The objective of this IGERT proposal is to develop a fellowship program in the multidisciplinary area of Sensory Knowledge-based INterface Science (SKINS). This program investigates the dynamic, information-rich molecular structure of the ultimate smart interface - human skin - by coupling advances in biomedical engineering, microsystems, and information technology. The interdisciplinary approach that is required to understand the signal processing, chemical synthesis and microfluidics of this unique biological interface forms the innovative theme of this proposal. Another compelling aspect of this program is to investigate the technology transfer/development cycle through collaboration with USF's College of Business Administration, industrial internships and international exchange. Research outcomes of this proposal would facilitate the understanding and optimizing of the science and technology of MEMS, nanotechnology and information processing for cells and tissue studies, and contribute towards the goal of transitioning the clinical laboratory into the point-of-care. The program will also facilitate the transformation of six traditionally strong research programs (from Colleges of Engineering, Medicine, Arts and Sciences, Business and Marine Science at USF and the Colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences at UCF) into a strong multi-disciplinary research program with a thematic focus that leverages the advances in bio, micro, nano, info and medical technologies.
IGERT is an NSF-wide program intended to meet the challenges of educating U.S. Ph.D. scientists and engineers with the multidisciplinary backgrounds and the technical, professional, and personal skills needed for the career demands of the future. The program is intended to catalyze a cultural change in graduate education by establishing innovative new models for graduate education and training in a fertile environment for collaborative research that transcends traditional disciplinary boundaries. In the fifth year of the program, awards are being made to twenty-one institutions for programs that collectively span the areas of science and engineering supported by NSF.