Welcome to the AIV program of the CRI
The Interdisciplinary Approaches in Life Sciences (AIV) Master of Paris Diderot and Descartes universities is an interdisciplinary two- year program tackling with quantitative approaches on different interfaces with Life Sciences. It aims at training creative and talented students to develop their research in an environment as enriching as the best world graduate programs. The program is based on learning through research pedagogy – rich with research internships and on collaborative projects. The program is funded by the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation.
The 1st year of the AIV Master is the first in France to teach systems biology and synthetic biology. The training is focused at the interface of life sciences and physics, mathematics and computer science. Apart from systems and synthetic biology, students discover methods of mathematical modelling, statistical analysis and as well state-of-the-art technologies (fluorescence microscopy, nano-fabrication, molecular forces measurements, etc.) used to quantify the properties of living systems. They also gain skills in scientific communication and may want to participate in external modules to acquire or strengthen a specific knowledge.
During the second year students deepen their knowledge of life sciences, develop their ability to critically analyze scientific works and discover the Research world. The M2 curriculum is devoted to research, through three internships, with at least one theoretical internship and one experimental internship. For those willing to pursue in a PhD program, the last semester will give them the opportunity to prepare a thesis project.
Students can follow the second year from the master’s first year program or apply directly, having fulfilled previously an equivalent of 4 years post-high school education, including at least one internship in a research settings.
First year of the AIV master (M1)
The first semester starts with a 3 week-long bootcamp that gives a condensed overview of the biology, chemistry, math and physics that students will see during the semester. Since students all come from different scientific backgrounds we try to give a feeling of the subjects that will emerge during the semester, and to give an intuition on which subjects the students should start working on their own. Typically, a student with physics background needs to work on fundamental biological concepts such as central dogma, evolution, DNA, methods in biology, while a biologist usually needs to focus more on the mathematical and physical concepts that are used in quantitative description of living systems.
After this bootcamp, several core courses will take place on weekly basis. Students will learn the theoretical and practical concepts that are required to perform scientific research at the frontiers between biology, math and physics.
Semester 2: internships
In the second M1 semester, students “learn through research”, following an internship in a laboratory of their choice in the Paris area or by participating in the Paris Bettencourt iGEM team at the MIT international synthetic biology competition. Our Paris-LB team iGEM is the first French team to participate and is singled out each year, including winning the 2013 world championship. In addition to the internships or iGEM participations, students follow seminars and the Scientific Communication Course.
The research internship is an integral part of the training. The internship will be full time, and should ideally consist in a defined project that will lead to results within the 5 month period. Ideally the internship runs from the beginning of February to the end of June. Any research projects related to synthetic, systems and quantitative biology are possible. It is a great opportunity for the students to discover what it actually means to do research in a laboratory.
As an alternative to this long internship, students can apply to the iGEM Paris Bettencourt Team. Every year a small group of students from AIV and other Masters programs around Paris gather their strengths and are hosted by the CRI to setup an iGEM project and participate to this competition of synthetic biology. This usually starts by brainstorming sessions and project building and does not require a full time involvement before may or June. Meanwhile we expect that participants find an internship of typically 3 to 4 month before joining the iGEM Team. Note that since the iGEM competition finale takes place in November, the participants will have to organize themselves to stay in the team up to that date. Forthe students continuing with us in the second year of the Master, this means that the first lab rotation of M2 will be dedicated to finishing the iGEM team project.
What is next?
At the end of the Master 1, and given that you have passed all exams, we will discuss with you the opportunity for you to continue with us in M2. Usually all students that want to stay with us, can do so. However, if for some reason you prefer to switch to another Master program that is more specialized and focused on your favorite research topic, we’ll help you to make the transition.
Second year of the AIV master (M2)
During the 2nd year, students deepen their knowledge of life sciences, develop their ability to critically analyze scientific works and discover the Research world. Two tracks are offered:
general interdisciplinary track for students who wish to develop their knowledge in various interfaces with Life Sciences
- SSB track for students who wish to further their knowledge in systems and synthetic biology.
The structure of the year in terms of seminar courses and internship is the same for both tracks.
The year is designed to help the students find their way into the research realm. Students can follow to the second year from the master’s first year program or apply directly, having fulfilled previously an equivalent of 4 years post-high school education, including at least one internship in a research settings.
The M2 year consists of a one week workshop along with the FdV 1st year PhD fellows. In small groups, students learn how to create interdisciplinary research projects. This is followed by weekly Friday afternoon courses, throughout the year, geared to develop the students’ capacities to read and analyze current scientific articles.The remainder of the M2 curriculum is devoted to research, through three internships, with at least one theoretical internship and one experimental internship. For those willing to pursue in a PhD program, the last semester will give them the opportunity to prepare a thesis project.
Students will have the opportunity to learn research by doing research in labs, to meet with many researchers and to discuss recent interdisciplinary research articles and reviews. At the end of the year, most of the students will apply to a PhD program, in France or abroad. One of our role as teachers is to make sure that all of the students know by the end of the M2 what scientific questions they would wish to work on during the 3-4 years of their future PhD and assure that the students have acquired the needed basis to tackle them.
The year starts with one week workshop at Sèvres, and then the students are expected to perform 3 internships of 3 months each while preparing and attending courses on Fridays at 15.00h.
Students with B.Sc. degree or equivalent. Foreign students are advised to contact us to check for their eligibility.
Students graduated 1st year with a master degree or equivalent. Foreign students are advised to contact us to check for their eligibility. In addition, a limited number of post-docs and Ph.D. students with non-biology background who wish to learn more about research in Life Sciences are accepted every year.