The Molecular Biology Program at the University of Colorado School of Medicine is dedicated to providing rigorous training to its students in a supportive environment. The molecular biology faculty are members of eleven different departments who are applying the techniques of molecular biology to answer questions in diverse areas at the forefront of modern biology. The Program offers a unique opportunity to study a wide variety of research areas in a student-centered environment, all in the inviting setting of Denver, Colorado, just a short distance from the Rocky Mountains.
Molecular biology, the science of how living things work at the molecular level, has spear-headed the recent revolution in our understanding of human disease and led to the birth of a major new industry based on biotechnology. The goal of the Molecular Biology Program at CU is simple: to equip students for careers at the cutting edge of biology. The faculty are committed to providing students with the training they need to carry out the highest quality research using state-of-the-art techniques. The teaching philosophy here is to instill the theoretical knowledge and practical experience that enables our students to identify important questions in science, to design experiments that address those questions and to critically evaluate results. Special emphasis is placed on learning to communicate research results to others effectively. Previous graduates of the program are now working in academic and biotechnology industry positions.
Molecular Biology Program faculty include members of the Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Developmental Biology, Medicine, Microbiology, Immunology, Pathology, Pharmacology, Pediatrics, Craniofacial Biology, Pharmacy, and Obstetrics/Gynecology and include internationally recognized experts in genetics, immunology, virology, developmental biology, cancer biology, molecular endocrinology, cell signaling, and structural biology. Their diverse interests provide students with an enormous choice of areas in which to pursue their thesis research.
The Molecular Biology Program provides students with more than classroom and research training. Students learn to present their research by participating as featured speakers in the program's excellent seminar series. Students are encouraged to interact with the seminar series' invited guests during student-centered social hours. An annual retreat to the Rocky Mountains encourages interaction between students and faculty and also familiarizes the students with the research goals and progress of each faculty member.
Training of each graduate student is carefully monitored by a committee selected by the student to ensure completion of a top-quality Ph.D. thesis project in a timely fashion (five to six years on average). Because these committees are comprised of faculty from different departments, the committee meetings have always sparked exciting discussions of the student's research.
The Molecular Biology Program has been recognized as a Center of Excellence at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. A $5 million grant awarded in 1989 by the Lucille P. Markey Charitable Foundation allowed the program to grow and mature. In 1999, the program was awarded a highly competitive NIH pre-doctoral training grant that was renewed in 2004 and 2010, providing the funding to support and train students for years to come.