The Molecular Biology program holds frequent seminars in which faculty, trainees and invited outside speakers present talks on their research. The seminar series draws everyone together weekly to discuss research in progress and keep abreast on new scientific techniques and findings. This seminar series helps students practice the presentation skills that will be important in their careers, provides examples from faculty presentations, and can spark new collaborations. Beginning in the second year, students in the program provide yearly updates on their research in the form of oral presentations at the seminar series or the annual program retreat. First year students also present short talks at the end of each research rotation.
Fourth year students in the program organize the annual scientific retreat in the Rocky Mountains each fall. The retreat is an opportunity for discussion and interaction about new and ongoing research endeavors within the program. Students and faculty present mini-seminars, enjoy a keynote address by an invited guest and participate in poster sessions. Sessions are interspersed with downtime to enjoy a variety of recreational opportunities, including faculty-student basketball games, hiking and other activities.
The Molecular Biology Program hosts a student-organized symposium each spring on a topic of interest selected by the symposium committee. Recent symposium topics have included:
- Old Questions, New Technology (Keynote speaker: Clodagh O’Shea, Salk Institute)
- Evolution: A Walk Through Past, Present and Future (Keynote speaker: Hans Larsson, McGill University)
- Mission Exobiology: Life Beyond Planet Earth (Keynote speaker: Mark Roth, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center)
- Personalized Medicine: Translating the Genome Into Health Care (Keynote speaker: Vivian Cheung, University of Pennsylvania)
- RNA: More Than a Message (Keynote speaker: Tom Cech, University of Colorado Boulder)
Students supported by the program’s T32 training grant organize round tables for all Molecular Biology students. This monthly event has a flexible format, allowing presenters to share a recent paper of interest, give a chalk talk on a specific research question, or invite a local outside speaker to learn about a new area of interest, including alternative career options.