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Resources for Student Concerns
  • Academic:  Student performance is evaluated by multiple mechanisms: faculty evaluate student performance in their courses;  research rotation mentors complete evaluations at the end of lab rotation; thesis mentors complete evaluations at the end of each semester; dissertation advisory committees complete evaluations after each thesis meeting (which take place every 12 months, or more frequently if required by the program); TA supervisors complete evaluations at the end of the TA experience; and program advising committees provide evaluations to pre-thesis proposal students at the end of each semester.  In addition, programs may require periodic evaluation for senior students or those who are otherwise achieving borderline academic progress.  Academic progress concerns are first reviewed by the Program Director and, if necessary, the Program Steering Committee.  If the Program Director and Steering Committee cannot resolve the concern and it involves DBBS policy, it can be taken to the Programs and Student Affairs Committee of DBBS, chaired by the Associate Dean of Graduate Education (currently John Russell).  Other academic concerns can be taken to the Dean (William Tate) or Associate Dean (Diana Hill Mitchell) of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
  • Research Integrity: Concerns regarding research integrity that cannot be clarified in the laboratory should be taken to the Vice Chancellor for Research (Jennifer Lodge).
  • Academic Integrity: Issues of academic integrity that cannot be satisfactorily resolved should be brought to the attention of the Associate Dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (Diana Hill Mitchell).
  • Other: For all other concerns, University policies can be found on the University web site with links under Graduate Students on the DBBS home page.
DGSP Academic Progress
Satisfactory Academic Progress

All students in the Ph.D. program are expected to satisfy the academic performance requirements of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, which can be found in The Graduate School Bulletin’s General Requirements section. In addition, there are specific DBBS satisfactory academic performance requirements before and after passing the qualifying examination.

Before the Qualifying Exam

Before passing the qualifying examination, satisfactory academic progress is achieved by timely completion of required course work with satisfactory grades (overall B average), successful laboratory rotations (based on mentor evaluation at the end of the rotation) and timely completion of the qualifying examination (as defined by individual program guidelines).

Except in cases of extreme underperformance warranting immediate dismissal, students failing to make satisfactory academic progress will be placed on academic probation as outlined in the Academic Probation and Dismissal section (below). In the case of failure of the qualifying examination, the student will be placed on academic probation for a period of up to three months.  The program committee will provide the student with feedback on the deficiencies in their performance, and a timeline for the administration of the second examination.  Failure of the examination a second time could result in immediate dismissal by the steering committee.  In certain cases, a student who fails the qualifying exam may petition the committee for the awarding of a masters degree.

After the Qualifying Exam

After passing the qualifying examination, satisfactory progress is maintained by completing the following steps in a timely manner.

  • Establish a thesis committee and successfully present a thesis proposal.
    In some programs, a successful thesis proposal is a part of the qualifying examination. In cases where it is not, satisfactory academic progress requires that the student assemble a thesis committee and present a thesis proposal by the deadline specified in the program guidelines. A student not completing a thesis proposal by the date specified by the relevant program guidelines or by no later than the fifth semester of graduate study will be given notice that they are on academic probation and could be dismissed if the proposal is not completed within three months.
  • Maintain a thesis committee that meets the requirements of the program guidelines.
    The thesis advisory committee composition must be in accordance with the requirements of the specific PhD program.  At a bare minimum, the advisory committee must consist of four eligible Washington University faculty(s). At least four committee members must be present at the thesis proposal and update meetings.  If a member of the thesis committee resigns, the student must identify a new member within three months of face academic probation.  The thesis examination committee consists of a minimum of five faculty(s), in accordance with the requirements of the PhD program.
  • Review research progress with the thesis committee regularly.
    Students are required to meet and provide progress reports to their thesis committee at least once per year or more frequently if the program or the committee so recommends. The chairman of the committee will document the student's progress to the program coordinator, using the thesis committee report form ( Failure to meet as directed by the program or thesis committee will result in academic probation. 
  • Make acceptable progress toward completion of the thesis.
    Both the thesis committee and the thesis mentor must be satisfied that the student is progressing toward the completion of an acceptable thesis. If the thesis committee and mentor agree that a student is not meeting the expectations for progress for degree completion, the student will be placed on academic probation. Any disagreements between the thesis committee and the mentor should be resolved by the program steering committee. If the steering committee is unable to resolve the differences, the Program and Student Affairs Committee shall have final jurisdiction.
  • Complete the requirements for the Ph.D. degree by the end of the seventh year of graduate study.
    Students will be notified in writing at the beginning of the seventh year of graduate study that they must complete and defend an acceptable thesis by the end of the seventh year. The student and the mentor may petition for extension of this time limit. The petition must be approved by the steering committee and the Associate Dean for Graduate Education before being forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School for consideration.  If the petition is denied or the student is unable is otherwise unable to complete the PhD requirements, the student will be dismissed from the program at the end of the seventh year.

Academic Probation and Dismissal.  Review the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences Policy on Probation and Dismissal for Academic Reasons.

Students who do not meet performance expectations in coursework, qualifying examination, teaching1, research, thesis committee meetings or other scholarly activities will be subject to academic probation and possible dismissal from the program.  Students may be dismissed immediately for extreme academic underperformance, but in most cases, they will be placed on academic probation and given the opportunity to remediate the deficiencies.  The period of an academic probation will normally be 3 months, though in some instances (such as poor performance in courses or an exceptionally poor qualifying examination) the academic probationary period may be of a shorter duration.  Individuals placed on academic probation will receive a letter from the program committee informing them of the imposition of academic probation.  The letter will establish the criteria necessary to return to good academic standing. At the end of the three-month probationary period, the program will inform the student in writing that have either been (1) returned to good standing, or (2) placed on a second consecutive academic probation, or (3) dismissed from the program. A second consecutive academic probation must be accompanied by a new letter identifying the steps required to return to good standing. While the purpose of the academic probationary period is to provide the student with time to improve, the decision of the program at the end of an academic probationary period could involve immediate notification of dismissal. At the end of a second continuous academic probation, the student will be either returned to good standing or dismissed. A third academic probation will be allowed only if it is does not immediately follow a second probation. A fourth academic probation will not be allowed. A student whose performance would result in a fourth academic probation will be dismissed immediately. A leave of absence cannot be used by a student to delay or nullify the consequences of a third consecutive or fourth academic probation.

Individuals on academic probation will continue to receive a stipend unless the student is failing to meet the basic expectations of their position, (including failure to carry our lab duties, MTE duties, compliance requirements or thesis committee meetings); in those cases, the individual will be given a two week notice prior to the suspension of the stipend.  All other benefits (access to Student Health, library and research facilities, etc.) will continue for the duration of the probationary period.

The Associate Dean for Graduate Education reviews all recommendations for dismissal before they are forwarded to the Dean of the Graduate School.  If the student disagrees with the steering committee's recommendation, a written petition may be submitted to the DBBS Program and Student Affairs Committee and, if warranted, they will hear the appeal.


1Complete a one-semester Menotred Teaching Experience (MTE) and a minimum of three qualifying workshops.  students lead discussions and/or problem-solving sessions, prepare and deliver one or more lectures as part of the regular lecture schedule, and/or provide regular instruction in a laboratory environment. MTE will invlove student lead discussions and/or problem-solving sessions, preparation and delivery of one or more lectures as part of the regular lecture schedule, and/or regular instruction in a laboratory environment.

DGSP Academic Progress
Mentored Teaching Experience (MET)

Basic MTE: All DBBS students are required to have a Mentored Teaching Experience (MTE) for at least one-semester, documented by registering for Mentored Teaching Experience (Dept. L41, LSG 600, Section 01, Credit=0).  This is typically completed during the second year of graduate training.

The mentored teaching experience (MTE) will involve one of the following:
  • lead discussions and/or problem-solving sessions
  • prepare and deliver one or more lectures as part of the regular lecture schedule
  • provide regular instruction in a laboratory environment
The primary focus of the course is development of instructional skills, which includes live classroom practice and regular meetings between teaching assistants and instructors of the courses (course masters) they are co-teaching regarding:
  • the teaching duties 
  • evaluation of their performance
  • discussion of other matters 
As part of DBBS MTE training, students are required to:
  • Attend the University’s Orientation for the Mentored Teaching Experience.
  • Read the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Mentored Teaching Experience Handbook (received at orientation).
  • Complete three 90-minute workshops, each covering a different topic, offered by the WUSTL Teaching Center-- The Teaching Center's Basic Mentored Teaching ExperienceTraining Workshops will introduce graduate students to effective pedagogical methods.  A new topic will be offered each month, September-November and February-April.  IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT STUDENTS START ATTENDING WORKSHOPS PRIOR TO OR DURING THE SEMESTERS OF THE MTE.  THE STUDENT WILL NOT RECEIVE A GRADE UNTIL PARTICIPATION OF 3 WORKSHOPS HAS BEEN RECORDED.
  • Register for LGS 600 Mentored Teaching Experience in WebSTAC.
  • Meet the expectations of the course master for the MTE.
  • Complete a written evaluation of the MTE. 
Students will receive a satisfactory/unsatisfactory grade at the conclusion of their assistantship only when the following has been completed:
  • Participation in a minimum of 3 different workshops
  • Mentored Teaching Experience evaluation  (by the student)
  • Course master evaluation (submitted to DBBS) 
Students who receive an unsatisfactory grade for any reason will be required to complete a second MTE.


Advanced MTE: The communication of one's scientific knowledge and findings within one's field is a critical skill for all scientists.  To foster this skill, all DBBS students must complete the Advanced MTE by engaging in a minimum of 4 scientific presentations.  Presentations may include oral and poster presentations at scientific meetings and program retreats before faculty, postdocs, graduate students, and others in the field.  The following will not count towards this requirement: lab meetings, journal clubs, thesis committee meetings, the thesis examination, presentations to undergraduates or a non-academic audience.


Students will be required to certify their Basic and Advanced MTE on the Teaching Requirements form, which is submitted to the Graduate School prior to the thesis examination.


Additional Teaching Opportunities: Division students interested in a teaching career may seek additional training through the Department of Biology’s Second Mentoring Teaching Experience Fellowship Program.   Students who pursue this additional training will be hired as part-time lecturers by the department.  The Chair of the Department of Biology can provide students with more information about this program.  Students may also gain additional teaching experience through the Teaching Center's Teaching Citation Program.  Students wishing to participate in either of these opportunities must obtain the approval of their thesis mentor and their Program Director.  (MSTP students will also need approval of the MSTP).

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DGSP Degree Requirements
Thesis Research

After rotations have been completed, students select a thesis mentor (Thesis Affiliation Form). Students are encouraged to gather information from several sources, including consultations with faculty and current students, before choosing a thesis lab. Ph.D. students must be in a thesis laboratory by September 1 of their second year, MSTP students by September 1 of the first year of Ph.D. training. If a student is interested in pursuing their graduate studies with a faculty member who is not affiliated with DBBS, the student must identify a co-mentor who is affiliated with DBBS. Please refer to your program coordinator for more information.

By the fifth semester of graduate study, students establish a thesis committee and present a thesis proposal. The purpose of the thesis committee is to advise the student in his or her thesis research and to provide the student with a readily accessible source of advice and constructive criticism during the dissertation research. The composition of thesis advisory committee requires approval from the respective Program Director, and the "Thesis Advisory Committee Approval Form" should be filled out (Thesis Advisory Committee Approval Form).

Dissertation Defense Committee Policy
The committee before which the student is examined consists of at least five members, who normally meet two independent criteria:
  1. Four of the five must be tenured or tenure-track Washington University faculty; one of these four may be a member of the Emeritus faculty. The fifth member must have a doctoral degree and an active research program, whether at Washington University, at another university, in government, or in industry.
  2. A minimum of three of the five must come from the student's degree program; at least one of the five must have an appointment outside of the student’s degree programs.

All committees must be approved by the Dean of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences or by his or her designee, regardless of whether they meet the normal criteria.



Attendance by a minimum of four members of the Dissertation Defense Committee, including the committee chair and a faculty member from outside the student’s degree program, is required for the defense to take place. This provision is designed to permit your defense to proceed in case of a situation that unexpectedly prevents one of the five members from attending. Student’s must not schedule a dissertation defense at a time when only four members will be in attendance; the provision for defending in front of a committee of four will only be permitted if a committee member unexpectedly is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances.  Note that the absence of the outside members or of the committee chair will necessitate rescheduling the defense.

Members of the Dissertation Defense Committee normally attend in person, but one of the five (or, in case of an emergency, one of the four) members may attend virtually (e.g., teleconference) instead.

Read individual program guidelines for specific requirements and "Satisfactory Academic Progress" below for detailed information.


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DGSP Degree Requirements
Laboratory Rotations

Students usually participate in three laboratory rotations before selecting a thesis mentor. Rotations can range widely and may even cross programs. Research rotations are designed to expose the student to new research approaches and different laboratory environments. Significant research accomplishment is not required for a successful rotation. Typical rotations last two to four months. Students who have already conducted research in a laboratory at Washington University are normally prohibited from conducting rotation research in their former lab.

Assistance with identifying appropriate rotation laboratories is available from academic advisers and program steering committees. Students wishing to rotate with a faculty member who is not affiliated with DBBS must receive approval from their program director prior to starting the rotation. Students write a brief description of the rotation project and their objectives prior to beginning the rotation, using page one of the Rotation Report Form. After each rotation, students meet with their rotation adviser to discuss their performance during the rotation. The adviser writes an evaluation for the student’s record, and the student completes the second page of the rotation report form, which evaluates their experience in the laboratory.

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DGSP Degree Requirements
Qualifying Examination

Students must pass their program's qualifying examination. The format of the examination varies from program to program but an element common to all is an oral examination. The student should check their program's guidelines to determine the specific format of their exam. The purpose of the exam is to determine that the student has acquired sufficient knowledge to pursue independent research.

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DGSP Degree Requirements
Five Year Training Limit and Extensions to the Term Limit

Postdoctoral positions are limited to five years of training, including time at other institutions. Please check the PIF or the new postdoc’s CV to see if they had prior experience when entering the appointment. The Postdoc End Date field will automatically default to five years out from the initial date of appointment.  If the postdoc has prior experience, please change the postdoc end date on the Additional Personal Data page.  (It also displays on the Additional Job Data page, but cannot be changed there.)  The clock begins when the person begins postdoctoral training, not from the date of degree, though in most cases these two dates are very close. Clinical training (residencies & clinical fellowships) does not count towards this five year limit.

​Extensions to the five year limit to postdoctoral training may be granted by the Postdoc Policy Review Committee for extenuating circumstances, changes in lab or other significant personal or medical issues. To request an extension, please submit the form with required documents to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs three to six months in advance of the end date. Please take into consideration if you need to file for a visa. Generally speaking, extensions are granted for a maximum of one additional year. (Link to Policy and Form)

You do not need to file the official Request to Extend with the Committee if:
1. A postdoc will be leaving WU within three (3) months of their end date;
2. A postdoc has received an individual fellowship that extends past their postdoctoral training end date, but is within one year of that date (i.e., a postdoc has an AHA individual fellowship through June 2018, but their postdoc end date is November 2017).

In these two situations, please send an email to the OPA at explaining the details and copying all affected parties (postdoc, faculty advisor & department administrator) and they will respond via email. If you have questions about this process please contact the OPA at

Postdoc Appointments (top)
Diversity Postdoctoral Association (DPA)

Founded May 2007, the Diversity Postdoctoral Association (DPA) seeks to enrich the postdoctoral experience of the Postdoctoral Research Scholars & Associates from backgrounds underrepresented in the biomedical sciences at Washington University.

If you are interested, please contact Rochelle Smith at or the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at

Organizations & Campus Groups - Postdocs
Ethics and Research Sciences, Responsible Conduct of Research and HIPAA

Entering students are informed of the Washington University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Academic Integrity Policy and the Research Integrity Policy for Washington University.

All entering students must complete three on-line compliancy requirements. Questions regarding these requirements may be directed to the Division Privacy Liaison (314-362-3362).

*HIPAA 101 (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act)

HIPAA is a federally mandated act that gives healthcare providers guidelines for maintaining the confidentiality of protected health information (PHI). The training and privacy policies that Washington University developed, ensure that our organization complies with HIPAA. As a graduate student working in clinical departments at a medical school, students need to be aware of the HIPAA guidelines and implications to your research.

 *EH&S Initial Lab Safety Training Curriculum (Environmental Health & Safety)

 *PERCSS (Program for Ethical Conduct of Science & Scholarship)
Two part requirement (verbal overview session during orientation and on-line compliancy module)

Students entering 6th year in program will be required to repeat the on-line PERCSS module 

All second-year Division students are required to complete the course, BIO 5011 Ethics and Research Science, which explores ethical issues which research scientists encounter in their professional activities. Case study, scenario presentations and small group discussions provide the focus of the course.

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DGSP Degree Requirements

All incoming students to WUSM are required to meet certain entrance health requirements.  These entrance requirements include proof of immunity to certain communicable diseases, in accordance with immunization guidelines, and a physical within one year of matriculation. Incomplete information will result in a student’s inability to attend classes.  The student alone is responsible for ensuring that all required forms are completed and returned to Student Health Service by July 15th.  For those students starting in the summer, form submission is required one month prior to your start date.  Failure to comply will result in a $95.00 late fee.  Please visit the Student Health web-site at for detailed requirements, instructions and forms.  Using your WUSTL key, you are able to submit your information using electronic record submission.​

If you need a physical, contact the following organization; they offer a reduced rate for WUSTL students.

BarnesCare Midtown
5000 Manchester Ave. 
314-747-5800 (call for appointment)
Hours:  Monday – Friday 7:30am – 6:00pm

Cost for physical:  ~$62.00
Immunizations could be ~$380.00
You may want to have this done at your undergraduate school.
In addition, they DO NOT accept insurance.

Entering Students
National Institute of Health

Ehiole Akhirome - Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Michael Bern - Immunology

Katherine Conen - Neurosciences

Jennifer Davis - Molecular Cell Biology

Vivek Durai - Immunology

Trent Evans - Molecular Cell Biology

Gary Grajales-Reyes - Immunology

Carl Hacker - Biomedical Engineering

Breanne Harty - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Amy Herbert - Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Sarah Kaufman - Neurosciences

Andrew Kraft - Neurosciences

Mariah Lawler - Biochemistry

Vivian Lee Developmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology

Cheryl Leyns - Molecular Cell Biology

Dov Lerman-Sinkoff - Biomedical Engineering

Lucy Li - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Stephen Linderman - Biomedical Engineering

Christine Luo - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Cates Mallaney - Human & Statistical Genetics

Cristina Mazuski - Neurosciences

Hannah Miller - Immunology

Anish Mitra - Neurosciences

Patrick Olson - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Eugene Park - Immunology

Chelsea Parker Harp - Immunology

Caitlin Purman - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Michelle Robinette - Immunology

Emilie Russler-Germain - Immunology

Alexandra Russo - Neurosciences

Sarah Smith - Neurosciences

Benjamin Solomon - Immunology

Avik Som - Biomedical Engineering

Caitlin Spaulding - Molecular Microbiology & Microbial Pathogenesis

Calvin Stephens - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Samantha Van Hove - Molecular Cell Biology

External Fellowship Awardees
National Science Foundation

Alejandro Akrouh - Neurosciences

David Anderson - Immunology

Prachi Gopal Bagadia - Immunology

David Antoine Anderson Baranger - Neurosciences

Kirsten Brenner - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Melissa Marie Budelier - Biochemistry

Amy Kate Clippinger - Neurosciences

Melissa Cook - Immunology

Rebecca Lynn CunninghamDevelopmental, Regenerative & Stem Cell Biology​

Tara Enders - Plant Biology

Vincent FasanelloEvolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Alexis Shontae Fennoy - Molecular Genetics & Genomics

Anshu Priyanthi Gounder - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Percy Griffin - Molecular Cell Biology​

Sarem Seifu Hailemariam - Molecular Cell Biology

Zuzana Kocsisova - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Nathan D. Kopp - Human and Statistical Genetics

Brian Malpede - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Allyson Leigh Mayer - Developmental, Regenerative and Stem Cell Biology

Lisa McLellanMolecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Ashley Muehler - Plant Biology

Elizabeth Mueller - Molecular Microbiology and Microbial Pathogenesis

Amelia Nguyen - Plant and Microbial Biosciences

Christina Marie O'Neill - Immunology

Luis Sandoval - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Stephanie Schultz - Neurosciences

Jennette ShootsPlant and Microbial Biosciences

Matthew Singh - Neurosciences

Allison Soung - Neurosciences

Melanie Anne Sparks - Biochemistry

Cassondra Leigh Vernier - Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology

James Weagley - Molecular Genetics and Genomics

Marshall WedgerEvolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Rachel Wong - Immunology

Sara Wright - Evolution, Ecology and Population Biology

Anne Zimmerman - Plant and Microbial Biosciences​

External Fellowship Awardees
Money Matters

The 2017-2018 annual stipend is $30,000.  Stipend payments are disbursed the last working day of each month.  You will receive an email notification on how to set-up direct deposit.  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 16, July 17, August 16.

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 documentation when you meet with the OISS representative. 

Entering Students

Intent to Graduate Form must be filed:

December 22, 2016 for May 19, 2017 Graduation

August 1, 2017 for August 17, 2017 Graduation

October 2, 2017 for December 20, 2017 Graduation

Final Dissertation must be electronically submitted to the Graduate School:

April 24, 2017 for May 19, 2017 Graduation

September 5, 2017 for August 17, 2017 Graduation

January 2, 2018 for December 20, 2017 Graduation

Getting Ready to Graduate

The long awaited release of "The Lab: Avoiding Research Misconduct" is now available for viewing on the ORI web site. The video simulation allows users to assume the role of a graduate student, post-doc, research administrator, or PI and make decisions that affect the integrity of research.

“On Being a Scientist: Responsible Conduct in Research” National Academy of Sciences Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy

Website for the Hastings Center

General Refs
Fall 2016

Andy Geisse Career Talk
Friday, Sept. 16, 2016, 10:15 am, McMillen Lab 311, Danforth Campus
More info:

Boston Consulting Group
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, 2 pm, FLTC 207
More info: 

The Influence of Graduate Teaching and Volunteerism on Academic and Non-academic Career Paths
Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, 1:30 pm, Connor Auditorium
More info: 

Paul R. Eisenberg Career Talk
Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016, 3:00 pm, Cori Auditorium
Register and more info:

Precision Medicine Pathway Career Panel
Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, 3:00 pm, McDonnell Sciences 426
More info:

Career Talks

Fall 2016 Events

Ted Drewes Ice Cream Social
Wednesday, Aug. 24, 2016, McDonnell Sciences Courtyard, 4:30 pm

Postdoc-PI Happy Hour to Celebrate Postdoc Appreciation Week!
Monday, Sept. 19, 2016, FLTC Hearth, 4:30 pm

Career Transition Fellowship Panel for Postdocs
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 1 pm, FLTC 205

Halloween Happy Hour
Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016, FLTC 214, 4:00 pm

Career Talk & Coffee Hour (Danforth Campus): Dr. Arlene Taich of the Career Center will lead a discussion regarding career paths for postdocs
Thursday, Nov. 10, 2016, Green Hall L0159 (Danforth Campus), 4:30 pm

Free Yoga Class for Postdocs Courtesy of Wash U Postdoc Society
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, FLTC 213, 5:30 pm

Postdoc Holiday Party
Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2016, FLTC Hearth, 4:30 pm

Spring 2016 Events

Postdoc New Year Happy Hour
Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, FLTC Hearth, 5 pm

St. Louis Blues Hockey Game
Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016, Scottrade Center, 7 pm

Coffee Hour - Teaching Skills: Drs. Chad Rogers & Jessica Williams will talk about teaching during their postdocs 
Monday, March 21, 2016, FLTC 213, 9 am

Immigration Seminar
Tuesday, April 5, 2016, Erlanger Auditorium, 1:30 pm

Free Bowling courtesy of Wash U Postdoc Society
Thursday, April 28, 2016, Moolah Lanes, 6:30 pm

International Happy Hour
Wednesday, May 18, 2016, FLTC Hearth, 5 pm

Postdoc Society Events
Leaves of Absence

Students making satisfactory academic progress may request permission from the Director of their academic program for a leave of absence from graduate school of up to one year. The Director, in consultation with the program’s steering committee, will decide whether a leave will be granted. Leave will not normally be approved for a student who is not making satisfactory academic progress, or who wishes to take more than one year off. Students do not receive stipend support while on leave; however, Division payment for health insurance may be negotiated when the leave is taken for medical reasons. Students contemplating leaves should see their student coordinators to discuss health benefits and other details.

Students who take a leave without prior approval or who do not resume study at the end of the time granted must reapply for admission in order to return to the Division.

Sick Leave and Other Leave . Students may continue to receive stipends for up to 12 calendar days of sick leave per year. Sick leave may be used for the medical conditions related to pregnancy and childbirth. 

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

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DGSP Academic Progress
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, TA 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 be consistent with that of academic employees of the University. 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.

Emergency Short-term Loans
Students (PhD students and MSTP students in PhD years) may apply for a short-term emergency loan through the Graduate CenterShort-term loans are available for $500 or less to eligible students for a short period of time.  Short-term loans are billed to your student account and must be repaid in one month.  Please contact the Graduate Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Danforth University Center, in Room 300, 9am – 5pm, Monday - Friday.

MSTP Students in ME years may apply for similar loans through the Medical Alumni Fund.  Please contact WUSOM Office of Student Financial Planning 362-3045 or

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

The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences is a degree program of Washington University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) is responsible for graduate education in the biomedical and biological sciences at Washington University. DBBS is organized into twelve academic programs, each representing a different scientific area. Students receive current guidelines for these programs upon matriculation, and periodic updates as changes occur. Those guidelines provide students with policies, procedures, and requirements specific to the academic program in which they are enrolled. This document consists of the policies and procedures that apply to the graduate education of all Division students, regardless of their program affiliation. The hallmark of the Division is flexibility, and students should always feel free to explore the possibility of individualizing their programs where appropriate.

The Division presently includes over 500 faculty; ~475 students working toward the Ph.D. degree; and ~190 students working toward the combined M.D./Ph.D. degree in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Member departments of the Division include the Department of Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and the seven preclinical departments of the School of Medicine, namely: Neuroscience, Biochemistry & Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology & Physiology, Molecular Genetics, Developmental Biology, Molecular Microbiology, and Pathology & Immunology. In addition, there are members of the Division faculty located in the Departments of Chemistry, Psychology and Brain Sciences, Physics, Earth and Planetary Sciences, and the School of Engineering on the Danforth Campus and in the clinical departments of the School of Medicine

  • The chief administrative body of the Division is the Executive Council, composed of the Heads of the eight member departments, the Departments of Chemistry and of Biomedical Engineering, two members of clinical departments, the Associate Dean for Graduate Education, the Director of the MSTP, and the Director of Ph.D. Admissions and Recruiting. The Chair of the Council is the executive officer of the Division.
  • The Associate Dean oversees day to day operations of the Division and chairs the Program and Student Affairs Committee, which consists of the directors of the twelve academic programs.
  • Each of the academic programs is managed by a Steering Committee. A committee of faculty oversees the recruitment and admission activities of DBBS.

Please consult the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Bulletin when Graduate School policy is referred to in this guide (all students receive a copy of the Bulletin prior to matriculation). ( M.D./Ph.D. students should refer to the School of Medicine Bulletin (received by those students prior to matriculation) for policies governing the medical phase of their graduate education.

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DGSP Introduction
Conflict of Interest Policy for Research

Research funding from sources that have intellectual property interests in the research, or in which the PI has personal financial interest, may create a real or perceived conflict of interest, given the dual roles of the principal investigator in obtaining funding for the lab and as a mentor for graduate students. Issues of paramount importance are (i) the ability to publish results in a timely fashion; (ii) the ability to communicate research results openly, especially to members of the thesis committee; and (iii) academic rights to publish and speak freely, especially as related to a graduate student’s thesis and defense.

Statement of policy.

The following principles should apply to any situation involving a graduate student supported by funding that is associated with a confidentiality agreement:

    The limitations and nature of the confidentiality agreement must be fully disclosed to and approved by the student, the thesis committee, and the DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs;
    The confidentiality agreement must not place an unreasonable burden or delay in publication or reporting at scientific meetings;
    The confidentiality agreement must not delay the writing or defense of the thesis;

Examples of inappropriate projects:
1. Research involving chemical compounds whose structure or mechanism of action is proprietary and failure to disclose would preclude peer-reviewed publication.

2. Research involving genes or proteins whose original or modified sequences are proprietary and failure to disclose would preclude peer-reviewed publication.

3. Research involving organisms or cell lines that are proprietary and failure to disclose would preclude peer-reviewed publication.

4. Research in which the thesis advisor has a significant personal or corporate financial interest.

Process for handling potential conflicts of interest involving students
If a faculty member receives industry-sponsored research support that entails a confidentiality agreement or has a personal financial interest related to the thesis work, the following process must be followed in order for the graduate student to be supported by this source:

As soon as the proposed arrangement becomes a concrete plan, the faculty member and student involved discuss and sign an appropriately specific disclosure statement that is based on a standard template (see below).

The signed statement should be submitted to the DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Education, who will review the material and forward a provisional recommendation to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research.

If approved by the Vice Chancellor for Research, the student may proceed with this research and receive industry-sponsored support pending final approval by the student’s thesis committee.

Once a thesis committee is established (or at the next scheduled thesis committee meeting if one already exists), copies of the disclosure statement are provided to the committee. The committee meets with the faculty advisor and student initially present and decides whether the constraints imposed by the confidentiality agreement are acceptable.

The thesis committee chair forwards its recommendation to the DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Education by indicating on the disclosure statement whether or not the thesis committee approves the arrangement.

The DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Education reviews the material and forwards a final recommendation to the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research, where a final decision is made.

Disclosure statement for graduate students
Approved by Executive Council, DBBS
March, 2009
(Template; to be customized by the P.I. before presenting to the student)


From: PI
To: Graduate Student

This memo is to inform you that I intend to support $X of your stipend with funds provided by company Y. In accepting this support, I am obliged to sign a confidentiality agreement that puts constraints on the release of proprietary information that may pertain to your research. Research findings generated in whole or in part by this support must be reviewed by company Y prior to public release by presentation at scientific meetings or submission for publication (abstracts or manuscripts). According to the terms of the grant, the maximum time the results may be held for review is Z days. It is my understanding that this delay will be the only restriction on publication of your research. [OR, if chemical structure or other information remains proprietary, spell out the specifics.] For your protection, this arrangement will be discussed with and must receive approval by your thesis committee, the DBBS Associate Dean for Graduate Education, and the Vice Chancellor for Research or his/her designee.

Signature of PI:__________________________________ Date:____________________

Signature of Trainee:_____________________________ Date:____________________

The thesis committee has reviewed the relevant material and [ ] approves [ ] disapproves of the proposed arrangement.

Signature of thesis committee chair:__________________________ Date:____________________

The Associate Dean for Graduate Education has reviewed the relevant material and [ ] approves [ ] disapproves of the proposed arrangement.

Signature of Associate Dean:________________________________ Date:____________________

The Vice Chancellor for Research has reviewed the relevant material and [ ] approves [ ] disapproves of the proposed arrangement.

Signature of Vice Chancellor of Research:_______________________ Date:____________________

(Signed copy should be returned to the Associate Dean for Graduate Education, DBBS, Campus Box 8226)


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DGSP Degree Requirements

DBBS students must complete a minimum of 36 units of course credit for the Doctor of Philosophy degree, and must maintain a “B” average. Each of the Division’s programs has different course requirements; individual program guidelines provide specific details. However, each student must register continuously every semester from matriculation through thesis completion. Since the required courses do not total 36 units, DBBS students also register for a research course (BIO 590). Grades for research courses are recorded as “satisfactory” or “unsatisfactory” rather than as letter grades. “Incomplete” grades are not acceptable, and students are required to complete their assignments on a timely basis. Grades in core courses must be a B- or above and students must maintain a B (3.0) overall average. Normally, students will complete 36 credit hours by the end of the first semester of their second year.

All Division students are required to complete a one-semester course in teaching practice and a one-semester course in the ethical aspects of conducting biological research.

English Requirement for International Students. Any graduate student beginning studies in the Division who did not earn an undergraduate degree from a university in a country in which English is the primary native language, must demonstrate a satisfactory knowledge of, and facility with, spoken and written English. This involves examinations administered by Washington University’s English Language Programs. In order to remain in good standing, any courses recommended by the ELP Program must be taken during the first calendar year the student is in the Division. After successful completion of these courses, the steering committee of the student's academic program is responsible for monitoring their English language proficiency. The committee’s evaluation is based on the student’s ability to successfully complete graduate course work and to communicate effectively in the laboratory, in journal clubs, and on the qualifying examination. The steering committee may, at any time, require the student to complete additional course work recommended by the ELP.

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DGSP Degree Requirements
Sling Health Network
Sling Health Network is a bioengineering design and entrepreneurship incubator founded in 2012 at Washington University in St. Louis. Students, faculty, staff, and St. Louis entrepreneurs team up to tackle unmet needs in healthcare delivery and clinical medicine.
Our group's objectives include:
  • To develop a culture of innovation at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine
  • To teach engineering and medical students the skills and processes needed to invent and implement new biomedical technologies
  • To develop novel medical devices targeting unmet clinical needs
Organizations & Campus Groups - Graduate Students
Instructions for Submission

Abstracts will be accepted from January 13, 2017-February 13, 2017. One submission per person please. This deadline will not be extended.

  • Electronic submissions only.
  • Submit abstracts here:
  • Abstracts may be submitted for either a judged or unjudged poster. Reminder: You must have 6 months of WU postdoc experience in your current lab to submit for a judged poster.
  • The title and abstract will be posted online and printed in the symposium program. Please review and spell check before submitting.
Postdoc Symposium
Abstract Details
  • Abstracts must be 1800 characters or less (about 250 words or less).
  • Abstracts may be submitted on any topic or in any STEM field.
  • Please do not use figures, tables, or graphs.
  • Please do not include references, citations, or funding sources.
  • The abstract submitted should be for your current postdoctoral research project. The abstract should focus on your personal scientific contributions to the lab and your specific postdoctoral research project, though it may also include general information about the lab and its activities. Please do not submit a standard lab abstract. 
  • Please use clear, simple language and a general vocabulary that can be understood by anyone.  Symposium attendees represent a variety of departments, fields, and backgrounds. Please write so that all can understand.
  • Abstracts will be posted online for 2-3 weeks around the time of the symposium. Please make sure you do not include confidential information or data that cannot be posted online.
Postdoc Symposium
Fall 2016

September 2016 

What to Look for When Searching for a Postdoc Position
Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016, 12 pm, Holden Auditorium
Register & more info: 

Citations & Opportunites for Graduate Students*
Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, 1 pm, Erlanger Auditorium
Register & more info: 

How to Keep a Good Research Notebook*
Thursday, Sep. 22, 2016, 1 pm, Erlanger Auditorium
Register & more info: 
Communicating Science 2016 Symposium
Monday, Sept. 26-Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, EPNEC
Individual Development Plan (IDP) Workshop*
Thursday, Sept. 29, 2016, 1 pm, Erlanger Auditorium

October 2016

Grant Resources for STEM
Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016, 4 pm, DUC 300, Danforth Campus
Register & more info: 

Individual Development Plan (IDP) Workshop
Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016, 1 pm, Holden Auditorium
Register and more info:  

November 2016

8 Ways to Successfully Navigate NIH Peer Review and Get a Fellowship Grant
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 1 pm, Holden Auditorium
Versatile PhD Workshop: Session 1
Wednesday, Nov. 2, 2016, 4 pm, DUC 300, Danforth Campus

Versatile PhD Workshop: Session 2
Thurs., Nov. 10, 2016, 4 pm, DUC 300, Danforth CampusNov. 10, 2016, 4 pm, DUC 300, Danforth Campus

December 2016

NIH Peer Review Briefing for Basic Research Applicants and Reviewers
Friday, Dec. 2, 2016, 1 pm, Cori Auditorium
More info:

Research: What's Leadership Got to Do with It?
Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016, 3:30 pm, Wohl Auditorium
More info:

The NINDS Diversity Career Development K22 Award: Tips for Preparing Your Application (Webinar for Postdocs)
Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016, 2 pm, online
Professional Development Programming
Abstract Submission Criteria
  • You must have an official university title of either Postdoctoral Research Associate or Postdoctoral  Research Scholar at both the time of submission and on March 30th.
  • Poster judging is optional and postdocs may present “works in progress” posters. 
  • To submit for a judged poster, you must have at least 6 months of postdoctoral experience in your current lab.
  • Judged posters may be set up the day before the symposium, and must be displayed and ready for judging by 8 am on March 30, 2017.
Postdoc Symposium
Poster Selection & Judging

All posters will be accepted unless we have space constraints. Poster judging is a two-part process and all judged posters must be set up by 8 am on March 30, 2017. Part 1 will occur prior to the Symposium. The poster judges will review and evaluate the posters without postdocs present, and narrow it down to the top posters, approximately 10. The judges will then visit the top posters during the poster session. A formal presentation is not required - you are expected to present and discuss your research with all those who visit your poster. (Poster judges may or may not identify themselves.) The suggested judging criteria for the posters are:

  • Clarity – poster and oral explanation are understandable to a non-expert
  • Significance of the research
  • Originality of research design, technique, focus or idea
  • Interest to a general scientific audience
  • Poster is well designed and well organized with fonts in an appropriate size, an appropriate number of graphics, etc.
  • Information can be understood and followed (in a basic sense) without a person present
  • Presenter can succinctly explain their research
  • Presenter can address questions appropriately
  • Presenter can relate their research to the “big picture” and provide relevance

The Best Poster Award will be announced via email after the symposium.

Postdoc Symposium
Talk Selection Process

An Abstract Review Committee comprised of Washington University faculty will review and select the five postdoc talks. The talk abstracts will be chosen based on:

  • Significance
  • Originality
  • Clarity of abstract
  • Interest to a general scientific audience and
  • Illustrating the breadth and diversity of our scientific community

The goal of the talks is to showcase great science and illustrate the range of research areas of our postdocs at Washington University.

Postdoc Symposium
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.

Visit​ to access the following:
 -Dissertation and Thesis Template
 -Doctoral Dissert​ation Guide

Dissertation Defense Committee Form​

Intent to Graduate Form - filed via WEBSTAC
​Survey of Earned Doctorates Form
Payroll/Student Health Form
Job Survey
Graduating Student Survey

Getting Ready to Graduate
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