HHMI awards $10 million for interdisciplinary graduate education

Biomedical science is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary, as reliant on the physical and computational sciences as on biology. But how are the biomedical investigators of the future going to learn to work effectively across disciplinary lines?

U.S. universities will lead the way, using 10 grants of $1 million from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) to initiate fundamental changes in the way Ph.D. scientists are trained. They will use the three-year grants to develop innovative graduate education programs designed to produce a cadre of scientists with the knowledge and skills to conduct research at the interface between the biomedical, physical, and computational sciences

HHMI is partnering with the National Institutes of Health's National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB) to ensure sustaining support as well as start-up funds for the new programs. Following a second competition to ensure that the HHMI-funded recipients achieved their original goals, the NIBIB--committed to integrating the physical and life sciences--will support the second phase of this program, which is aimed at sustaining interdisciplinary graduate education.

"The HHMI-NIBIB partnership capitalizes on the special strengths of each organization," said HHMI President Thomas R. Cech. "HHMI can provide flexible support to catalyze development of new interdisciplinary programs, and the NIBIB will sustain these and related programs once they are developed, as NIH does so well with traditional training grants."

The recipients of the HHMI awards were chosen from 132 applicants. Their proposed programs are diverse, including:

  • Intensive academic "boot camps" to provide fundamental research skills and the vocabulary of the physical, mathematical, and biological sciences.
  • Nanotechnology for biology and medicine.
  • A Ph.D. program in computational biology, including specialization in computational genomics, computati

  • Contact: Jennifer Donovan
    Howard Hughes Medical Institute

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