Since graduation, I have been working at 3M in product development. In my current job, I often am asked to interact with and evaluate researchers from various universities, research institutions, and business groups. The training grant provided an opportunity to focus on cross-disciplinary interactions and networking. These are very important skills that are not provided within any single department to the same level. These skills are very relevant to transitioning out of academia and functioning at a high level in ‘the real world.’
Trainees come from diverse academic backgrounds, including biochemistry, chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and chemical, computer, biomedical, and electrical engineering. Engineering and life sciences hold complementary core competencies required for biotechnology research. Our program strives to bridge the two disciplines by encouraging life science students to apply engineering principles to research questions while conversely training engineering students in the fundamentals of molecular, cellular, and genetic processes of biological systems.
Our training program brings together faculty with expertise in biological, physical, and engineering disciplines. Collectively our program faculty train students in fundamental biochemical, molecular and cellular sciences, biological systems analysis, biomedical and bio-engineering, reaction engineering, and computational sciences. Our faculty are at the forefront of their disciplines and they are eager to push their research constantly forward into new directions.
An emphasis of the training grant program is helping trainees develop professional skills. Workshops, seminars and site-visits provide instruction in intellectual property, project management and planning, effective communication skills, and reproducibility and quality assurance. Our Alumni network, Advisory Board, and bi-annual Alumni Symposium serve as key resources for career insights and planning, and for professional development and networking. Trainees also gain hands on leadership and organizational skills by organizing workshops, symposia, and seminars.