Brandeis wins $1 million grant to train scientists in solving 21-century biomedical problems

Waltham, MA - The art of teaching science at Brandeis has just won major recognition and support through a highly competitive $1 million grant to develop a specialized interdisciplinary graduate education program. Long a pioneer in interdisciplinary research, Brandeis will develop Ph.D. tracks aimed at producing a cadre of scientists with the knowledge and skills to conduct research at the interface of the physical and biomedical sciences.

Brandeis is one of ten research universities selected to receive the 3-year grant in a nationwide competition among 132 institutions. The grant will enable the university to develop a program in quantitative biology, which uses physical modeling and quantitative experimentation traditionally associated with physics and chemistry, to understand how cells and biological macromolecules function.

The grant was awarded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which joined forces to provide both start-up funds and sustaining support for the multidisciplinary graduate training programs. The programs will bring together students in biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, chemistry, molecular and cellular biology, neuroscience and physics.

"Our goal is to facilitate changes in doctoral education that will enable biomedical scientists to work well across disciplinary lines," noted Peter J. Bruns, HHMI's vice president for grants and special programs.

"This grant could only happen in a place like Brandeis, where physics and life sciences freely mix," noted physicist Jan Kondev, who spearheaded the university's proposal, along with biochemistry chair Jeff Gelles.

The grant consists of two components: hiring a new faculty member in quantitative biology and developing a set of four courses and community-building initiatives such as biweekly seminars, monthly lunches, and an annual

Contact: Laura Gardner
Brandeis University

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