Lab Rotations

Laboratory research is a major component of our PhD programs. Research rotations should be considered an invaluable resource for learning broad-based skills at the bench as well as an opportunity to focus your scientific interests. Prior to choosing a laboratory, you should speak with your first-year mentor and examine the list of faculty who are interested in having a student in their laboratory and by checking the Lab Rotation Opportunities page.

Your first year mentor and the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies will help you with the selection of laboratory research rotations. You are expected to complete three (3) research rotations during the first year. At the end of each rotation, you are required to complete a written report that is prepared in the style of a scientific paper. It is recognized that some rotation projects emphasize concepts and techniques rather than generating large volumes of data. Thus considerable flexibility in the style and content of the report is possible. The main goal is to generate a written, scholarly account of the scientific principles, questions, and activities undertaken during the rotation period. It is therefore expected as part of this exercise that rotation advisors will read, comment upon, and discuss changes to the rotation report with the student. When the written report is complete, the rotation supervisor will review the performance of the student and assign a letter grade for the rotation on the evaluation form provided by the Graduate Studies Office. Failure to maintain satisfactory laboratory performance will result in termination from the program.

It is expected the three rotations will be performed in three different laboratories headed by the training faculty of the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Program. This will provide students with an opportunity to identify an area of research interest, to establish a relationship with a potential dissertation advisor, and to learn various laboratory techniques. It is possible for students to take a fourth rotation if necessary. However, there are several circumstances where the requirement for rotating in three different laboratories might be relaxed. For example, if a student has completed a masters degree thesis based on original research, a report of this project may be submitted in place of a rotation report. Alternatively, students may want to do a second rotation in the same laboratory if they have already identified a dissertation advisor, or may even want to rotate in a laboratory outside of the IBGP. Requests to modify the laboratory rotation rules must be made, in writing, to the Associate Dean of Graduate Studies. All rotations shall take place in accordance with the established schedule unless a waiver is granted upon petition to the Associate Dean.