The Metabolism Program at the University of Chicago embodies a unique structure that takes full advantage of the strengths and character of the University of Chicago. The Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition is an interdepartmental, degree-granting body that draws its faculty from the ranks of basic science and clinical science. This is possible because all these disciplines share the same campus and often the same building. This provides the student with the opportunity to acquire sound basic training in biochemistry. At the same time, this training is tempered by constant exposure to the impact of metabolism on human health and well being. This provides integrated training in the basic biochemical mechanisms through which foods and nutrients interact to optimize health, the pathological consequences of malnutrition, and the interplay of nutrition and human behavior.
The Biomedical Sciences Cluster
The Committee on Molecular Metabolism and Nutrition is integrated within a cluster of graduate programs from the Committee on Cancer Biology, the Committee on Immunology, and the Committee on Microbiology. The five academic units share a joint Admissions Committee, several common courses, a seminar series, and additional common events for students and faculty within the cluster. The goal of the cluster system is to encourage interdisciplinary interactions among both trainees and faculty, and to allow students flexibility in designing their particular course of study.
In addition, students have extensive opportunities for interaction with the three other clusters within the Biological Sciences Division: the Molecular Biosciences Cluster; the Darwinian Sciences Cluster; and the Neurobiology Cluster. These clusters offer courses and sponsor seminars and symposia open to Metabolism students.
The philosophy of the program is to provide students with a wide range of educational opportunities in a research-rich environment that will stimulate the student to engage in the life-long pursuit of knowledge through self-learning. Didactic courses during the first year provide education in the principles of basic science. In the summer and continuing into the second year, coursework gives way to interactive training that stresses the evaluation of literature, effective communication, and hypothesis testing combined with early exposure to research. This is enriched by a strong seminar program that exposes the student to the national leaders in metabolism research and policy.