BWF Creates Opportunities for Interdisciplinary Scientists

9 January 2012

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—In order to continue to provide opportunities for quantitative scientists to answer biological questions, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund has provided funding for the creation of two courses.
 
Princeton University and the University of California-Santa Barbara have each been awarded $400,000 over two years to establish an interdisciplinary course to introduce and immerse scientists trained in physics, mathematics, or engineering to biology and biological laboratory approaches. 
 
“While many institutions have launched formal training programs we have found that there was a need to create an introductory short course to immerse scientists of various backgrounds into biological systems,” said John Burris, president of BWF.  “We hope these programs serve as models for others.”
 
The course at Princeton University is “Biophysics and Computations in Neurons and Networks.” The four-week course will introduce graduate students and postdoctoral fellows with quantitative training in science or engineering to the concepts and research methodologies of modern neuroscience.
 
UC-Santa Barbara will create the “Santa Barbara Advanced School of Quantitative Biology.”  The five-week course will target postdoctoral and advanced level graduate students in physical science and engineering transitioning into biology as well as biologists looking to take a more quantitative approach in their research. 
 
Both courses are expected to begin in 2012.
 
Proposals were accepted by invitation and the final selection was made by a scientific advisory committee and approved by the BWF Board of Directors.
 
In the past few decades, biological science has absorbed a wealth of data generated by new technologies that measure biological phenomena from the atomic to the population scale.   BWF also offers a competitive award program, Careers Awards at the Scientific Interface, to help scientists make the connection between the quantitative sciences and biology.  Since the award launched in 2001, 79 awards have been made for an investment in the careers of interdisciplinary scientists of more than $39 million.

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Media contact:  Russ Campbell