The Division and the University

The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences, which is a part of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, at Washington University in St. Louis offers exceptional doctoral training at one of the nation’s preeminent biomedical research centers. The Division consists of 12 doctoral training programs, 10 of which are ranked among the nation’s top 10*.Arial view of med campus.jpg

A collaborative, interdisciplinary approach to research and education is a hallmark of Washington University and the Division. As a university-wide consortium, the Division transcends departmental lines and removes traditional boundaries of scientific fields. Faculty and graduate students regularly cross disciplines, devising novel questions and approaches that might otherwise go unexplored. The Division currently consists of 645 graduate students and 475 faculty members from 36 university-wide departments.

Graduate students in the Division are part of an elite research environment that includes one of the country’s top five medical schools**; top ten hospitals***; world-renowned researchers; and the legacy of 19 Nobel Laureates. Among the greats: Joseph Erlanger and Herbert Gasser, pioneers of neurophysiology; Carl and Gerty Cori, who explored enzyme regulation and whose lab trained six other eventual Nobelists; Arthur Kornberg, leader in understanding DNA replication, and Rita Levi-Montalcini and Viktor Hamburger, discoverers of nerve growth factor. Examples of outstanding work in the sciences at the University include the first faithful in vitro eukaryotic gene transcription, the use of transgenic plants to combat viral diseases, and investigations into neural development and brain mapping; including the creation of the first positron emission tomography (PET) scanner. The McDonnell Genome Institute at the School of Medicine applied advances in gene mapping techniques to generate a comprehensive map of the human genome and contributed more than 20 percent of the draft sequence. The University's tradition of inventive, insightful research continues at an unbroken pace with BioMed 21, I-Cares , and the Hope Center, to name but a few

Washington University is one of the nation's best private universities committed to the promotion of learning—learning by students and by faculty. The transmission of knowledge, teaching, is central to the mission of Washington University, as is the creation of new knowledge, research. The faculty, composed of scholars, scientists, artists, and members of the learned professions, serves society by teaching; by adding to the store of human art, understanding and wisdom; and by providing direct services, such as health care. Both a world-renowned research center and a medium-sized, coeducational college with extraordinarily high teaching standards, the University comprises the College of Arts and Sciences and four professional undergraduate schools along with a variety of graduate programs.

* Academic Analytics Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index
** U.S. News & World Report graduate program rankings
*** U.S. News & World Report best hospitals rankings


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