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Chemistry/Biology Interface Program

The UMBC Chemistry/Biology Interface (CBI) program is an NIH supported program designed for those graduate students interested in pursuing cross-disciplinary training in the chemical and biological sciences. The program will prepare the students for the challenges of the 21st century, where those who possess multi-disciplinary training will have significant advantages. As more and more scientists pursue boundary-crossing lines of investigation, those researchers possessing multi-disciplinary skills will be increasingly in high demand. CBI students obtain their Ph.D. degree in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology or pharmaceutical sciences, but with an additional focus in one of the other disciplines. Each course of study is individually tailored to take into account the students’ strengths and interests, but all include coursework at an advanced level in both the biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry. Highlights of the program include:

  • Once a student has chosen a mentor, the mentor works closely with a participating faculty member in one of the other departments to carefully design a training opportunity for the student that relates directly to their dissertation research. This training can be as short as 6-8 weeks or ideally, develop into an ongoing, long-term collaboration that extends throughout the student’s Ph.D. project.
  • Students attend weekly meetings of the CBI participants at which issues at the interface are discussed. In addition, career related subjects such as how to balance family and career, how to choose a postdoctoral position, differences between careers in academia, industry and government, as well as how to be successful in graduate school, are among some of the topics discussed. Students also learn how to give effective presentations, both on their own research, as well as on literature topics.
  • Each year the CBI students invite a select group of renowned guest lecturers who are conducting research at the interface of the various disciplines. In addition to attending the speaker’s seminar, the students enjoy a full day of discussions and interactions with the speakers, with no faculty present.

  • CBI students are required to present their research at two national or international meetings each year. In addition, the CBI students also typically present their research at meetings in the metro area, such as UMBC’s annual “A Look Ahead” symposium, UMBC’s Graduate Research Conference, UMD-Baltimore’s Graduate Research Conference and the joint CBI conference sponsored by UMBC, UMD-Baltimore, UMD-College Park, Johns Hopkins and the University of Delaware.

UMBC offers students the opportunity to carry out cutting edge research with state of the art equipment and an internationally known faculty. Some of the areas of research focus in the four departments include, for example, determination of biological structures by NMR and mass spectrometry, drug design and development, RNA structure and function, enzyme mechanisms and model systems, biochemical energetics, protein-nucleic acid interactions, fluorescence spectroscopy, immunology, gene regulation, analysis of biological molecules, signal transduction, biomedicinal chemistry, bioinorganic chemistry, protein structure, developmental biology among many other areas.
Recent graduates of the program have gone on to post-doctoral and or tenure track positions at Yale, Stanford, Thomas Jefferson, Johns Hopkins, Vanderbilt, Naval Medical Research Center, the University of Chicago and the NIH. Others have gone into industry or professional organizations at the AAAS, Norwich Pharmaceuticals, Shimadzu, Propagenix Inc. and Glaxo / SmithKline.

If you are interested in the CBI program, please contact the Program Director:

Professor K. Seley-Radtke, Ph.D.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250