EXPAND is a National Science Foundation Research Traineeship (NRT) graduate training program that provides students with a broad intellectual platform to break down historic disciplinary silos, complemented with stage-specific professional development and exposure to a wide range of non-academic career opportunities that capitalize on rigorous scientific training.

The program seeks to EXPAND

  • The conceptual breadth of science
  • Career options for graduates
  • The diversity of scientists in the life sciences


The phenotype includes all the observable features of an organism, from its physical features like size, shape, and color, to behavior and personality, to its response to environmental challenges like climate, toxins and diseases. Discovering how the phenotype is built from molecular and cellular processes, development and genetics is critical to solving the real-world challenges that range from human health and disease, to food security, to managing biological and ecological diversity in the face of anthropogenic impacts on the environment.

21st century life scientists will need to transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries to transform the understanding of complex traits and solve these problems. Methodological advances in genomics, computation, and quantitative analyses are now shared across the life sciences, bridging our understanding of how the rules of life integrate across scales of biological organization. To effectively train the next generation of professionals in health care, agriculture, conservation, management and data science we offer a new integrative graduate program that explicitly combines interdisciplinary research with formal career exploration and development to move past the constrained thinking of traditional research silos.

Research Integrates Molecular through Ecosystems Approaches

  • Disease Resistance Phenotypes
  • Building Phenotypes through Interactions
  • Robustness & Resilience of Phenotypic Diversity