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An interdisciplinary approach employing advanced methods of Molecular Biology and Structural Biophysics is the hallmark of modern scientific research, whether fundamental, clinical or translational. The Department aims to promote, at all levels, the understanding of the function of living systems.
- Investigate the structure and function of cells at the molecular and even atomic level
- Comprehend the general laws of nature and, for physiology, how they operate in living systems
- Integrate the details to understand the function of the entire organism and exploit this knowledge for the betterment of human health
Modern molecular physiologists and biophysicists may investigate the function of the heart by cloning a membrane channel or transport protein, expressing it and studying its kinetics through patch clamping in a model cell system, while exploring the relationship between molecular structure and function through crystallography and spectroscopy of the protein.
Our research-intensive program is designed to train students to identify significant biological problems and use the most advanced and modern methods for solving them. The emphasis of our department and expertise in molecular physiology and biophysics provide a unique environment for interdisciplinary training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.
The Biomedical Sciences (BIMS) Graduate Training Program at the University of Virginia is integrated across departments and schools but students select a field of study in which they receive their degrees, which includes Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics and others. All students apply to the BIMS umbrella program and spend the first year acquiring a broad background in Physiology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Molecular Biology and related disciplines, and carry out laboratory rotations of their choice (see Program Requirements).
- Students are encouraged to arrive in July for first laboratory rotation during the summer prior to the first semester of study
- At the end of the first year, identify a mentor and begin an independent research project
- Qualifying exam and thesis proposal are at the end of the second year to enter candidacy for the Ph.D.
- Upon completion of all requirements and the successful oral defense of the dissertation, the Ph.D.
degree is awarded in Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics
Advanced courses may be selected in a wide variety of disciplines including Physiology, Biophysics, Biochemistry, Bioengineering, Cell Biology, Mathematics, Molecular Biology, Physical Chemistry, Physics, Pharmacology. and Structural Biology. Students and faculty participate in regularly scheduled departmental research seminars presented by distinguished visiting scientists and participate in all of the specialized activities. The collegiality that characterizes the University of Virginia is a special strength of our training programs, lending them a strong interdisciplinary character and close working relationships between students and research advisors. We want our students to receive the training, sense of purpose and enthusiasm that will carry them throughout their careers.
Suggested Undergraduate Preparation for Application: Applicants should have a Bachelor's degree from an accredited college, and their background should include one year each of biology, physics, organic chemistry and physical chemistry, as well as mathematics through calculus. Qualified candidates may meet a limited number of these prerequisites after enrollment.
International students must submit their score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
For fall admission, application should be submitted by December 15 but later applications will be considered. Inquiries are encouraged at any time, including those seeking advice on pre-admission curricula.
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Students are awarded stipends of $27,000 per year plus tuition and fees, health insurance ($2,152). Living and Housing Costs: Most students prefer to live in off-grounds apartments or houses. On-Grounds dormitories for both single and married students are available.