The training missions of the GPBC are achieved through a four-component curriculum based on research (discovery-driven education) and augmented by outstanding courses, immersive scientific activities, publishing, mentorship, and professional development activities:

Research is the primary activity of GPBC students. Research starts immediately upon matriculation with a series of research rotations, and thereafter continues in their thesis studies.

Courses: Required and elective courses ensure that GPBC students acquire a solid foundation in biomedical research.

Immersive Scientific Activities: Students receive additional training by attending and participating in seminars, journal clubs, symposia, colloquia, and retreats within the Department of Biological Chemistry as well as those offered by other Departments, Centers, Institutes and Schools across the University

Publishing: Students complete their research requirement by publishing their dissertation, peer-reviewed articles, reviews, etc.

Mentorship: GPBC provides multidimensional mentorship from the moment students arrive on campus through and beyond their graduation, with direct support from the student’s research advisor(s), co-mentor, Thesis Committee, and GPBC Director.

Professional Development: The GPBC supports the long-term career success of its graduates by providing:

  • Outstanding, mechanistically-oriented research training
  • OPTIONS career training curriculum
  • Full access to all services of the School’s Professional Development Office (PDO)

Steps to the Ph.D.

Each student’s path to the Ph.D. is unique. Nevertheless, there is a common timeline of student progress:

Steps to PhD

GPBC Activities, By Year

Year 1:

  • Student orientation day (day 1)
  • Biological Chemistry Bootcamp (week 1)
  • Participate in research rotations (3-4 rotations of 2 months-long duration each)
  • Participate in immersive scientific activities (seminars, journal clubs, colloquia, interest groups, etc.), both required and elective
  • Select thesis advisor/home laboratory & initiate thesis research
  • Take and pass required first-year classes:
    • Biophysics
    • Organic Mechanisms in Biology
    • Molecular Biology & Genomics
    • Genetics
    • Cell Structure & Dynamics
    • Pathways & Regulation
    • 4th Quarter Elective I
    • 4th Quarter Elective II
    • Current Topics in Biological Chemistry, Rigor, Reproducibility & Experimental Design in Biological Chemistry, Yr 1
  • Take and complete first year ethics training
  • Participate in OPTIONS career development curriculum
  • Participate in annual student review with the GPBC Director

Year 2:

  • Thesis research
  • Participate in immersive scientific activities
  • Write a thesis proposal
  • Take and pass the Doctoral Board Orals exam
  • Take and pass the required second-year class:
    • Current Topics in Biological Chemistry, Rigor, Reproducibility & Experimental Design in Biological Chemistry, Yr 2
  • Participate in OPTIONS career development curriculum
  • Form a thesis committee and identify a co-mentor
  • With the thesis advisor, draft and sign an individual development plan (IDP)
  • Participate in Thesis Committee meeting & GPBC Director meeting

Years 3, 4, & 5:

  • Thesis research
  • Publish papers
  • Participate in immersive scientific activities
  • Take and pass any remaining elective classes
  • Annually: IDP, Thesis Committee meeting, and GPBC Director meeting
  • Work with mentors to develop/implement a career plan

Year 5+:

  • Thesis research, with an emphasis on prompt graduation
  • Publish the dissertation and peer-reviewed articles
  • Participate in immersive scientific activities
  • Hold Thesis Committee meetings & GPBC Director meetings every 6 months
  • Implement the student’s career plan