St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences provides a unique environment for translational research focused on pediatric cancer, infectious diseases, and nonmalignant blood disorders. The campus is compact and highly integrated, with basic scientists and clinicians interacting on a daily basis. Studies are typically coordinated through multidisciplinary teams that strive to understand the causes of diseases at the cellular and molecular level and to translate this knowledge into novel therapeutics. Although faculty members are organized into departments according to scientific and clinical expertise, their research is typically conducted within these teams. This highly interactive approach defines translational research at St. Jude and provides unique opportunities for PhD graduate education and training. Predoctoral students will have the opportunity to participate in all research programs and to become involved in the full spectrum of studies from basic science, through therapeutic development, and ultimately to clinical trials. Participation in research teams will also extend the mentorship that students will receive beyond that of their immediate thesis advisor, and exposes each student to a wide array of basic science and clinical methods. Thus, students graduating from the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences will have acquired an enviable array of cutting-edge scientific and clinical skills and will be fully prepared to pursue independent careers in translational research.
Our goal is to graduate students within 5 years, and we have designed a highly focused curriculum with clearly defined timelines to achieve this. The first-year curriculum will be centered on a Core Course that will provide the essential background knowledge required for biomedical research, develop the necessary skills to critically interpret current literature, and take advantage of the opportunities for basic and translational research at St. Jude. A curriculum committee has been established to oversee all aspects of the teaching, to monitor its effectiveness, and to suggest changes as necessary. To learn about the research and clinical resources at St. Jude, first-year students will also participate in 2 associated programs. In the ‘Core Facilities Program’, students will participate in structured visits to the institutional and departmental research core facilities to observe how the available technologies work and learn about our onsite capabilities. In the ‘Topics in Clinical and Translational Research Program’, students will visit the clinics and discuss continuing clinical problems and therapeutic design. In addition, a ‘Biostatistics and Bioinformatics’ course has been designed to provide students with a rigorous statistical and computational education coupled with exposure to a broad range of biomedical research applications. Modern biomedical research absolutely requires these skills, and the course will begin at the start of the first year. To keep abreast of new developments in the biomedical sciences field and hone their presentation skills, students will also participate in regular journal clubs. The final component of the students’ first-year training will be three 6-week rotations in the laboratories of selected graduate faculty. It is anticipated that students will ultimately pursue their thesis research in one of those three laboratories. Each student will be assigned a small research project during the rotation, and he/she will formally present results to the student body and selected basic science and clinical graduate faculty members. During their first year, each student will be assigned a Scholastic Oversight Team to oversee their progress, provide assistance and advise as necessary.
Accreditation for the graduate program will be sought at the first opportunity from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC).
Once we obtain accreditation from the SACS COC, we will have the ability to accept applications from international students.