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BIOMAPS 118 (Programs in Quantitative Biology)
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  Graduate School-New Brunswick 2003-2005 Programs, Faculty, and Courses BIOMAPS 118 (Programs in Quantitative Biology) Program  

Program

During the half-century since the elucidation of the structure of DNA, there has been a remarkable increase in the rate of biological discovery. Making sense of the ever-increasing amount and scope of biological information-at levels of complexity ranging from molecules, through assemblies of molecules, to cells-requires sophisticated mathematical and computational tools outside the realm of mainstream biology. The BIOMAPS program seeks to train a new generation of scientists who will be able to use these tools to achieve a new level of understanding of biology. The graduate program will be administered under the umbrella of the BIOMAPS Institute for Quantitative Biology, the goal of which is to foster interdisciplinary research and education at the interface between Biology and the Mathematical and Physical Sciences (BIOMAPS).

The BIOMAPS graduate program`s curriculum, course prerequisites, and admission requirements have been designed to serve the needs of students with diverse backgrounds, particularly those with quantitative training in the physical, mathematical, and computer sciences. The BIOMAPS program allows the enrollment of interdisciplinary students who do not fit naturally into any traditional graduate program but who show a strong interest and/or aptitude for interdisciplinary biology research. These students enroll directly into BIOMAPS and must satisfy BIOMAPS requirements. Another option for interdisciplinary study currently under development will be the special, parallel "bio-tracks" in traditional programs that will prepare students for biology-driven research. The parallel tracks will strengthen connections with traditional disciplines whose intellectual traditions and technical body of knowledge have many times been the driving force for technical developments and novel experimental tools in interdisciplinary research. Parallel tracks will substitute a number of credits (yet to be determined) of the Ph.D. program requirements with biology and BIOMAPS courses and, as a rule, students will work on a thesis under the supervision of one of the BIOMAPS faculty with expertise in the traditional discipline.

The BIOMAPS graduate curriculum involves three types of courses: background courses, core courses, and electives.

Background Courses.These provide basic introductions to (1) chemistry and biochemistry (3 credits); (2) molecular biology, cell biology, and genetics (3 credits); and (3) laboratory methods of modern biology research (2 credits). The basic courses (1) and (2) are meant for mathematical and physical science and engineering students with insufficient chemistry or biology backgrounds to enroll into graduate courses offered by the molecular biosciences program. They assume no prior training in chemistry and biology, and will provide the chemical and biological foundations needed to understand biological systems. The laboratory methods course will provide a hands-on approach to modern biology techniques and is required of students planning to focus on theoretical research.

Core Courses.These are specifically designed interdisciplinary courses that survey particular BIOMAPS areas and are meant to transition students into research at the forefront of the field. These courses cover a broad range of topics, i.e., protein structure; biophysics of molecular assemblies; algorithms in bioinformatics; simulation techniques; biochemical and genetic networks; signaling, data mining, and pattern recognition; mathematical modeling and control theory.

Electives.Courses are taught by BIOMAPS teaching faculty within traditional doctoral programs that expose students to the techniques and scientific standards of traditional disciplines, many of which form the basis of technical and computational developments in BIOMAPS research. Students can select electives with the approval of their advisory committee from virtually all graduate courses offered by life-science, mathematical and physical sciences, computer science, and engineering programs at Rutgers and UMDNJ including biochemistry, biomedical engineering, cell and developmental biology, chemical and biochemical engineering, chemistry and chemical biology, computer science, mathematics, mechanical and aerospace engineering, mechanics, microbiology and molecular genetics, cellular and molecular pharmacology, physics and astronomy, and statistics.


 
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