The Biotechnology Training Program (BTP) was awarded a T32 Predoctoral Training Grant from the National Institutes of Health. The award provides a total of $4.8 million over five years to support 20 doctoral students from across campus.
The BTP at UW-Madison, co-directed by Professors Brian Fox and Beth Meyerand, is one of the original BTP T32s in the United States. The program started in 1989, and is now one of the oldest and largest in the country.
Fox took over as director of the program in 2008, before then serving on the steering committee under the leadership of Tim Donohue. Meyerand, who has extensive mentorship training and leads faculty mentorship programming for the BTP, joined Fox as co-director in 2020.
The program’s latest T32 competitive grant renewal application comprised over 800 pages of detailed information on trainees past and present, faculty mentorship, publications, campus statistics, minority recruitment efforts, and diversity numbers.
In addition to the 2019 shift to co-directorship, changes to the program this cycle include the addition of a seven member advisory board, which will provide advice to the BTP Executive Committee and co-directors; enriched trainee retention and support strategies, such as the addition of programming to enhance reproducibility and rigor of experimental design and embrace diversity in the workplace; and the expansion of industrial and campus partnerships to create broader opportunities for trainee internships.
Each year the BTP funds an average of 20 student trainees; 14 participating trainees are graduate students in the Integrated Program in Biochemistry (IPiB). Since its inception, the BTP has funded approximately 250 PhD student trainees, who have gone on to contribute to academia and industry, and serve as civic leaders. Currently 18 Biochemistry faculty serve as BTP mentors.
“The Biotechnology Training Program provides an outstanding and unique educational opportunity to our doctoral students,” said Graduate School Dean William J. Karpus. “The success of this grant is thanks to the leadership and dedication of co-directors Brian Fox and Beth Meyerand, and to the quality mentorship that our excellent faculty provide. This program truly supports the creativity and ingenuity of its PhD students, who contribute to cutting-edge research and innovation that positively impacts our world.”