Letter from the Dean

Welcome to the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences at Washington University!

We are excited and proud to have you among our community of scholars, as we guide you through the transformative process that is graduate education. Here, you will develop from a consumer of scientific information into a creator of new knowledge and, more importantly, a proposer of new questions that will shape future generations of scientists. Through coursework and research apprenticeship, you will acquire the skills of a lifelong learner, set your own path and goals for a career in science, and develop into an expert mentor and colleague in your field. We have high expectations for you, and assume you have high expectations of us. You will find that the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) will provide you with the resources, support and people to guide you through this intense period of professional growth.

Becoming a successful scientist in the post-genome era requires multidisciplinary training and mastery of integrated sciences. Modern scientists are increasingly developing expertise in multiple specialties, including those that lead to fundamental changes in basic concepts of scientific disciplines, and to the translation of basic science findings to clinical applications. As the DBBS serves as an umbrella organization of several programmatic areas of study, it is ideally positioned to promote science and scientific training at the interfaces of disciplines, where the most important scientific breakthroughs occur. For more than 40 years, the PhD programs administered by the DBBS have operated at those frontiers.

Washington University in St. Louis offers unique opportunities in translating basic science to practical application. The University’s Biomed 21​ initiative provides $300 million to support research that builds bridges from bench to bedside; the project included construction of the BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine, with approximately 215,000 square feet dedicated to such research. In addition, associations between the DBBS and internationally prominent local institutions provide exciting opportunities: students in the biomedical sciences enrich their work with clinical perspectives through our outstanding medical school; students in plant, population, evolutionary and ecological sciences benefit from our close affiliation with the internationally renowned Missouri Botanical Garden and the Danforth Plant Sciences Center​.

Your Professors, Program Directors and Research Mentors are all committed to your success. I hope you will develop strong relationships with our outstanding and accomplished faculty through open communication and establishment of clear expectations. Your peers will contribute to this scholarly network and provide social outlets for work-life balance. Your success in developing into an independent researcher will require diligence, proactivity, and intellectual depth. I encourage you to explore the programs of study and reach out and connect with scientists` at every level of training and achievement at Washington University in St. Louis. Our decades of commitment to a collaborative environment and interdisciplinary scientific education allow us to offer one of the most comprehensive and effective PhD programs available.


Robyn S. Klein, M.D., Ph.D.
The Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Distinguished Professor of Medicine & Immunology
Associate Dean for Graduate Education
Director, Division of Biology & Biomedical Sciences
Director, Center for Neuroimmunology & Neuroinfectious Diseases
Professor, Departments of Medicine, Pathology & Immunology, Neurosciences​

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