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Multidisciplinary Graduate Education in Oxidative Processes at the Macromolecule-Biomolecule Interface


The Macromolecular Interfaces with Life Sciences (MILES) program, now in its 5th year of funding from the National Science Foundation, is changing the face of graduate education at Virginia Tech, one of the charges from the NSF. We have successfully created and received university approval for 4 new graduate courses and a Graduate Certificate in Macromolecular Interfaces with Life Sciences. Eight students in the MILES program have completed their Ph.D. programs in their home discipline departments (Food Science and Technology – 2; Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise – 1, Chemistry – 3, Civil and Environmental Engineering – 1, Biological Systems Engineering – 1) while simultaneously completing all requirements for the Graduate Certificate.

We currently have 27 active Ph.D. graduate students in the MILES program, most of whom are receiving funding through this grant. Students are enrolled in Chemistry; Chemical Engineering; Civil and Environmental Engineering; Biological Systems Engineering; Biochemistry; Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise; Animal and Poultry Sciences; Food Science and Technology; and Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. The research activities from this program include basic and applied research in oxidative processes in health and well-being, food quality and packaging materials, finding new sources of bioactive components and antioxidants in undervalued and underutilized food waste, and developing new medical aids and treatments for cancer and other diseases (See the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), Virginia Tech Innovations 2008 and other university publications).

Address Goals

The advanced training in the sciences, communication and grant writing skills, and ability to engage in scientific conversations with diverse audiences is creating new and exciting opportunities. Graduates are being recruited into industry and academic professional jobs including Virginia Tech, Via Virginia College of Osteopathic Medicine, Colorado State University, Purdue University, Proctor & Gamble, and Dupont Inc., demonstrating the value of the MILES multidisciplinary training and education at Virginia Tech.