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The University of Washington provides a dynamic and resource-rich environment for graduate study. The Biomedical Ph.D. programs at the University of Washington provide a competitive stipend, tuition waiver, and health insurance for all students. Please visit the links below for information about specific programs.

Follow this link for a PDF version of the Biomedical Programs brochure.


Initially recognized for incisive studies of the structure and function of proteins, and the mechanisms of enzyme action, the department of biochemistry branched out into other areas including aspects of molecular, cell and developmental biology. The faculty now explores such questions as how genes are expressed throughout development; how proteins and cells interact;  how gene expression is modulated by environmental changes; how light energy is trapped in photosynthesis; how blood coagulates after injury; and how cells process information in the visual and immune responses. The techniques range from molecular structure determination by X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy; genetic analysis using bacterial, yeast, fly, and mouse systems; protein structure prediction based on complete genome sequences; and picoseconds laser spectroscopy.

We emphasize the value of using interdisciplinary approaches to attack important biological problems.  Our department provides a friendly, interactive environment where students and faculty exchange ideas easily and get to know each other well. You will have the opportunity to become acquainted with diverse areas of biochemistry through course work and seminars, while still concentrating on areas that are especially important for thesis research.
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UW Bioengineering is home to some of the most exciting research being done in this discipline, and our inventions to date include ultrasound machines, the Sonic Toothbrush, microfluidics, smart biomaterials, medical imaging algorithms and applications, and high-performance computing. Faculty and students in the department are making discoveries and researching technologies that will revolutionize the healthcare system, across multidisciplinary endeavors in nanotechnology, biotechnology, modern biology, tissue engineering, drug delivery, physiology, computation and informatics, imaging, sensors, devices, and instrumentation.
contact: dst [ a t ]

Biological Structure
The department of Biological Structure is a modern anatomy department which studies structural organization ranging from molecules to the human body. The faculty's scholarly interests can be roughly divided into four groups: cell and developmental biology; neural circuits in retina and brain; three-dimensional structure of biologically-relevant molecules studied by X-ray crystallography; and computer graphics and informatics.

Within our department research interests span a range of study organisms (plants, animals, fungi) at all levels of organization (molecular, cellular, organismal, ecosystem), using a variety of theoretical and experimental approaches in the laboratory and in the field.
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Biomolecular Structure & Design
The BIOMOLECULAR STRUCTURE & DESIGN (BMSD) PROGRAM at the University of Washington is an interdisciplinary graduate training program.The primary focus of research and training in BMSD involves the use and determination of atomic-level structures of biologically important molecules, with aims that include understanding the relationship between structure, dynamics, folding and function, predicting three-dimensional structures of biomolecules, and designing new molecules. The program is designed to facilitate cross-training among disciplines with the aim of preparing young scientists to enter this exciting and growing field of research. Students are supported through a variety of funding sources throughout their PhD studies.
The essence of epidemiology is to determine the distribution of diseases in populations, identify risk factors for diseases, and devise means to prevent the occurrence of diseases. The image of the Broad Street water pump at left represents these goals. When cholera killed 1000’s in mid-19 th century London , pioneering epidemiologist Dr. John Snow successfully traced one outbreak to polluted water flowing through this pump; when the pump was disabled and water obtained from cleaner sources, cholera deaths declined. UW epidemiologists are international leaders in the study a broad range of diseases, including (but not limited to) cancer, cardiovascular disease AIDS/HIV, other STDs, injuries, and reproductive conditions; and risk factors, such as behavioral, environmental, genetic, molecular, nutritional, and socioeconomic characteristics.We offer rigorous MPH, MS and PhD programs, judged by our peers to be among the top five in the nation, which provide training in epidemiologic methods and the epidemiology of numerous diseases and risks factors for disease.
Contact: epiapply [ a t ]

Genome Sciences
Our goal is to address leading edge questions in biology and medicine by developing and applying genetic, genomic and computational approaches that take advantage of genomic information now available for humans, model organisms and a host of other species. Our faculty study a broad range of topics, including the genetics of E. coli, yeast, C. elegans, Drosophila, and mouse; human and medical genetics; mathematical, statistical and computer methods for analyzing genomes, and theoretical and evolutionary genetics; and genome-wide studies by such approaches as sequencing, transcriptional and translational analysis, polymorphism detection and identification of protein interactions.
contact: bgiebel [ a t ]
The Immunology Ph.D. training program is designed to provide graduate students with the opportunity to pursue an understanding of immune responses in molecular detail and to do so in an environment in which the relevance for the understanding and management of human biology and disease is emphasized.  This foundation enables our students to make fundamental discoveries and serves as a starting point for careers in academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical research programs.
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The Department of Microbiology is strongly committed to its primary role in training researchers. Rapid advances in microbiology and the development of biotechnology have increased our understanding of all living systems, which in large part has been determined by studies of microorganisms. The research programs of the faculty reflect exciting areas of modern microbiology, which span a broad range of interests including microbial ecology, physiology, virology, and microbial pathogenesis in both animal and plant systems.
contact: mears [ a t ]
Molecular & Cellular Biology
MCB combines the strengths of the FHCRC and ten of the top UW departments (from Biochemistry to Pharmacology), together with other institutional settings such as the Institute for Systems Biology. As an educational consortium, the MCB Program strives to foster an innovative and flexible education-training program for graduate students interested in biomedical problems across a wide range of scientific disciplines.
contact: maryell [ a t ]

Molecular Medicine
The Molecular Medicine Certificate Program is designed to help PhD students in the biomedical sciences integrate and apply advances in basic science and technology (including their own research) to the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Students take classes with physician scientists; choose a clinical mentor to help guide their research; and have the opportunity to participate in a clinical rotation, learning from direct interaction with doctors and patients.
contact: mmtp [ a t ]

Neurobiology & Behavior
Understanding the brain represents both a major scientific challenge and a wonderful research opportunity. Neuroscientists use knowledge and techniques in such areas as anatomy, biochemistry, molecular biology, physiology, pharmacology, computer sciences, and the behavioral sciences to explore fundamental problems in neuroscience and their application in the biomedical sciences. Students working towards their Ph.D. in the Graduate Program in Neurobiology & Behavior receive training across the breadth of neuroscience research – from the molecule to the mind.
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The Pathobiology Graduate Program is committed to the promotion of public health by research, training and service in infectious and noninfectious diseases of importance to human populations. The research is laboratory-based, focused on the causal factors of disease and directed at the development of new knowledge to elucidate disease processes, means for disease detection and identification, factors responsible for disease dynamics in a population, and novel measures of disease prevention.

Experimental pathology is the discipline that most explicitly uses modern research techniques to address important problems in human disease. The Pathology PhD program in the Molecular Basis of Disease is devoted to the training of practicing biomedical scientists: individuals who can use the scientific method to ask and answer testable questions about significant biomedical problems. The program emphasizes research skills and the and the intellectual skills needed to formulate hypotheses and critically evaluate research data and conclusions.

Pharmacology is the study of how cells and organisms interact with the
molecules they encounter in their environment. Historically, the science
of pharmacology derives from man's age-old quest to understand the powerful effects of ancient poisons, stimulants, and herbal medicines - the hemlock of Socrates, the wine of Rome, and the English foxglove. Modern research in pharmacology applies a range of experimental methods derived from clinical medicine, biophysics, biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics. The faculty members in the Department of Pharmacology are involved in diverse areas of research with special emphasis on molecular pharmacology, cellular regulation, neuropharmacology, and environmental toxicology.

Physiology & Biophysics
The graduate program in Physiology & Biophysics exposes students to a broad range of experimental and analytical skills required for a successful career in research and/or teaching. The research opportunities in the department are very broad, ranging from identification of key molecules in cell division to how decisions are formed and executed in the brain.
contact: jonc [ a t ]