PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS)

The Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS) lies within the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences where PhD students have the chance to explore research opportunities within several departments rather than enter committed to a single training program. Participating program/departments include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biophysics
  • Genetics & Genomics
  • Immunology Training Program
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular & Translational Medicine
  • Nutrition & Metabolism
  • Oral Biology
  • Pathology & Laboratory Medicine
  • Physiology

PiBS hosts a robust faculty all engaged in research within each department and across disciplines. The broad research interests include:

  • aging
  • cancer biology and hematologic disorders
  • cardiovascular and pulmonary disease
  • cell dynamics and architecture
  • cell signaling and gene regulation
  • development and regenerative biology and stem cells
  • genetics, genomics, and computational biology
  • immunology, inflammation, and inflammatory diseases
  • microbial systems, host-pathogen interactions, and infectious disease
  • neurodegenerative disorders
  • nutrition, obesity, diabetes, and related metabolic diseases
  • oral and craniofacial biology
  • physiology and pathophysiology
  • proteomics and glycomics
  • structural biology and molecular biophysics
  • vaccine development

Please visit the PiBS website for specific information regarding faculty research.


PiBS developed a first-year curriculum that includes core multi-disciplinary courses, as well as a number of electives from all of the departments in the program. This curriculum was designed so that students gain a foundation in the biomedical sciences, and have the opportunity to explore various interests. Students complete three laboratory rotations in the first year before choosing a laboratory to continue their studies toward PhD candidacy. Students will earn a degree from the department with which their mentor is affiliated.

PiBS First-Year Curriculum

Fall Semester

Core Courses, 8 credits total
  • GMS FC 701 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Protein Structure, Catalysis and Interaction (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 702 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Structure and Function of the Genome (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 703 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Architecture and Dynamics of the Cell (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 764 Professional Skills (2 cr)
Possible Elective Courses, 4 credits total
  • GMS BI 777 Techniques in Molecular Biology, Proteins (2 cr)
  • GMS BY 762 Foundations of Biophysics and Structural Biology I (2 cr)
  • GMS BY 776 Macromolecular Assemblies I (2 cr)
  • GMS GE 701 Principles of Genetics and Genomics (4 cr)
  • GMS MI 713 Comprehensive Immunology (4 cr)
  • GMS NU 755 Molecular, Biochemical, and Physiological Basis of Nutrition I: Energy Balance and Micronutrients (4 cr)
  • GMS OB 763 Basic Processes in Oral Biology I (2 cr)
  • GMS PA 710 Principles of Basic and Applied Pathology (2 cr)
Lab Rotation, 2 credits total

Each student will complete one (1) ten-week lab rotation in the first semester.

Spring Semester

Core Courses, 4 credits total
  • GMS FC 704 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Mechanisms of Cell Communication (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 708 Professional Skills Development (2 cr)
Possible Elective Courses, 6-8 credits total
  • GMS FC 705 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Translational Genetics and Genomics (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 706 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Molecular Metabolism (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 707 Foundations in Biomedical Sciences: Physiology of Specialized Cells (2 cr)
  • GMS FC 762 Critical Thinking in Biomedical Research (2 cr)
  • GMS BY 763 Foundations of Biophysics and Structural Biology II (2 cr)
  • GMS BY 777 Macromolecular Assembly II (2 cr)
  • GMS MI 701 Concepts in Virology (2 cr, half-semester course)
  • GMS MI 702 Concepts in Bacterial Evolution and Genetics (2 cr, half-semester course)
  • GMS MI 715 Immunological Basis of Disease (2 cr)
  • GMS NU 756 Molecular, Biochemical, and Physiological Basis of Nutrition II: Macronutrients (4 cr)
  • GMS OB 764 Basic Processes in Oral Biology II (2 cr)
  • GMS PA 700 Basic and Experimental Pathology (4 cr)
  • GMS PA 910 Human Biospecimens in Research (2 cr)
Lab Rotations, 4 credits total

Each student will complete two (2) ten-week lab rotations in the second semester.


Every student is matched with an advising group based on research/academic interests. Every group consists of two faculty advisors and six to eight students. The faculty advisors help students choose electives and lab rotations, as well as work with them on professional skills.

Professional Development Opportunities

Students have the opportunity to participate in a series of professional development workshops. Please see the GMS professional development website for a list of upcoming and past workshops.

Academic Policies

Detailed academic policies and procedures dictated by the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences are described in the Policies section of this Bulletin.

Briefly, all students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of B (3.0). Any student receiving a grade of C+ or below will be placed on academic probation and must repeat the course and must attain a grade of B (not B–) or above in the course.

Financial Support

PhD students in good standing are provided with a financial package that covers the cost of tuition, health insurance and fees, and a living stipend.

Admission Requirements

PiBS applicants should have a strong undergraduate academic record as well as meaningful research experience. Students matriculate during the Fall Semester. Please visit the GMS Admissions website for more information regarding the admissions criteria.