Graduate School of Quantitative Biosciences Munich (QBM)

This newly established School is designed to prepare young life scientists for the emerging era of quantitative, systems-oriented bioscience. It provides an innovative, integrated PhD training program that is international in outlook and brings together a range of diverse disciplines, from biochemistry and medicine to bioinformatics, experimental and theoretical (bio-)physics, and applied mathematics. Both student research projects and classroom teaching are highly interdisciplinary, with a thematic focus on the problem of gene regulation in all its facets. The School is a joint initiative by leading scientists from the Ludwig-Maximilians-University (LMU) Munich as well as from the Max-Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Helmholtz Center Munich.

Mission of QBM
The molecular biosciences are undergoing a major paradigm shift – away from analyzing individual genes and proteins to studying large molecular machines and cellular pathways, with the ultimate goal of understanding biological systems in their entirety. The emerging study of bio-molecular systems poses major methodological and conceptual challenges, centered around the increasing need for quantitative approaches. This includes the development of sensitive quantitative assays, both for cell-based high throughput and for in vivo analyses; improved measurement techniques that ideally push resolution limits to the single molecule level; statistical methods to deal with high-dimensional, often noisy, data sets; and mathematical modeling approaches that reduce the dimensionality of parameter spaces and produce mechanistically realistic, experimentally testable predictions. As a result, systems-oriented biological research is inherently an interdisciplinary undertaking, involving biochemistry/structural biology, molecular and organismal genetics, biophysics, biostatistics, bioinformatics, and theoretical physics.

The mission of the Graduate School of Quantitative Biosciences Munich (QBM) is to provide young scientists with the skills and resources to excel in this new multi-disciplinary environment. We seek to train a cohort of young scientists who, while maintaining a strong command of their home discipline, are well versed in multiple approaches and styles of thought. The goal is for students to get comfortable communicating across traditional boundaries, especially across the divide between experiment and quantitative theory – to become, in effect, scientifically bi- or multilingual. To this end, the school offers a structured PhD program consisting of three components: an interdisciplinary research project jointly supervised by two PIs from different fields, a substantial program of formal course work, centered around an interdisciplinary core course that covers key problems in bioscience from multiple perspectives, and activities designed to enhance students’ communication skills and their ability to succeed in science as a competitive profession.

QBM receives funding through the second round of the German Excellence Initiative, which is designed to promote excellence and innovation in research and education at German universities. Applications from interested students can be submitted through the QBM online application tool. The application window for classes starting September 2015 will open October 15th 2014 and close January 05th 2015.