A Message from the Directors 2017-09-20T11:16:46+00:00




In order to excel in today’s competitive research  environment, scientists need to have a solid background in all the basic sciences in addition to developing expertise in specialized areas. The GEMS program at University of Illinois College of Medicine at Chicago stands out for its comprehensive core curriculum, numerous exciting research opportunities, state of the art facilities, and affiliation with the university’s College of Medicine located in the midst one of the largest medical campus in the world.

The Curriculum

The first year of the GEMS program is designed to give students the solid foundation they will need for a career in interdisciplinary research. Students attend courses in the fundamentals of biochemistry, molecular and cell biology and integrative physiology. Three research rotations are an integral part of the first year experience. Students are free to rotate in laboratories of faculty throughout out the College of Medicine. This gives students valuable hands-on laboratory experience and allows them to make an informed decision about which laboratory they wish to join for their PhD research project. With over 150 faculty in the basic and clinical sciences, the GEMS program can assure students opportunities in a variety of cutting edge research areas. In the remaining years of the program, students benefit from the more intimate environment of their chosen program. They take advanced courses in their chosen field and participate in seminars and journal clubs. The overall goal of the program is to provide students with the skills that will ensure their success as independent research scientists.


The GEMS research laboratories are housed in the major research buildings of the university’s west-side campus. The university has recently expanded these facilities with the addition of the Molecular Biology Research Building (MBRB), opened in 1995, and a new 300,000 sq. ft., $150 million College of Medicine Research Building (COMRB) opened in 2005. In addition, the Center for Structural Biology Building was also opened in 2005. This state-of-the-art facility contains the most powerful research NMR available as well as other instruments for biophysical analysis. Many specialized resources for proteomics, genomics, imaging, biochemical and cell analysis are shared within the university, fostering the interactive and communal research environment.

Research at the University of Illinois College of Medicine

The University of Illinois College of Medicine received more than $100 million in NIH research funding in fiscal year 2004. A steady increase in grant funding has placed the University of Illinois College of Medicine among the top five medical schools nationwide for growth in research funding in the last five years. NIH funded basic research training programs include: Signal Transduction Cellular Endocrinology; Cellular Mechanisms of Cardiovascular Disease; Lung Biology and Pathobiology; Cellular Signaling in the Cardiovascular System; Neurosciences of Mental Health; and Pharmacological Sciences. In addition, a number of up and coming programs include Neurosciences, Infection and Immunity, and Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology. Look through the research descriptions of our departments and faculty, and you will see in detail these and many more exciting research opportunities.

We believe that the GEMS program has much to offer ambitious young scientists. We know that this is a crucial first step in an independent research career and would be happy to answer any questions. Please feel free to contact us.


Brad Merrill (merrillb@uic.edu) and John O’Bryan (obryanj@uic.edu)