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Educational Program


One of the traditional impediments to multidisciplinary graduate education is the rigid course requirements established by traditional academic departments. We overcome these limitations by allowing IGERT fellows to choose courses in all participating departments and schools. Arrangements will be made by the mentoring committee on the behalf of each student to ensure that appropriate set of courses satisfy the departmental requirements for the students’ degrees and departmental requirements can be adjusted with the support of the mentoring committee.

IGERT course offerings include the following core graduate courses offerings.

Optics, photonics, and sensors electronics

EE4411 (Fundamentals of photonics)
EE4401 (Wave transmission and fiber optics;
EE4405 (Nonlinear optics)
EE4201 (Introduction to semiconductor devices
EE4944 (Principles of device microfabrication)
EE 6945 (Device nanofabrication)
EE6412 (Lightwave devices)
EE6414 (Photonic integrated circuits)
AP4110 (Modern optics)
AP6110 (Laser interactions with matter)
Phys6092 (Electromagnetic theory)
Phys6094 (Classical theory of waves)

Biomolecular detection and cellular-level analysis

ChemE4850 (Biopolymers: biomolecular technologies for microfluidics and array devices)
Bio4070 (Biology and physics of single molecules)
Bio4034 (Biotechnology)
ChemE4700 (Principles of genomic technologies)
ChemE4760 (Genomics sequencing laboratory)
BME4738 (Transduction and acquisition of biomedical data)
BME4400 (Wavelet applications in biomedical image and signal processing)
BME4420 (Biomedical signal processing and signal modeling)
BME4550 (Micro- and nano-structures in Cellular Engineering)
BME6400 (Analysis and quantification of medical images)
BME6420 (Advanced Microscopy: Fundamentals and Applications)

Applications to Medicine and Public Health

BME4894 (Clinical applications of biomedical imaging)
Bio4405 (Cellular neurobiology)
Bio4065 (Molecular biology of disease)
Bio4320 (Functional Neuroimaging of human brain).

In addition, new cross-cutting courses will be added to the program in the coming year. The first of these courses have already been developed:

Chem/Bio W4510 (Molecular Systems Biology)

This four-credit course present a quantitative description of the molecular networks that underlie the myriad phenotypes of living cells, from yeast to human. Topics covered include various high-throughput genomics technologies (genome sequencing, DNA microarrays, proteomics), quantitative modeling of transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulatory networks, synthetic biology, and the world of RNA structure, dynamics, and function. Lectures on these topics will be integrated with introductory lectures on molecular and structural biology, thermodynamics, statistics, and machine learning. The course is intended for advanced undergraduates as well as beginning graduate students in Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and Computer Science. Taught by research scientists active in various areas of systems biology, the course is highly interdisciplinary and rooted in recent research, with a soft focus on cancer. This course is being developed by Prof. Cornish.

BMEN E4550 (Micro- and nano-structures in Cellular Engineering)

The application of micro- and nano-scale patterning techniques towards biological systems has opened up new routes of exploration of basic cellular/molecular function as well as strategies for engineering cell function. This course examines contemporary questions at this intersection of materials and life sciences, combining hands-on experience, theoretical discussions, and case studies to provide the background required for students to effectively engage in this research. Topics include: design and fabrication of micro-/nano-structured systems; patterning of chemical and biomolecular systems; guidance of cell function; applications in neural, immune, co-culture, and stem cell systems. This course is targeted for advanced undergraduate and graduate students with a background in cellular/molecular biology or micro-/nano-scale fabrication.

Bio/EE4011 (Circuits in the Brain)

This course reviews current knowledge about the computation carried out by different microcircuits present in the mammalian CNS. The levels of analysis covered by the course will span channel behavior, synaptic physiology, dendritic integration, neuroanatomy, and circuit studies.

BMEN 6420 (Advanced Microscopy: Fundamentals and Applications)

Microscopy has become a vital tool for many areas of research, with cutting-edge techniques now commonplace in modern biomedical experimental protocols. A thorough understanding of the fundamental principles of these methods is essential for optimal use and development of these tools, and for accurate interpretation of results. This course will review a range of techniques including confocal and two-photon, atomic force and electron microscopy. The course will include lab sessions and applications-based literature case-studies as well as primers on modern microscopy image analysis and presentation.

Laboratory rotation

Each student will participate in the research group of at least two IGERT faculty members. This rotation will be arranged through the student’s mentoring committee. Typically, this phase of the program will take place during the first year of graduate school, but the exact timing will reflect the background and need for formal course work by each student. These lab rotations will often form the basis for IGERT students working between more than one laboratory.