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Reach Higher G R A D U AT E E D U C AT I O N I N I N T E R D I S C I P L I N A RY Q U A N T I TAT I V E B I O LO G Y


The BioFrontiers Institute is harnessing the academic leadership of the University of Colorado and the entrepreneurial momentum of Boulder to build a worldclass research and technology hub. BioFrontiers is devoted to making transformative discoveries in the basic sciences and to translating cuttingedge research into real-world solutions. The Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology (IQ Biology) program is the graduate education arm of this interdisciplinary initiative and focuses on preparing researchers from multiple disciplines to work together on opportunities in quantitative biology.


An Unprecedented Era for Bioscience We are at the beginning of a new golden age for bioscience. New genomic, proteomic, and imaging technologies have produced mountains of biological data. Navigating this new terrain demands a new kind of scientist. One who is comfortable with quantitative and computational analyses. One who can reach across a wide range of disciplines, work with multiple experts, and think fearlessly. At the University of Colorado Boulder, you can become this kind of scientist. As a graduate student in our Interdisciplinary Quantitative Biology (IQ Biology) PhD program, you will gain access to world-class educators and colleagues across many different disciplines and departments. We are dedicated to working together to transform mountains of data into knowledge, and using it to discover, develop, and deliver real-world solutions. I hope you will consider joining our IQ Biology program. Please visit our website at will find more information there about IQ Biology and learn how to apply for this exciting program. Sincerely,

Dr. Cech returned to CU-Boulder and BioFrontiers after leading the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for nine years. He is one of four Nobel Laureates working on the Boulder campus.

Thomas Cech, PhD Director, BioFrontiers Institute Director, IQ Biology U ni ve r si t y o f Col or a d o B ould er


“The current and former graduate students in my lab are transforming how we see the microbes that make up 90 percent of the cells in ‘our’ bodies. These microbes influence our health and perhaps even our behavior. The study of microbiomes, in humans and other organisms, will change our view of the world.”   —Rob Knight, PhD Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, BioFrontiers faculty


Biosciences from 5,430 Feet Traditional discipline-specific degree programs only provide deep knowledge of a single subject and train students for independent research. The goal of IQ Biology is to provide an opportunity for students to build upon these skills, stimulating creativity and creating a culture of interdisciplinary collaboration.


Example: Engineering strategies to regrow human tissues for regenerative medicine

Image Analysis

Example: Enhancing fluorescent protein techniques to track the invasion of salmonella, which will help light the way to finding cures for infectious outbreaks


Mathematical Biology

Example: De novo design of synthetic enzymes that transform how we approach healthcare and environmental problems

Example: Using dimensionality reduction in forensic metagenomics to help criminal investigators decipher crimes with microbial data

Computational Biology

Example: Personalized medicine developed from an individual’s microbiome

The IQ Biology program strengths lie in five main areas: Mathematical Biology, Computational Biology, Bioengineering, Biophysics, and Image Analysis. Shown are examples within each of these areas of how IQ Biology researchers are creating solutions for biological challenges that require a broad view of science, technology, engineering, and math.


“My interest is in developing phylogenetically informed techniques for studying microbial communities. I created the UniFrac metric for comparing these communities of microbes. As examples, UniFrac could be used to determine whether communities found in the human gut are similar among individuals with the same intestinal disease, or if family members in the same household share common microbial inhabitants. ”    —Cathy Lozupone, PhD Postdoctoral Associate, Knight Lab


Reach Higher to Take Hold of Your Future From the very beginning, your experience in the IQ Biology program will be about creating the future you want and the world needs. We have already built the connections between our eight participating departments so that you can focus on doing innovative research and participating within our large network of collaborators. In the IQ Biology program you will: • Train in an interdisciplinary community before you enter a disciplinary culture, giving you an innovative edge. • Benefit from significant cross-disciplinary flexibility when choosing courses, labs for research rotations, and advisors. • Learn from faculty members who are already experienced practitioners in, and advocates for, interdisciplinary research. • Be mentored by high-level industry leaders. • Have internship opportunities that will give you the experience and connections you need. • Be part of a nationally recognized community dedicated to transforming science education through programs such as the Science Education Initiative and more. • Engage and network with student organizations such as the CU Biotech Club, which engages with biotech executives to develop seminars on preparing for careers in industry.

Connecting You to Your Vision IQ Biology was designed to be a hub of activity, connecting you to the people and resources you need to create your future. In addition to excellent teaching faculty and a structure that crosses academic silos, IQ Biology also focuses on helping you develop professionally. From internships in non-research fields like marketing or business development, to curriculum development for those who would like to teach, IQ Biology offers many ways to customize your experience. Networking is built into the program with established organizations like the CU Biotech Club and Integrating STEM education Initiative (iSTEM). In addition, the BioFrontiers advisory board is staffed with industry and academic leaders who can support you through your time at CU-Boulder and beyond. Right: CU-Boulder iSTEM participant Brad Cheetham helps kindergarteners draw postcards with their ideas for future space travel.


“One of my group’s projects is to create gels that promote cartilage regeneration. The gels contain cellular signals that recruit and direct naturally found cells in the body to the injured area and into the tissue of interest; the material then fosters self-healing by homing these cells to the right place and providing appropriate signals in the right context.”   —Kristi Anseth, PhD Distinguished Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering; Associate Director, BioFrontiers


Faculty at the Summit of Bioscience Innovation At the heart of our institute is an outstanding team of scientists who are committed to interdisciplinary research and education. IQ Biology’s research is broad, from responses of species to climate change to computational protein design; biomechanical properties of bacterial communities to real-time imaging of calcium uptake into live cells; and physical constraints of DNA unwinding to metagenome analysis of entire microbiome communities. And our faculty roster continues to grow as we recruit new scientists who are working across academic boundaries in many different disciplines. Among our IQ Biology faculty members are: • A Nobel Laureate

• A Marsico Endowed Chair of Excellence recipient

• Four Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigators

• A Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholar

• Three recipients of National Academies Keck Futures Initiative grants

• A Stand Up 2 Cancer Innovative Research Grant recipient

• A Boettcher Investigator awardee

• A Collaborative Innovation Award recipient

• A Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Scientist

• Members of the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, and the National Academy of Engineering

• Five National Science Foundation CAREER awardees • A Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor

IQ Biology faculty members are truly interdisciplinary, collaborating with each other on a wide range of research and publications. A sample of the more than 200 faculty available to students from the eight participating departments is shown here.


The new Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building was designed to promote “creative collisions� between scientists and researchers. It will house 600 researchers and staff selected from several departments. It will also be home to IQ Biology students during their first year.

Image courtesy of Robert A.M. Stern Architects


Unique Opportunities Drive Collaboration Because the BioFrontiers Institute (IQ Biology’s parent organization) and the biosciences industry are so important to the University of Colorado Boulder, a new $170 million building, devoted to the biosciences, is under construction on the university’s East Campus. The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building will house more than 600 faculty and students when it opens in 2012. Research space in the new building was designed specifically to create an environment that promotes collaboration between scientists. At CU-Boulder you will find equipment, lab space, and facilities to support your research, including: • • • • • • • • • •

NMR Facilities X-ray crystallography Five mass spectrometers shRNA Libraries Ultrastable atomic force microscope High performance liquid chromatography biomaterial facilities A nanomaterials characterization facility A $6m 16,416 Dell™ core supercomputer Next-generation DNA sequencer High-throughput drug discovery core

“The work I did as a graduate student was inspired by both chemistry and engineering, and we developed complex materials whose properties can be tuned in three-dimensions by laser-induced changes in crosslinking. This technology may help patients avoid invasive joint replacement surgeries.” ­   —April Kloxin, PhD Postdoctoral Associate, Anseth Lab

Collaborating Off-campus Boulder is home to many organizations that may also be helpful to your research. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) works with researchers and industry to develop and apply technology, measurements, and standards. In addition, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) houses one of two supercomputers in Boulder. The second, a $6 million supercomputer, will be installed at CU-Boulder’s East Campus, near the BioFrontiers building. Ecologically minded Boulder is a perfect home for both the National Ecological Observatory Network, or NEON, and a Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) site on beautiful Niwot Ridge. IQ Biology students can take classes and have access to labs for rotations at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Campus, where many of our faculty members are affiliated. With a nationally ranked cancer center, a center for AIDS research, and an NMR core facility open to students, this resource is available to support your educational experience. Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry (right) Marvin Caruthers works with a graduate student.


“My love of teaching and lab research were the primary drivers in my decision to return to CU-Boulder. High-impact classroom and research experiences for students can transform their careers for decades after leaving the university.”   —Tom Cech, PhD Nobel Laureate; Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; Director, BioFrontiers


Boulder: Finding a Balance Between Your Work and Your Life Although many Colorado natives would prefer we kept it a secret, our state is home to beautiful landscapes, more than 300 days of sunshine, world-class skiing, and abundant outdoor activities. There is no other state that has both the highest sand dunes in North America and 54 mountain peaks over 14,000 feet. Boulder is a picturesque college town famous for its pedestrianfriendly streets, its environmentally minded people, its nationally acclaimed restaurants, and its relaxed attitude. Because of these attributes, the city attracts a significant number of scientists and innovators. Boulder and nearby Denver are large enough to attract bigticket events and festivals – and small enough that you can get a ticket to see one. Sports fans have numerous options from professional teams to recreational leagues of all kinds. Being in Boulder immerses you in a fusion of worldclass intellect with a community that values and enjoys the environment. We invite you to join us in this unique place and see what it has to offer you.

All About Boulder • Elevation: 5,430 feet • Population: 103,673 (29,000 are CU students) • More sunny days, on average, than San Diego or Miami • More than 300 restaurants featuring local, regional, and international cuisine • Recently rated “#1 Sports Town in America” by Outside Magazine • 200 miles of public hiking and biking trails • 30,000 acres of open space • Close to Colorado’s more than 30 ski areas and resorts for winter activities • 30 art galleries, 4 museums, 32 movie and stage theatres • Home to the Colorado Shakespeare Festival and the Colorado Music Festival


“We are working on exciting methods to design molecules with specific functionality. For example, students are creating ‘de novo proteins’ by using state-of-the-art computer analysis, and biophysical and mathematical models to predict how a particular amino acid sequence will render desired folding patterns, three-dimensional structures, and novel functions.”   —Hubert Yin, PhD Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry; BioFrontiers faculty


We Are Looking for the Right Students Because of the teaching, lab, and research resources needed for each student, the highly competitive IQ Biology program can only accept a limited number of students each year. At CU-Boulder we are looking for students with an interest in developing novel, quantitative approaches to solving biological problems – students who want to be highly coveted, interdisciplinary scientists. At the University of Colorado Boulder: • We combined eight departments into a collaborative, cohesive network so that students can focus on conducting interdisciplinary research. • We have faculty members who have made a commitment to interdisciplinary education. • We have research facilities and projects that are leading the way to new innovations in bioscience. Now we are looking for students who are ready to accept the challenge of the IQ Biology program.

Application To apply for the IQ Biology program, visit

us online at Please complete the online application, which is due by December 15, 2011. Your information will be considered concurrently by the IQ Biology certificate program and by at least two different departmental PhD degree programs. We are looking for interdisciplinary scholars who don’t fit into traditional boxes and would like to navigate easily between departments as necessary for your training. You will be notified by letter of your acceptance into the program in March. If you have questions about the program, please e-mail us at IQBiology@


“My goal is to help students make the connection between bench research and bedside medicine. By using an interdisciplinary approach, we are focusing students on solutionbased research that will make a huge impact on our healthcare challenges.” ­ —Leslie Leinwand, PhD Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology; Marsico Endowed Chair; Chief Scientific Officer, BioFrontiers


Reach Higher We believe the IQ Biology program at the University of Colorado Boulder has the right leadership and technological power to meet the complex bioscience challenges of the coming decades. We are currently seeking potential graduate students with farranging vision, deep self-confidence, and the fearlessness to work with others to move mountains. We hope you will apply to the IQ Biology program today and reach higher.

University of Colorado Boulder IQ Biology BioFrontiers Institute Campus Box 596 UCB Boulder, CO 80309 Website: E-mail:

The University of Colorado does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, creed, religion, sexual orientation, or veteran status in admission and access to, and treatment and employment in, its educational programs and activities. Produced in conjunction with University Communications


IQ Biology: Reach Higher  

The IQ Biology PhD program offers interdisciplinary quantitative biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

IQ Biology: Reach Higher  

The IQ Biology PhD program offers interdisciplinary quantitative biology at the University of Colorado, Boulder.