Molecular Biophysics

The Molecular Biophysics Predoctoral Training Program

The Molecular Biophysics Predoctoral Training Program is supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences designed to provide students with a strong foundation in molecular biophysics, i.e. the use of approaches derived from chemistry and physics to study biological questions. This program has a strong focus in the areas of structural biology, membrane biology, cellular biophysics, and computational biology. The goal of the training program is to supplement and enhance the comprehensive educationalgoals of the doctoral programs in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Virginia with specific biophysics-oriented research and training activities. Students can pursue research in one of the mancy facets of molecular biophysics, use state-of-the-art instrumentation, and carry out cutting edge research. our goal through this training program is to provide graduate students with an understanding of the principles of biophysicsand how these can be applied to gain insights into critical biomedical questions.

Training Program

The Predoctoral Molecular Biophysics Training Program is oriented toward providing a strong biophysics-related training environment that supplements the basic degree requirements and goals of the degree-granting departments within the University of Virginia.  To this end, the Training Program sponsors a regular seminar series focused on biophysics, a bi-weekly journal club for students focused on biophysics, and specific course offerings in the area of biophysics. All of these provide an environment for extensive collaboration and consultation among students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty with an interest in biophysics. Independent research is at the core of the program.

During the first two years, students complete formal course requirements and rotate through three different laboratories.  Thesis labs and mentors, and the degree programs are chosen in April of the first year.  While many of the Molecular Biophysics students receive their Ph.D.s in Biophysics, students from other degree programs are also eligible if the thesis mentor is a member of the Molecular Biophysics Training Program. The course and preliminary exam requirements differ slightly among the degree programs, but in all cases, students prepare and defend a detailed research proposal at the end of the second year. Successful completion of this process qualifies the student to advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.

At the completion of their first year of graduate school, students are eligible to apply for support from the Molecular Biophysics Training Program. This is a competitive process that selects students for stipend and tuition support from the program for 1-2 years. A travel allowance is also provided which aids in students to attend scientific conferences where they present a paper.


Contact Information

Dr. John Bushweller
Director, Molecular Biophysics Training Program
University of Virginia School of Medicine
PO Box 800736
Charlottesville, VA 22908 Jordan Hall, Room 4233
e-mail: 434-243-6409