8% overhead (excluding $26,000 for permanent equipment) $4,448
1st additional year $65,000
2nd additional year $65,000
3rd additional year $65,000
4th additional year $65,000
I. Proposed Program
A. Purport: We are organizing within the Biology Department at M.I.T. a teaching program in Microbiology aimed at fulfilling
what we think will be special needs of microbiologists in the next decade. We wish to center our teaching and research training
around the concepts of cellular physiology and molecular organization of the cell. Assuming that the task of biology as a
science is to explain the organization of living matter at all levels (molecular, cellular, organismic, phylogenic, we propose
to develop the structural and functional approach emphasizing simplicity and unity of pattern rather than complexity and diversity.
We plan to introduce the student first, in a generalized way, to the properties and functions of living matter - composition,
energetics, nutrition, growth, regulation, reproduction, and variation - and then to present groups of organisms as illustrations
of the problem of maintenance of biological organization under specific evolutionary circumstances.
This approach is suitable for the training of microbiologists who plan to use microorganisms for the solution of basic biological
problems. It is also especially suitable for introducing to modern biology persons whose basic training has been in physics
and chemistry, as well as for giving basic training in molecular biology to persons already trained in medicine. It makes
it possible to utilize as training materials, for complementary purposes, both true microorganisms and animal or plant cells
handled as microorganisms. The recent work of Eagle, Puck, and others has provided tools for utilizing this newer aspect
of microbiology; yet, metazoan cell microbiology has seldom been made an integral part of the teaching of microbiology in
the way we plan to use it because of traditional separation of interests and because microbiology has seldom been utilized
as one of the main areas for training biologists.
We expect that joining into a common teaching program the study of true microbes and of metazoan cells cultivated in vitro
will do justice to the heuristic value of microbial studies in biology and will also dispose of optimistic over-simplification.
Feedbacks between the study of microbes and the study of isolated cells from multicellular organisms should be mutual and
Experience in some departments has shown that students trained as microbiologists by a program centering on molecular biology
and cellular physiology can later master easily the applied areas of microbiology without need for extensive formal training
in those areas.
The proposed program requires a great deal of emphasis and preparation in basic science. M.I.T. should provide a most favorable
environment. Coupled with strong programs in molecular biology, enzymology, genetics, and biophysics, this teaching of microbiology
should provide a group of trainees equipped to teach cellular biology as well as microbiology and to apply the methods of
cellular biology to the study of problems such as cancer, cellular immunity, and virus research.
B. Training Plan: Training in microbiology at M.I.T. is just beginning so that we start with a clean slate. We plan to establish
as basic courses:
(1) Microbiology (prerequisite: General Biochemistry) covering the composition, energetics, nutrition, growth, variation,
and cellular organization of microbial cells, especially bacteria.
(2) Experimental Microbiology: A laboratory course on the manipulations and measurements proper to microbiology; including
isolation, cultivation, analysis and functional studies on bacteria, other microbes, and mammalian cells in vitro.
(3) Microbial Physiology: The study of cellular functions, especially growth, biosynthesis, metabolism, permeability, regulation,
and sexuality as revealed in microorganisms and other cells studied as microorganisms.
(4) Microbial Genetics and Virology: The study of cellular genetics and of viruses in relation to cellular heredity and cellular
Courses (1) and (2) will be open to advanced undergraduates; the other courses, as well as seminars and research courses,
will be for graduate students only.
The teaching of these courses will be done by a staff consisting of three senior professors, plus one or two junior staff
members. There is being established a Committee on Microbiology, consisting of the microbiology teaching staff plus other
members of Biology Department, including at least one member from biophysics and one from biochemistry. This Committee will
organize and supervise the program of the trainees.
We propose to provide training at the predoctoral and postdoctoral levels. The predoctoral trainees, graduate students with
presumably various backgrounds, will receive training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, genetics, cytology, biochemistry
and biophysics, in addition to microbiology. Emphasis will be more on thorough training than on speed of obtaining a degree.
Postdoctoral trainees will be encouraged to come not only from microbiology and other areas of biology, but also from medicine,
physics and chemistry. We especially hope to include among the postdoctoral trainees several medical graduates, who which
to pursue a career in basic microbiology applied to medical research.
Since biophysics, biochemistry, cytochemistry and molecular biology are all located In the same Department, and since the
teaching of microbiology is being undertaken as part of the Department's integrated program, our trainees will have the
benefit of a first-class setup in basic science applied to biology. They will have intimate association, advice, and supervision
from leading experts in various fields, for example, Professors Buchanan, Hall, Levinthal, Rich, Schmitt, and Sizer. In fact,
we hope that our trained microbiologists will be equally at home in all aspects of molecular biology.
Our trainees will take part in the teaching program. We expect all predoctoral trainees to spend went time as teaching assistants
in microbiology, while the postdoctoral trainees will cooperate in the supervision of graduate students and in advanced teaching
In the first year, we should probably have only two postdoctoral and three predoctoral trainees supported by the training
grant. Other graduate students and postdoctoral fellows will be supported as teaching assistants, research assistants, or
research associates. In following years, we plan to expand this training program to support additional trainees. The sum
requested specifically for trainee stipends in the following years will be $30,000 (not including tuition).
II. Staff and Facilities
1. S. E. Luria, Professor of Microbiology
2. B. Magasanik, Professor of Microbiology, starting 1/1/60
3. Associate Professor of Microbiology (to be appointed) starting July 1, 1960.
4. Instructor (to be appointed), starting January 1, 1960.