Navigation Links
Biophysical sciences program receives $2 million training grant
Date:2/19/2009

The University of Chicago has developed a recipe for creating first-rate interdisciplinary biophysical scientists. Two of the key ingredients: take the very best physical sciences undergraduates, then put them through an experimental biology wringer during their first year as graduate students.

These students receive 600 hours of intensive interdisciplinary training under the supervision of Adam Hammond, the program's curriculum director.

"No other university or program that I know of has this level of dedication to the first-year curriculum," said Hammond, Ph.D.,'01. "We are hoping that this will produce scientists who are conversant across disciplines, can combine the best methods from multiple fields and sometimes think in completely new ways."

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering harbors similar hopes. One of the National Institutes of Health, NIBIB has just awarded a $2 million grant to the University to provide stipends and tuition support for students in the innovative Biophysical Sciences program. The unusual terms of the grant mean that graduate students with degrees in physics and chemistry will receive NIH support. "This is significant for their future careers as interdisciplinary scientists," Hammond said.

50-hour weeks

Tobin Sosnick, Professor in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, conceived the rigorous practical training course "From Synthesis to Measurement and Analysis," which meets 50 hours a week for a month before the Autumn Quarter and 20 hours a week during the Autumn and Winter quarters.

"We learn all the ways that real experimental science is different from college lab scienceprimarily that any experiment is more likely to 'fail' than to go as planned, and why we make progress anyway," Hammond said.

Other key ingredients of the program include its dual-mentorship structure and its authority to grant degrees. Most institutions that have interdisciplinary programs offer a specialization or augmentation to an existing degree program. The Biophysical Sciences program grants its own degrees, having run the gauntlet of approval from the divisions of Physical and Biological sciences.

Other institutions offer some form of dual mentorship, but at Chicago both mentors invest equally in time, costs and laboratory space for the student. "This isn't one true mentor and one person to chat with occasionally," Hammond said.

The Biophysical Sciences program provides the graduate training component of an initiative that began with the establishment of the Institute for Biophysical Dynamics in 1998. The institute provided an administrative home for interdisciplinary scientific collaboration. The Gordon Center for Integrative Sciences then put many of the scientists in these collaborations under one roof.

The NIBIB grant is the third the University has obtained to support interdisciplinary graduate training in the physical and biological sciences in recent years. The first, also for $2.5 million, came in 2001 from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund.

Next came a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. This grant led to the establishment of the Biophysical Sciences program, with Sosnick as director. The program enrolled its first four students in 2007, and four more in 2008.

Competition for top students

"We're competing with other top schools for these students," Hammond said, including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, San Francisco. Ernesto Vargas was one of the first four students to join the program. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Vargas said he chose Chicago for the opportunity to learn the latest biophysical techniques.

Vargas conducts laboratory studies on membrane proteins with Francisco Bezanilla, the Lillian Eichelberger Cannon Professor in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, and Benoit Roux, Professor in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.

"I'm trained as a physicist, and here they allowed me to come into the laboratories and learn the biological techniques, understanding that I had no previous experience in this," Vargas said.


'/>"/>

Contact: Steve Koppes
s-koppes@uchicago.edu
773-702-8366
University of Chicago
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Media highlights in the November issues of Biophysical Journal
2. Roger Kornberg to present lecture at the Joint Biophysical Society/IUPAB Meeting
3. Media highlights in the Dec. 15 issue of Biophysical Journal
4. Biophysical Society announces 2008 International Travel Awards
5. Biophysical Society announces winners of 2008 Student Travel Awards
6. Biophysical Society announces winners of 2008 Minority Travel Awards
7. Biophysical Society to host discussions on the teaching of evolution and on the energy crisis
8. Biophysical Society announces new and notable symposium speakers
9. Media highlights in the January issues of Biophysical Journal
10. Media highlights in the March 1 issue of Biophysical Journal
11. Cell Press announces new partnership with the Biophysical Society
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Biophysical sciences program receives $2 million training grant
(Date:6/20/2016)... DALLAS , June 20, 2016 ... criminal justice technology solutions for public safety, investigation, ... by the prisons involved, it has secured the ... Corrections (DOC) facilities for Managed Access Systems (MAS) ... (4) additional facilities to be installed by October, ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... June 9, 2016  Perkotek an innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud ... work hours, for employers to make sure the right employees are actually signing in, ... ... ... ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... Das DOTM (Department ... hat ein 44 Millionen $-Projekt ... einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, an Decatur ... Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte internationale Anbieter ... aber Decatur wurde als konformste und innovativste ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... 2, 2016 CytRx Corporation (NASDAQ: ... in oncology, today announced the appointment of Earl ... consultant, and private healthcare investor, to its Board of ... with clinical and strategic experience at the highest level," ... CEO. "As one of the world,s leading orthopedic surgeons, ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... Aerocom Healthcare ( ... hospitals, will present its chain-of-custody solution for tracking and securing medications at booth ... Dec. 4-8, 2016. , Aerocom has a proven solution for tracking medications via ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 01, 2016 , ... ... Nanowear on their recent FDA Class II 510(k) clearance for their flagship medical ... in commercializing remote cardiac monitoring devices that rely on cloth-based nanosensors. While other ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... The immunohistochemistry (IHC) market is projected ... of 7.3% during the forecast period of 2016 to 2021 dominated ... accounted for the largest share of immunohistochemistry (IHC) market, by end ... , , ... market spread across 225 pages, profiling 10 companies and supported with ...
Breaking Biology Technology: