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Rachel Penczykowski

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Past Faculty Spotlights
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Israt Jahan

Israt Jahan

Past Student Spotlights
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Association of Black Biomedical Graduate Students (ABBGS)

The Association of Black Biomedical Graduate Students (ABBGS) is a student-led organization dedicated to strengthening the social, cultural, and academic well being of black biomedical graduate students at Washington University, while promoting diversity within the campus community. ABBGS welcomes all members of the Washington University community to aid in our mission to heighten cultural awareness on campus and to support active recruitment and retention of a culturally diverse student body.  Contact the ABBGS E-board at abbgs-eboard@gowustl.onmicrosoft.com​ for more information.

Organizations & Campus Groups - Graduate Students
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Connections

Connections is a student group that facilitates inclusion through 3 avenues:

  • Educational Experiences
  • Guided Discussions
  • Social Events
Students in Connections will explore their identities with respect to socioeconomics, culture, religion, sexual orientation and race. They will also learn how these identities impact their personal and professional relationships in the Wash U community.
 
Visit http://connectionsstl.weebly.com/​ for more information about Connections and upcoming events.
Organizations & Campus Groups - Graduate Students
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Do you accept students during the spring semester?

We only offer enrollment for the fall semester. To obtain admission to one of the 12 graduate programs in the Division, you must apply to DBBS. Our online application is available starting in early September, and the deadline for applying is December 1st.

Admissions FAQ- DBBS Overview
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What are the minimum requirements for applying to DBBS?

All applicants must have a U.S. bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.

The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test is not required. It is optional fro some programs. Scores must be from tests taken in the last five years. The Subject test is not required. Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule the exam early so the official scores will reach DBBS before the December 1st deadline. See “Test Scores” below for additional information. 

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.

Some programs have specific course requirements and some do not require the GRE. Please refer to the programs' website for additional information.

Admissions- FAQ APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
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What test scores are required and when do I need to take them?

GRE:
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 (http://www.dbbs.wustl.edu/divprograms/Pages/Division-Programs.aspx) to see if you may submit them optionally.  If so, scores must be from tests taken in the last five years. The Subject test is not required. Applicants who wish 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

TOEFL or IELTS:
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

Admissions- FAQ APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS
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Test Scores

GRE:
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 (http://www.dbbs.wustl.edu/divprograms/Pages/Division-Programs.aspx) to see if GRE scores may be optionally 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

TOEFL or IELTS:
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
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Which program is right for you?

DBBS offers PhD education and interdisciplinary research training across a broad spectrum of scientific areas.  Please click here to visit our 12 programs webpage.​

Admissions- FAQ WHICH PROGRAM IS RIGHT FOR YOU?
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Prerequisites
DBBS welcomes applicants with outstanding baccalaureate training in natural, physical or engineering sciences that are committed to a career in research. The strongest applicants will have had significant research experience and have a strong undergraduate record not only in their area of concentration, but also in related disciplines. For example, some of our programs will give preference to applicants who have strong training not only in biology, but also 3 to 6 semesters of chemistry (including biochemistry) as well as appropriate course work in calculus and physics (1 to 2 semesters each). Other programs, depending on their emphasis, will consider individuals with less extensive backgrounds in chemistry, physics, psychology or mathematics but with related training in biology. For example, Biochemistry, Biophysics, and Structural Biology gives preference to applicants that have completed one semester of physical chemistry or an equivalent course.

Minimum Requirements:
  • All applicants must have a U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution.
  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) General test is required by some, but not all DBBS Programs. Scores must be from tests taken in the last five years. The Subject test is not required.  Applicants are strongly encouraged to schedule the exam early so the official scores will reach DBBS before the December 1 deadlineSee “Test Scores” below for additional information.
  • 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.
 
PhD Application Instructions
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Coursework/ GPA

Choosing Courses

General requirements include several courses in biology, general and organic chemistry (3-6 semesters), calculus, and physics (1 to 2 semesters each). Some programs require specific course work. The Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology program give preference to applicants that have completed one semester of physical chemistry or an equivalent course. The program in Computational & Systems Biology prefers that applicants have taken courses in algorithms and statistics as well as programming (i.e. C++). See program websites for additional information.


Students earning degrees in fields such as chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science, or engineering and who have an interest in the intersection of their own discipline and biology are encouraged to apply to our programs. In programs such as Computational & Molecular Biophysics or Computational & Systems Biology, a background in physics or computer science is extremely useful.

GPA

The Division does not set minimum grade point average (GPA) requirements. We ask that GPAs be reported for each school attended on a 4.0 scale. Applicants are also required to submit an unofficial transcript from each college/university attended. The committee reviews these transcripts, taking into consideration the range of courses taken, overall course load, and grades in specific courses. Successful applicants usually have GPAs in both science and non-science courses in the range of 3.2 – 4.0.

Admissions- What Makes An App Strong?
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Faculty Mentors

BIOLOGY 

Dixit, Ram: Dr. Dixit focuses on understanding on how the microtubule cytoskeleton regulates plant cell shape. His lab uses transgenic plants and follow fluorescently tagged proteins in living cells using total internal reflection fluorescence microscopy to study dynamics and function of proteins at the single molecule level. In addition, by combining mutational analysis with live imaging of new two-color marker lines generated in the Dixit lab, they examine the way in which microtubule severing proteins are responsible for pruning unaligned cortical microtubules at crossover sites and how this activity is involved in creating ordered arrays. Collaborators: Herzog, Piston.

Herzog, Erik: Dr. Herzog studies the cellular and molecular basis for circadian rhythms, focusing on the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus. By combining electrophysiological and molecular imaging techniques, his lab is identifying pacemaking cells and how these cells coordinate their activities to drive behavior. The lab compares the circadian rhythms expressed behaviorally and by cells and tissues using a variety of techniques including behavioral monitoring and imaging with multielectrode recordings, bioluminescence and fluorescence from animals carrying transgenic reporters. Trainees in the Herzog lab pursue optical and digital imaging of low-light bioluminescence, fluorescence, and bright-field preparations. Dr. Herzog received an Outstanding Mentor Award in 2008. Collaborators: Holy, Culver, Taghert.

BIOMEDICAL ENGINEERING (BME) 

An, Hongyu: Dr. An has extensive experience in MR and PET/MR imaging and is the associate director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR). Her expertise includes MRI physics, MR sequence design and programming, image reconstruction, image and data analysis, PET/MR attenuation correction, and motion correction. Simultaneously acquired anatomical, physiological and metabolic MR imaging and physiological and molecular PET imaging provide unprecedented diagnostic and prognostic values in many diseases. A specialty of Dr. An’s group has been developing novel MR based PET attenuation methods. An application area is the important MR imaging challenge of quantifying cerebral oxygenation. Collaborators: Ackerman, Hershey, Woodard. 

Chen, Hong:  Dr. Chen’s research is focused on developing image-guided ultrasound drug delivery (IGUDD) techniques. A new assistant professor, Dr. Chen has a joint appointment with Radiation oncology. Her laboratory is setting up two experimental systems: an ultrasound-image-guided focused ultrasound system and an MRI-guided focused ultrasound system. The goal is to translate basic research advances in imaging and ultrasound therapy into image-guided therapy devices that can impact cancer patient care. Collaborators: Anastasio, Hallahan, Parikh. 

Raman, Barani: Dr. Raman’s research focuses on examining the spatio-temporal signals in neural systems to understand the design and computing principles of biological sensory systems using relatively simple invertebrate models (e.g., Drosophila melanogaster). His lab employ’s a variety of multi-dimensional electrophysiological recording techniques and computational modeling approaches to investigate how dynamic odor signals are encoded as neural representations (odor coding). Recent work from Dr. Raman’s lab, published in Nature Communications and Nature Neuroscience, has revealed the behavioral relevance of combinations of neurons activated by an odorant (i.e., ‘the combinatorial code’) and in the temporal structure of the neural activity (i.e., ‘the temporal code’). Collaborators: Gruev, Holy, Petersen. 

CELL BIOLOGY AND PHYSIOLOGY 

Cooper, John: The laboratory uses a variety of light and electron microscopy techniques to address questions of how cells control their shape and movement. Those techniques might include low-light level fluorescence microscopy of living cell preparations, including spinning-disk confocal and total internal reflection microscopy. Collaborators: Bayly, Piston. 

Mecham, Robert: Dr. Mecham studies the extracellular matrix, the critical material that helps bind together and support the structures and tissues of the human body. He is a well-known leader in uncovering the structure of elastic fiber and understanding the complex process involved in producing it. His laboratory focuses on learning how cells produce elastic fibers, a major component of the extracellular matrix. His work includes live-cell imaging of extracellular matrix assembly. Collaborators: Holtzman, Taber 

Piston, David:  The main research focus of the Piston lab is the understanding of glucose-regulated hormone secretion from islets of Langerhans in the pancreas. To perform live cell measurements in situ and in vivo, his lab develops unique, state-of-the-art fluorescence imaging methods to assay responses along critical signaling pathways in both glucagon-secreting α-cells and insulin-secreting β-cells. These quantitative microscopy measurements are combined with standard biochemical and molecular biological techniques to obtain valuable information that bridges the gap between the known details of the signaling pathways in individual cells and the overall response of a whole islet. Experimental work involves 5D live cell imaging and high-content screening. Collaborators: Nichols, Urano, Gross, Lawson. 

CHEMISTRY 

Ackerman, Joseph: Trainees perform research in the development and application of magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) and imaging (MRI) for study of intact biological systems, from cultured cells to mice to man. A major area of research is the development of MR techniques that will provide a more complete understanding of the complex structure and operating organization of mammalian tissues in the intact, functioning state. Collaborators: Bayly, Culver, Weilbaecher. 

Mirica, Liviu: Dr. Mirica uses inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, and biological chemistry to address metal-mediated processes with energy, biological, and medical relevance. One of his projects involves investigation of the interaction of transition metal ions with Aβ peptides and study of the role of metal ions in amyloid plaque and reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation in patients with AD — whose plaques exhibit unusually high concentrations of copper, iron, and zinc. He is developing Cu-64 complexes that can be employed for PET imaging and early diagnosis of AD. Collaborators: Rath, Tai. 

COMPUTER SCIENCE 

Gruev, Victor:  Dr. Gruev’s research focuses on borrowing key concepts from nature to develop ultra-sensitive, compact, lightweight and conformal imaging sensors capable of recording spectral and polarization properties with high spatial resolution and to bring these new sensory devices to clinical settings. Gruev’s lab has been able to successfully mimic both the optics and underlying neural circuitry from the visual system of both Morpho butterflies and mantis shrimp by using various nanomaterials and nanofabrication techniques and monolithically integrate them with circuits fabricated with advanced CMOS technologies. The compact realization of these bio-inspired spectral-polarization imaging sensors combined with wearable goggle devices and real-time image processing implemented on FPGA platform, were recently used to translate this technology into the operating room to provide instant visual feedback to physicians. Collaborators: Achilefu, Culver, Raman. 

Pless, Robert:  Dr. Pless works on developing tools for the fundamental mathematical modeling and analysis of motion in video sequences. He co-founded the Media and Machines Laboratory, which now includes five full time faculty and is a focal point for research on Computer Vision, Robotics, Graphics, Medical Imaging and Human Computer Interaction. Driven by biological imaging applications, the primary mathematical tools are data-driven, non-parametric statistical models that represent scene-specific or patient-specific models of common motions and behaviors. These models are ignore distracting motions (e.g., breathing artifacts in CT). Collaborators: Bayly, Leuthardt, Miller, O’Sullivan, Taber. 

Ju, Tau:  Dr. Tau’ works on computer graphics and image analysis with application to biological imaging. His early works pioneered the cage-based deformation paradigm which is now widely used in both entertainment industry and academics. In collaboration with a group of image processing specialists and neuroscientists, his lab used geometric atlases to map the gene expression patterns in the mouse brain. While the prototype of the mapped database (see www.geneatlas.org) was initially done in 2D, his lab recently completed a 3D version (hosted on the same website) with the support of an NSF grant. His lab also is working on theoretical foundations and practical algorithms to quantify how “tubular” or “plate-like” an object (or one of its part) is. This work is mostly motivated by the analysis of biological structures in biomedical images with applications to optical and electron microscopy. Collaborators: Dacey, Zipfel, Prior. 

ELECTRICAL AND SYSTEMS ENGINEERING (ESE) 

Lew, Mathew:  Dr. Lew, a new faculty recruit, is interested in developing imaging platforms for visualizing biomolecules in living organisms across length scales, from subcellular to whole subjects. He trained in the lab of W.E. Morner (Noble prize 2014). His work primarily focuses on super-resolution microscopy. For example he developed method simultaneous accurate measurement of the 3D position and 2D orientation of single molecules and solutions for mitigating localization errors through modified labeling or optical strategies. On the applications side, he works on labeling and imaging internal cellular structures and external cell surfaces, in 3D, with resolution beyond the diffraction limit. These techniques will enabled the mapping of protein locations and interactions in studies of developmental cell biology. Collaborator: Achilefu. 

Nehorai, AryeDr. Nehorai’s research deals with analysis of space-time data in a number of biomedical areas. In biomedicine, he is developing methods for locating electrical sources in the brain using arrays of electrodes (EEG) or magnetometers (MEG) placed around the head. His solutions are important for clinical applications such as finding origins of seizures, or in neuroscience for mapping the brain functions. He is also developing procedures that find the stiffness of the heart wall using MRI. In microscopy imaging, he is working on algorithms to quantify targets (e.g., antigens, proteins etc.) from 3D microarray-based images, and quantum-dot (q-dot) barcoded microparticle ensembles. Collaborators: Achilefu, Garbow, Song. 

O’Sullivan, Jody:  Dr. O'Sullivan was the director of the Electronic Systems and Signals Research Laboratory (ESSRL) from 1998-2007, and is now dean of the new joint engineering program between University of Missouri-St. Louis and WU. He conducts research in a wide range of science and technology for security applications, including borders, target and object recognition theory, information hiding for secure and clandestine communication, and spectral analysis for biochemical agent detection. Current imaging research includes spiral CT imaging in the presence high-density attenuators and microPET. Collaborators: Tai, Culver. 

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING 

Bayly, Phillip:  Dr. Bayly, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, uses MRI to study deformation and to infer mechanical properties of soft tissue, particularly in the brain and spinal cord. The changes in shape and mechanical properties are important both in rapid events such as brain trauma, and very slow events, such as brain morphogenesis. His students employ MR tagging and analysis of tagged images to study the deformation of the brain during linear angular acceleration of the skull. Dr. Bayly collaborates with other researchers who use MRI measurement of water diffusion to characterize the effects of trauma on the brain and spinal cord, in vivo, in animal models. Collaborators: Ackerman, Carlsson, Cooper, Garbow, Pham. 

Lake, Spence:   Dr. Lake’s research focuses on multiscale structure-function relationships of musculoskeletal soft tissues and joints. He uses various imaging techniques (e.g., quantitative polarized light imaging, two-photo microscopy, x-ray microscopy) to quantify structural organization of tissues at various length scales and correlate with region-specific compositional and mechanical properties. His work seeks to understand fundamental principles that govern how soft tissues function in healthy conditions, how these relationships change in injury/disease, and how connective tissue damage can be better prevented, treated, or replaced.

MEDICINE 

Weilbaecher, Katherine:  Dr. Weilbaecher’s laboratory investigates the molecular mechanisms of tumor metastasis to bone. They utilize luciferase/GFP labeled osteolytic cancer cell lines and evaluate tumor metastasis and bone tumor growth using in vivo bioluminescence in genetically targeted osteoclast and platelet defective mice. They also utilize MRI and PET imaging to evaluate bone tumor growth and metastasis in spontaneous metastasis tumor mouse models. Trainees gain experience in metastasis biology and host cell/tumor cell interactions using an array of in vivo imaging techniques, including PET, bioluminescence and MRI. Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Garbow, Lanza. 

NEUROLOGY 

Petersen, Steven:  Dr. Peterson pioneered the use of brain imaging (PET and fMRI) to identify brain regions that contribute to attention, learning, memory and language. He also investigates the effects of disease and brain damage on these cognitive processes. Currently, he has two main areas of interest. The first focus is the development of neural mechanisms underlying cognition. Methods have been developed that allow direct statistical comparison of child and adult imaging data. The second focus is identifying and characterizing fMRI signals related to task organization and executive control. Recently his lab developed a series of seminal papers on functional connectivity mapping with MRI related to the management of motion artifacts, the applications of graph theory and the mapping of network hubs. Collaborators: Barch, Culver, Hershey, Raman. 

NEUROSCIENCE

Holy, Timothy:  Dr. Holy’s research in imaging focuses on developing new optical methods for imaging neuronal activity. He has devised a new method, called objective-couple planar illumination microscopy, for imaging neuronal activity simultaneously in large neuronal populations. This approach uses a sheet of light to provide three-dimensional resolution without point-scanning. The principal advantage of this technique is that hundreds or thousands of neurons can be imaged at high speed and high signal-to-noise ratio. Current work on this technology includes optical and algorithmic methods for enhancing resolution deeper into tissue. Collaborators: Herzog, Raman, Taghert. 

Taghert, Pau:  Dr. Taghert’s research focuses on (i) how peptidergic neurons differentiate and (ii) how neural circuits are controlled by the circadian clock to generate rhythmic behaviors. Both areas of study rely heavily on imaging methods, including standard epifluorescent and confocal microscopy, low light level imaging methods, and use of bioluminesent reporters to interrogate pacemaker neuron function and peptidergic cell secretion mechanisms. Collaborators: Hanson, Herzog, Holy. 

PSYCHOLOGY and BRAIN SCIENCES 

Barch, Deanna:  Dr. Barch’s research program is focused on developing and using a variety of neuroimaging techniques to understand the developmental interplay among cognition, emotion, and brain function to better understand the deficits in behavior and cognition found in illnesses such as schizophrenia, depression and substance abuse. She has a long history of mentoring graduate, postdoctoral fellows and junior faculty in psychology, psychiatry, and neuroscience who have gone on to productive research careers. She was the Director of Graduate Studies in Psychology 2004 to 2014 (now Chair of Psychology) and is a co-Investigator on the Human Connectome Project. Cofounder of our Cognitive, Computational and Systems Neuroscience integrative training pathway, Dr. Barch and has been actively involved in training students in cross-disciplinary neuroimaging research. Collaborators: Petersen, Hershey. 

PSYCHIATRY 

Hershey, TamaraDr. Hershey’s research is in the fields of neuroimaging and cognitive and clinical neuroscience. Her lab uses a range of neuroimaging, pharmacological and cognitive techniques to understand the impact of metabolic and neurodegenerative conditions on the brain, particularly during development. For example, her lab explores the neural underpinnings of cognitive and mood dysfunction in disorders relevant to dopamine and the basal ganglia (e.g., Parkinson disease, Tourette syndrome), the effects of diabetes and obesity on the brain, particularly within development, and the neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative impact of a rare monogenic diabetes. Dr. Hershey is deputy lab chief of the WUSM Neuroimaging Labs, and has mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty and co-directs a WU Peer Mentoring Program. Collaborators: Barch, Culver, Raichle. 

RADIATION ONCOLOGY

Zhang, Tiezhi:  Dr. Zhang’s primary research interests include the development of multi-pixel x-ray source, tetrahedron x-ray imaging systems based on scanning x-ray sources. Almost all modern x-ray imaging systems including x-ray radiography, fluoroscopy, mammography and cone beam CT, to name only a few, utilize a single x-ray source and a 2D detector to acquire 2D images. Dr. Zhang’s lab develops new linear scan x-ray sources and tetrahedron beam imaging systems that can overcome the problems in traditional x-ray imaging, including excessive x-ray scattering, suboptimal detector performance and limited detector dimension. The novel imaging system may find important uses in many medical procedures such as image guided radiotherapy (IGRT), image guided intervention, and office-based point-of-care diagnostic imaging. Besides x-ray imaging, Dr. Zhang’s lab also develops novel technologies for precise radiation (x-ray and proton) treatment of cancers.

​RADIOLOGY 

Achilefu, Samuel:  Dr. Achilefu is interested in molecular optical imaging, the design and development of new molecular probes and nanomaterials, specific delivery of imaging agents and drugs to target cells or tissues, development of tissue-specific multi-modal imaging molecules, and tumor-specific photodynamic therapy agents. He is co-leader of the oncologic imaging program for the NCI-designated Siteman Cancer Center, and Director of WU molecular imaging center. His Optical Radiology Lab provides a multidisciplinary environment for students in a variety of disciplines, including the chemistry, physics, and biology of optical imaging of diseases. The lab is equipped with state-of-the-art instruments to train the student in all aspects of optical imaging, depending on the expressed interest level of the student. Collaborators: Culver, Gruev, Lew, Shokeen, Weilbaecher, Woodard. 

Benzinger, Tammie:  Dr. Benzinger`s research focuses on translating advanced neuromagnetic resonance imaging techniques from small animal research in the Department of Radiology, to translational research in the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR), and into clinical practice. In particular, her current research focuses on using directional diffusivity measurements derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to measure axonal and myelin damage in pediatric and adult demyelination, dysmyelinating diseases, in traumatic brain injury (TBI), and as a function of aging. Diseases under study in Dr. Benzinger`s laboratory include multiple sclerosis (MS), acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM), adrenoleukodystrophy, Krabbe`s disease, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher`s disease, and head trauma. In addition, Dr. Benzinger combines advanced neuromagnetic resonance techniques, such as DTI and spectroscopy, and positron emission tomography (PET) to study interactions between normal aging, Alzherimer`s disease, depression, and delirium in older adults.  Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Hershey, Culver, Woodard

Culver, Joseph:  Dr. Culver’s Lab develops neurophotonic technology for mapping brain function in humans and animal models. With the goal of producing high-performance portable brain imaging in humans, his group has been developing a series of innovations for diffuse optical tomography (DOT) instrumentation and algorithms. Recently they presented the first DOT system capable of mapping distributed brain function and networks (Nature Photonics). Applied projects include mapping brain function in infants in the neonatal ICU, and in stroke patients in the Adult ICU. In parallel with human imaging efforts, the Culver lab is also developing mouse equivalent measurements of functional connectivity using optical intrinsic signal imaging (fcOIS) - so as to link human fcMRI with mouse models of disease (e.g., amyloid-beta models of Alzheimer’s, stroke, brain tumors, autism). Recently, to work with faster physiological signals, they have extend fcOIS to mice with genetically encoded calcium indicators and are exploring transitions between awake/sleep and anesthesia. Collaborators: Achilefu, Ackerman, Anastasio, Bruchas, Hershey, O’Sullivan, Petersen, Shokeen. 

Shokeen, Monica:  Dr. Shokeen’s lab has expertise in the development and evaluation of molecularly targeted small molecule and multi-functional macromolecular bio-conjugates for nuclear and optical imaging of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Her group aspires to utilize the translational capabilities of quantitative imaging modalities (PET, SPECT, FMT and MRI) to bring the bench side discoveries into patient care. Working on the chemistry of imaging, the Shokeen lab has been evaluating high-affinity 64Cu labeled-Very Late Antigen-4 (VLA-4) targeted PET radiopharmaceuticals to assess disease progression and response to treatment in pre-clinical mouse and human models of multiple myeloma by quantitative receptor measurements. The ultimate goal of these studies is successful clinical translation. Her group is also investigating the unique metabolic pathways and metabolite fate tracking in multiple myeloma tissues by using 13C edited 1H NMR and 11C-Acetate/PET-CT imaging. Additionally, as part of a multi-PI team, the Schokeen lab is developing a high-throughput optical in vivo imaging platform for the detection of unstable plaque in carotid arteries using a novel custom built Fluorescence Molecular Tomography (FMT) system. Collaborators: Woodard, Achilefu, Culver. 

Tai, Yuan-Chuan:  Dr. Tai’s team conceived and demonstrated the feasibility of the virtual-pinhole PET insert technology for improving the image resolution of existing human and animal PET scanners. This technology is currently being evaluated for whole-body cancer staging to improve the sensitivity of metastatic cancer detection. Additionally, Tai’s lab has developed several high resolution PET and multimodality imaging systems for preclinical, clinical, and functional plant imaging applications. The plant PET imager is now used routinely for molecular plant imaging research and has brought the in vivo imaging technology to plant scientists and triggered new interdisciplinary researches across multiple universities and institutions. Collaborators: O’Sullivan, Laforest. 

Woodard, Pamela:  Dr. Woodard’s expertise is in translational imaging and clinical trials, particularly in cardiovascular MRI, CT and PET. She is Radiology’s Vice Chair of Clinical Translational Research, has an appointment in Biomedical Engineering and is the Director of the Center for Clinical Imaging Research (CCIR). She has been principal investigator (PI) or co-investigator on numerous NIH grants and subcontracts, including the PIOPED II and III Trials. Most recently, her lab has developed a receptor-targeted nanoparticle PET imaging agent for assessment of atherosclerosis, brought it through preclinical safety testing, applied for and received an FDA eIND for testing in human subjects, and have begun testing in normal volunteers and patients. New extensions of the same receptor targeted nanoparticle include optical labelling for imaging with fluorescence molecular tomography. Collaborators: Shokeen, Achilefu, Culver. 

ISP
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Housing

Washington University's Off-Campus Housing Office provides apartment listings and renting information. The Apartment Referral Service (ARS) (http://ars.wustl.edu) provides comprehensive information on renting an apartment and also maintains lists of off-campus housing options. ARS maintains lists of non-University owned housing options and works with Quadra​ngle Housing​, the management company for all University-owned properties, many of which are on the MetroBus line.  The HomeShare St. Louis program (https://skinkerdebaliviere.wordpress.com/2018/01/16/home-stay-program/matches WashU graduate students seeking off-campus housing with homeowners who are older adults (65 years of age or older).​

Most people choose to live within a few miles of either campus in neighborhoods such as the Central West End, Clayton, Richmond Heights, Dogtown or the Loop. There are many safe areas around the campuses, but some areas do vary from street to street. We encourage you to check out your neighborhood before signing a lease, and if you are in doubt, contact Washington University’s Apartment Referral Service for more information. 


Additional rental resources:
Student Renter's Guide - Best Colleges
St. Louis Post-Dispatch On-line Classified Ads
The Riverfront Times Classified Ads (St. Louis’ alternative newsweekly)
Apartment Finder
ApartmentList.com​
RENTCafé

Because of the low cost of living in St. Louis and the availability of affordable housing, many people choose to buy property rather than rent. If you are interested in purchasing a house, the St. Louis Association of Realtors is a good place to start as well as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Washington University does not investigate or endorse specific properties or landlords. Tenants are responsible to inspect a rental address and negotiate the lease terms with any landlord.

Relocating Resources
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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). 

Stipends
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 $24,816 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.

Tuition/Fees
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.

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DGSP Administrative Policy
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Application Process
Eligibility:
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.    
 
Application:    
- 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
pmpathway@genetics.wustl.edu
- Two letters of recommendation, one of which is from the thesis advisor*, should be sent directly to
pmpathway@genetics.wustl.edu
 
*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, 2020, to
pmpathway@genetics.wustl.edu
 
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
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Merit Award for Individual National Competitive Fellowships
  • Any PhD or MSTP student who obtains competitive external funding awarding at least $24,816 annually in stipend 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 return to the current DBBS stipend at that time.
  • The merit award is the full responsibility of the Mentor/Department for advanced students.
Grants Management
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Recommendations for Effective Mentoring Relationships

  • Align Expectations
  • Effective Communication
    • Regular meetings to review research and career goals
    • Encourage mentees to set the agenda
  • Review mentorship requirements outlined in policies
  • Mentorship training for Trainees and Faculty Mentors
  • Encourage trainees to seek multiple mentors
  • Develop your Mentoring Philosophy and keep building skills
Effective Mentoring
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University Responsibilities

  • Maintain high quality research and education programs
    • Oversee foundational knowledge and length of study
    • Provide adequate compensation, benefits, grievance procedures
    • Train for ethical behavior and professional integrity
  • Provide for faculty development related to educational goals
  • Diverse and Inclusive Environment
  • Career development resources
  • Resources to promote wellness
Effective Mentoring
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Mentor’s Responsibilities

  • Supportive, transparent, accessible, respectful, encouraging, and equitable for all students and postdocs
  • Provide financial and intellectual support
  • Promote independence and career development
  • Be knowledgeable about institutional and programmatic guidelines and requirements
  • Provide regular feedback on progress, make constructive suggestions and assist in developing a timeline for future development
Effective Mentoring
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Mentee’s Responsibilities

  • Acknowledge primary responsibility for training and career development
  • Work with mentor to develop and implement research plan with specific time lines
  • Become familiar with institutional, programmatic and research expectations
  • Conduct research ethically, keep accurate records
  • Be familiar with institutional policies including research ethics, data ownership, and resource sharing
  • Seek regular feedback on progress and time lines for future development
  • Be a collegial member of lab team with shared responsibilities
  • Initiate and participate in fellowship and manuscript preparation
  • Attend program and departmental meetings, seminars
  • Participate in professional meetings in their field
  • Pursue and participate in career development activities throughout time in training
Effective Mentoring
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Goals of Effective Mentoring Relationships

Primary goals of mentoring for mentee
  • Strong academic, professional environment
  • Develop independence and critical thinking skills
  • Opportunities for career exploration and development
Primary goals of mentoring for mentor
  • Productive colleague
  • Cooperative, inclusive member of academic community
  • Successful career
  • Personal reputation as a good mentor
Effective Mentoring
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Mentoring Resources

Diverse Careers for PhDs:  https://graduateschool.wustl.edu/diverse-careers

Information for supporting graduate student career choices.  Discover actions you can take in a time of transitioning markets.

iBiology: T​he Practice of Mentoring Scientistshttps://www.ibiology.org/archive/practice-mentoring-scientists/
Drawing from her experiences mentoring scientists, Jo Handelsman describes guidelines that she and her colleagues have developed to help scientists become better mentors. These include listening, asking questions, stating expectations and building independence. Good advice for scientists at all stages of their careers.

iBiology: a conversation on culturally aware mentoringhttps://www.ibiology.org/nrmn-resources/mentor-training-improve-diversity-science/​
Most mentors don’t feel prepared to address diversity matters with trainees from historically underrepresented (HU) backgrounds. To improve mentoring relationships and support the persistence and success of HU individuals in science, the National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) has developed new mentor training to equip mentors with the skills and knowledge necessary to support a diverse scientific workforce.

HHMI: Mentoring and Being Mentored (Chapter 5)http://www.hhmi.org/developing-scientists/making-right-moves
Based on workshops co-sponsored by the Burroughs Wellcome Fund and HHMI, this book is a collection of practical advice and experiences from seasoned biomedical investigators and includes chapters on laboratory leadership, getting funded, project management, and teaching and course design.

HHMI: Entering Mentoring
https://www.hhmi.org/sites/default/files/Educational%20Materials/Lab%20Management/entering_mentoring.pdf
The goal of the seminar outlined in this manual is to accelerate the process of learning to be a mentor. Effective mentoring can be learned, but not taught. Good mentors discover their own objectives, methods, and style by mentoring. And mentoring. And mentoring some more. Most faculty learn to mentor by experimenting and analyzing success and failure, and many say that the process of developing an effective method of mentoring takes years. No two students are the same or develop along the same trajectory, so mentoring must be continually customized, adjusted, and redirected to meet each student’s needs. A skilled mentor’s decisions and actions are guided by a reflective philosophy, a well-developed style, and an ability to assess student needs.

AAMC: Compact Between Biomedical Graduate Students and Their Research Advisorshttps://www.aamc.org/initiatives/research/gradcompact/
These guiding principles are intended to support the development of a positive mentoring relationship between the pre-doctoral student and their research advisors. A successful student-mentor relationship requires commitment from the student, mentor, graduate program, and institution. This document offers a set of broad guidelines which are meant to initiate discussions at the local and national levels about the student-mentor relationship.

NASEM: 2019 The Science of Effective Mentorship in STEMM
nap.edu/resource/25568/interactive

WUSM Office of Faculty Affairs Mentoring Resourceshttps://facultyaffairs.wusm.wustl.edu/library-item-type/mentoring/
The Office of Faculty Affairs has a wide variety of career development resources to aid faculty at all stages of their careers.

National Research Mentoring Networkhttps://nrmnet.net/
The National Research Mentoring Network (NRMN) is a nationwide consortium of biomedical professionals and institutions collaborating to provide all trainees across the biomedical, behavioral, clinical and social sciences with evidence-based mentorship and professional development programming.​​​

Effective Mentoring
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Banks

The following are larger St. Louis area banks and credit unions:

Bank of America (800) 944-0404
US Bank (314) 425-2000/ 1-800-872-2657
Commerce Bank (314) 746-8700
National City Bank 888-622-4932
Pulaski Bank 314-878-2210/1-888-649-3320
Regions Bank 1-800-REGIONS
Reliance Bank 314-569-7200
Southwest Bank 1-888-811-3196
UMB Bank, N.A. 314-621-1000 
 
Credit Unions
First Community Credit Union (636) 728-3333, or 1-800-767-8880
St. Louis Community Credit Union 314-314-534-7610 (press 4) or 866-534-7610 (press 4).

Bank of America has a full service branch at the Danforth Campus and ATMS at the School of Medicine campus. US Bank has a branch at 216 S Kingshighway Blvd (at Forest Park Parkway) and an ATM at the Medical Center. St. Louis Community Credit Union also has an ATM at the Medical Center.​
Relocating Resources
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Grocery Stores

Major grocery stores in the St. Louis area include Schnucks (http://www.schnucks.com), Dierbergs (http://www.dierbergs.com), Aldi (http://www.aldi.com) and Straub’s (http://www.straubs.com). If you will not have a car, you may want to consider the distance from your apartment to a grocery store. Please visit each store's website to find locations near you. There may also be smaller grocery stores and markets near your house or apartment.

Relocating Resources
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Transportation

​Washington University U-Pass Program

Washington University in St. Louis offers a comprehensive transportation program through Metro St. Louis, the region's public transportation agency.  The U-Pass program provides Metro passes for full-time students, benefits-eligible faculty and staff, and full-time employees of qualified service providers.  This program provides students and other members of the University community unlimited access to the St. Louis Metropolitan region on public transit.  In addition, there are three bus routes that specifically target the connection of Washington University's campuses to nearby residential and shopping areas.  For more information on the U-Pass program, please call (314) 935-5601 or visit parking.wustl.edu/transportation/Pages/u-pass.aspx.  Metro route and schedule information is available online at metrostlouis.org.  Faculty, staff, and students who use the U-Pass as the primary mode of transportation to and from campus may enroll in the Occasional Parking program and are also eligible for the Citizens for Modern Transit Guaranteed Ride Home program.  See your DBBS Program Coordinator to register for the fall semester to become eligible for the U-Pass.

For information on parking & shuttle routes on the Med School campus, visit the Washington University School of Medicine(WUSM) Transportation Office online or call 314-362-6824.

For information on parking and shuttle routes on the Danforth (main) campus, visit the Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) Transportation Office​ online or call 314-935-5601.​

Relocating Resources
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Elections & Voter Information

The Missouri Office of the Secretary of State (http://www.sos.mo.gov) handles Elections and Voter Information.

On this website you can find Voter Registration Information, Election Calendars and Candidat​e Information. The election calendar will tell you the last day you may register to vote to participate in that election. This site will also link you to a site where you can find your legislators.

Relocating Resources
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Driver & Motor Vehicle Licenses

The Missouri​ Department of Revenue (DOR)​ handles driver licenses, motor vehicle licensing and titling, taxation and collection for all residents of the state of Missouri. 

Relocating Resources
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Short Term Housing

If you do not have the opportunity to find an apartment prior to your arrival in St. Louis, you may need to find short term housing for the first few days or month(s). Please visit Washington University Apartment Referral Service (http://ars.wustl.edu) for a list of short-term accommodations. After accessing the site, select “Non-University Housing" then under Housing Options, select "short-term." All distances are from the Washington University Danforth Campus near the corner of Skinker and Forest Park Parkway referred to as "Main Campus".

Sometimes the Core Apartment Residence at the Washington University School of Medicine is able to provide temporary accommodations on a space available basis. For information, email thecore@wustl.edu​ or call 314-362-3230.

Hotels located near the Medical Campus

The Parkway Hotel (on the Medical Campus)
4550 Forest Park Blvd.
St. Louis , MO 63110
1-866-314-7700
(314) 256-7777 
 
Drury Inn & Suites – St. Louis Forest Park
2111 Sulphur Avenue
1-44 & Hampton Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63139
1-800-DRURYINN
(314) 646-0770
Cheshire Inn & Lodge
6300 Clayton Rd.
St. Louis , MO 63117
1-800-325-7378
(314) 647-7300 
 
Hampton Inn & Suites – St. Louis at Forest Park
5650 Oakland Avenue
St. Louis, MO  63110
1-800-HAMPTON
(314) 655-3993 

Hotels near the Danforth Campus:
 
The Knight Center
(on the Washington University Danforth Campus)
Forest Park Parkway & Throop Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
(866) 933-9400
(314) 933-9400
 

Sheraton Clayton Plaza
7730 Bonhomme
Clayton, MO 63105
(800) 325-3535
(314) 863-0400

 
Crowne Plaza St. Louis-Clayton Hotel
7750 Carondelet
Clayton, MO 63105
(800) 227-6963
(314) 726-5400
Ritz-Carlton-St. Louis
100 Carondelet Plaza
Clayton, MO 63105
(800) 241-3333
(314) 863-6300
 
Washington University does not investigate or endorse specific properties or landlords. Tenants are responsible to inspect a rental address and negotiate the lease terms with any landlord.
Relocating Resources
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Income Taxes

Anyone who receives a stipend in the United States is required to file an income tax return – U.S. Citizens, Permanent Residents and Foreign Nationals. Non-immigrant visa holders who are considered tax exempt are also required to file a return. In addition, when non-immigrant visa holders complete a project in the U.S. and return home, they are still expected to file a tax return for the calendar year during which they left the U.S.

Unfortunately, Washington University is not able to provide specific assistance with filing taxes. However, here are some resources:


The most common taxes withheld from a salary are U.S. Federal Income Tax, Missouri State Income Tax, St. Louis City Earnings Tax and Social Security (FICA) / Medicare tax. For information on U.S. Federal Taxes, please access the Internal Revenue Service site at www.irs.gov. For information on Missouri state taxes, please go to the Department of Revenue, Division of Taxation at www.dor.state.mo.gov/tax. On these sites you can find information on what forms you need to file and instructions on how to file them.

The International Office (http://oisshome.wustl.edu) has some information for international students and scholars on their website at http://oisshome.wustl.edu/taxes/FilingTaxes.html as well as access to CINTAX software for non-resident filers.

Estimated Taxes
If you receive a fellowship or stipend, taxes may not be withheld from your paychecks. In this case, you will need to file and pay estimated taxes on a quarterly basis by the following schedule:

For the period of:

Taxes Due:
Jan. 1st through Mar. 31st Apr. 15th
Apr. 1st through May 31st Jun. 15th
Jun. 1st through Aug. 31st Sept. 15th
Sept. 1 through Dec. 31st Jan. 15th of the following year

 

For more information on how to file estimated taxes, please access the IRS website at www.irs.gov and search for "Estimated Taxes".

Relocating Resources
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Student ID Card

When you arrive in St. Louis, contact your DBBS Program Coordinator to obtain authorization for an ID Card.  All Washington University students should carry their WU Student ID Card whenever they are on campus. The ID gives you access to buildings on the Medical Campus and select Danforth campus buildings, or using the campus shuttle.  

To ride the MetroLink you must have your WU Student ID and Metro U-Pass (see Transportation below for additional information on the Metro U-Pass).

Entering Students
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