Integrative Molecular & Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program

Description of the Discipline

The Integrative Molecular and Biological Sciences Graduate Program promotes cross-disciplinary research involving faculty in basic science and clinical Departments with the goal of training a student for a career as an independent investigator in biological and biomedical sciences. Students’ research focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of integrated biological systems, including cells, tissues and whole animals, under physiological and pathological conditions in world-class laboratories. Major areas of investigation include molecular mechanisms of diseases, metabolism and metabolic diseases, gene expression and regulation, regulation of cardiovascular, renal, liver functions, stem cell biology, cancer, cell cycle and growth control, mechanisms of behavior, carbohydrate and lipid metabolism, cell signaling, neuronal functions and neurological diseases, structural and computational biology, and immunology.

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The Integrative Molecular and Biological Sciences Graduate Program offers doctoral training in a multidisciplinary, integrative discipline that seeks to understand the molecular basis of biological and physiological processes and thereby discover insights into disease mechanisms and potential therapeutic approaches through molecular medicine. Students in this Program have the opportunity to master scientific principles through classroom, seminar, and discussion experiences and have the opportunity to perform original and innovative research in diverse research areas. The goal of this Program is to prepare students for biomedical and biological research in academia, industry, or government. The dissertation project can combine studies on cells, tissues, systems, whole animals, and computation with aspects of cell or molecular biology.

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Special Requirements for Admission

Students wishing to join the Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program must be enrolled in the Division of Basic Science and be in good standing academically. Usually, students seek enrollment in the Program toward the end of the first year of study following completion of the set of research rotations and selection of a mentor.

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All students in the Integrative Molecular and Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program must have satisfactorily completed the first-year core curriculum and two laboratory rotations. In the second year, students complete at least nine credit hours of advanced course work. The advanced course work must include the program-required courses. Addi­tional courses may be selected from those listed in other Division of Basic Science Graduate Programs.

Students are strongly encouraged to develop – in collaboration with the graduate student advisor and appropriate faculty – special topic courses dealing with the physiological systems related to future dissertation research. These tutorial-type courses may cover fundamental knowledge as well as methodological approaches and recent primary literature. Students will participate in a seminar-Journal Club each term.

At the end of the second year, students take a qualifying examination, which consists of an oral defense of an original, written proposal.

Admission to candidacy for the Ph.D. requires satisfactory performance in the core and ad­vanced courses and on the qualifying exam.

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Advanced Courses

Course requirements and descriptions are listed on the Course Descriptions page.

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