DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The goal of this program is to train graduate students for the Ph.D. degree in the broad and interdisciplinary areas of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics. This program includes 62 training faculty from 8 basic science departments, and is the only graduate training program at Einstein with this broad and interdisciplinary research emphasis. This renewal application is to continue the program with support for 20 trainees (6-7 trainees appointed per year). Over the past 10 years, the program has graduated 45 Ph.D. students, with more than 90% continuing in science-related careers. The overall objectives of the program are for students to perform significant basic science research projects, to acquire rigorous scientific background and experimental training, and to develop into independent scientists that make long-term contributions. The program is uniquely suited to train students in the use of a wide variety of cell biology, molecular biology, biochemical and genetic methods to address fundamental basic science questions. It is also ideally positioned to promote interdisciplinary research and quantitative methodologies. Training faculty are selected based on their research excellence in the broad areas of Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, and their commitment to mentoring graduate students and to providing an excellent training environment. All but the most junior faculty members have substantial mentoring experience. A number of mechanisms are in place to assist junior faculty in mentoring students and to provide additional oversight for students in their labs. Trainees complete 2-3 research rotations in the first year, and undertake rigorous coursework including several foundation courses taught by our trainers. Students write a grant proposal-type qualifying exam based on their Ph.D. research and defend it orally to an interdisciplinary faculty committee. Students are reviewed by the steering committee after the first and second year of graduate training, and interviewed by the Program Director prior to appointment for 2-3 years of funding. A number of training program activities are used to build a coherent training effort in which students participate until completion of the Ph.D. Trainees present yearly in a very active work-in- progress series and host an annual seminar speaker. A yearly program retreat includes talks by more senior students and ethics discussions. Former trainees also frequently present in the retreat to provide career perspectives. At all of these events, our trainers and steering committee, together with the Director, provide input on research directions, presentation skills, and publication strategies. Together, these features make the program a vibrant and highly interactive community of faculty trainers and graduate students involved in key basic science questions that are relevant to human health. Students graduate with the scientific background, research skills, and critical thought process necessary for an independent career in science.
PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This is a renewal of a training grant that supports pre-doctoral students engaged in research in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics. This basic research has many important applications to human health issues including cancer, developmental problems, diabetes, and infectious disease.