to prepare exceptional future leaders in developmental biology research and education.
The goal of the program is to prepare future leaders in developmental biology research and education. Developmental biology studies are highly relevant to human health; for example by allowing establishment of animal models of human disease, by providing experimental systems to allow rigorous studies of genetic mechanisms in whole organisms, and by defining our understanding of stem cell biology.
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