Program Description

The Northwestern Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program that provides select graduate students (Trainees and Cluster members) greater research and training opportunities than those available through the individual departments. It promotes interdisciplinary education in biotechnology, interactions among faculty and students with interests in biotechnology, and provides a substantial exposure of students to industrial biotechnology research. Students trained through this program are prepared to enter the biotechnology industry or pursue academic and governmental biotechnology research. The overall goals of the Northwestern Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program are to:

  • Foster a community of researchers at Northwestern University interested in the development and application of biotechnologies for therapeutic and diagnostic applications in medicine.
  • Instill outstanding biotechnology trainees with the fundamentals underlying current and emerging technologies.
  • Introduce trainees and the biotechnology community to a range of biomedical problems for which technologies have influenced or could influence the treatment of patients.
  • Introduce trainees to leaders in biotechnology within academia and industry to facilitate the development of their personal network, which can be instrumental in launching a successful career.
  • Help trainees develop communication, oral presentation, scientific writing, and grant writing skills essential to their success as independent scientists.
  • Educate trainees in the ethics of science and responsible conduct of research.

Unique Opportunities Brought to You by the BTP

BTP is much more than a graduate umbrella program!

Industrial Internships
Three-to-six month industrial internships offer students the opportunity to obtain a first-hand experience of applied biotechnology research in a selected industrial laboratory. Several biotechnology companies in the Chicago area and elsewhere offer such opportunities to trainees.
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A recent feature of the training grant is to organize “hands-on” training in biotechnology techniques. This practicum is an annual event and will be organized primarily by the trainees, with guidance from the directors of the training grant.
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Biotechnology Day
A special opportunity for students to have increased exposure to the biotechnology industry. Trainees will assist in organizing the event.
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Key Features

Research seminars on the various aspects of biotechnology are a key graduate training experience, especially in a field as interdisciplinary as biotechnology. Monthly Biotechnology seminars include visits by prominent researchers from biotechnology companies. Trainees will also attend seminars in their home and other departments.
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Research in Progress Meeting
Monthly Biotechnology Research in Progress meetings provide an opportunity for Trainees, Cluster members, and faculty to present their research.
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Annual IBiS Retreat
This 2-day retreat has as its objectives to further promote interactions of the faculty, staff and students of the IBiS program. The retreat brings together students and faculty for two days of informal seminars, discussions and poster presentations.
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Program Requirements

Choice of Research Advisor and Laboratory Rotations
Trainees enrolled in the various Departmental PhD Programs follow the schedule of their departments and programs for laboratory rotations and thesis adviser selection during their first year. Trainees are required to pursue at least two research rotations in any of the participating departments before selecting a thesis adviser. This can be accomplished for non-IBiS students by completing two 4-week rotations during or before the first fall quarter. Additional laboratory rotations, even after the choice of a thesis advisor, are highly encouraged in order to expose students to the research environment of more than one or two laboratories.

Training Program Rotation Form

Course Requirements

  • Biology Courses (Any two of the following): IBiS 402 Molecular Biology, IBiS 403 Proteomics, IBiS 404 Systems Biology, IBiS 406 Cell Biology, IBiS 410 Quantitative Biology, or IBiS 416 Practical Training in Chemical Biology Methods and Experimental Design  (required for IBiS students)
  • Responsible Conduct of Research (Any one of the following): IBiS 423 (Ethics in Biological Research), GEN ENG 519 (Responsible Conduct of Research), or CHEM 519 (Responsible Conduct of Research Training)
  • Advances in Biotechnology (ChBE 478)
  • Additionally, the students are required to take three (3) Biotech Electives

TOTAL: 7 core courses

Note: MSTP students will recieve credit for one biology course and one biotechnology elective in recognition for medical school and MSTP courses taken during the first two years of medical school.

Ph.D requirements
Each trainee must meet the PhD degree requirements of her/his chosen department or Unit, in addition to the requirements of this Training program. Trainees must be enrolled fulltime within (or admitted to) one of the participating departments in the training program. These include the Interdisciplinary Biological Sciences Program (IBiS), the Biomedical Engineering Department (BME), the Department of Chemistry, of the Chemical and Biological Engineering Departmet (ChBE).

Cluster members may be enrolled in any Nothwestern University PhD program.
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Individual Development Plan
An individual development plan (IDP) helps you explore career possibilities and set goals to follow the career path that fits you best.
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Participating Programs and Departments
Most of the BTP faculty preceptors participate in the IBiS Program through their primary Department or Unit (Molecular Biosciences, BME, ChBE).

Links to Participating Programs and Departments