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Structural and Computational Biophysics Training Program

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? DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This proposal seeks renewed funding for an NRSA Institutional Predoctoral Training Grant from the Molecular Biophysics Program of the National Institute for General Medical Sciences. This grant will support predoctoral training in Structural and Computational Biophysics (SCB) leading to a Ph.D. degree at Wake Forest University. The SCB Training Program is a multi-disciplinary, multi-departmental program that has as its goal the training of physicists, mathematicians, and chemists in biological science and the training of biological scientists in structural biology and biophysics. Furthermore, the graduate programs at Wake Forest University and the SCB Training Program in particular occupy a unique training niche in this country, drawing students from all over the nation and the world, but with a specific focus on students from the Piedmont and Appalachian regions of the United States. These regions are underserved by our major research universities, but are rich in highly motivated students from high quality smaller institutions for whom Wake Forest University provides a gateway to the greater research enterprise of our country. The SCB training faculty is highly collaborative, and includes faculty members from Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Molecular Medicine, and Physics. Students are trained in structural biology, computational biology, proteomics, and biophysics. The major scientific themes of the SCB Training Program include the overlapping areas of nucleic acid metabolism, redox biology, and molecular signaling. The Program has a flexible curriculum that is designed to meet the individual needs of the students in the program, and includes a well-developed system of interdisciplinary seminars and tutorials to promote interaction among members of the program. We offer specific training in skills for a wide variety of potential careers for our Ph.D. graduate, including academic careers, careers in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as careers in the intellectual property arena. We have developed a pipeline in which Master's degree students in Biomedical Science, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science can transition into Ph.D. training in our program. We also have a certificate program in Structural and Computational Biophysics that provides a pipeline for students to enter the SCB Program. Funding is requested for 4 predoctoral positions out of the steady state level of 25- 30 students in the laboratories of the training faculty. These positions will be used to support students in the second year or beyond, at which time it will be apparent that their dissertation research is consistent with the goals of the Program. Support will be for a maximum of two years, after which the students will be supported by the research funding of their advisors or their own individual fellowships.
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