Program of Study
Research at the interface of chemistry and biology
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Overview of TPCB Program of Study
TPCB students engage in a comprehensive program of training in chemical biology, with the primary focus on laboratory research at the forefront of the field. Students begin by carrying out three laboratory rotations during their first year. These rotations are an attractive and important feature of our program, providing exposure to a variety of research topics, techniques, and philosophies prior to selection of a thesis laboratory. Rigorous coursework is also provided to ensure that each student has the necessary fundamental knowledge base to pursue their research successfully. Students have access to a wide range of classes within the Tri-Institutional campuses as well as at neighboring institutions in NYC.
Students select a thesis laboratory by the end of the first year and begin their thesis research. During this period, they begin gaining in-depth knowledge on their projects and hands-on training in specialized experimental techniques. By the end of the second year, students must design, write, and defend a thesis research proposal before a committee of TPCB faculty members (called the ‘Admission to Candidacy Exam’ at Weill Cornell and Sloan Kettering, and the ‘Thesis Research Proposal’ at Rockefeller). Upon successful completion of the oral examination, students devote their full time to thesis research. Although TPCB does not impose an arbitrary graduation deadline, most of our students complete their studies within approximately five and a half years of entering the program, in keeping with the national average. Students receive their PhD degrees from the institution where they carry out their thesis research, with the exception of Sloan Kettering students, who receive their degrees from Weill Cornell Medical College.
Throughout their training, our students participate in regular ‘Research in Progress’ meetings in which they share and discuss their latest research results. The students also organize an annual Program Retreat with invited faculty keynote speakers as well as student presentations and poster sessions. The retreat is an enjoyable and relaxing social occasion for both students and faculty that encourages informal interactions as well as some friendly competition out on the courts and in the game rooms!
At the conclusion of their studies, our PhD graduates emerge as independent scientists who are well-prepared to pursue research at the interface of chemistry and biology and are poised for careers in academia, the pharmaceutical industry, and biotechnology.