Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics

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The BioMaPS Institute for Quantitative Biology is an interdisciplinary research institute at Rutgers University composed of faculty from the traditional core disciplines of chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science who share a common interest in applying their methods to important problems in biology.

The BioMaPS Institute for Quantitative Biology, home of the Computational Biology and Molecular Biophysics graduate program, promotes interdisciplinary research and graduate education among experimentalists and theoreticians working on problems encompassing three general areas of research designed to provide a multi-scale view of complex biological systems:

* Structural Biology computational and experimental studies of structures and interactions of biomolecules with natural/synthetic ligands
* Systems: Genomics, Proteomics & Synthetic Biology studies of genetic sequences, proteins, and biomolecular networks
* Computational Biochemistry & Translational Medicine development & application of computational tools for translational research in biomedicine

Regarding structural biology, there is a focus on large biomolecular complexes associated with gene regulation. Rutgers has a tradition of strength in the area of structural biology, as evidenced both by the large group of internationally prominent researchers in the area as well as by the fact that Rutgers is the home of the Protein Data Bank (PDB), the single most important repository for biological macromolecular structure data in the world.


Research on the structural basis for transcription and transcriptional regulation, from the interactions of DNA with polymerase and transcription factors, up through the study of chromatin structure and implications for gene regulation has engaged several BioMaPS-affiliated research groups in collaborative research and was the basis of an Institute sponsored NIH P20 Center grant. The approaches taken range from molecular level analysis to more knowledge-based methods. In recent years, there has been a convergence between these two extremes. Hybrid methods that combine insights from biophysical understanding are being used to build more interpretable machine learning tools for predicting intermolecular interactions. The synergy between the investigation of three dimensional structures, molecular modeling, and bioinformatics in the context of the Proteomics Building planned for the Busch campus creates a rich environment for cutting edge research on frontier problems in structural biology.

The modeling of biomolecular networks or systems biology at a cellular level addresses how complex cellular dynamics become possible through the interactions of simpler components involving enzymatic control of elementary chemical steps. Several BioMaPS faculty members, with interest in nonlinear dynamics, have been investigating how structures of such networks determine possible dynamical behavior, with an emphasis on nontrivial qualitative predictions that are robust to refinements of the biological model. Applications of these tools range from understanding the regulation of metabolism in bacteria to the exploration of the landscape in which apparently irreversible cell fate specification takes place in eukaryotes. The possibilities of interactions with stem cell related activities on campus are evident and will stimulate this effort to gain further strength.

The undertakings in computational biochemistry and translational medicine range from the molecular to the cellular to the organismal level. BioMaPS Institute researchers have been actively collaborating with the Cancer Institute of New Jersey to bring quantitative tools to cancer research. The subjects include bioinformatic approaches to identify cancer subtypes, the study of biomarkers, tissue-level modeling, and the study of the population genetics of cancer related SNPs. Approaching translational biomedical research using modern computational and mathematical tools from multiple perspectives is a major developing theme of the BioMaPS Institute for Quantitative Biology.


* Personal statement, official transcripts, three letters of recommendation and a resume.
* GRE General; Subject test in Mathematics, Physical or Life Science preferred.
* Please answer the following in your personal statement:

* Is there a scientific paper or book that you have read, a course you have taken, or other experience that has motivated you to pursue graduate studies in Computational Biology & Molecular Biophysics? Please briefly describe.
* Which three faculty members you are most interested in working with?


All first year PhD students are supported by departmental or university fellowships or graduate assistantships, which provide stipend, tuition remission, and sometimes student fees for the first year.After the first year, students will be supported by their advisors through fellowships and graduate assistantships.

There are also a number of multi-year fellowships available for advanced students through NSF and NIH training programs. BME also has a limited number of teaching assistantships for graduate students who demonstrate outstanding teaching skills.



The Rutgers name is recognized everywhere, and a Rutgers degree makes a great first impression. Weve built our academic reputation on solid accomplishments:

* Rutgers is a memberso are Harvard, Yale, and Berkeleyof the prestigious Association of American Universities, the 61 leading research universities in North America.

* More than 175 Rutgers research centers support pioneering work in stem cells, climate change, DNA analysis, and more.

* Rutgers international reputation draws top students from more than 130 countries and all 50 states.

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