Training Programs

Cellular & Molecular Basis of Disease Training Program

Richard Carthew, Director

The CMBD Training Program is an interdisciplinary and cross-campus program that provides state-of-the-art training in the cellular and molecular sciences for highly qualified pre-doctoral candidates. CMBD trainees are drawn from the two interdisciplinary life sciences graduate programs at Northwestern: IBiS and DGP. All CMBD students receive formal coursework and training in fundamental aspects of cell and molecular biology, as well as exposure to the vast body of research built upon these disciplines. Most students also receive formal training in allied fields including genetics, developmental biology, biochemistry and biophysics, and neurobiology. While CMBD students perform their thesis research in laboratories representing at least a dozen departments, they share common experiences in the coursework, seminar programs, symposia, research meetings and career development forums that comprise the CMBD training program. The CMBD program is presently in its 30th year, and has a long history of supporting outstanding trainees that have gone on to pursue successful careers in the biomedical sciences. The program includes 90 faculty preceptors and currently supports 18 trainees per year.

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Biotechnology Training Program

Joshua Leonard, Director

The NIH/NIGMS Biotechnology Training Program is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program which provides a select group of predoctoral students greater research and training opportunities than those which are available through the individual departments. It is intended to promote a more effective interdisciplinary education in biotechnology, to enhance the research programs of and interaction among those Northwestern University faculty and students with interests in biotechnology, and to provide a more systematic exposure of students to industrial biotechnology research. Students trained through this program will be more effectively prepared to enter the biotechnology industry or become leaders of academic and governmental biotechnology research. The novel aspects of this program include: an interdisciplinary education, close collaborative efforts among participating faculty and students from various disciplines, a systematic exposure to industrial biotechnology through student research internships in biotechnology industries and access to a variety of advanced topic and specialized courses.

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Molecular Biophysics Training Program

Heather Pinkett, Director

The Molecular Biophysics Training Program supports research and education at the interface of biology, chemistry, and physics. The program brings together students and faculty from several departments on both the Evanston and Chicago campuses. The program sponsors advanced and special topics courses in diverse areas in molecular biophysics; and it sponsors the Molecular Biophysics Club, a forum at which graduate students and postdoctoral fellows present talks on their research to the entire molecular biophysics community of students, postdocs, and faculty. Trainees of the program invite and host several distinguished visiting faculty from other institutions each year. The program also provides funds for Trainees to present their work at national or international meetings.

Students appointed to the Molecular Biophysics Training Program must be enrolled in one of the eight affiliated graduate programs, must work with a biophysics preceptor on a biophysics-related research topic, and must be in their second or third year of graduate study at the time of appointment. Selection of students to the program is competitive, emphasizing the students’ research accomplishments as well as their academic records.

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Chemistry of Life Processes Predoctoral Training Program

Neil Kelleher, Director

This training program integrates biology and chemistry through a common set of course requirements, a hands-on team based approach to laboratory training, a unique preceptor arrangement, and a strong communal training environment. The program is built upon Northwestern’s renowned faculty expertise in biologically-integrated chemistry and the experience of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute in fostering transdisciplinary research and education. Five graduate departments and graduate programs within three schools have joined together, under the leadership of the Chemistry of Life Processes Institute, to participate in the research training activities of the CLP program.

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Training Program in Reproductive Biology

J. Julie Kim, Director

The Reproductive Biology Training Program is administered by Reproductive Biologists housed in five University departments: Neurobiology and Molecular Biosciences on the Evanston Campus; and Cell and Molecular Biology, Physiology, Obstetrics and Gynecology and the Center for Endocrinology, Metabolism and Molecular Medicine on the Chicago Campus.

Trainees choose primarily one area of research concentration, but interdisciplinary research is strongly encouraged. Specific research areas include: sperm surface polarity; testicular biochemistry and immunochemistry of LDH-X; molecular mechanisms of FSH and LH actions in follicles and corpora lutea; regulation of glycoprotein hormone gene expression; regulation of hypothalamic neuropeptide synthesis and secretion; molecular biology of the prolactin family; molecular endocrinology; pituitary hormone secretion and gonadal feedback; photoperiod and biological rhythms, including reproduction. Techniques available to trainees include hormone radio-immunoassays, receptor assays, in vitro cell and tissue culture, molecular approaches, peptide biochemistry in vivo hormone and neurotransmitter sampling and measurement techniques, and histological methods, such as in situhybridization and immunocytochemistry. 

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Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/PhD)

Hossein Ardehali, Director

The Medical School and The Graduate School give a select number of students the opportunity to embark on an exceptionally rewarding and challenging career path. By enrolling in the combined degree program leading to the MD and PhD degrees, students can expect to become better scientists for their clinical experience while bringing a physician’s perspective to their research. The University participates in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) established by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the U.S. Public Health Service. The Northwestern MSTP prepares qualified students for careers in biomedical research or academic medicine, as well as clinical practice.

For highly motivated students with superior research and academic potential, this flexible, seven- to eight-year-long program offers expedient, complementary training in both medicine and science. Students develop the PhD research component individually, in consultation with faculty advisers and researchers on both campuses, drawing mainly from investigations being conducted in the life sciences.

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