The Graduate Programs in Physiology & Biophysics!


Our Department

The Programs in Physiology & Biophysics at the Chobanian & Avedisian Boston University School of Medicine are proud to offer extensive Graduate Programs leading to M.A., Ph.D., or M.D./Ph.D. degrees. Each program stresses broad laboratory training and original research performed under the direction of a faculty advisor.

Physiology & Biophysics are research-oriented programs with about 80 personnel including 22 active faculty members, graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research technicians, and administrative support staff.  The size of the Programs are conducive to collaborations among research groups. Many of the faculty members hold joint appointments in the Department of Biochemistry or the Department of Medicine or the Cell & Molecular Biology Program.  Our programs are genuinely committed to excellence in research and training. With research interests in the Programs encompassing many facets of Structural Biology, Molecular Biophysics, Cell Biology, and Molecular and Cellular Physiology, the Programs have extensive facilities, research laboratories and instrumentation for state-of-the-art structural biology, biophysical and physiological research.

Our Location

The Programs in Physiology & Biophysics are located on the Chobanian & Avedisian School of Medicine Campus in the Center for Advanced Biomedical Research Building and the School of Medicine Instructional Building within the South End neighborhood of Boston. The Medical Center Campus is comprised of Boston Medical Center, a teaching facility, the Goldman School of Graduate Dentistry, and academic departments involved in basic and translational biomedical research.

Our location offers:
  • Convenient access to public transportation
  • Short walking distance of downtown Boston
  • Close proximity to many major universities and colleges
  • A stimulating and exciting environment for biomedical research and collaboration

Our Faculty Members

  • Possess a wide range of interests
  • Nationally and internationally recognized as leaders in their chosen areas of research
  • Genuinely committed to excellence in cutting edge research
  • Dedicated to the training and education of students to become complete scientists with strong research, presentation, and writing skills
  • Highly engaged in research collaborations

Our Goals

  • To offer a flexible curriculum with pathways leading toward a degree in Physiology or Biophysics
  • To provide the advantage of learning Physiology & Biophysics at the molecular, cellular and organismal level
  • To create a strong, collegial environment to promote the diverse research of all members of the department
  • To promote opportunities to communicate and collaborate effectively within a broad range of disciplines ranging from medical personnel to chemists, engineers and physicists

Our Curriculum

Boston University’s Program in Biomedical Sciences (PiBS) offers training towards the Ph.D. degree by integrating the foundations of interdisciplinary biomedical research with focused investigation and preparation for career advancement. Your specific research project brings this extensive training into excellent focus, providing a quantitative approach to our medically significant research.

First year students:

FC 701 – Protein Structure, Catalysis & Interaction
FC 702 – Structure and Function of the Genome
FC 703 – Architecture & Dynamics of the Cell
FC 704 – Mechanisms of Cell Communication
FC 705 – Translational Genetics and Genomics
FC 706 – Molecular Metabolism
FC 707 – Physiology of Specialized Cells (Required Course)

  • Select elective courses focused on area-specific interests from core disciplines such as:
      • Engage in laboratory rotations
      • Attend journal clubs and research seminars
      • Select a faculty advisor
      • Create an individual development plan for research and training with the help of their advisor
      • Begin thesis research
      Second year students:
      • Continue taking classes
      • Develop their research projects
      • Are required to pass qualifying exams for advancement to candidacy for the Ph.D. degree.
      Throughout their training, students:
      • Participate in a weekly departmental seminar series
      • Report the progress of their research projects at the annual pre-thesis committee meetings, Students Seminar Day, Russek Day for Graduate Students Excellence and other venues through oral presentations and poster sessions.
      • May choose to take additional courses relevant to their research
      • May choose to participate in teaching and mentoring at the graduate, undergraduate or high-school level.
      Years to graduation:
      • Graduate students are expected to defend their PhD thesis in 5 to 6 years. Additional time may be granted if necessary subject to student performance and funding availability.
      Learning Outcomes:

      Learning outcomes for all students graduating with a degree in Physiology or Biophysics from the School of Medicine are to:

      • Generate an original body of work in the field of Physiology or Biophysics that reflects critical thinking and independent thought, and present a substantial project that advances this field of research.
      • Demonstrate competencies in advanced research skills.
      • Demonstrate ability to carry out professional responsibilities in an ethical manner.
      • Master and attain proficiency in applying concepts, information, and methods in the field.
      • Demonstrate written and oral communication skills within their chosen field of expertise, with the ability to communicate with both specialists and non-experts.
      • Demonstrate a commitment to professional development and continued learning in their chosen field.

      With Graduate Education playing a key role in the vibrancy of our scientific research, we work to continually improve the Programs in Physiology & Biophysics and expand the opportunities for our graduate students. Students who graduate from our programs with a Ph.D. or M.D/Ph.D. degree have gone on to extremely successful careers in all areas of academic, pharmaceutical and industrial science.

      Download the full details of our Graduate Programs