Flexibility to Accommodate Diverse Interests
Human disease can impact all stages of life -- from hereditary and congenital birth defects to the degenerative diseases of old age -- as well as any of the organs or systems in the human body. Research in the Development, Disease Model and Therapeutics Program thus crosses traditional barriers between disciplines focusing on our unique approach to understanding the basic biology underlying health and disease and developing therapeutics. All of our students require a strong foundation in biomedical sciences, including an understanding of cell and tissue function in normal and disease states. Beyond this, the specific areas of knowledge and skills you will need to acquire will vary depending on your own interests and specific area of focus.
Therefore, at the start of the program, all students work toward completing the core curriculum required of all BCM graduate students while also beginning laboratory rotations with faculty whose research is of interest. As you begin to narrow your focus, program leadership will work with you to select courses that match your interests. Once you select a thesis advisor and begin to have a clearer idea of the topic on which your thesis will focus, you and your advisor can work together to select your additional courses which will provide the knowledge and skills you require for your research project.
Depending on your area of interest and your thesis topic, you may take courses in aging, stem cell biology, neuroscience and neurodegeneration, cancer, cardiovascular research, sensory systems, tissue engineering, gene therapy, bioinformatics or other topics.
In addition to your research mentor, you may also elect to have a clinical mentor to aid you in selecting courses and shaping your research project in ways that facilitate the translation of your discoveries into new approaches to enhance patient care.
"I wanted a school that would give me the highest quality education. BCM had the most competitive programs and the most competitive curriculum. I knew I would walk away with a great education. The free application combined with the low cost of living was also appealing. The final clincher for me was the environment I found when I visited. Rather than a bunch of independent labs, I saw a community working together and helping each other."