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UC Davis School of Medicine

UC Davis School of Medicine

Doctoral programs in biological sciences

Biochemistry and molecular biology

The Graduate Group in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology comprises a diverse group of faculty from the School of Medicine and other schools and colleges of UC Davis. Admissions requirements include the GRE with an advanced score in one of the following: chemistry, biochemistry, molecular and cell biology, or biology. The M.D./Ph.D. program may include some graduate course work during year one and full-time graduate course-work and research during years three through five. Graduate work in biochemistry involves a broad overview plus specialization in one or more of the following: protein chemistry, control of gene expression, gene rearrangements, chromosome structure and function, immunochemistry molecular virology, reproductive biochemistry, structure and function of surfaces protein synthesis, biochemistry of neoplasia, lipid biosynthesis, hormonal control of metabolism, enzymology, and membrane transport. The primary research areas represented by the faculty include: cell biology, molecular biology, physical biochemistry, structural biology, metabolism and genetics.

See also: 

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Faculty
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Web Site

Biomedical engineering

Biomedical engineering includes faculty members from the three colleges, and the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine. The programs of study prepare students for professional work in the effective integration of engineering with biology and medical sciences, including modeling of biological systems and the design of devices and procedures useful for human and veterinary medicine. The Biomedical Engineering Graduate Group encourages candidates for the M.D./Ph.D. dual degree program with strong competence in mathematics and engineering. Faculty research areas include: l) biomaterials and biomechanics as they relate to orthopaedic medicine and human athletic performance; and 2) recognition and analysis of biomedical images from the molecular to the whole body levels.

The program of study in biomedical engineering prepares students for professional work in the effective integration of engineering with biological and medical sciences, including the modeling of biological systems, and the design of devices and procedures useful for human and veterinary medicine. Admission to the program is open to students with a bachelor's degree in biology, engineering, or a related field. A strong background in mathematics and engineering is highly recommended. Specialized course work requirements include 40 units, 24 of which are graduate level courses in engineering (12) and biology (9). Medical school courses should fulfill most biology course work.

See also:

UC Davis Plasma Physics and Millimeter Wave Technology Group
Biomedical Engineering Faculty
Biomedical Engineering Web Site


Faculty members in biophysics share an interest in the biophysical aspects of molecular and cellular structure. Areas of special strength include membrane biophysics, cellular biophysics, nuclear magnetic resonance, and biophysical chemistry.

Visit the Biophysics Web Site for more information.

Cell and developmental biology

The Ph.D. program in cell and developmental biology offers a choice of undertaking thesis work with some 35 faculty campuswide. Research interests of the faculty cover a wide range of topics in cellular and developmental biology: regulation of transcription and translation in developing systems; molecular mechanisms in fertilization; expression and assembly of cytoskeletal proteins; morphogenesis; implantation and placental development; transepithelial transport; adaptive, membrane structure and mechanisms in transmembrane ion flux; cell adhesion; physiology; growth factor control and regulation; molecular neurobiology. The faculty are drawn from a wide range of disciplines including molecular, cellular, and structural biology, biochemistry, physiology, endocrinology, genetics, and physical biochemistry. Thus, the Ph.D. student in cell and developmental biology is presented with an exceptional degree of variety in selecting systems and approaches in the development of a doctoral research project.

Visit the Cell and Developmental Biology Web Site for more information.

Comparative pathology

The graduate program in comparative pathology is designed for students interested in studying the causes and nature of disease processes in humans and animals. Major emphasis is on the mechanisms responsible for the development of diseases at the organismal, cellular or subcellular levels. The faculty members associated with this group are located in the School of Medicine, and School of Veterinary Medicine, as well as the Colleges of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and Letters and Science. The research interests of the members of the Graduate Group cover a wide range, including studies on cancer, cardiovascular diseases, infectious and inherited disorders in man and experimental animals. This program is for students who have primary interest in the pathogenesis of disease.

Visit the Comparative Pathology Web Site for more information.


Epidemiology combines concepts and methods of medicine, biology, mathematics, statistics, and economics to investigate distributions and determinants of health, disease, injury, and impaired productivity in populations, and to recommend actions for prevention or control of the problems. The curriculum offers graduate level courses and seminars in epidemiology, epidemiological study design and modeling, economics, and mathematical and medical statistics. The faculty have interests in environmental and occupational health, veterinary medicine (livestock, wildlife, laboratory animals, companion animals), biostatistics, economics, nutrition, international nutrition, infectious diseases, community health, entomology and other fields. They are united by their common interest in the application of epidemiological methods to their respective fields.

Visit the Epidemiology Web Site for more information.


Faculty members in this group use both molecular and classical genetic approaches to investigate traditional genetic organisms, human biology and disease and agricultural species. The faculty derive from the Division of Biological Sciences, the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Agriculture. Additional information on genetic research programs centered on disease in humans or model organisms the can be found at the Rowe Program page.

See also: 

Genetics Graduate Group Web Site
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories


Graduate study in immunology involves an interdepartmental group with faculty from several colleges. This program is flexible and allows students the latitude to emphasize areas that are of the most benefit and interest to them. Possible areas of specialization include molecular biology, immunochemistry, immunogenetics, cellular immunology, clinical immunology, and tumor and developmental immunology. Research programs include cancer biology; the study of autoimmune diseases; infection and immunity, including host response to parasites, viruses, and bacteria; immune regulation at the cellular and molecular levels; and immunochemistry with emphasis on the effects of immune mediators, immunogenetics and developmental immunology.

Visit the Immunology Web site for more information.


The Graduate Group in Microbiology consists of an interdisciplinary, multi-departmental faculty of approximately 70 members. The formal course work for the Ph.D. degree is based on a one year core sequence that includes microbial phylogeny, structure and metabolic diversity, and the physiology and genetics of prokaryotic and eukaryotic microorganisms. Students must take a graduate level lecture and laboratory in recombinant DNA methodology and participate in laboratory rotations. The areas of research and specialization include research programs in general microbiology, microbial ecology, microbial physiology, microbial genetics, molecular mechanisms of microbial regulation, molecular mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis, immunology, virology, and recombinant DNA technology.

Visit the Microbiology Web site for more information.


The research interests of this group range from molecular biophysics of channels and receptors through motor control, neuroethology, retinal organization, development of visual systems, cortical organization, and cognitive functions.

Visit the Neuroscience Web Site for more information.

Pharmacology and toxicology

This group concentrates on population biology as the broad discipline that blends ecology, evolution, population genetics, and systematics into a unified field. Areas of specialization range from paleontology and systematics to community ecology and molecular population genetics.

Visit the Pharmacology and Toxicology Web Site for more information.


The Graduate Group in Physiology consists of over 80 faculty in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Letters and Science, and the Schools of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine, who provide a program of study which emphasizes broad training in the fundamental principles of physiology as well as in-depth specialization in comparative, cellular, exercise, cardiorespiratory, endocrine, reproductive, metabolic, neuro-systemic and domestic animal physiology.

Visit the Physiology Web Site for more information.

Population biology

This group concentrates on population biology as the broad discipline that blends ecology, evolution, population genetics, and systematics into a unified field. Areas of specialization range from paleontology and systematics to community ecology and molecular population genetics.

Visit the Population Biology Web Site for more information.