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January 11, 2007

Pitt, CMU launch joint PhD program

Pitt and Carnegie Mellon University are launching a joint doctoral degree program in structural biology and biophysics.

Structural biologists use powerful, highly sophisticated technologies, such as x-ray crystallography, electron microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, to reveal the three-dimensional structure of proteins and other molecules. Biophysicists apply physics principles along with mathematical models and computer simulations to unravel biological systems at the molecular and cellular levels.

Angela Gronenborn, professor and chair of the Department of Structural Biology at the School of Medicine, and Gordon Rule, professor of biological sciences at CMU, are co-directors of the new program.

“There is a relatively small pool of people with this type of specialized training, and competition for qualified students who can be trained in these technologies is fierce,” explained Gronenborn, who also is professor and chair of the Department of Structural Biology at the School of Medicine.

“The ability to offer an advanced degree in these disciplines will allow us to compete with other top-tier institutions in recruiting the best and brightest students.”

Students in the new molecular biophysics and structural biology graduate program will be able to develop expertise in a variety of disciplines, including cellular biophysics, biophysical methods, protein and viral structures, gene regulation and signaling, chemical structure and dynamics and computational biology.

The program also offers students hands-on training on state-of-the-art instrumentation in Pitt’s Biomedical Sciences Tower.

For more information about the new joint doctoral program, visit

Filed under: Feature,Volume 39 Issue 9

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