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The SSPB Graduate Program, housed in the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB), is designed to provide students the knowledge and tools that they will need to solve hard research questions and to apply their discoveries to the development of biotechnologies that transform agriculture, electronics, energy, the environment, information storage, medicine, and manufacturing. Our program was established collaboratively by faculty in Engineering and Natural Sciences who share the belief that breakthrough discoveries in biological research and biotechnology now require problem-solving that integrates experimental biochemical, cellular, and genetics approaches with computational design, simulation, and modeling.
To provide students the tools that they will need to be world-class investigators, our core curriculum covers three synergistic topics:
Synthetic Biology — the “bottom-up” construction of biomolecules and cellular systems and their applications to increasing our understanding of biological processes and enabling new biotechnologies.
Systems Biology — the emergence of functional properties in complex biological systems that are not presented by the individual components (genes, transcripts, enzymes, and metabolites).
Physical Biology — the development of models that anticipate the properties of natural and synthetic cellular systems by integrating biology with chemistry, physics, mathematics, and computer science.
Students currently in the SSPB Graduate Program typically have completed undergraduate degrees in diverse science and engineering disciplines, ranging from Bioengineering and Chemical Engineering to Physics and Chemistry to Biochemistry and Microbiology. A unifying theme of the students in this program is an interest in interdisciplinary approaches to problem-solving, the development of a strong foundation in the life sciences, and the integration of biological inquiry with rigorous, quantitative mathematics and physics. The most exciting part of the SSPB program is the discoveries that students are making through their interdisciplinary scholarship.
I encourage you to review the research projects of the faculty associated with the SSPB Graduate Program. Our faculty and students interact closely with departments in the Schools of Natural Sciences and Engineering at Rice University, and they have numerous collaborations with the Texas Medical Center. Please let us know if you have any questions!
Jonathan (Joff) Silberg
Director, SSPB Graduate Program
Professor of Biosciences, Bioengineering, and
Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering