Empowering the bright medical researchers of the future

The Programs in Biomedical and Biological Sciences (PIBBS) program is designed for students who are interested in earning a PhD in the biomedical sciences in an interdisciplinary and collaborative environment. In addition to providing students with rigorous training toward the PhD degrees, PIBBS provides an opportunity to explore a wide range of research interest, through laboratory rotations and core courses that provide a solid biomedical foundation. The interdisciplinary PhD programs offer individualized course options and provide flexibility to accommodate a variety of research interests. PIBBS focuses on preparing students for their research career and offers a grant writing course, as well as a full range of professional development workshops for career preparation and advancement.

PIBBS Lifecycle

During the first two years of the PhD program, students focus on their research while solidifying their knowledge base by taking classes on topics of relevance.

In year 1, PIBBS students take a total of 25 units, which includes both classroom and laboratory work over the fall, spring and summer semesters. At the end of year 1, students select the mentor/lab and the PhD program that best fits their research project.

In year 2, students take courses tailored to their PhD program and research interests. They must complete the Qualifying Exam, which includes a condensed version of a written National Institutes of Health (NIH) F31 fellowship proposal and an oral defense of their research project.

In years 3-5, students focus fully on their research, developing their project, attending conferences and professional development workshops, and ultimately writing and defending their thesis. PIBBS students are also trained in giving research presentations by participating in their PhD programs seminar series, in which all aspects of their talks are critiqued by their peers. An individual development plan (IDP) and periodic meetings with the students’ thesis committees provide scientific support, ensuring progress toward the PhD. By the time the students defend their thesis, they are experts in their field and will have achieved considerable independence, providing outstanding preparation for a postdoctoral fellowship or other science-related careers.

PIBBS Core Curriculum

Fall Semester – 12 units

  • INTD 500: Ethics and Accountability in Biomedical Research
  • INTD531: Advanced Cell Biology
  • INTD561: Molecular Biology
  • INTD790: Research
  • Faculty Research Presentation
  • Rotation 1

Spring Semester – 12 units

  • Choose 2 of the following:
    • PM549: Human Molecular Genetics and Genomics
    • INTD549: Protein Chemistry – Structure and Function
    • DSR626: Bioinformatics Methods – Transcriptome and Chromatin Analysis
  • INTD790: Research
  • Rotations 2 & 3
  • Final Lab Selection

Summer Semester – 6 units

  • INTD500: Ethics and Accountability
  • PM510L: Applied Biostatistics
  • Program Specific Requirement