About the Genetics Discipline
One of the key features of our discipline is that we highly encourage collaboration between our students with faculty and students of other disciplines across the campus and at other institutions. Today’s research demands highly interdisciplinary approaches across all fields of biological, statistical and computer science. Our goal is train our students to have excellent command of the applications of genetics and a thorough knowledge of how genetics interacts with all the fields of biomedical science. Students may undertake research in areas such as cancer biology, computational genetics, population/evolutionary genetics, medical genetics, microbial genetics, and many other interrelated disciplines, such as neurobiology of aging, molecular epidemiology, or pharmacogenomics.
All incoming graduate students go through the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ (GSBS) Core Curriculum as a cohort during their first year. In the first Fall semester students take a series of courses covering fields of biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, experimental design, and biostatistics. Students also begin to participate in laboratory rotations with prospective mentors or in laboratories performing analytical methods that may be useful in their intended research. To be considered for entry into the Genetics disicpline, students are expected to complete two laboratory rotations within the first year with two different faculty members. One rotation must be completed with a faculty member from the Genetics faculty.
During the first Spring semester, students take two Genetics-specific advanced courses (Molecular Genetics and Medical Genetics) in addition to GSBS courses in Ethics and Scientific Communications. Students should have made their mentor selection and, following completion of the required coursework, can request to join the Genetics discipline by the end of this semester. Once in the Genetics discipline, students enroll and participate in the Genetics Journal Club course beginning in the Spring semester and during all long semesters for the duration of their enrollment. This course introduces students to the broad range of current research being done in genetics and related fields. The faculty encourage students to explore the other areas of biomedical science that are available at UNTHSC. Students are advised to discuss course selection with their mentor and graduate advisor to determine the courses from Genetics, as well as other academic disciplines, that are most advantageous for achieving their individual goals and objectives. Although the majority of required coursework will typically be completed by the end of the first year, students are encouraged to take other advanced courses and attend seminars and WIPs (Work in Process) presentations in other programs to continue to reinforce their connection with the other graduate students and research groups across campus.
During the remainder of their graduate studies, students perform original, publishable research, and are expected to present their research findings at scientific meetings. Each Spring the university hosts Research Appreciation Day (RAD) which is an excellent forum for students to present their progressing research and discuss their findings with other researchers. There are also several scholarships available to help support student travel to present at scientific meetings. Doctoral students are required to have a minimum of one first-authored paper on their dissertation research published or accepted prior to graduation.
Typically, Master of Science students are expected to graduate in 2 to 3 years, whereas Ph.D. students will generally graduate in 4 or more years. A goal of the GSBS is that all doctoral students are funded during their time in the graduate program. Doctoral students receive a competitive stipend and tuition expenses for the first 18 months from the GSBS and following that period, their stipends are covered by their mentor’s funding, fellowships, or other sources. We encourage our students to compete for doctoral dissertation improvement grants and fellowships from foundations and federal programs, as this experience will bolster their skill set as they mature as scientists.
Prospective students are highly encouraged to make contact with the Graduate Advisor and our Faculty to discuss mutual areas of research interest. Admissions applications to the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences are reviewed by an Admissions Committee made up of representatives from all of the GSBS programs. Please contact the Admissions Office with any questions regarding the admissions process. Feel free to contact the Graduate Advisor with any questions regarding the Genetics discipline specifically…we would love to hear from you!