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Program Overview

The Northwestern Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program is an interdisciplinary and interdepartmental program that provides select graduate students with unique research, training, and professional development opportunities that complement those available through individual graduate programs, research labs, and campus organizations. It promotes interdisciplinary education in biotechnology, interactions among faculty and students with interests in biotechnology, and provides a substantial exposure of students to industrial biotechnology research and career opportunities. Students trained in this program are prepared to enter the biotechnology industry or pursue biotechnology research in settings including academia and government. The overall goals of the Northwestern Predoctoral Biotechnology Training Program are to:

  • Foster a community of researchers at Northwestern University interested in the development and application of biotechnologies for therapeutic and diagnostic applications. 
  • Provide outstanding biotechnology trainees with broad, fundamental knowledge underlying current and emerging technologies.
  • Provide trainees and the biotechnology community with exposure to a range of biomedical problems for which technologies have influenced or could influence the treatment of patients.
  • Enable trainees to meet and interact with leaders in biotechnology within academia and industry to facilitate the development of their personal networks and benefit their launch and development of a successful career.
  • Help trainees develop the communication, oral presentation, and scientific writing skills that are essential for successful careers during and after graduate training.
  • Provide trainees with knowledge and strategies needed to evaluate and implement the ethics of science and responsible conduct of research throughout their careers.
  • Expose trainees to diverse topics, principles, and best practices for identifying and managing challenges associated with Rigor and Reproducibility throughout their graduate and subsequent careers.

Modes of Participation

Trainees may participate in BTP activities through one of two modes: National Institutes of Health-funded Trainees and Biotechnology Cluster Members. Training goals, activities, and opportunities are essentially the same for both types of participation, but there are some differences related to eligibility, type/duration of support, and requirements. Throughout this website, we use the collective term “trainees” to describe both modes of participation.

Program Offerings

BTP provides unique research, training, and professional development opportunities that complement those available through individual graduate programs, research labs, and campus organizations.

Industrial Internships

Industrial internships offer trainees the opportunity to obtain a first-hand experience of applied biotechnology research in a selected industrial laboratory. Biotechnology companies both locally and across the globe can offer such opportunities to trainees. Internships typically last 3-6 months, and the selection, timing and duration of these internships is guided by input from research mentors and BTP directors and is informed by interactions with past trainees.


This signature annual event provides intensive and hands-on training in cutting-edge biotechnology topics and techniques as well as networking with domain experts. The practicum is organized primarily by trainees, including the selection of each year’s distinct topic and invitation of speakers, with support provided by BTP leadership and staff.


This annual event provides an opportunity for students to have increased exposure to the biotechnology industry. Trainees will assist in organizing the event, which is run in collaboration with the Northwestern Masters of Biotechnology Program.

Biotechnology Seminars

Research seminars on the various aspects of biotechnology are a key graduate training experience, especially in a field as interdisciplinary as biotechnology, and this series includes a balance of speakers from academia, industry, and other sectors. Seminars are held weekly in spring and approximately monthly in fall and winter, with the selection and hosting of speakers guided by trainee input.

View Upcoming and Past Seminars

Research in Progress Meeting

Monthly Research in Progress meetings provide an opportunity for trainees to gain experience presenting their research to a diverse audience, receive feedback and advice on ongoing research challenges, learn about issue of rigor and reproducibility and how they are managed in diverse contexts, and build a collaborative of cohort of trainees drawn from diverse labs and graduate programs.

Annual IBiS Retreat

Participating in this two-day retreat promotes interactions between trainees and the broader bioscience research community including faculty, staff, and trainees. This event includes informal seminars, discussions and poster presentations.

Biotechnology Poster Reception

This event provides opportunities for trainees to interact with faculty and trainee peers from across the biotechnology community at Northwestern, to embrace and showcase the breadth of biotechnology research conducted across the university, and to network with former BTP trainees and alumni.

Industrial Site Visits

In order to provide in-depth exposure to companies of general interests, BTP organizes period site visits (in person to local companies, or virtually to any company). These trips provide opportunities for trainees to view manufacturing facilities up close, and to network with industrial colleagues representing a diversity of business functions, career stages, and professional paths.

Valuing Diversity

The Biotechnology Training Program is committed to promoting excellence in graduate education and research. We believe that having different voices at the table means hearing different points of view, which makes our program stronger. As an essential part of our mission, we strive to create an environment that values all aspects of diversity including race or ethnicity, religion, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, nationality or place of origin, disability, neurodiversity, and diverse life experiences. We believe in providing access and opportunities equitably to all members of the community and valuing all voices. BTP leadership, faculty, and trainees take actions that promote recruitment, inclusion and retention. BTP is committed to taking anti-racist actions within our program, and to helping our trainees and preceptors to take such actions in general. We commit to continual self-evaluation, striving for improvement, and collaborating with our affiliated graduate programs, labs, and departments and Northwestern to pursue these goals.

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