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Student Goals

Learning Objectives

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The Ph.D. program in Structural Biology and Biochemistry trains graduate students to become proficient and successful investigators who are able to:
1.      Demonstrate a basic knowledge of central concepts in the biomedical sciences.
2.      Understand the current concepts in structural biology and biochemistry.
3.      Read and critically evaluate the scientific literature.
4.      Formulate hypotheses based on current concepts in the field and design, conduct, and interpret their own research projects.
5.      Present research results in peer-reviewed publications and in a dissertation.
6.      Communicate research results effectively through oral presentations at scientific seminars, conferences, and other venues.
7.      Write a competitive application for research funding.
8.      Develop ancillary skills, where necessary, to obtain positions outside of scientific research.
With this knowledge, they will understand molecular structures and mechanisms. Training is provided in the following exciting areas:
Protein structure and function.
Proteomics research Crystal and solution structure elucidation of biomolecules.
Computational studies of structure and function relationships of biomolecules.
Structure-based design of new molecules important in biology, biochemistry, and pharmacology.
The courses and research emphasize both breadth and flexibility while encouraging interdisciplinary training. Students may choose research projects from a variety of laboratories at the University of Colorado and the National Jewish Medical and Research Center. Training will result in a Ph.D. degree awarded by The Program in Structural Biology and Biophysics. The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, The Department of Pharmacology and The Program in Molecular Biology offer a Ph.D. degree with specialization in Structural Biology and Biophysics.
Lab Rotations
Students complete a minimum of two and a maximum of three research rotations in the laboratories of program faculty during the first 12 months of the program. The rotations provide the student a broad experimental experience and help the student to select a laboratory in which to pursue thesis research.
A variety of elective courses are available dealing with subspecialties of biological research as well as with biomolecular structure, techniques in structural elucidation, pharmacology, molecular and cellular biology, and chemistry. 
Candidacy for the Ph.D.
After successful completion of the Preliminary Exam (typically taken in June of the first year), students elect a thesis mentor and generate a thesis proposal which is presented and defended as part of the Comprehensive Exam. This exam is administered and student progress is monitored by a five-member thesis committee. The thesis work is expected to be completed, written up, and defended within five years after the Preliminary Exam.


Shanelle Felder, Program Administrator
Voice: 303-724-3565 | Email:
12800 E. 19th Avenue, Mail Stop 8303, Research Complex 1 North Tower, Room 6106, Aurora, CO 80045

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