Program Description


Since students enter our program from diverse backgrounds, flexibility in designing the right advanced program for each student is important.

Our curriculum is intended to provide rigorous training in the basic experimental principles that enable the study of any biological problem. We recommend that prospective students take MEDS 6448 Foundations of Biomedical Science I in the Fall and the companion MEDS 6449 Foundations of Biomedical Science II in the spring. These courses may be augmented with the appropriate combinations of the more specialized courses listed below. Students should also feel free to enroll in advanced courses offered by other programs that may provide the necessary background for the development of their thesis. Your 1st Year Graduate Experience in Biomedical Science course director will help you with these choices, and more detailed advice is always available from program directors and course leaders.

Apart from attendance at journal club (MEDS 6497) and the course on the Responsible Conduct of Science (MEDS 5310) that is mandatory for all students, the MBB program does not have a specific list of courses that are required to be taken during the first two years. Rather, MBB students take a variety of didactic coursework that is dependent on their interests and background, and is chosen in consultation with their first-year mentors and/or research mentors. Our students commonly select from the following list, although many other courses are offered within UConn Health and can be taken for credit by interested students.

Course          Course Name and Description

MEDS 6503   First Year Graduate Experience in Biomedical Science (2 credits each, Fall and Spring)
GRAD 6950    Continuing registration for doctoral students after obtaining a thesis advisor and turning in Change of Major Advisor form.
MEDS 6497    Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Journal Club
MEDS 6448    Foundations of Biomedical Science I (4 credits)
MEDS 5418    Stem Cells and Regenerative Biology (3 credits)
MEDS 6450    Optical Microscopy and Bio-Imaging (3 credits)
MEDS 5309    Molecular Basis of Disease (2 credits)
MEDS 5380    Cell Biology (4 credits)
MEDS 5420    Molecular Genomics Practicum (3 credits)
MEDS 5351     Biochemistry II (3 credits)
MEDS 6444    Medical Microbiology (3 credits)
MEDS 6413     Cancer Biology (2 credits)
MEDS 5310     Responsible Conduct in Research (1 credit; Attendance is Mandatory)

Laboratory Rotations

Typically, a student will perform three (3) rotations in the first year. This provides them with the opportunity to try a variety of research projects, environments, and mentors. After performing laboratory rotations, the student will pick a laboratory in which to perform their thesis research. This will be done in consultation with the proposed mentor. Upon selection of a thesis laboratory, the Change of Major Advisor forms and Student Mentor Agreement must be completed. See UCH Graduate School Current Students page for forms.

Seminar Program

The program hosts a variety of seminars. The Molecular Biology and Biophysics Departmental Seminar Series features invited speakers of international renown. There is also a monthly MBB student “Work in Progress” series where students discuss their latest research in an informal setting.

The General Exam

This examination is the formal gateway to the preparation of a thesis. In their second year, students write a research proposal on their proposed thesis topic. This is an opportunity for students to display their knowledge and expertise in experimental design. In many cases, these examinations have been incorporated into successful fellowship grant applications. This provides the student with direct experience in the grant application process, a critical aspect in career development. Students will complete their General Exam by June 30th of their second year. For the timeline and more details for the General Exam in the MBB area of concentration, please review the Graduate Program in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Student Handbook.

Happy Hours

Students are encouraged to take advantage of the free food and drink and the opportunity to interact with other students, postdocs and faculty at our periodic Happy Hours.

Annual Research Retreat

Each year, we hold an off-campus research retreat in which labs are given the opportunity to present their research work in the form of seminars and posters. The retreat is run as a mini-conference which provides an excellent opportunity for students to hone their skills in oral and poster presentations.

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