Virginia Bioinformatics Institute offers fellowships for graduate work in transdisciplinary science

BLACKSBURG, Va., Nov. 4, 2008 – The Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech, in collaboration with Virginia Tech's Ph.D. program in genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology, is providing substantial fellowships in support of graduate work in transdisciplinary team science.

The Transdisciplinary Team Science Fellowship Program for the Life Sciences was developed for students interested in joining the Virginia Tech genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology Ph.D. program. With the goal of connecting students with accomplished researchers working in a team science environment, these fellowships cover the costs of the students’ first two years in the program, which is $29,679 per year plus tuition and fees.

After completion of the first two years of study, students will be supported by a research grant from their selected mentor professor. The program is open to students with bachelor’s degrees, while master’s students, in particular, are encouraged to apply for the fellowships.

Transdisciplinary team science integrates discipline-specific theories, concepts, and methods into a research environment that transcends the boundaries of academic disciplines. The foundation of this approach involves collaborative teams composed of individuals from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds working together on a particular project.

Recipients of the Transdisciplinary Team Science Fellowship will be required to pursue projects at the interface of life and computational sciences as part of a transdisciplinary team.

Genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology students at Virginia Tech work closely with researchers on cutting-edge transdisciplinary science projects, helping to make transformative discoveries and find real solutions to important problems in the life sciences. For example, students in the program have the opportunity to work with researchers to design, develop, and implement computer simulation tools to understand problems within very large complex systems, such as how pandemic influenza spreads through large populations.

“We are very excited to be able to offer these significant fellowships for students entering the GBCB program,” said Virginia Bioinformatics Institute Professor and Deputy Director of Education and Outreach Reinhard Laubenbacher. “At [the institute], we are committed to transdisciplinary research and education and welcome graduate students into our laboratories and research groups. Our research programs, as well as others on the Virginia Tech campus, give students the opportunity to work with talented researchers on projects that will make a difference in the world. By doing this, [the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute] and the [genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology] program are demonstrating their commitment to developing the next generation of transdisciplinary researchers.”

Find more information about the application process for the genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology program and the fellowship program. To be considered for the 2009 fall semester, applications must be submitted not later than April 15, 2009. For more information about the fellowship, contact Kristy DiVittorio at (540) 231-1389.

Virginia Tech’s genetics, bioinformatics, and computational biology Ph.D. program encompasses applications of molecular biology, genomics, mathematics, statistics, and computer science to all areas of the life sciences. Tailored individually to students’ needs, the program spans traditional departmental boundaries and allows students enrolled in a program to work with faculty from many departments and colleges.