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Education / Graduate Education / PhD Programs

PhD Programs

Actively pursue research in diverse areas encompassing the modern biomedical and health sciences. The School of Medicine and Dentistry's interdisciplinary environment will provide you with an educational experience with maximum flexibility, allowing you to pursue intellectual challenges in your specific field, as well as in other related areas of interest.

PhD Program List

Application to one PhD program per admissions year is accepted; however, you may request to transfer your application to a different program at any point in the application process.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology  (PhD in Biochemistry)

Biomedical Engineering   (PhD in Biomed Engineering)

Biomedical Genetics and Genomics  (PhD in Genetics)

Biophysics, Structural, and Computational Biology  (PhD in Biophysics)

PhD Program in Pathology

Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology  (PhD in Pharmacology or Physiology)

Epidemiology  (PhD in Epidemiology) (Apply through Sophas)

Health Services Research and Policy  (PhD in Health Services Research and Policy)  (Apply through Sophas)

Immunology, Microbiology and Virology  (PhD in Microbiology and Immunology)

Neuroscience  (PhD in Neuroscience or Neurobiology and Anatomy)

Statistics  (PhD in Statistics)

Toxicology  (PhD in Toxicology)

Translational Biomedical Science  (PhD in Translational Biomedical Science)

Online Application

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Why Choose Rochester?

Personal attention, close working relationships with your peers and faculty, and extensive participation in research are what you can expect from your experience in our graduate programs. You and your peers drive the educational experience, which means that you can expect:

The University of Rochester provides equal opportunity in admissions and student aid regardless of sex, age, race, color, creed, disability, sexual orientation, and national or ethnic origin. Further, the University complies with all applicable nondiscrimination laws. Questions on compliance should be directed to the particular school or department and/or to the University's Equal Opportunity Coordinator, University of Rochester, Box 270501, Rochester, NY 14627-0501.

You can also fill out our student accommodations form (opens in new window)

On behalf of Dean Richard Libby, it is our pleasure to announce the 2024 PhD Award recipients:

The Vincent du Vigneaud Award - Dr. Allison Murphy, Neuroscience

Allison Murphy, MDThe Vincent du Vigneaud Award is presented annually to a graduating student whose thesis work is judged to be unique in potential for stimulating and extending research in the field. The 2024 recipient of this honor is Allison Murphy ’23M (PhD) a postdoctoral associate in the lab of Farran Briggs, PhD.

Allison’s thesis, “Structure and Function of Corticogeniculate Feedback,” along with her unpublished work, will significantly advance research in visual systems neuroscience. Her groundbreaking experiment, which had never been attempted before, involved identifying weak and modulatory corticogeniculate synapses. These synapses are challenging to study due to their rarity and difficulty in targeting for recordings. To overcome these obstacles, Allison developed a new data acquisition system using Neuropixels arrays and established a novel analysis pipeline. Her dedication paid off, resulting in an impressive dataset of corticogeniculate-to-thalamus pairs that support like-to-like connectivity. These findings are foundational for understanding feedback circuits in sensory systems, making Allison’s work highly impactful in the field.

The Wallace O. Fenn Award Dr. Linh Le, Neuroscience
Linh Le, MD

The Wallace O. Fenn Award is given annually to a graduating student judged to have performed especially meritorious research and who presented a Ph.D. thesis suitable to honor the name of Dr. Fenn. The 2024 recipient of this honor is Linh Le ’24M (PhD).

Linh’s thesis proposal, “The Effects of Microglial Adrenergic Signaling and Microglial Renewal on Alzheimer’s Disease Pathology,” led to a funded lab supplement to study noradrenergic signaling in Alzheimer’s Disease (AD). Her research demonstrated that the noradrenergic system is disrupted in AD mice and that microglial sensitivity to norepinephrine diminishes as AD pathology progresses. She also found that microglia near amyloid plaques exhibited more disruptions in adrenergic signaling than those farther from plaques. Most importantly, Linh showed that modulating noradrenergic signaling in microglia could influence plaque pathology, a result absent in mice lacking microglial adrenergic receptors.

This groundbreaking work, posted on bioRxiv and currently under review, required her to master complex techniques such as animal surgeries, in vivo two-photon microscopy, immunohistochemistry, FACS, qPCR, and RNAscope. Linh is preparing her findings for publication as the first author, alongside another first author manuscript on in vivo imaging of microglia during depletion and repopulation in AD mice. Her thesis reflects her innovative thinking and ability to collaborate effectively, producing significant scientific results.

The Leadership Award for Excellence in Equity and Inclusion - Dr. Adrian Molina Vargas, Genetics: Bioinformatics
Adrian Molina

The Leadership Award for Excellence in Equity and Inclusion is given annually to a graduating student for outstanding effort in advancing equity and inclusion throughout their graduate career at the School of Medicine and Dentistry. Nominees must demonstrate a sustained passion for and commitment to promoting equity and inclusion through their research, institutional, administrative, or other service-related efforts. The 2024 recipient of this honor is Adrian Molina Vargas ’23M (PhD).

Adrian has been instrumental in leading equity and inclusion efforts at the University of Rochester and beyond. As a co-founder and board member of the University of Rochester Alliance for Diversity in Science and Engineering (ADSE), he has fostered equity and inclusion within the community. Adrian has actively contributed to developing and implementing DEI initiatives, anti-racism plans, and student advocacy efforts. He organized social events for trainees and hosted a diversity seminar series to encourage meaningful dialogue among students. During his tenure as President of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) from 2022-2023, Adrian’s leadership propelled the organization to new heights. He worked with school officials to implement impactful DEI initiatives and invited speakers from diverse backgrounds to share their knowledge. Adrian's efforts increased membership and created a supportive community for trainees from diverse backgrounds. Additionally, he mentored numerous undergraduate and graduate students from underrepresented groups, helping them overcome academic challenges and build confidence. Adrian’s dedication and passion have significantly impacted the lives of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds, creating a more inclusive environment for all.

Thank you to the selection committee and to all who nominated.