Letter from the Dean

letter_from_the_dean.jpgThis is an exciting and rewarding time to be a biological scientist, especially at Washington University. In the post-genome era, biological science becomes an increasingly integrated enterprise. To meet the exponentially increasing demands of modern science, each scientist needs a thorough knowledge of his or her specialty, but also must possess a familiarity with the information and skills of other disciplines.

The Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences (DBBS) is ideally positioned to foster the interdisciplinary study and research that brings important scientific breakthroughs; such discoveries often occur at the interfaces of disciplines. For more than 40 years, the PhD programs administered by the Division have operated at those frontiers.

Washington University in St. Louis provides unique opportunities in translating basic science to practical application. The university’s BioMed 21 initiative provides $300 million to support research that bridges the gap from bench to bedside; the project includes construction of a 215,000 square-foot building dedicated to such research. In addition, the Division’s associations with internationally prominent local institutions provide exciting opportunities: students in the biomedical sciences enrich their work with the clinical perspective of our outstanding medical school; students in plant, population, evolutionary and ecological sciences benefit from our close affiliation with the internationally renowned Missouri Botanical Garden and the Danforth Plant Sciences Center.

To help prepare graduates for a career in academia, government, industry, or another field of their choice, educational opportunities are offered for skills development and career exploration. Through our Career Talks program, professionals from a variety of fields, such as biotech start-ups and patent law, provide presentations and Q & A sessions to students throughout the year. In addition, through partnerships with groups such as the Teaching Center, the BALSA Group and ProSPER, students have additional opportunities to develop experiences relevant to future career goals.

I encourage you to explore the programs of study available at Washington University. The depth of the expertise of our faculty and our decades of commitment to a collaborative environment and interdisciplinary scientific education allow us to offer one of the most comprehensive and effective PhD programs available. 


John H. Russell, PhD

Associate Dean for Graduate Education

Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences 



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