In addition to coursework, first year students engage in research during three 10-week rotations in the laboratories of program faculty. These rotations not only serve as introductions to different experimental systems and approaches, they also give students a chance to sample different research environments in their search for a thesis laboratory. PhD thesis research involves meaningful, critical thinking and the execution of ideas in the laboratory through the use of sound scientific method. Students are guided by their mentors and a thesis research committee that meets on a routine basis throughout the training experience. It is expected that most students will complete their PhD degree about five years after starting the program.
The BMP program draws its faculty from numerous departments at Thomas Jefferson University, including Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, Microbiology and Immunology, Cancer Biology, Surgery, Radiation Oncology, Neuroscience, Medicine and Pathology. The scientific focuses of these faculty members fall into three broad research areas: Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Chemical and Structural Biology, and Molecular Biology and Gene Regulation. A description of each area and a list of associated faculty can be found by clicking on the links above. In addition to extensive basic equipment found in each laboratory, students at Jefferson have access to numerous specialized resources, including genomic and multiplex sequencing, microarray analysis, flow cytometry and cell sorting, confocal and TiRF microscopy, X-ray crystallography, and macromolecular characterization (surface plasmon resonance, calorimetry, circular dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopy).
All students receive a stipend, which is currently $27,000 for the 2012-2013 academic year. Stipends are provided throughout the student's training experience and are not tied to any other responsibilities, such as teaching requirements.
The Thomas Jefferson University student community totals over 2,000 students, including those enrolled in the Jefferson Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, which currently has over 600 students including 130 full-time PhD candidates. Other university students are enrolled in the School of Health Professions, with over 700 students, and Jefferson Medical College, with approximately 1,000 students. Affordable housing is available on campus or in the surrounding community. The student body is a diverse one, with members from across the country and around the world. Many social and professional activities are coordinated by the Graduate Student Association.