The University of Maine together with The Jackson Laboratory and the Maine Medical Center Research Institute, has initiated an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional degree program in Functional Genomics, supported by an interactive faculty from the three institutions. Functional Genomics, perhaps more than ever before, requires a level of interdisciplinary interaction of the biological, physical and computational sciences. This increased need for interdisciplinary research will in turn require scientists trained to work interactively in multiple disciplines. In response this new educational paradigm was developed to train students who can move freely among the disciplines needed to investigate genome function. The students move from a base curriculum givingcoverage in the biological, physical and computational sciences to an interdisciplinary thesis project requiring two mentors from two different disciplines. Throughout this process students are in constant contact with other students and with faculty, learning to communicate easily in the different languages scientists use. Finally, the degree program provides the bridge linking a set of "virtual" interdependent research Centers of Excellence in: genetics/genomics; cell/molecular biology; biophysics/bioengineering; and computational biology/bioinformatics.
New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.