Molecular and Cell Biology
Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
Molecular and Cell Biology Graduate Program
4301 Jones Bridge Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814-4799
Gabriela Dveksler, Ph.D.
Chair, Recruitment and Admissions Committee
Phone: (301) 295-3332
Mary Lou Cutler, Ph.D.
Professor & Director
Phone: (301) 295-3453
A Little Bit About Our School
Established by an act of Congress in 1976, the purpose of the school is to provide the U.S. military with career medical doctors, and to serve as a center for biomedical education and research in both the civilian and military sectors.
The graduate school was formed in 1977. There are currently 152 civilian graduate students enrolled in a variety of programs. Since 1977, 255 doctoral degrees have been awarded. The purpose of the graduate school is to provide an outstanding educational environment for aspiring scientists leading to a doctoral degree, and in the process, to contribute to biomedical research performed by faculty at the University.
The Interdisciplinary Program in Molecular and Cell Biology was created in 1995. Graduates of the program have gone on to postdoctoral positions in outstanding laboratories around the country. Currently, 17 Ph.D. students are enrolled in the program.
Prime Location for Biomedical Research
The Uniformed Services University is located in Bethesda, Maryland, adjacent to the National Naval Medical Center, the National Institutes of Health, and the National Library of Medicine. Our proximity to these resources provides a rich and unparalleled environment for education and research. Additionally, we are situated close to the I270 Biotechnology Corridor and the Walter Reed Army Medical Center which permits frequent interactions with some of the world's premier researchers at seminars and conferences. Bethesda is also one of the most vibrant locations in the D.C. metro area, featuring a wide variety of restaurants and night life.
The Facilities at USUHS
The facilities available at USUHS allow students to work on the cutting edge of biomedical research. Some of these resources include the following:
- World Class Proteomics Center
- Oligonucleotide and peptide synthesizers
- Automated DNA and protein sequencers
- Electron microscopes
- Laser confocal microscopes
- Laser capture microdissection
- Fluorescent activated cell sorters
- Transgenic animal facilities
- Ph.D. Timeline
Students enrolled in the MCB program are exposed to various aspects of biomedical research as they earn their doctoral degree. The first year of study includes intensive course work in Biochemistry, Immunology, Genetics, and Molecular& Cell Biology. During the first summer, students engage in laboratory rotations that provide them with practical laboratory experience, and a close working relationship with individual program faculty. Students have many other opportunities to interact with faculty. These interactions help the student choose the best direction for class selection and his/her research project.
The second year is devoted to a combination of dissertation research and elective coursework in areas of specific interest. Qualifying examinations are taken at the end of the second year. The examination takes of the form of a grant proposal, and is based on a subject of interest to the student that is approved by the Qualifying Examination Committee. Upon successful completion of the examination the student is "advanced to candidacy." Thereafter, students devote full-time to their research until the completion of their dissertation.
The University offers many benefits to its students. Students have access to a modern "Learning Resource Center" that provides a host of computer resources as well as extensive on-line access to the scientific journals and databases. The program maintains shared student resource and study areas where students can interact with their colleagues from other graduate programs. Students are provided with the opportunity to present their research by attending national and international meetings. The MCB program also gives students the opportunity to gain teaching experience by assisting professors in the instruction of medical school classes.
Student life at USUHS is comparable to that of other graduate schools in major metropolitan areas. To offset the cost of living in the D.C. metro area, all students receive a $27,000 per year stipend that is increased to $28,000 per year after advancement to candidacy. Additionally, exceptional applicants may be nominated for one of the Dean's Special Fellowships for which the current stipend is $31,000 per year. Most students live close to the University and have easy access to mass transit facilities, making it easy to take advantage of the many cultural, educational, and social activities in the Washington metropolitan area.