The April edition of Nature Biotechnology has identified Virginia Tech's Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program in Genetics, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology (GBCB) as one of 11 selected programs in North America and 18 around the world offering courses in systems biology.

Developed in partnership with the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute (VBI), the program encompasses molecular biology, genomics, mathematics, statistics and computer science and applies them to all areas of the life sciences. As a unique feature, the curriculum is tailored to a student's individual background.

In the article "Systems biology 101 - what you need to know," author Trey Ideker defines systems biology as "the use of systematic genomic, proteomic, and metabolic technologies to construct models of complex biological systems and diseases." The article discusses the effect of the biotechnology mindset and stresses the growing job market for systems biologists in computer simulation, computer modeling and in several areas of drug development.

Virginia Tech's GBCB program prepares researchers for the growing systems biology environment mentioned in the article. The new age of high throughput biological research catalyzed by information technology and new mathematical approaches requires a new academic training standard - one that creates team-oriented researchers who may be specialists in one area but are literate in several other disciplines. The GBCB program is one a few programs in the world that provides this type of training.

Virginia Tech's GBCB Ph.D. program was mentioned in the article along with others from schools such as Harvard, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cornell, and Princeton.

Nature Biotechnology is a monthly journal covering the science and business of biotechnology. It publishes new concepts in the technology and methodology of biological, biomedical, agricultural, and environmental sciences, as well as covers the commercial, political, ethical, legal, and societal aspects of this research.

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