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Student Experience

Departmental Activities to Enhance PhD Training Heading link

In light of the broad array of programs that are department participates in, it is critical for our students to participate in shared activities regardless of whatever PhD program they belong to, so that they can build a cohesive departmental identity and also receive the same quality of training excellence.


All students give work in progress updates, typically once a year, and receive feedback from their peers, from postdoctoral fellows as well as faculty. By attending the seminar series, students learn about each other’s research and broaden their own knowledge in several areas of molecular biology, cell biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics. By presenting annually and receiving constructive feedback, all PhD students acquire presentation skills are prepared to give presentations at national or international conferences.


These seminars are given by invited faculty members from other academic institutions, other departments in our institution or the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Typically, the invited speakers discuss cutting-edge research in the molecular, cellular and computational life sciences. Importantly, faculty mentors can also nominate their PhD students to meet thee invited speakers for lunch and receive feedback about their research projects or advice for career development.

PhD students organize a Friday afternoon social sponsored by department so that they can meet for pizza, tacos, samosas or other food and chat about work and life. Our student representatives get to choose what food they want to order and this informal community-building activity is also open to students who have not yet joined our department but are interested in meeting our students or postdocs.


Once a semester, we organize and sponsor student outings so that students can experience the rich Chicago cultural scene. Becoming a scientist is ultimately about unlocking our creative potential. Learning more about Chicago’s history, art, music and culture scene is a great way to tap into the creativity more broadly. Recent examples were a visit to the Chicago Symphony and the Chicago Art Institute.


Each year, our department organizes a retreat where all students and faculty present their work, have fun during informal activities or hikes as well as a formal dinner with keynote speakers.

Student Publications Heading link

Current Student Representatives Heading link

Resources For Current & Prospective Students Heading link