The School of Biological Sciences offers graduate study in a wide variety of fields ranging across the spectrum of the biological sciences. The four Departments of the School of Biological Sciences (Developmental and Cell Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Neurobiology and Behavior) and four basic science Departments of the College of Medicine (Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biological Chemistry, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, and Physiology and Biophysics), representing respective concentrations of study under the Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences, cooperate in the conduct of graduate education administered by the School of Biological Sciences. Although these programs admit students for study leading to the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degree, the Master of Science (M.S.) degree may be earned in pursuit of the Ph.D. Additionally, a master's program in Biotechnology, leading to the M.S. degree in Biological Sciences, is offered. Each department has a graduate advisor whom students may consult in regard to the technical details of the individual programs.
Applications for admission to graduate study are evaluated by the department or program to which the student has applied on the basis of letters of recommendation, Graduate Record Examination scores, grades, and other relevant qualifications of the applicant. Candidates for graduate admission are urged to consult the particular department or program whose faculty and expertise best fit their interests and background.
While both the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy programs are offered, emphasis at the graduate level is on the Ph.D. programs, with the exception of the master's program in Biotechnology. Most training takes place within one of the departments, although full facilities and curricular offerings are available to all graduate students in all departments of the Biological Sciences. Interdisciplinary study and research are encouraged.
Students are expected to maintain a B average at all times, attain the Master's degree in two years, and attain the Ph.D. in four or five years, depending on departmental affiliation. A Master's degree, however, is not a prerequisite for the Ph.D. degree.
During the first part of the initial year of graduate work, the student plans an academic program in consultation with the graduate advisor or a small committee. Faculty advisors are changed if the specific interests of the student change. In addition, it is possible for students to transfer to another program in the School, subject to the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies, provided they are accepted into that program. Students are encouraged to consult with other faculty members with regard to their research and academic interests.
During their graduate training all students will serve some time as teacher apprentices under the direction of advanced teaching assistants and faculty. Advanced graduate students may work closely with faculty in the planning and execution of the teaching program. The amount and exact nature of the teaching experience varies with the department.
Master of Science
Depending upon the program, there are two plans by which a Master of Science degree may be obtained.
Plan I: Thesis Plan. The student completes seven upper-division and graduate courses including a minimum of five nonresearch courses. The student then presents a thesis based upon research done while in the School.
Plan II: Comprehensive Examination Plan. The student completes a minimum of nine upper-division and graduate courses. At least six must be graduate courses (numbered 200-299) in the student's field specialization. This program is terminated with a comprehensive final examination.
Doctor of Philosophy
First Level of Competence. The student attains this level by completing oral or written examinations at the discretion of the department.
Second Level of Competence. This level is attained by passing an examination dealing with the student's particular interests. A committee for the purpose of administering this examination is appointed by the School, on behalf of the Dean of Graduate Studies and the Graduate Council.
Once this examination is completed, the student is advanced to candidacy for the degree and is considered to have formally begun dissertation research. The student submits a dissertation on this research and defends it at an oral examination during the final year of graduate study.
Graduate student status or consent of instructor is a prerequisite for all 200-299 courses.
The field of biotechnology has developed explosively since the discovery of gene cloning and sequencing methods in the mid-1970s. The field is now embodied by many successful companies and an intense demand has developed for well-trained people with up-to-date familiarity with research techniques in the manipulation of nucleic acids, proteins, immunological reagents, and pathogenic organisms. The program in Biotechnology, leading to an M.S. degree in Biological Sciences, provides extensive training in actual research settings (individual faculty laboratories) in techniques relevant to industry, and seminar exposure to the nature of industry. It is designed to train students to enter the field of biotechnology as skilled laboratory practitioners. Emphasis is placed on learning state-of-the-art technology in protein isolation and characterization, animal and microbial cell culture, and recombinant DNA methodology. Students are trained in experimental rationales for solving actual research problems and are encouraged to take summer internships in industry during the course of their studies.
The Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry evaluates applicants to the program on the basis of grades, letters of recommendation, GRE scores, and other relevant qualifications. Applicants should have successfully completed courses in calculus, physics, organic chemistry, genetics, biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, immunology, and virology, as well as laboratory courses in biochemistry, molecular biology, microbiology, and either animal virology or immunology. However, it is possible to defer up to two of the required laboratory courses to be taken during the first year of graduate study.
The program emphasizes immediate participation in research. First-year students take core technical laboratories in protein isolation and characterization, animal and microbial cell culture, and recombinant DNA methodology and participate in research projects in faculty laboratories. Research training is supported by formal course work in nucleic acids, proteins, genetic engineering, and molecular/cellular biology. A seminar course devoted to product development and marketing also is required. In addition, students are trained rigorously in data recording and presentation and are required to maintain a laboratory notebook for faculty review. Emphasis during the second year is devoted almost solely to participation in research projects in faculty laboratories with one formal required course in molecular biology/cell biology. The program is terminated at the end of the second year by a comprehensive examination.
While the Biotechnology program is designed to produce skilled laboratory practitioners for industrial positions, some students may wish to continue in a program leading to the Ph.D. degree. The Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry is a member of the interdisciplinary graduate program in Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry, a program which leads to the Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences. Biotechnology program students who wish to enter the interdisciplinary graduate program upon completion of the M.S. degree should apply for admission during their second year.
The School is structured in a manner that encourages an interdisciplinary approach to scientific problems. Interaction and cooperative efforts across traditional institutional boundaries are especially evident in the School's participation in various organized research units (described in the previous Research and Graduate Studies section) and in two interdepartmental/interschool graduate programs described below.
145 Biological Sciences Administration; (949) 824-8145
World Wide Web: http://www.bio.uci.edu/
Rozanne M. Sandri-Goldin, Director
The graduate program in Molecular Biology, Genetics, and Biochemistry (MBGB) brings about 100 faculty from the Departments of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Biological Chemistry, Developmental and Cell Biology, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, and Physiology and Biophysics. Each faculty member's area of research is listed at the beginning of the departmental sections on the following pages. The departments administer a graduate concentration in association with the MBGB program, which leads to the Ph.D. degree in Biological Sciences. The MBGB program is designed to offer students a unified curriculum, broad training, and a wide range of research opportunities in the following areas: cancer biology, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics, immunology and pathogenesis, mechanisms of gene expression, molecular neurobiology, molecular physiology and biophysics, structural biology/protein engineering, and virology. The goal of the combined program is to produce creative and productive scientists who have an in-depth comprehension in a given subspecialty.
During the five years established as the normative time for completing the Ph.D. degree, students complete the MBGB program requirements during their first two years, and in the remaining three years, complete the requirements of one of the five affiliated concentrations. In the first year of study, emphasis is placed on immediate research participation supported by formal course work in protein and nucleic acid biochemistry, cell biology, and gene expression, and one genetics course. At the end of the first year, student competence and critical thinking in the molecular aspects of biological sciences are tested through a comprehensive preliminary examination and overall evaluation. Selection of an advisor usually occurs prior to the preliminary examination. Regular teaching of undergraduates is part of graduate student training in the second year of study. At this time, students also begin to lay the experimental foundation for their dissertation project proposal. During the second year and beyond, students participate in the departmental journal club and seminar series of the department in which they have elected to carry out their dissertation work, as specified by the concentration requirements. In years three and beyond, students fulfill requirements of a departmental Ph.D. concentration. Further information is available in the Catalogue sections of the participating departments and through the MBGB program office.
Applicants should have significant laboratory experience and be well-prepared in calculus, physics, organic chemistry, and biochemistry.
145 Biological Sciences Administration; (949) 824-6686
World Wide Web: http://www.bio.uci.edu/
Larry E. Vickery, Director
Dana W. Aswad: Regulation of protein function by covalent modification
Ralph A. Bradshaw: Growth factor action; signal transduction; protein processing
Barbara K. Burgess: Structure and function of protein-bound [FeS] and [MoFeS] clusters
Richard Chamberlin: Site-directed mutagenesis with non-natural amino acids
Nancy A. DaSilva: Improvement of cell and enzyme-mediated processes via molecular genetics
Charles G. Glabe: Amyloid Aß peptide in Alzheimer's pathogenesis; gamete recognition
Agnes H. Henschen-Edman: Protein structure, function, post-translational modification; fibrinogen
Janos K. Lanyi: Structure and function in bacterial rhodopsins
James S. Nowick: Study of protein structure in synthetic chemical model systems
Thomas L. Poulos: Protein engineering and crystallography
Michael E. Selsted: Host defense systems in phagocytic leukocytes and mucosal epithelium
Donald F. Senear: Interactions of proteins and DNA in transcriptional regulation
Athan J. Shaka: New techniques in high-resolution multi-dimensional NMR
Larry E. Vickery: Metalloproteins; steroid hormone biosynthesis and receptors; molecular chaperones
Stephen H. White: Protein folding in membranes
The new discipline of protein engineering has emerged, combining biochemistry, physical and organic chemistry, recombinant DNA technology, structural biology, and biochemical engineering. This has provided new approaches to the basic study of protein structure and function, as well as the opportunity to design and produce proteins with a broad spectrum of industrial and health-related applications. The School of Biological Sciences, in conjunction with the Department of Chemistry in the School of Physical Sciences and the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering and Materials Science in the School of Engineering, offer an interdisciplinary graduate program leading to the Ph.D. in Biological Sciences, Chemistry, or Engineering with a concentration in Protein Engineering Science. The program brings together faculty with research interests in: structure/function of enzymes, metalloproteins, receptors, and growth factors; protein folding and design; bioremediation; protein modification with non-natural amino acids; NMR spectroscopy; and X-ray crystallography.
Upon entrance to the program, students choose a Protein Engineering curriculum leading to one of the three degrees. First-year students take courses in molecular biology and protein chemistry, structure, and engineering, and complete three laboratory rotations of their choice. Additional elective courses, current literature seminars, and research presentations are used to broaden training in subsequent years. A qualifying examination is administered at the end of the first year for students in the Schools of Biological Sciences and Engineering. For students in Chemistry, a written examination is administered early in the second year. Students are then expected to select a laboratory and begin work toward completion of a Ph.D. dissertation based upon their own original research.
Students advance to candidacy for the Ph.D. by presenting their dissertation proposal to an examining committee which also guides and advises the students and monitors research progress throughout their graduate training. The normal time for completion of the Ph.D. is five years.