Genetics, Development and Disease Ph.D. Program

About the Genetics, Development and Disease Program

The nationally ranked Genetics, Development and Disease Graduate Program combines biology with the latest technology to enable researchers to delve into the genetic, molecular, and developmental mechanisms underlying basic biology and disease. UT Southwestern Graduate School of Biomedical Science’s Genetics and Development Program has received a number of national recognitions, including:

  • Named one of the top molecular biology programs in the nation by U.S. News & World Report
  • Ranked No. 1 for public institutions nationally and No. 7 worldwide by Science Watch for the citation impact of the Molecular Biology and Genetics faculty

The Program attracts scientists who are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of DNA research and making discoveries that will impact the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of genetic disorders. Faculty members use a wide array of experimental systems, including yeast, C. elegans, Drosophila, zebrafish, mice, and humans, in their quest to understand biological processes.

Research areas in the Genetics, Development and Disease Graduate Program include:

  • Stem cell development
  • MicroRNAs and gene silencing
  • Cell growth and cell death
  • Genetics of disease

Students benefit from the strong tradition of interdisciplinary training at UT Southwestern. They are encouraged to collaborate across disciplines to gain a better understanding of the complexity of genetics and development.

Students interested in joining the Genetics, Development and Disease Ph.D. Program should apply to the interdisciplinary umbrella program within the Division of Basic Science. First-year students complete a core curriculum that includes a core course, three or four laboratory rotations, and training in the responsible conduct of research. Students who perform satisfactorily in the first-semester core course are qualified to enter the Genetics, Development and Disease Graduate Program.

Message from the Program Chair

Ondine Cleaver, Ph.D.
Ondine Cleaver, Ph.D.

Ondine Cleaver, Ph.D.
Professor, Molecular Biology
Graduate School: 
Ph.D. UT Austin 1999
Postdoctoral Training:
  Harvard University

The Genetics, Development and Disease (GDD) graduate program is a multidisciplinary community of scientists that offer a curriculum and cutting edge training at the nexus of the basic sciences and clinical applications. We aim to ask and answer fundamental questions regarding the mechanisms underlying tissue health and disease, and thereby shape the next generation of investigators and clinicians who will translate discoveries into human therapies. The UT Southwestern Medical Center GDD faculty comprise a wide range of leading biomedical researchers that seek to offer an exceptional and rigorous doctoral program. From weekly Works-in-Progress student led seminars to yearly program retreats, our graduate program provides a vibrant launching pad for young scientists. Our program is distinguished by faculty that use a range of model systems and state-of-the-art technology to address basic questions that range from stem cells and regeneration, to genetic engineering and disease mechanisms.