Program Overview

Diverse Research Opportunities and Collaborations

Students begin research rotations in the labs of their choice during their first year. At least two rotations of 3-4 months allow students to explore different aspects of cellular and molecular biology, and to familiarize themselves with potential Ph.D. mentors. Over 150 multi-departmental CMB faculty members offer a wide range of research opportunities including:

    • Cell and Systems Biology, Cell Physiology, Biochemistry
    • Genetics/Gene Regulation, Genomics/Proteomics, Computational Biology
    • Microbial Pathogensis, Immunology
    • Development, Aging, Neurobiology
    • Molecular Mechanisms of Disease, Cancer Biology


CMB students take formal graduate level courses in biochemistry, molecular genetics, and cell biology. Students also attend a weekly session in which CMB students present formal research and literature seminars, which provides a forum for scientific exchange as well as training in presentation skills.

These seminar interactions establish a sense of community among faculty and students. Each semester CMB hosts a series of interdisciplinary short courses on high-profile topics of current interest selected by students. In these symposia, worldwide experts are invited to CMB to interact with students and present their research. More detailed information about the courses offered is available in our student handbook.

Thesis Research

Students advance to candidacy and initiate their dissertation research in the second year, forming dissertation committees consisting of the mentor and four additional faculty. Students interact with their thesis committee members both informally and at regular, formal meetings, often laying the foundation for continued scientific interactions throughout the student's career. The formal thesis defense is the culmination of the CMB training program, launching the careers of our graduates. CMB alumni have established successful and productive careers in academia, biotechnology, and science advising to the government and public, among other areas.

Student Groups

With more than 1000 official student organizations on campus, you are sure to find a group that matches your interests, or sparks a new one! Visit the PIBS website to learn more about groups such as the American Association of Multicultural Scientists and the Biomedical Alliance of Students in Health.