The Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) Graduate Program has trained more than 660 scientists since 1972. Serving as the major training program for seven basic science departments at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, BCMB is one of the oldest multidisciplinary graduate programs in the country. There are 98 faculty members actively involved in research, teaching and as mentors. The Departments that participate in the program include Biological Chemistry, Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences, and Physiology. The objective of the BCMB program is to provide trainees with a breadth of understanding in basic biomedical science to ultimately prepare them for independent and productive careers. An average of 22 students per year matriculate in the program, and obtain the Ph.D. in an average of 5.8 years. During the first three-quarters of the first year, students take a unified, rigorous curriculum (Foundations of Modern Biology) that includes modules in biophysics, macromolecular structure and analysis, molecular biology and genomics, genetics, bioinformatics, organic mechanisms in biology, cell structure and dynamics, and pathways and regulation, as well as a paper discussion module that parallels the core course. In the last quarter of year 1, students choose two short electives in areas of interest; most of these are small discussion- based courses. An in depth discussion course including the topics of rigor and reproducibility (Method and Logic) and a Responsible Conduct in Research course are also taken in the fourth quarter. A final component of the first year is three laboratory rotations, with poster and oral presentations at the completion of the first two rotations. Students choose a laboratory for thesis work at the end of three rotations, and participate in that department's seminars and journal clubs. Second year students take the qualifying oral exam and hold their first thesis committee meeting. Professional development and career planning is an integral part of the program, occurring through workshops and course offerings throughout the training period. Most students publish multiple research papers, and the training concludes with presentation of a public seminar and submission of the doctoral thesis. BCMB graduates hold leadership positions at all levels of academia, government and industry. The success of our students is fostered by an extraordinary level of collaboration and interaction among the faculty and trainees. Special emphasis is placed on applying conceptual breakthroughs in basic science to problems relevant to human health and disease. As such, our trainees have made important advances in areas ranging from cancer to infectious disease, diabetes, neurodegeneration, pain management, cardiovascular disease and many others.
The purpose of the Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology Graduate Program is to train outstanding scientists for careers in biomedical research. This goal is achieved through a rigorous, broad-based curriculum and independent research in a basic science laboratory. This type of training is essential for understanding human disease at a fundamental level, and our students have contributed to breakthroughs in cancer, infectious diseases, diabetes, neurodegeneration and many other diseases.
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