Training Grants

Interdisciplinary Molecular Metabolism Training Program


Metabolic disease is a massive worldwide health problem as illustrated by the current epidemics in obesity and type 2 diabetes, which is especially prominent in the United States and showing no sign of abating. There is an urgent need for metabolism research to face this alarming situation. However, there are relatively few training programs across the country specifically dedicated to the training of bright young predoctoral researchers in metabolism at the systemic, cellular and molecular level. To address this need we have set up the Molecular Metabolism Training Program (MMTP) at the University of Chicago, which incorporates the Committee on Molecular Metabolism & Nutrition (CMMN) and thus is one of the few graduate programs in the United States granting a PhD in molecular metabolism. A successful training program in metabolism requires a multi- and inter-disciplinary approach, made up of researchers with a wide variety of technical skills and research experience. The MMTP takes advantage of the marvelous and highly interactive biomedical environment and strong traditions in metabolic and diabetes research at the University of Chicago. The trainers in the MMTP, in whose laboratories MMTP trainees will conduct their research projects, have primary appointments across many departments and sections of the Biological Sciences Division, but have a unifying interest in understanding the causes and potential therapies for type 1 and type 2 diabetes, from molecular, metabolic and/or immunologic viewpoints. Being interdepartmental, the MMTP pre-doctoral trainees can take courses and gain experience in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Medicine, Immunology, Physiology and Neurobiology with a required comprehensive specialized metabolism core curriculum.

Trainees must also attend metabolism journal clubs, data sessions, seminar series, and an annual multi-disciplinary retreat. Participation in National and International metabolism, diabetes and/or obesity scientific meetings is expected. There is strong institutional support, as well as a significant allocation of new research space and equipment for the MMTP. Many outstanding applicants currently apply to the CMMN and Biomedical Science Cluster (Immunology, Microbiology and Cancer Biology), and the recruitment success rate into these programs is high. Pre-doctoral trainees recently graduated from the CMMN have found postdoctoral positions in foremost academic metabolism research laboratories and some have moved on to establish their own academic research groups, which we expect to continue under the MMTP. The ultimate goal of the MMTP is to set up young researchers on the path to become independent academic diabetes research scientists and mentors themselves – dedicated to excellent scholarship and making breakthrough discoveries in that will lead to new therapies to better treat, prevent and perhaps even cure these disorders.