NIH Training Grant

Gloved hand holding test tubes

NIH support of graduate training in Biology

We are grateful to the National Institutes of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) for Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award (NRSA) T32 support of our biology doctoral training program “Pre-Doctoral Training in Biological Sciences,” award 5T32GM007287.

Program overview

The goal of our NIH-sponsored training program is to prepare the next generation of biological/biomedical scientists to be innovators and leaders in research and education.

Our specific training objectives are to:

  • Educate students to understand the fundamental underlying principles of modern biology, including how to address problems using genetics, biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and quantitative analysis
  • Train our students to be critical and creative thinkers
  • Prepare our students to be ethical decision makers
  • Teach and provide practice in effective written and oral scientific communication
  • Provide students with instruction and experience teaching and mentoring younger students
  • Mentor our students to become effective and rigorous researchers in the laboratory
  • Guide our students through completion and publication of meaningful research findings
  • Advise our students as they determine which careers best-fit their individual interests and skills
  • Provide for all students an inclusive learning and research environment
  • Broaden participation of students with diverse backgrounds in biomedical research careers

We seek out, recruit, and train talented students from majority, underrepresented minority, disadvantaged, and disabled populations, and help them initiate successful research careers. The diverse trainees admitted to our program have outstanding undergraduate academic records and have demonstrated strong motivation to pursue research.

A key feature of our program is an intensive, focused curriculum required of all first-semester students that is designed to bring students from different training backgrounds to the same high level of understanding. Students work together in lecture and discussion-style courses taught by dedicated faculty to master a fundamental set of approaches that underpin all modern molecular biological investigation. To insure fully-informed lab choices, the training program exposes students to the research interests of all faculty members in the Biology Department prior to the choice of a thesis lab and topic.

Responsible conduct in research and rigor and reproducibility is taught throughout the program, including an intense mini-course for 2nd year students.

The complete PhD program takes trainees approximately 6 years to complete (link to IR page on time to completion). Students’ progress through the program is monitored by regular thesis committee meetings with faculty members, with oversight provided by the graduate committee. Our students perform research of outstanding quality, and most trainees go on to careers in biomedical research. Many of our former trainees are now leaders in their chosen fields.