Funded by the NIH, the goal of the Molecular Biophysics Training Program (MBTP) is to train a diverse population of graduate students in the field of molecular biophysics and to prepare them for research and teaching careers in which physical methods are used to solve biological and biomedical problems. The curriculum is both demanding and interdisciplinary and is designed to train scientists who will conduct research at the interface of biology, chemistry, physics and physical biochemistry.
Molecular Biophysics at the University of Michigan is a distinctive program with particular requirements for the didactic and research phases of training. The Program is anchored in the existing Biophysics Graduate Program, and has developed a broad interdisciplinary curriculum that offers Ph.D. degrees in four major disciplines: Biophysics, Biological Chemistry, Chemistry and Physics.
The training faculty includes physical and mechanistic biochemists, chemists, physicists and faculty from related disciplines whose research focuses on the structures, functions and interactions of bio-macromolecules. The faculty is drawn from the departments of Cell and Developmental Biology, Biological Chemistry, Biophysics, Biomedical Engineering, Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Microbiology & Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacy, Physics, Pharmacology and Environmental Health Sciences in the School of Public Health. These faculty members share a basic commitment to problem-oriented research that relies on the application of quantitative physical techniques.
Program students exploit and develop sophisticated instrumentation in their research (including existing state-of-the-art facilities for NMR spectroscopy, X-ray absorption and diffraction, cryo-electron microscopy, ultrafast spectroscopy, single molecule spectroscopy, super resolution microscopy and modern computation) and are trained in data collection, state-of-the-art analysis and interpretation as well as in effective presentation and publication of their results. The great advances made in medical sciences over the last fifty years have strongly benefited from the development of biophysics-derived tools (MRI and CAT scan are examples). Training the future generation of molecular biophysicists will ensure continued contributions to public health.