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Program Components

Executive Committee

The Training Grant (TG) Executive Committee currently consists of Program Director Hening Lin, Christopher Alabi, Jeremy Baskin, Pamela Chang, Matthew DeLisa, Frank Schroeder, Carolyn Sevier, Justin Wilson, and Robert Swanda, the elected student representative. The Executive Committee is responsible for making decisions about adding or dropping faculty mentors. Each year, the training grant director will appoint a committee consisting of Executive Committee members (excluding the student representative) and CBI mentors to review trainee applications. In addition to frequent informal interactions, the Executive Committee meets each year to evaluate the students and the program.

Course Work

Trainees, who must come from the laboratory of a CBI mentor and should be in early stages of training when entering the program (first or second year), are required to take two core graduate-level courses in chemistry from the Chemical Biology sequence, which are chosen to provide a strong background in fundamental mechanistic/synthetic and biological chemistry. These two courses must be from the list of Chem 4400, Chem 4500, Chem 4510, Chem 6650, Chem 6670, Chem 6680, Chem 7600 (VetMM 7050) and one must be either Chem 4500, Chem 6650 or Chem 6680. There is also a requirement for a cell biology course (BioMG 4320, BioMG 6360, or BioMG 6390).  In addition, the program requires at least five additional credit hours from any of the courses shown in this pdf. Chemistry applicants are expected to satisfy this requirement with biology-rich courses and biology applicants are expected to satisfy it with chemistry-rich courses. All required courses must be taken for a grade; not as an audit or pass/fail. Our trainees are also required to complete an ethics course (BIOMG 7510) and eight modules of online “Responsible Conduct of Research” foundational training through the Office of Research Integrity and Assurance. Each trainee will also participate in the Responsible Conduct of Research symposium for each of the two years in which they are appointed as trainees.

Trainee Seminars

Trainees are also required to attend the monthly CBI Seminar Series at which trainees present the results of their ongoing research to a broad-based audience of current and past trainees and faculty in the CBI community.  Typically, each trainee gives two talks (one per year while supported by the training grant).  The first presentation is given jointly with the Trainee’s mentor and describes the mentor’s research program as well as the trainee project. The second presentation is given by the trainee alone. The minor members of each trainee’s Special Committee are invited to attend the trainee’s CBI talk and to provide the trainee with feedback on the presentation and on the Trainee’s progress

Sabbatical Internships

A key component of the Cornell CBI program is the 6-8 week sabbatical internship, usually in year 2 of TG support.  The sabbatical was originally intended to provide laboratory experience in an industrial setting; however, under special circumstances may now include an academic laboratory. To use the second option, the host laboratory’s research must be different from the Trainees’ thesis research and Trainees must undertake it in an environment that is distinct from their home laboratory.

Literature Lunches

The trainees organize a CBI Literature Lunch (Lit Lunch), which all current and past trainees are expected to attend. These 2-hour monthly meetings serve in part as a journal club and in part as a discussion forum for trainees.  For example, a scientific paper or review article may be designated for discussion ahead of time, with an announced discussion leader who may present and moderate the session.  Following an informal lunch, other topics of interest may be introduced.  Industrial internship experiences and opportunities are always high on the agenda, and Lit Lunches usually feature presentations by former trainees describing the scientific projects they worked on during their internships, as well as other learning opportunities they encountered within the companies.  The Lit Lunches also provide a forum for trainees to communicate ideas and/or concerns about the program via their elected representative to the Executive Committee. Lit Lunches involve the faculty supervisor (currently Dr. Lin) and as well as the training faculty of presenting students.

External Seminar Series

The CBI trainees also invite and host external seminar speakers and the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology (DCCB) has committed to supporting two student-hosted chemical biology speakers/semester. These speakers are usually selected, invited and hosted by the CBI trainees.  The speakers meet during the day mostly with students and faculty, and are taken to dinner following the seminar by the CBI trainees. The trainees have enjoyed and benefited from these interactions. CBI trainees also help organize and participate in visits of outside faculty that are supported by DCCB.

CBI Participants

All interested parties are encouraged to join in all training grant activities. Official Participants are training grant eligible students who are expected to present a research talk and attend all Trainee/Participant research seminars. Participants are also encouraged to attend the Lit Lunches and take the CBI mandated courses. Participants may have the opportunity to receive financing to attend a research conference. They may also do “mini-internships” of up to two weeks in the laboratory of another mentor to broaden the scope of their experience, especially if it helps to further the progress of their primary research project.

Annual Symposium

CBI trainees, participants, and mentors attend one symposium per year. This symposium is organized entirely by the trainees and participants with oversight from the Executive Committee. Speakers of the symposium come from both academia and industry. A few mentors and trainees are also chosen to give talks while most trainees and participants will present posters at the symposium.

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