The BIT graduate and postdoctoral fellow training program is administered by the campus-wide Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics and coordinated with existing graduate degree programs in five Schools (Biological Sciences, Medicine, Engineering, Information and Computer Sciences, and Physical Sciences). The BIT Program provides graduate and postdoctoral training in either computational or life sciences, along with working competence in the cross-discipline. This is achieved in part by offering all predoctoral and postdoctoral trainees courses from a menu designed to ensure that, in addition to in-depth training in their primary field of expertise, each trainee obtains a set of core skills related to molecular biology and biochemistry, computer modeling of biological systems, statistics, and data mining, programming, and database development. In addition, each BIT trainee is supervised by two advisors, one from the life-sciences and one from the computational sciences, and conducts his/her thesis research at the intersection of these sciences in collaboration with a student or postdoctoral fellow in the cross discipline. In short, it is the mission of the BIT Program to train world-class scientists in their areas of specialization with sufficient knowledge for scholarly collaboration in the cross discipline.
The current research and training focus of the BIT Program is bioinformatics and computational and systems biology, with a translational component and a long-term vision of genome-enabled medicine. This vision is realized by integrating traditional campus strengths in computational biology approaches with campus strengths in systems biology and the ‘omic’ sciences. This transition from traditional to translational medicine practice is occurring in parallel with, and is being catalyzed by, major events occurring on the UCI campus, including the continuing development and expansion of the UCI Genomics High-Throughput Facility, under the administration and direction of the Institute for Genomics and Bioinformatics (IGB); the establishment of the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Center for Drug Design and Development, and the recent receipt of an NIH Clinical and Translational Science Award (CTSA) to the UCI School of Medicine.
The UCI BIT Program, now in its 11th year of existence, consists of 29 predoctoral and 5 postdoctoral students. This campus-wide interdisciplinary training program integrates its activities with degree granting graduate programs in the Schools of Information and Computer Sciences (ICS), Biological Sciences (BIO), Medicine (SOM), Physical Sciences (PS), and Engineering (ENG). Students in these campus graduate programs spend their first year fulfilling the first year requirements of the respective programs and, upon nomination by a IGB/BIT Program faculty trainer, are considered for acceptance into the BIT Program starting in their second year. This has proven to be an effective method for the establishment of a selective, campus-wide, interdisciplinary training program of highly qualified students on the UCI campus. In addition, the BIT program accepts nominations from two first-year Gateway Programs, described below, the Mathematical and Computational Biology Gateway Program (MCB) and the Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology Gateway Program (MCP). BIT Program training faculty serve on the admissions committees of each of these programs and provide expertise for the recruitment of applicants with qualifications for the BIT Program.
The Biomedical Informatics Training (BIT) Program. EG, Evolutionary Genetics track in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology Dept.; CMB, Combined Cellular & Molecular Biosciences Program in the School of Biological Sciences and the School of Medicine; MSTP, Medical Scientist Training Program; CB, Chemical Biology track in Chemistry Dept.; ChaMP, Chemical and Material Physics Program; BICB, Biomedical Informatics and Computational Biology track in Computer Science Dept; BME, Biomedical Engineering Program. While the BIT Program normally admits student at the beginning of their second year, BIT also recruits and admits students through two first-year gateway programs, the Mathematical and Computational Biology (MCB) Gateway Program and the Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacology (MCP) Gateway Program.