Students who obtain their PhD degree from the Biochemistry Program are trained by a diverse faculty from the Biochemistry Department, and other departments at Tufts Medical School, including Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Cellular and Molecular Physiology, and Pharmacology. Additional Program members are from research departments at Tufts Medical Center, including the Molecular Oncology and Molecular Cardiology Research Institutes.
Students spend their first nine months of graduate school enrolled in the Integrated Studies Program (ISP), which coordinates both admissions and the academic program for students interested in the Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Physiology, or Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology. Thus, students interact with and learn from faculty with broad interests in the biomedical sciences before they choose a specific Program in June of the first year.
During the first two semesters, students participate in required courses and are introduced to graduate research through four laboratory rotations, which exposes them to cutting edge techniques and potential thesis mentors. Early in the second semester of the second year of graduate school, after the students have been working in their mentor’s laboratory for 8 months, they take a qualifying exam that consists of a written research proposal and on oral defense. The purpose of this exercise is to train, as much as it is to examine, a student in creating and testing scientific hypotheses.
Thesis research is then the principle focus of the student’s remaining time in the program. However, additional important experiences occur during this period, such as teaching Biochemistry for one semester to study groups of medical students, leading Journal Clubs, and giving seminars on their progressing thesis research. Students are guided throughout their graduate years by a thesis mentor, three members of a thesis committee with which the student meets at least twice a year, and a Program student advisor.
Biochemistry Program Student Guide