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The application consists of:
  • Demographics
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Academic history
  • Test Scores 
    •  GRE (not required, but optional for some programs)
    • TOEFL or IELTS (if applicable)
  • Two essays 
  • 10 word  undergrad research description & 10 word descripotion of graduate research interest
  • Listing of Major coursework
  • Work history
  • Awards/Honors
  • Publication list (if any)

Applicants who have applied in the previous year must submit a new application with the application type marked as “Re-Apply”.

All application materials (transcripts, GRE/TOEFL score reports, letters of recommendation, and additional materials sent to us by the applicant) become the property of the Division of Biology and Biological Sciences at Washington University and cannot be returned to the applicant or forwarded to another school/department.

PhD Application Instructions

The application deadline for Fall 2020 enrollment is December 1, 2019. All applicants are encouraged to submit ealry.  Submission of the application prior to November 1, 2019 will allow for a discounted application fee.

PhD Application Instructions
Test Scores

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test is no longer required by DBBS Programs, however it is optonal for some. Please refer to the individual program web page ( to see if GRE scores may be optioanlly submitted.  If so, scores must be from tests taken in the last five years. The Subject test is not required. Applicants who need to submit scores are strongly encouraged to schedule the exam early so the official scores will reach DBBS before the December 1st deadline.

ETS Institution Code - 6929

Proficiency in English is required of all applicants. Applicants whose native language is not English must demonstrate English proficiency and are required to provide an official score report from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Only scores from tests taken within the last two years will be accepted. To be eligible for an automatic (no request needed) TOEFL/IELTS waiver the applicant must have completed a full-time bachelor's or master's degree from a regionally accredited university located in the United States or an institution where English is the primary language of instruction.  PLEASE NOTE: The US Immigration service may require a TOEFL/IELTS exam score if the entire program of study is less than 3 years in duration.

ETS Institution Code - 6929

PhD Application Instructions
Section II - Diabetes

Section Leaders:
Thomas J. Baranski, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine & Developmental Biology, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Lipid Research
Charlie Harris, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Lipid Research 





Sept 24

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Colin Nichols, PhD

Carl Cori Professor of Cell Biology & Physiology CIMED Director

Division of Cell Biology & Physiology

Monogenic Diabetes

Sept 26

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Jeff Millman, PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine & Biomedical Engineering Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Lipid Research

Pluripotent Technologies and Beta Cells

Oct 1

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Fumi Urano, MD PhD

Samuel E. Schechter Professor of Medicine

Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Lipid Research

Wolfram Syndrome Patient Visit

Oct 3

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Paul Hruz, MD PhD

Director, Division of Pediatric Endocrinology & Diabetes Associate Professor of Pediatrics: Endo & Metabolism + Cell Biology & Physiology

Insulin Action-lessons from Transgenic Animals

Oct 8

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Charles Harris, MD PhD

Assistant Professor of Medicine Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research

Obesity & Insulin Resistance

Oct 10

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Tom Baranski, MD PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine & Developmental Biology Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Lipid Research

Complications of Diabetes Patient Visit

Oct 15


Fall Break

No Class

Oct 17

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)

Garry Tobin, MD

Associate Professor of Medicine Director, Diabetes Center Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism, & Lipid Research

Introduction to Clinical Diabetes Patient Visit

Oct 22

FLTC 205 (1:30-3:00pm)


Faculty Overview and Course Discussion


Lunch served

Pathobiology of Human Disease States Course
Section I - Immunotherapy

Section Co-Leaders:
Todd Fehniger, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant;
Nathan Singh, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stem Cell Biology





Aug. 27

FLTC 205

Todd Fehniger, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant

Intro to Immunotherapy Module and Natural Killer Cell Therapy

​Aug. 29

FLTC 205

Amanda Cashen, MD

Associate Professor, Medicine

Division of Oncology, Bone Marrow Transplant

Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation


Patient Visit

​Sept. 3

FLTC 205

Nathan Singh, MD

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Oncology, Stem Cell Biology

Chimeric Antigen Receptor

(CAR) T Cell Therapy 

Patient Visit

Sept. 5

FLTC 205

Carl DeSelm, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Radiation Oncology, Division of Cancer Biology


Engineered APCs

Sept. 10


Lobby, CAM



Tour of apheresis center, cell therapy lab, biological therapy facility (GMP), and 8800 Clinical Cell Therapy Unit

 “Follow The Cells!” 


(Note: 2 hours!)

Sept. 12

FLTC 205


David DeNardo, PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine
Division of Oncology
ICCE Institute

Andrea Wang-Gillam, MD PhD

Associate Professor, Medicine
Division of Oncology
Section: Medical Oncology

Tumor Microenvironment

Patient Visit

Sept. 17

FLTC 205

Tanner Johanns, MD, PhD

Instructor, Department of Medicine, Division of Oncology



Immune Checkpoint Therapy and Neo-Antigen Vaccines


Patient Visit

​Sept. 19

FLTC 205
(1:00 -2:30pm)


Wrap up discussion and lunch

Pathobiology of Human Disease States Course
Section III - Retina
Pathobiology of Human Disease States Course
Past Course Modules
1. Sickle Cell Anemia
2. Malaria​
3. Diabetes
1. Cystic Fibrosis
2. Coronary Artery Disease
1. Sickle Cell Anemia
2. Emphysema
3. Acute Leukemia 
1. Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia
2. Undue Susceptibility to Infection
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
1. Sickle Cell Disease
2. Multiple Sclerosis
3. Epstein Barr Virus
1. Osteoporosis
2. Thrombophilia
3. Congenital Malformations
1. Sickle Cell Disease
2. Hepatitis C
3. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
3. Prostate Cancer
1. Sickle Cell Disease
2. Epstein Barr Virus
3. Heart Failure
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
2. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
3. SLE (Lupus)
1. Heart Failure
2. Diabetes Mellitus
3. Preeclampsia
1. SLE/Rheumatoid Arthritis
2. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
3. Asthma
2. Heart Failure
3. Preeclampsia
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
2. Breast Cancer
3. Rheumatoid Arthritis
1. Sickle Cell Anemia
2. Congestion Heart Failure
3. High Risk Pregnancy
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
2. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
1. Cardio Disease/Heart Failure
2. Diabetes & Metabolism
3. Osteoporosis/Other Bone Disorders
1. Sickle Cell Anemia
3. Major Depressive Disorders
1. Alzheimer’s Disease
2. Cardio Disease/Heart Failure
3. Diabetes
1. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
2. Cystic Fibrosis
3. High Risk Pregnancy
1. Rheumatoid Arthritis
2. Cardiovascular Disease
3. Malaria
1. Diabetes
2. High Risk Pregnancy
3. Depression
1. Translating Global Health
2. Cardiovascular Disease
3. Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia
1. Immunotherapy
2. High Risk Pregnancy
3. Alzheimer’s Disease
1. Evidence Based Medicine/Sickle Cell Disease
2. Diabetes
3. Cardiovascular Disease
​2017 ​​1. Immunotherapy
2. Alzheimer's Disease
3. Cardiovascular Disease
​2018 ​​1. High Risk Pregnancy
2. Pain Management
3. Cardiovascular Disease
Pathobiology of Human Disease States Course

Intent to Graduate Form must be filed:

August 1, 2019 for August 15, 2019 Graduation
September 30, 2019 for December 18, 2019 Graduation
December 18, 2019 for a May 15, 2020 Graduation

Final Dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School (in its final form, all edits corrected):

April 22, 2019 for May 17, 2019 Graduation
September 5, 2019 for August 15, 2019 Graduation
January 3, 2020 for December 18, 2019 Graduation
April 20, 2020 for a May 15, 2020 Graduation​

Getting Ready to Graduate
Update Profile

Please send updates to Andrew Richards,

Faculty Login
Male Contraceptive Inititiative (MCI)

​Max Lyon​ - Molecular Cell Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
Monsanto Excellence Fund for Graduate Fellowships in Life Sciences

George KatumbaBiochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology

Manishi Pandey - Computational and Systems Biology

Robert Potter​ - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Chad Schaber - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Henry Schreiber IV - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Jennifer Soll - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Erica Thomas - Plant and Microbial Biosciences

Maxwell Zimmerman​ - Computational and Molecular Biophysics

External Fellowship Awardees
National Institute of Health

Ehiole Akhirome - Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Chinwendu Amazu - Molecular Cell Biology

David Anderson - Immunology

Juliet Bartleson - Immunology

Michael Bern - Immunology

Kayla Berry - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Jay Bowman-Kirigin - Immunology

Adam Clemens - Developemental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Jennifer Davis - Molecular Cell Biology

Vivek Durai - Immunology

Trent Evans - Molecular Cell Biology

McKenna Feltes - Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology

Jerry Fong - Computational & Systems Biology

Jared Goodman - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Gary Grajales-Reyes - Immunology

Samarth Hegde​ - Molecular Cell Biology

Andrew Kraft - Neurosciences

Varintra Krisnawan - Immunology

Dov Lerman-Sinkoff - Biomedical Engineering

Lucy Li - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Stephen Linderman - Biomedical Engineering

Manasi Malik - Molecular Cell Biology

Hannah Miller - Immunology

Anish Mitra - Neurosciences

Arnav Moudgil - Computational & Systems Biology

Bernard Mulvey​ - Neurosciences

Takihiro Ohara - Immunology

Patrick Olson - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Elizabeth Ostrander​ - Human & Statistical Genetics

Eugene Park - Immunology

Chelsea Parker Harp - Immunology

Justin Porter - Computational & Systems Biology

Caitlin Purman - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Monica Xiong - Neurosciences

Megan Radyk - Molecular Cell Biology

Rachel Rahn​ - Neurosciences

Michelle Robinette - Immunology

Emilie Russler-Germain - Immunology

Alexandra Russo​ - Neurosciences

Arthur Sletten - Molecular Cell Biology

Sarah Smith - Neurosciences

Brett Tort​elli​- Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis​

Samantha (Bayer) Van Hove - Molecular Cell Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
Application, Procedures and Criteria for PROGRAM Membership in the DBBS
Faculty on the Investigator (tenure) track from any Department of Washington University may be nominated for DBBS Program membership by their Department Head/Chair. 
Candidates for new Program membership in the DBBS will be evaluated using the following criteria, reflecting the importance of continued excellence in postgraduate training and mentoring. It is expected that DBBS faculty members will have strong credentials in many/most of the following areas:
  • A high quality, independent research program in an area of biological or biomedical research that is congruent with existing DBBS programs, and evidence of sustainable research funding or (in the case of new investigators) a strong prognosis for securing funding.
  • A strong record of training and mentoring students (graduate, medical, and/or undergraduate) and/or postdoctoral fellows, or (for new investigators) a clear interest and potential to do so. Examples include a record of past trainees and their current professional status and achievements, a list of publications authored by trainees, formal recognition/awards for teaching or mentoring, and any other evidence of a positive impact on the professional development of mentees.
  • Past and ongoing teaching contributions to graduate and/or medical education. A list should be provided of course titles with a brief summary of the subject matter taught and the number of contact hours in the classroom.
  • For recently appointed junior faculty who have not had the opportunity to meet these criteria, the basis for a positive prognosis should be addressed in the nomination letter from the Department Head/Chair.
The process for evaluating candidates will include the following steps.
  • The DBBS Faculty Membership Committee will screen all candidates for DBBS Program membership andl convey their recommendation on the candidate's membership application to the Director(s) of the primary program which the candidate wishes to join.
  • The Program Director(s) will evaluate the suitability of the candidate as a DBBS mentor associated with their program and decide whether to admit the candidate to DBBS Program membership, recommend a re-evaluation for General membership or deny the application. If admission is thoroughly declined, there is a period of one year before a new request will be considered.
Completed applications must include the six components described below and must be attached to the DBBS membership application form, which can be downloaded below. Applications are limited to 12 pages and must provide evidence of mentoring experience and skills as well as evidence of ability to fully support graduate students that affiliate with faculty member/mentor, inclusive of stipend and fees. The following documents are required when a faculty member applies for membership to the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences:

Recommendation Letter or Supporting Statement from Applicant’s Department Head/Chair or Division Chief, whoever is financially responsible in the event of a lapse of funding by the faculty member (1-2 pages)
Biographical Sketch of Applicant (1-2 pages)
Current and Pending Support (include information regarding start-up funds, if applicable (1-2 pages)
Research Statement (1-2 pages)
List of Current and Past Trainees, if applicable, and other evidence of mentoring experience and skills (Past 5 Years – 1-2 pages)
Other Support

Time Off Policy
Student appointments to the Division are considered to be 52-week appointments and do not follow academic vacation schedules. Planned absences should be approved by the advisor and unplanned absences reported to them. “Advisors” in the graduate years are program directors, rotation mentors, MTE course master and/or thesis mentors, as is appropriate. For MSTP students during their medical training, the Director of the MSTP program will serve as the supervisor. The total amount of excused absence should not exceed 8 weeks. This would include: University approved holidays; 22 days of vacation; and 12 days of sick time off annually. Sick time off and vacation are not carried over from year to year, are not accrued (available from time of appointment) and are not subject to payout at the termination of the graduate student appointment. Therefore, informal monitoring of this time off by advisors and students will normally be sufficient. For students in Ph.D. training, disputes between advisors and students should first be addressed by the Program Director. For MSTP students in medical training, disputes will be resolved by consensus between the MSTP Director and the clinical advisor. 

If you decide to travel and be away from the lab for any reason other than to perform research or attend a scientific meeting, your time away from work will be considered a vacation. Should you exceed the allotted 22 days of vacation per fiscal year, you may be required to take an unpaid leave of absence. Students who travel outside of the US are not covered by student health; however, travel insurance can be purchased and information is available at Student Health Services.

Special note for International Students: Due to increased security measures, the process of renewing student visas has been prolonged in several countries. In most instances, it is not necessary to travel home to renew a visa. If you decide to travel to home, please contact the International Office to obtain the required signature of an official representative on your I-20 form prior to traveling out of the country.

New Child Leave
Students may also receive stipends for up to 8 weeks of New Child leave per year for the adoption or birth of a child. Either parent is eligible for New Child leave.

EMail & Internet Access
All students are provided with email accounts and access to the Internet free of charge.  Most of the Division's communications about events, changes in policy, courses, etc. are sent by Wustl email.  Please see​​ for more information.

Verifications for Federal Student Lenders

It is not necessary for students to request enrollment or degree verification from the Office of the University Registrar or the School of Medicine Registrar for federal student loan deferments. The lenders and servicing agencies for federal student loans download this information directly from the NSC on a regular basis.

Note that the anticipated degree date reported by the Clearinghouse to your loan lenders prior to your actual graduation is a calculated value based upon your year in school and enrollment status. They use it to project when you may no longer be in school and entering repayment on your loans.

Please contact The Registrar’s office for further questions:​

DGSP Administrative Policy
Money Matters

The 2019-2020 annual stipend is $30,500.  Stipend payments are disbursed the last working day of each month.  You will receive an email notification from HR on how to set-up direct deposit once entered into the payroll system.  If your direct deposit isn’t set-up in time, you will be notified via e-mail when checks are available to be picked up from the DBBS Division Office.

To ensure that you receive your first stipend paycheck, make certain to check in with a DBBS Finance Coordinator to complete the required payroll documents as soon as you arrive.  Documents must be completed no later than the following dates:  June 11, July 11, August 8.

The amount of your first stipend check will be prorated according to your start date.  For more information regarding stipend payments and possible tax implications please visit​.

International Students:

Please visit the WUSTL Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) webpage for important information.  Prior to orientation, questions concerning your VISA should be directed to Bridget Coleman at 314-935-8753 or​.  International students must go to the OISS located on the Danforth campus to check-in before coming to the Division office.  Please make certain to bring all appropriate original documentation when you meet with the OISS representative. 

Entering Students

When searching for a lab in which to rotate, the PI of the lab may ask your DBBS Program Coordinator to view your application. Please complete the File Permission Form to ensure a seamless transition to each rotation.

Setting Up Your First Rotation
We encourage all DBBS students to research our faculty database and to contact potential research mentors before arriving on campus. Here are a few tips to make setting up your first rotation a success: 

  • Review faculty and their research interests to get an idea of where you want to rotate.
  • Most faculty members prefer to be contacted initially by email, so contact faculty before you arrive.
  • To prepare for your first meeting with the faculty member, read some recent papers from the faculty member's laboratory.
  • Download and fill out the Researc​h Rotation Form​ and give to your program coordinator.  
  • Please visit the Student Forms section of the DBBS website for all student forms.
Entering Students
Application, Procedures and Criteria for GENERAL Membership in the DBBS
Note: faculty who want to mentor students in their lab should apply with the PROGRAM Membership application

Faculty on the Clinical, Research or Investigator track from any Department of Washington University may be nominated for DBBS General membership by their Department Head/Chair or Division Chief.
Candidates for new General membership in the DBBS will be evaluated using the following criteria, reflecting the importance of continued excellence in postgraduate training and mentoring. It is expected that DBBS faculty members will have strong credentials in many/most of the following areas:
  • A good record of student engagement within the Medical School and/or University at large.
  • Committee service to science/medical entities including university, regional, and national organizations that support and promote graduate and medical education.
  • Past and ongoing teaching contributions to graduate and/or medical education. A list should be provided of course titles with a brief summary of the subject matter taught and the number of contact hours in the classroom.
  • For recently appointed junior faculty who have not had the opportunity to meet these criteria, the basis for a positive prognosis should be addressed in the nomination letter from the Department Head/Chair.
The Associate Dean for Graduate Education will review applications and decide whether to admit the candidate to General membership in DBBS. If admission is declined, there is a period of one year before a new request will be considered.
Completed applications must include the four components described below and must be attached to the DBBS membership application form, which can be downloaded below.
Applications are limited to 6 pages.Recommendation Letter or Supporting Statement from Applicant’s Department Head/Chair or Division Chief (1-2 pages)
Biographical Sketch or CV of Applicant (1-2 pages)
Statement of Purpose (1-2 pages), detailing the applicant’s area of expertise and enumerating how they will contribute to the mission of DBBS
Continuing Program Membership in DBBS

Program membership in the DBBS will be reviewed periodically:

The first-phase of review will be conducted by the Program Director/Steering Committees. The review process will address the following areas of participation in DBBS:
  • The member’s record of training and mentoring students, along with current and pending funding.
  • Committee service to the DBBS and related basic science entities including university, regional, and national organizations that support and promote graduate and medical education. Local service on advisory, planning, and oversight committees related to the mission of the DBBS.
  • Regular involvement in DBBS program activities, including seminars, journal clubs, student recruiting, and retreats.
  • Teaching contributions to graduate and/or medical education
Based upon the criteria noted above and the recommendation of the Program Director/Steering Committees, the Faculty Membership Committee will decide whether to renew the Program membership in DBBS, recommend an offer of General membership, or deny membership. If admission is denied, there is a period of one year before a new request will be considered. 
Justin Miller

Justin Miller

Sohini Sengupta.jpg

​Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology program, incoming class 2015; 
lab of Dr. Audrey Odom John

What is your educational/professional background?
I received a B.S. in both Chemical Engineering and Biochemistry at Iowa State University before starting here. As an undergrad I worked in a biochemistry lab trying to understand the structure-function relationship of very long chain fatty acid enzymes in corn.

Why did you choose to attend Washington University DBBS?
What is your favorite part about pursuing your PhD training here?
I absolutely loved the collaborative, interdepartmental, and interprogram nature of DBBS. The people here (grad students, post-docs, staff, and faculty) were incredibly genuine, caring, supportive, and humble, and made WashU feel like home immediately. As I've continued here in DBBS I'm continually amazed by just how true my original assessment was.​

What research are you currently working on? What is a fun fact about your current research?
I study how proteins choose the substrates they accept and the products they make (both in vitro and in vivo) in the laboratory of Dr. Audrey Odom John. Specifically, I now focus on how ester pro-drugs are activated in pathogens and am trying to bias activation towards specific activation in a pathogen, rather than activation in the host. We hope that this will lead to better pharmacokinetic properties of drugs. 

Fun fact: I’m absolutely enamored with puns (don’t get me started, I’m punstoppable), and through time have warmed my lab to the idea that puns are great. Now we start our weeks off by solving a visual pun every Monday morning.

Are you involved in any student groups, volunteer work or other ventures outside of the lab?
I'm currently serving as the senior co-chair of the Student Advisory Committee, the governing student body of DBBS. We mediate discussions between students and the administration, provide social outlets for students, and develop resources for students in the division. I also spend time with Future Educators, where I coordinate journal club discussions on current best practices in teaching and mentoring. Additionally, I sit on a few committees in the Biochemistry program/department, and am helping out on DBBS’s curriculum reform committee. 

In my free time I volunteer at the St. Louis Science Center as an interpreter for the life sciences department. I help lead discussions with the public on genetic modifications of crops and lab animals, synthetic biology, and evolution. This past summer I put together a hands-on synthetic biology summer camp for 7-10th graders. We had tons of fun exploring why tomatoes are red and carrots are orange by cloning* the lycopene and b-carotene synthase genes into E.coli. *some shortcuts taken.

What is your favorite part about living in St. Louis?
So much! I'll parrot the past few featured students in saying that the truckloads of free/cheap activities (both in and out of the park) are incredible. There's an overwhelming number of things to do and try — from restaurants on South Grand, to glass blowing demonstrations at the Third Degree Glass Factory — which perpetually fill my "to-do" list. Lastly, we're not far from cool hiking and camping which is a huge bonus. 

What hobbies do you enjoy?
I absolutely love to rock climb, hike, swim, and camp (bonus points for all four in a weekend). I've also recently developed an interest in baking sourdough bread and pickling. The latter I'm sustaining by gardening in a community garden plot!

What is your favorite quote?
I have two that I try and keep in the back of my brain on a regular basis:

"One child, one teacher, one book, one pen can change the world." ― Malala Yousafzai
"We never know which lives we influence, or when, or why.” ― Stephen King

Is a hot dog a sandwich?
Only if you eat your hot dog with the buns parallel to the ground ... which would be weird ...

What movie would be greatly improved if it were made into a musical?
Next on Broadway: “Star Wars the Musical.” It's got the story setup for it all: two drastically different best friends (Han and Chewie), an awkward love story (redacted, spoilers), and I personally can't wait for a song by Yoda.

Who is your biggest role model?
My post-doc turned staff scientist mentor during my undergraduate career remains a huge role model for me to this day. She constantly amazes me in the way she balances science and teaching — from hands on mentoring of undergraduate researchers in lab, to developing new research-based lab courses, to leading initiatives to help freshman get involved in research.

What career would you like to pursue after completing your PhD training?
I would love to have a career with equal parts outreach, teaching, and research. I love the moments when I'm able to sit down with someone and talk science with them. It's amazing to see their faces light up when they realize just how many cool things are possible.

What advice would you give to prospective graduate students?
Find something that you love (both in science and outside of lab) and pursue both with gusto. As many have highlighted it's important to maintain a balance between lab and life. Additionally: Fail fast and fail often. We often dream of all the ways that our hypothesis might be successful and look to prove it correct. However, I’ve found that when I’m in that mindset I think of the experiments I “could do,” rather than the “killer experiment(s)” which really tell me if my hypothesis is correct. Don’t be afraid to fail, take what data you have and move on! 

Work smarter, not just harder. It's so easy in graduate school to pile on extra experiments, class time, seminars, papers, etc., that you must have a way to prioritize what is the most important, not only for you right now, but also for your future self. Look to your mentor(s) for help with prioritization! Don't be afraid to ask for help. We've all been at the point of an experiment where we don't know what to do or we're just confused about the results. Trying to find the answer on your own may be a useful exercise sometimes, but often you'll get a more complete answer (in less time) when you ask for help.

Past Student Spotlights


See your student coordinator at least THREE - SIX months prior to thesis examination (defense).

If you are an International student, YOU MUST see the International Office prior to setting up a defense date to discuss your Visa status and its implication.

Intent to Graduate Form - The Office of Student Records requires that you complete the Intent to Graduate Form on-line through WebSTAC, see below for graduation deadlines. If you have any problems locating or completing the form in WebSTAC, please contact the Office of Student Records at (314) 935-5959.
Read through the Doctoral Dissertatio​n Guide for formatting guidelines and other important information (found at
One Month Before Thesis Examination:
  • Ask your coordinator for the Dissertation Committee Form, have your program director sign the form and return form to your coordinator.
  • Submit your CV and the dissertation abstract.  (Be sure to follow the guidelines in the Doctoral Dissertation Guide booklet). Each should be initialed by the thesis advisor.
  • Email your coordinator the dissertation title, defense date, time and location of thesis examination. It is the student’s responsibility to reserve a room for the thesis examination.  (Thesis Examination information will be published in the DBBS seminar calendar online.)
  • Submit the Payroll/Student Health Form
Two Weeks Before Thesis Examination:
  • Distribute copies of dissertation and a copy of your CV to committee members electronically.  If your PDF file is too large to send by email, we advise you to use the Washington University Large File Transfer System,​.  It is a secure and encrypted tool for transferring large files between people and works in a similar manner to Dropbox.  Members of the Wash U community can access this system with their WUSTL Key.
    Note: Your thesis advisor should be listed as the chairperson on your title page and the date would be your degree date (May, August or December are the only options). If you have questions about permission to use published papers in your thesis, you may wish to visit for help with this topic or you may wish to consult your subject librarian, or email
After Defense:
  • Submit your Thesis Examination Approval form to your coordinator.
  • Submit your finalized dissertation online.  Log on to to create an account. Once your dissertation has been successfully submitted you will receive an email informing you that everything has been received. Final submission must be completed by the deadline, indicated in deadline section below.  Plan to submit your dissertation and paperwork a few days before the deadline. You may need to make corrections to your formatting or fill out additional paperwork.
  • Fill out the Post-Graduation Job​ Survey a​
  • Fill out the Survey of Earned Docto​rates Form at
  • Check in with your coordinator to make sure you have submitted everything you need to submit. 
Binding Dissertation
  • If you would like to have your dissertation bound, visit  to upload your thesis and order bound copies. No copies should be ordered until after the electronic submission of a dissertation to ProQuest has been approved by the Graduate School; the pdf uploaded at should be identical to the approved pdf previously submitted to ProQuest.
  • Note: The price for binding a single dissertation begins at $25 (shipping additional). A $35 Scholar Credit will be applied to each graduating student’s SIS account approximately 30 days after their last stipend check.
  • Should your PI want a copy of your thesis, they can also use the Thesis on Demand site at their own expense. You will need to provide them with an electronic copy of your thesis to utilize this site-
  • Questions regarding dissertation binding should be directed to Andrew Richards, Director of Alumni Affairs at​.
Getting Ready to Graduate
Financial Support & Benefits

All Division students are guaranteed a stipend, full tuition and related fees, including health care, disability and life insurance, as long as satisfactory progress toward the degree is maintained. Students who are not United States citizens receive the same support (further details appear in the section for International Students below). 

All Division students receive a stipend throughout their tenure as students. This support is provided through a variety of sources, including University funds, training grants from the National Institutes of Health and other agencies, foundation funds, individual predoctoral fellowships, thesis mentor's research grants, and/or department funds. If support is restricted by a confidentiality agreement the student must submit a “Conflict of Interest Disclosure Statement”. Graduate education is a full-time commitment. Division students may not hold any employment outside the University. They may, with mentor approval, serve as tutors or participate in research studies for payment to the extent that it does not interfere with their academic progress. Activities which interfere with a student’s progress are specifically prohibited.

Because of the guaranteed financial support, a single international student is not required to provide proof of financial support. International students in the Division are subject to all regulations of the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service as administered through the University’s International Office. International students who have attended another academic institution in the United States must have their visa documents transferred to Washington University. It is illegal for an international student to work in a laboratory or receive stipend payment until the transfer is complete. All matters related to visa status and international student eligibility are referred to the University International Office. The booklet, International Perspectives, which is distributed by the International Office to all international students entering the University, provides important information about international student life in St. Louis. The Director and staff of the International Office are available to assist international students as they prepare to enter the United States and during their student tenure. The telephone number of the Office for International Students and Scholars (OISS) is 314-935-5910.

Any PhD or MSTP student who obtains competitive external funding awarding at least $23,844 in stipend annually will receive the base DBBS stipend plus a $5,000 merit award per year for the duration of the fellowship as long as they remain in good academic standing. If the agency award is more than the $5,000 above the DBBS base stipend, the student will receive the agency award only, no merit award will be offered. At the end of the fellowship the student will then return to the current DBBS stipend level at that time.

Throughout a student's tenure in the Division all tuition and fees are paid directly to the University from a variety of sources, including the Division, training grants, fellowships, scholarships, thesis mentors and/or their departments, etc. Currently the fees include a health fee and the network access fee.

Health Coverage
Entering students receive detailed information about their coverage and about procedures for obtaining dental, medical care and/or counseling services. When recommended by Student Health Service, counseling is provided. Student Health Service provides assistance in dealing with a wide variety of concerns and can be reached at 314-362-3523. After a student has turned in the completed thesis and forms to the Graduate School, s/he begins thirty days of emergency only health care; arrangements for continuing medical coverage should be made prior to the thesis defense.

Information regarding spouse and dependent health care coverage is available from Student Health Services staff.

Disability and Life Insurance
Disability and life insurance are provided by the University. These coverages continue for the student's tenure, and details about them are available at the Student Health Service.

DGSP Administrative Policy
Application Process
Students applying in year 1 must be good academic standing. 
Students applying in year 2 must have completed the Program-specific qualifying exam. 
Students are encouraged to have completed one or more of the following courses: Genomics (Bio 5488), Advanced Genetics (Bio 5491) or Fundamentals of Mammalian Genetics (Bio 5285), however all interested students should apply.    
- Name, birth date, address, academic program and year and citizenship.  
- Contact information (e-mail and telephone)
- PI in which thesis work is being conducted
- CV or resume (include a list of graduate courses taken and grade)
- Paragraph description of why the student is interested in the Pathway
- Paragraph description of thesis research.* 
- Assemble these components into a single PDF, and send to
- Two letters of recommendation, one of which is from the thesis advisor*, should be sent directly to
*If you have not yet joined a thesis laboratory then a rotation lab project and a rotation advisor can be used as a substitute.
All application material should be submitted by June 15, 2019, to
Applications will be reviewed by the Pathway Co-directors, Tim Schedl (Genetics), Chris Gurnett (Neurology), John Welch (Medicine) and Gary Stormo (Genetics).
Genetics & Genomics Pathway Application Process
IV) Annual educational retreat
October 24, 2019
Keynote speaker-Rick Lifton (Rockefeller University)
Presentation by students in the second year of the Pathway (either on Thesis research or Clinical mentored project)
Genetics and Genomics Pathway
III) Clinical Connections
 a) Attend recurring clinical conferences at the Medical School (2 per semester)
       - Pediatric genetics conference (every Monday) 
       - Undiagnosed Disease Network Genomics Board (3rd Wednesday each month)
b) Shadow a clinician (spring year 1- year 2)
     Students will pair with a clinically active faculty member whose practice involves patients with genetically/ genomically based disease. 
c) Clinical mentored project (year 2)  [Optional]
     A circumscribed bioinformatic project will be carried out with a clinical mentor on a patient case or area of mutual interest.  The project will provide a student with a more in depth exposure to patient specific data and its analysis, and has the potential to result in novel publishable findings.  As such projects will usually be unrelated to the students thesis work, they must be limited in duration (up 40 hrs), and thoughtfully chosen in consultation with the clinical mentor, Pathway co-directors and student’s thesis mentor.  
Genetics and Genomics Pathway
Defense Packet

Below are all the forms that need to be completed. You still must see your Coordinator for additional items and forms.

MSTP students - please see the MSTP office for instructions.

  1. Visit to access:
    1. Dissertation and Thesis Template
    2. Doctoral Dissert​ation Guide
  2. Visit to access:
    1. Dissertation Defense Committee Form​
    2. ​Survey of Earned Doctorates Form
    3. Job Survey
  3. Intent to Graduate Form - filed via WEBSTAC
  4. Payroll/Student Health Form
  5. Graduating Student Survey

Getting Ready to Graduate
Hope Grows Foundation

Wayne Warner - Molecular Cell Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Cameron Jay Sargent - Biochemistry

External Fellowship Awardees
Philip and Sima Needleman Student Fellowship

​Joseph Burclaff - Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology

Marcus Mahar​ - Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
National Science Foundation

David Anderson - Immunology

Prachi Gopal Bagadia - Immunology

David Baranger - Neurosciences

Kirsten Brenner - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Amy Kate Clippinger - Neurosciences

Melissa Cook - Immunology

Rebecca Lynn CunninghamDevelopmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology​

Lisa Drewry - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Vincent FasanelloEvolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Alexis Shontae Fennoy - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Katherine Geist - Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Percy Griffin - Molecular Cell Biology​

Sarem Seifu Hailemariam - Molecular Cell Biology

Gregory Harriso​n​ - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Katherine Heisey - Neurosciences

Cynthia  Holland - Plant and Microbial Biosciences

Eric Keen - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Elizabeth Kennedy - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Zuzana Kocsisova - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Nathan D. Kopp - Human and Statistical Genetics

Lisa McLellanMolecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Kari Miller - Plant and Microbial Biosciences

Elizabeth Mueller - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Kayla Nygaard - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Ryan Raut - Neurosciences

Anne RobinsonBiochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology​

Luis Sandoval - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Stephanie Schultz - Neurosciences

Jennette ShootsPlant and Microbial Biosciences

Matthew Singh - Neurosciences

Maria Sorkin - Plant and Microbial Biosciences

Allison Soung - Neurosciences

Melanie Anne Sparks - Biochemistry

Michael Strickland - Neurosciences

Cassondra Leigh Vernier - Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Hung Vuong​ - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

James Weagley - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Marshall WedgerEvolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Rachel Wong - Immunology

Sara Wright​ - Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
Kwanjeong Educational Foundation
External Fellowship Awardees
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