Biologists are not normally trained in the complexity of transient transport or the interdependence of small-scale interactions and large-scale behavior, and in how these various issues might impact biological function. Conversely, engineers typically regard the biological system as a black box, often without much understanding of the basic biological principles governing the system's behavior.
"The discovery, analysis, and solution of critical issues in biological transport requires a new generation of truly interdisciplinary researchers who are educated in both engineering and biology, who merge these perspectives, and who can communicate effectively with fellow researchers, policy makers, and the public," Stremler added.
The MultiSTEPS team of 20 faculty comes from nine different academic departments in the three participating Virginia Tech colleges and from the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute. The leadership team consists of Stremler and Shane Ross from ESM, Rafael Davalos from the Virginia Tech Wake Forest School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences, Jeff Kuhn of biological sciences, and Pavlos Vlachos of mechanical engineering. Development of key educational components was guided by Deb Olsen, a retired faculty member in educational psychology who has previous IGERT experience as a core member of Virginia Tech's Exploring Interfaces through Graduate Education and Research (EIGER) program. The MultiSTEPS program further advances the efforts by Karen DePauw, dean of the graduate school, to strengthen interdisciplinary graduate education at Virginia Tech.
"It is significant to note that Virginia Tech has now received NSF funding for five IGERT projects. Of the nearly 250 projects funded by NSF (since 1998), only a selected number of universities have more than five IGERTs i
|Contact: Lynn Nystrom|