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PhD Research

Choice of PhD Mentor

All of the MSTP Training Faculty, their research interests, and recent publications are listed on this website in the faculty section.  Choice of potential mentors actually begins during the recruitment process, when applicants identify faculty they would like to meet during their visit to the Denver area. Additionally, MSTP students attend the retreat(s) of the Program(s) they are most interested in, and thus learn more about the specific research opportunities and meet the professors, other graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows in that Program. 

To help the students in their choice of laboratory, the MSTP Director meets with each student several times during the first and second year and encourages the student to visit with several investigators and their laboratories and to attend their laboratory meetings in the spring.  Also, for further and more specific advice, the students meet with the graduate advisor of the Programs that they are most highly considering.

MSTP students have the flexibility to choose one of the thesis advisor's Program affiliations, either departmental or interdisciplinary, in which to complete the PhD thesis requirements.  Once the choice of thesis advisor is made, the student formally transfers into the appropriate Ph.D. degree-granting program. 

Comprehensive Exam and Thesis Defense

By the fall of the third year, most MSTP students have accumulated the necessary credit hours required to take the Comprehensive exam.  In the majority of training programs, advancement to candidacy requires the successful completion of a qualifying comprehensive oral exam in which a student presents and defends a research proposal written in the format of a grant application.  The Comprehensive Examination Committee is usually also the Doctoral Thesis Committee, and we strongly encourage that a member of the Steering Committee, or one of its Subcommittees, be a member of MSTP student's comprehensive/thesis committee.  Finally, the occasional required course, and any upper-level elective course(s) that the thesis advisor and student agree would contribute to the overall training goals, are completed during the research years.  Other graduate program-specific requirements, such as annual seminar presentations, bi-annual Thesis committee meetings, journal club, and Program retreat and seminar attendance, are also completed during the research years.

Foundations of Doctoring Thesis Years

This course allows students to work with a preceptor and follow patients over an extended period.  Between the basic science and clinical years, while doing their PhD thesis research, MSTP students enroll in a 1 day-per-month, MSTP-specific Thesis Years - Foundations of Doctoring Course to continue their clinical training during the thesis years.  The goals of this course are to maintain and further the clinical skills learned during Phases I and II, provide opportunities to engage in clinical/translation scholarly activities, experience potential career choices, and minimize the anxiety often encountered upon re-entry into the clinics after an extended absence.

List of Programs

Program Name Program Director Program Administrator Program Contact Info
Bioengineering Robin Shandas, PhD​ Nhu Pham

Office: Building 500, Room W1139A

Mailing address:
RC 2
12700 E 19th Ave
MS 8607
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-6280

Cancer Biology Mary Reyland, PhD Sabrena Heilman

 AO1 Room 2203
12631 E. 17th Ave
MS B216
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3905

Chemical and Biological Engineering Kristi Anseth, PhD Dominique de Vangel CU Boulder
ECCH 111
(303) 735-1975
Chemistry and Biochemistry Natalie Ahn, PhD Pamela Williamson​ CU Boulder
Cristol 100G
(303) 492-8978
Cell Biology, Stem Cell and Development Bruce Appel, PhD Elizabeth Wethington RC1 South, Room 12114
12801 E. 17th Ave.
MS 8108
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-4349
Computational Bioscience Larry Hunter, PhD Elizabeth Wethington RC1 South
MS 8303
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3399
Epidemiology Jill Norris, MPH, PhD Cassandra Thao 13001 E 17th Place
MS B119
Aurora CO 80045
Human Medical Genetics and Genomics Tamim Shaikh, PhD Maia Evans RC1 North, Room 3107
12800 E. 19th Ave
MS 8300
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3102
Immunology Laurel Lenz, PhD Michele Hwozdyk-Parsons RC1 North, Room 9103
12800 E. 19th Ave
MS 8333
(303) 724-0107
Integrated Physiology Jim McManaman, PhD Deanne Sylvester RC1 North, Room 7130
12800 E. 19th Ave
MS 8307
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-4500
Mechanical Engineering Mark Rentschler, PhD Andrew Angely 1111 Engineering Drive
UCB 427
Boulder, CO 80309
(303) 735-8054
Microbiology Tem Morrison, PhD​ Michele Hwozdyk-Parsons RC1 North, Room 9103
12800 E. 19th Ave
MS 8333
(303) 724-4224
Molecular Biology Rytis Prekeris, PhD​ Sabrena Heilman
RC1 South, Room 9112
12801 E. 17th Ave
MS 8122
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3245
Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology Kenneth Krauter, PhD Karen Brown CU Boulder
(303) 492-7230
Neuroscience Sukumar Vijayaraghavan, PhD Deanne Sylvester RC1 North, Room 7107
12800 E. 19th Ave
MS 8315
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3120
Pharmacology David Port, PhD Shanelle Felder RC1 North, Room 6129
12800 E. 19th Ave
MS 8303
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3565
Structural Biology & Biochemistry
Mair Churchill, PhD​ Maia Evans RC1 South, Room 9118
12801 E. 17th Ave
MS 8101
Aurora, CO 80045
(303) 724-3268