Chemistry-Biology Interface (CBI) Predoctoral Training Program

Contact: Dr. Michelle Bond and Dr. Charles Ansong 

Programs in this area should train students to use chemistry to investigate and manipulate biological processes, and to develop new technologies that will accelerate biomedical research. Through a shared commitment to integrity, safety, collaboration, and teamwork, trainees are expected to learn to identify and rigorously solve the most important problems in biology with the highest standards of practice in biomedical research.

CBI programs are expected to bring together a diverse community of trainees and mentors that includes chemists, biologists, engineers, and physician-scientists to foster creative thinking across disciplinary lines. Programs should develop a shared vocabulary that will broaden a trainee’s exposure to scientific topics, perspectives, and techniques and enhance their ability to contribute to an increasingly multidisciplinary research environment. Trainees should have opportunities to work in interdisciplinary teams with colleagues from diverse backgrounds through promotion of an inclusive and supportive scientific research environments. Programs that aim to capitalize on unique research capabilities or to enhance their collaborative infrastructure, through interdisciplinary training, are welcome.

Rooted in chemistry, a program’s training plan should provide a strong foundation in scientific reasoning, rigorous research design, experimental methods, quantitative approaches, as well as data analysis and interpretation. Trainees should develop in-depth knowledge of a primary set of research while also having broad exposure to multiple areas beyond their faculty mentor’s laboratory. Training involving advanced instrumentation and techniques should include the physicochemical basis of the analysis and an understanding of common pitfalls.

Regularly occurring programmatic activities, which augment the Ph.D. training, are encouraged to build program cohesion, provide valuable opportunities for interactions with faculty mentors, and inspire the continued participation of trainees throughout their graduate training. Such activities might include a seminar series, student presentations, journal clubs, career development activities, workshops, retreats, or a mix of all the above. Most programs include at least one interfacial core course that ties together the concepts and techniques from chemistry and biology necessary for interdisciplinary research. Programs are strongly encouraged to offer a meaningful research experience outside of the mentor's laboratory that provides an opportunity for interdisciplinary research. This experience may integrate with the trainee’s Ph.D. research or be used by the trainee to delve into new research areas.

Career development opportunities, an essential component of all CBI programs, should provide the knowledge, professional skills, and experiences required for trainees to identify and transition into careers in the biomedical research workforce. The training program should encourage career planning and provide a venue for developing and discussing plans. Organized career development activities to learn about opportunities and make critical contacts are found in most programs.

All CBI programs must conduct ongoing evaluations to monitor the success of the training and mentoring activities and are expected to disseminate their outcomes to the broader community.