Student Requirements

Students participating in the training grant are expected to fulfill a number of requirements. These requirements help to enrich the student's experience within the field and give the student extra opportunities.

All trainees enroll in the Biophysics Seminar course each semester and complete a course in Research Ethics (usually in the 1st year). Trainees who enter the UW-Madison as Biophysics Ph.D. candidates naturally take the required Biophysics core courses (Biophysics Degree Handbook), augmented by additional coursework in more specialized areas. Trainees who are pursuing the Ph.D. in other departments are also required to complete the Biophysics core courses as part of the minor requirement for the Ph.D.

The core course requirement stipulates that the trainee complete at least three of four designated courses that together provide broad exposure in important fundamental areas of biophysical science. Generally these courses are completed within the first year and a half and leave openings to take additional specialty courses .

The Biophysics Seminar course focuses on exciting topics from the current biophysics literature. Each week the group dissects a recent research paper, with one student providing an overview talk to stimulate discussion. In each semester, the papers are selected from three distinct topics chosen by the students and three participating faculty. This interactive forum builds community among biophysics students and faculty. Seminar participants make at least one oral presentation to the group each year, an important means of sharpening communication skills.

The Research Ethics course requirement is generally met by taking the Microbiology 901 course Responsible Conduct of Research. It follows a “case scenario” format in which the trainees participate in the discussion and dissection of such pertinent issues as mentor-trainee relationships, authorship, data ownership, manipulation of data, human subjects, and others. The MBTP further reinforces this area of training by devoting a Biophysics Evening meeting each year to a topic in research ethics.
       
Biophysics Evenings.  The joint degree and training grant programs organize and sponsor at least one Biophysics Evening each year. These meetings provide an informal atmosphere, with pizza and drinks provided, in which to learn more about topics of interest to all biophysics students. Session topics have included Research Ethics, starting an academic lab, working in industry, and presentations of current research by senior trainees. Other program business is covered as needed in these sessions.

Annual Poster Sessions.  Poster  sessions open to all students and trainees in Biophysics are organized two times a year to coincide with the orientation activities for the incoming class of graduate students in September and with graduate recruiting visits in March . The poster sessions provide the trainees another opportunity to exchange information about their research and to learn about opportunities for potential collaborations. Trainees gain experience designing and presenting posters in a setting similar to scientific meetings and conferences.

Inter-lab Collaborations.  Trainees often benefit from inter-lab meetings and mini-symposia that grow out of collaborations between labs. The MBTP is one of the contributing forces on the UW-Madison campus that supports an open and collaborative atmosphere between departments and labs. For further information contact biophysics@bocklabs.wisc.edu.