Cell Biology

Cell Biology

Baylor College of Medicine - Houston, TX

  • Doctorate

Programs of Study The Graduate Program in Developmental Biology (DB Program) awards a Ph.D. degree and is designed to prepare students both intellectually and technologically to pursue a successful career in biological and/or biomedical research. The program also cooperates in the Medical Scientist Training Program, which leads to a combined M.D./Ph.D. degree.The DB Program provides a wide spectrum of exciting research possibilities and a broad cross-disciplinary training. In order to understand how a single cell develops into a complex organism, the program laboratories use molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry, imaging, physiology, genetics, and genomics. Studies of organisms as diverse as social molds, worms, flies, frogs, chickens, fish, mice, and humans are conducted using a wide variety of approaches, instruments, and techniques of modern biological research. Members of the DB Program study basic biological mechanisms of direct and fundamental relevance to human development, disease, and stem cell therapy. This allows students to unravel the principles and mechanisms that guide embryonic development, the differentiation of adult cell types, regeneration, and aging. The major research interests are neurobiology; cancer biology; cell death; aging; neurodegenerative and other human diseases; stem cell biology; gene therapy; reproductive development; oogenesis; skin, muscle, heart, blood, kidney, bone, limb, and eye development; cell lineage specification; X chromosome dosage compensation; and plant differentiation.During their first year, students take core courses in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular and classical genetics as well as several courses and seminars in developmental biology. They also sample several areas of research by doing rotations in the program¿s laboratories. Before the end of the first year, students take a qualifying exam and select a laboratory in which they carry out their dissertation research. Subsequently, students meet every six months with their thesis committee to evaluate the research accomplished and redefine goals necessary to complete the thesis project. In the final year, students defend their theses in a public seminar. Study for the Ph.D. degree generally requires five years of graduate work, most of which is spent on the dissertation research. The program is supported by a competitive NIH training grant, the March of Dimes, Texas Children's Hospital, and the College. Research Facilities DB Program faculty members are well-funded and drawn from eleven departments and four institutions, including Baylor College of Medicine (BCM), the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center, and Rice University, all within easy walking distance of the Texas Medical Center. They occupy extensive research space with state-of-the-art instrumentation and computing equipment. Cooperative and collaborative interactions among program laboratories and institutions enable students to take full advantage of the facilities of the Texas Medical Center. Financial Aid Students enrolled in the program receive a competitive stipend of $26,000 per year plus health insurance at no extra cost. Tuition scholarships are awarded to all students admitted to the program. Separate offices provide assistance to international students and students with financial hardships. Cost of Study Tuition is fully covered by the program, the College, or training grants. Living and Housing Costs Numerous affordable housing options are available within a few miles of the medical center. Some students rent a nearby house while others rent or buy their own apartment. The cost of living in Houston is below that of most large U.S. cities, and there are ample opportunities for employment of spouses in the Texas Medical Center. Student Group The DB Program currently has 51 full-time graduate students, including 26 women and 15 international students. About 8 students join the program each year. The program is committed to excellence and favors a low student-faculty ratio. In addition to the laboratories in the program, students have contact with students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty members in other programs and departments throughout the school and the medical center. The BCM graduate school has approximately 550 students, the medical school about 700 students. Student Outcomes The Career Resource Center of the graduate school provides career information and counseling for all BCM graduate and postdoctoral students in biomedical sciences. DB students typically graduate with an excellent-to-outstanding publication record and go on to successful careers. The average number of publications per graduate student is above 4.5, with an average of more than 2.5 first-author papers. The average impact factor per graduate student publication is more than 10. The DB graduates have subsequently pursued postdoctoral training in excellent laboratories and high-quality institutions. Location Houston is a dynamic city with an exciting cultural and metropolitan center. Ballet, opera, symphony, theater, and art museums are excellent and accessible to the general population. In addition, there are more than a thousand bars and restaurants, which are moderately priced. Recreation opportunities abound, with facilities for a wide range of professional and amateur sports. The climate offers very pleasant weather from fall through spring and permits participation in a wide variety of outdoor activities. Gulf Coast beaches are a short drive from the city. The College Baylor College of Medicine is an independent, private institution dedicated to training in basic and medical sciences. It is located in the heart of the Texas Medical Center, one of the largest medical centers in the world. It has promoted the development of interdisciplinary, interdepartmental, and interinstitutional programs and has consistently identified and encouraged outstanding investigators. Considered one of the top research institutions in the nation, the College continues to develop programs and services that meet new needs and trends, making higher education one of the most exciting and rewarding of human experiences. Applying Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, preferably with course work in biology and biochemistry. GRE General Test scores less than three years old at the time of application must be provided. Applications should be accompanied by transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and a statement of research interest and career goals; they must be complete by January 1, with a preferred deadline of December 15. Successful candidates are invited to meet with the participating faculty members and students to have a firsthand look at the DB Program. Expenses for travel and accommodations during the visit are provided. Admission policies at BCM offer equal opportunity to all, without regard to race, sex, age, religion, country of origin, or handicap. Questions regarding the application process can be directed to cat@bcm.edu.

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