The Program in Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Sciences at UNM is a cross-departmental, college and institutional collaboration of students and faculty interested in interdisciplinary biological research

PiBBs Courses

PiBBs' curriculum is a series of didactic and discussion-based courses aimed toward developing the skills and language necessary to conduct cutting-edge interdisciplinary biological research. The curriculum includes:

  • a fall topics course (TiBBs) containing three scientific modules, each team-taught by two or three faculty from different departments
  • a spring seminar course (SiBBs), where students invite and host speakers for extended visits
  • a course in teaching interdisciplinary biology (CiT), where several graduate students under faculty supervision develop and teach an undergraduate interdisciplinary topics course in an area of their choice
  • ethics and professional skill tools courses
  • a series of two graduate courses in either biology (for non-biology PhDs) or an affiliated department (for biology PhDs). The latter requirement is intended to develop expertise and training outside of the main program.

Our curriculum allows students broad latitude in defining their individual area of biological interest, but at the same time provides oversight and guidance to ensure that they receive rigorous and thorough interdisciplinary training that includes learning the language and approaches used by various scientific disciplines. Moreover, students learn 'team science' by engaging in it.


Seminar in Integrative Biological and Biomedical Science exposes students to multiple possible role models. It is centered around seminar presentations and in-depth discussions with invited speakers, some from UNM, SFI and LANL, but most from other institutions. Students take a leadership role in nominating, hosting, and interacting with visiting scientists. Host Tools Packet (.doc or .pdf)


Topics in Interdisciplinary Biological and Biomedical Science (TiBBs) is an integrated course that bridges scientific disciplines and demonstrates the utility and power of collaborative research. It consists of 4 Topics units, each topic taught by different combinations of faculty from different disciplines and/or departments. These units change annually as interest and research areas evolve.



Collaborative Interdisciplinary Teaching (CiT) is designed to provide advanced level Ph.D. students with a background in inquiry-based interdisciplinary biological science curriculum and pedagogy. The approach is a problem-based one: 2 or 3 advanced Ph.D. students from different departments propose, develop, and teach a 400-500 level course from the ground up. The students work closely under the supervision of faculty mentors to develop a syllabus, define the content and scope of the course, learn teaching methodologies and do actual instruction.


PiBBs fellows also take Responsible Conduct of Research training, which is an introduction to ethical issues surrounding research, and Survivorship 101, which is designed to prepare students for the next stages in their careers.