Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Predoctoral Training Program

Contact: Dr. Miles Fabian 

These institutional training grants are directed toward training at the chemistry-biology interface, with a focus on the mechanistic and synthetic chemistry aspects of the interface.

The central goal of this training program is to produce a cadre of chemists who have also received significant training in biology and of biologists who have also received significant training in chemistry, without sacrificing in-depth training in their core discipline. NIGMS expects this program to train a group of chemists and biologists who can speak the same language and thereby function effectively in multidisciplinary teams.

The CBI program is expected to not only attract organic chemists to multidisciplinary training, but also analytical, inorganic, and physical chemists as well. Programs may also include chemical engineers. Students from a wide variety of biological disciplines participate, including those in biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, and pharmacology. Programs must be open to both chemistry and biology students and significant cross-training is expected to take place for students from both of these disciplines. It is important that a program have clear expectations and measurables for students and faculty.

CBI training programs can vary greatly in their scope and their approaches used to accomplish cross-training. However, an important feature of this training program is to introduce chemistry departments and students to the concept of rotations. Many programs have now taken this further by requiring an extended research internship, outside of the mentor's research laboratory, to provide significant training in the other discipline. This research experience is often integrated with the trainee's Ph.D. research, but it may also be used by the trainee to delve into new areas. Most programs provide an interfacial core course to serve the CBI students. Another key feature for most programs are regular get-togethers (seminars, journal clubs, or luncheons) where the chemistry and biology students present and discuss research jointly. Organized career development events to learn about career opportunities and make critical contacts have also become commonplace within all CBI programs. Graduates of these training programs are expected to find positions in academic and government research labs, the pharmaceutical or biotechnology industry, and in government regulatory agencies.