The objective of the Developmental Biology (DB) Training Program, for which this application is seeking support, is to provide scientific and academic training to predoctoral individuals from diverse backgrounds to pursue investigative careers and become future leaders in the biomedical sciences. The DB Training Program will be an integral but distinct part of the umbrella Weill Cornell Graduate School of Medical Sciences Program, which is jointly administered by the Weill Cornell Medical College and the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Institute. The program will be interdisciplinary and will incorporate research programs in Developmental Biology from six out of its nine Programs of Study, including Cell and Developmental Biology, Biochemistry &Structural Biology, Molecular Biology, Pharmacology, Neurosciences, and Physiology, Biophysics, and Systems Biology. The DB Training Program will include 44 faculty members from both institutions with strong collective experience in academic research and training of pre- and post-doctoral students. The research interests in the DB Training Program are represented by the following five areas: Developmental Genetics, Patterning of Tissues and Organs, Stems Cells, Signaling in Development, and Human Development and Disease. Eligible students will be selected by the program director and four Executive Committee members, based on their promise of excellence. The DB Training Program will include a core curriculum of courses and electives, three laboratory rotations, an advanced developmental biology course, as well as participation in Graduate Student Research Seminars. Eligible DB Training Program trainees will be selected for stipend and tuition support during Years 3 and 4 of training. During the training the students will be mentored by the program director, and they will attend specialized DB Training Program events, including seminars by invited speakers, Research-in-Progress seminars, and a Developmental Biology Symposium. The number of faculty and students engaged in studies in the Developmental Biology Training Program has steadily increased over the past decade, and presently includes 38 training grant-eligible students, five of whom (13%) are minority students. To provide training of students with a commitment to excellence, support is sought for a total of eight graduate students in their third and fourth year of training.
The purpose of this NRSA application for a Developmental Biology Training Program is to recruit, train, and mentor students from diverse backgrounds who show high promise of scientific excellence. It is expected that these trainees will assume future leadership roles in the various fields of biomedical research in the United States.
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