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Prospective Students

Allison Light

The Pathology – Cell Biology of Disease Graduate Program encompasses studies of the molecular, cell biological and pathophysiological underpinnings of human disease.  Our students make discoveries about the underlying mechanisms of human disease on a path to developing new treatments or diagnostic tests.  Graduates receive a Ph.D. in Pathology and go on to rewarding careers in academic, medical, industrial, non-profit and government settings.

Our PhD program is multidisciplinary in nature, drawing on faculty expertise in all aspects of human biology, including molecular underpinnings of disease, examination of cell, tissue and animal model systems, employment of ‘omic’ sciences and informatics, and design of therapeutic interventions.  Over 60 laboratories are part of the Cell Biology program, including faculty from every arena within the Medical Center community.  Core areas of research are:

  • biology of sensory systems
  • orthopedics and the musculoskeletal system
  • cardiovascular disease and lung biology
  • infectious and autoimmune disease
  • cancer biology
  • metabolic disorders
  • neurodegenerative disease
  • biology of aging and regenerative medicine

We welcome your application to our school should you choose to apply. For more information about admissions, visit the school's  Admissions Page.

Pathology Admissions Lunch

Graduate Training in Pathology – Cell Biology of Disease at URMC

During your first year of study, you will take foundational coursework covering fundamentals of molecular and cell biology and human disease while conducting research in three different laboratories under mentors from the Cell Biology program.  Through program activities and coursework, you also will begin growing your professional skills such as writing and presentation as soon as you arrive at URMC.

At the start of your second year, you will select a mentor and embark on the research that will comprise your Ph.D. thesis.  In addition, second year students take elective coursework related to your their scientific interests.

Cell Biology program students graduate in an average of 5.5 years, usually with multiple scientific publications.  Students have the opportunity to travel and present at conferences and to gain additional professional skills, such as leadership, teaching, scientific communication or bio-manufacturing through coursework and extracurricular activities.  Some even conduct internships in industry or government settings as they move towards graduation.

Program Eligibility

John Varrone and Mahendra Colonne

Admission to the Cell Biology of Disease Graduate Program is highly competitive with less than 20% of applicants admitted to the program each year.

Successful applicants will have the following:

  • Bachelor’s degree in the biological, chemical, or biomedical sciences. Ideal candidates will have previous laboratory research experience with a minimum overall grade point average of at least 3.0.
  • Statement of Purpose indicating the applicant’s reason(s) for applying to the Pathology – Cell Biology of Disease program and preparation for this field of study, research interests, and future career plans.
  • Copy of transcript(s) from all post-secondary institutions attended.
  • A resume or curriculum vitae.
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation are required. Letters from research supervisors preferred.
  • International applicants whose primary language is not English must take either IELTS (a minimum band score of 6.5) or Duolingo, (a minimum band score of 90) as a mandatory requirement, Institution Code -2948.
  • OPTIONAL: GRE General and/or Subject Test in Biology exam scores; These are not required, but if submitted, scores above the 60th percentile are most competitive for admission.

Scholarships and Stipends

All students receive a full-tuition scholarship, paid individual health insurance, and an annual stipend.  Up-to-date information can be found on our Financial Aid page.

Online Application

Prospective Ph.D. students apply for admission through the School of Medicine and Dentistry (SMD) online application. Applications deadlines are set by SMD, generally due late fall / early winter with winter / spring interviews for enrollment the following Fall semester.