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2019 Applicant Profiles and Admissions Results


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22 hours ago, Mybmuvb said:

Undergrad: R1 Large State School                                                                                 

Major: Biology, concentrating Cell Biology, and Molecular Genetics                           

GPA in major: 3.55                                                                                                               

Overall GPA: 3.64                                                                                                                 

Position in class: unknown

Type of Student: Domestic, Male. 

GRE Scores: 

Q:166

V:159

W:5

Research Experience: 2+ years in a Drosophila lab studying regulatory network controlling polyploidy by conducting a genome wide RNAi screen, although halfway through the genome we decided to focus on gene candidates that were revealed to us through RNAseq experiments. Receiving a middle authorship in a paper that will be submitted sometime this month. Will likely receive another authorship in a paper sometime next year according to my PI, likely a second. Also took care of the lab's extensive fly stocks during that time. Presented results at lab meetings, but no poster presentations or conferences. Attended numerous seminars/ research group meetings on campus. 

Awards/Honors: Phi Beta Kappa Honors Society, Deans List 4 semesters, received a full-tuition scholarship (although it was mostly need based, through a program the state I live in runs for poor families). 

Relevant Jobs: Have worked as a Hospital Lab Assistant for nearly 6 months. Performed mostly phlebotomy and processed samples. Not very sophisticated, although I have gained a pretty good background in medical tests and regularly communicate with physicians, nurses, patients, and lab techs regarding lab collection procedures and results. Also helped recruit blood donors for future genetic research. This job isn't ideal, but I just needed something to pay my bills while I continue to research in Fly lab. 

LORS: 1 from my PI, 1 from a professor who I got along with quite well and did fantastically in his class. 1 from a professor of medical and scientific history. 1 from my current employer at the hospital. Worried I don't have enough research related LORs, although I think I'll get pretty good letters from my current writers. 

Miscellanous: First generation college student. Took a statistics course that made me pretty proficient in R (not sure if this is worth mentioning, this is probably pretty common). Decent volunteer record: 100 hours as a hospital volunteer doing odds and ins. Event coordinator for Be the Match on Campus, mostly helped recruit bone marrow donors. Worked in a pizza restaurant throughout undergraduate career. 

Stuff that might come up: I had a  semester where I became pretty depressed. I got a C in Biochemistry, but I retook it and aced it. Not really sure how to discuss this on the application. 

Applying to where: Biomedical/ biological science programs in the Midwest (Indiana, Illinois, michigan, ohio), largely due to familial issues, although I might apply to a few distant schools. My research so far has focused on cell cycle regulation and cancer, but I am also interested in hematopathology/ immunology. 

IU School of Medicine- Medical and Molecular Genetics/ Pathology

Purdue University- Cell and Molecular Biology

IU-Bloomington- Cell and Developmental Biology 

University of Illinois-Urbana: MCB

University of Illinois-Chicago: Biological Sciences

Notre Dame-Biomedical Sciences

UChicago- Cancer Biology and Cell and Molecular Biology (pretty big reach)

MIT- Huge reach, but there is a professor there who's work strongly pertains to my undergraduate research. I have reached out to her, however I have yet to hear a response.

Considering the Purdue-Biology M.S. or the IU biotechnology M.S. in case it turns out I don't have enough research experience and don't get into any other programs.

 I'm not sure which of these schools are realistic for me. I feel like I am a pretty mediocre candidate compared to many of the posters on the forum, so I would appreciate any feedback regarding my applications strengths/weaknesses. Do I have a shot at these schools? Any other places I might have a chance in? 

Your application looks pretty solid. I wouldn't worry about non research LORs. The research ones, if strong, will speak to your research abilities and the others will speak to you as a person. I had more than one C in college and didn't bring it up; I just had a sentence in my SOP that said something about my grades improving as I got more excited about my research/the content of my classes. Your list isn't unrealistic - it depends on the strength of your LORs and SOP. If your research LOR emphasizes your contribution to the research, it will definitely help you. There are people in my class with less research experience than that. You seem to be looking at Chicago area schools. Have you considered Northwestern and UWisconsin Madison?

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Would anyone find it helpful to create a separate thread just for interviews? Looking back through previous years, I felt it would have been more helpful to have a thread dedicated to just interview n

After waiting and waiting, happy to say I got two acceptances today! Guess I'll be going to graduate school this year after all!

I've planned for alternate options. I have 3 separate contingency plans, lol. I applied to a PREP program, and I am working on my resume so I can get applications going for lab positions as soon as I

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10 hours ago, willut said:

Undergrad Institution: Northeastern University
Major(s): Bioengineering (Concentration: Cell & Tissue Engineering)
Minor(s): Political Science
GPA in Major: 3.3
Overall GPA: 3.6
Position in Class: Lower-top
Type of Student: Domestic, Hispanic Male

GRE Scores:
Q: 160
V: 160
W: 5.5
B: N/A



Research Experience: 

Academic
Research in two labs on campus. One was using biomaterials to influence endothelial cell function, primarily worked with protein and genetic analysis. Second lab focused on atherosclerosis research using physical flow models over endothelial cells to monitor genetic markers of atherosclerosis development. The first lab I have worked in for 2 years on and off approximately 10-15 hours per week, and the other I worked at during this most previous summer for ~20 hours per week.
Industry
My industry experience has been more in depth. 6 months at large pharma developing high content screens for rare disease small molecule drug discovery. Worked heavily with mechanism of action assays of drug targets. 12 months at smaller biotech in immuno-oncology and cancer biology. This is where my research interests have been strengthened. Worked mostly on the discovery side of immunology utilizing functional genomics to interrogate genes of interest, doing some deep genetic pathway research into cancer biology.


Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Full-tuition scholarship (Top 1%), Honors College, Dean's List

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: President of Fraternity (Social Fraternity), member of Biomedical Engineering Society,  Undergraduate Research, Club Lacrosse Team


Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)
Met and networked with scientific founders of current company (PI's at UCSF, Broad Institute, and Whitehead Institute), One LOR writer is past director of oncology at Novartis and is now CSO of current company, Hispanic and Asian Male


Applying to Where: I'm interested in translational biology specifically in the field of genetic disease and cancer. I've been looking at programs associated with large research hospital collaborations.

UCSF - Tetrad 
University of Washington - MCB
University of California, Berkeley - MCB
University of California, Los Angeles - MBIDP

University of Southern California - Molecular Biology
University of Texas - GSBS
 *Looking to see if these are a good group or other recommended programs for my stats/interests

I think your list has too many reach schools (half..). If you're interested specifically in translational bio, have you considered grad programs at hospitals? Mt Sinai in NYC, Cleveland Clinic, Cedars Sinai in LA (highly recommend this one I'd you want to keep doing tissue engineering - big Regenerative Medicine dept). They all have PhD programs with a heavy emphasis in translational bio.

Edited by BabyScientist
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11 hours ago, BabyScientist said:

I think your list has too many reach schools (half..). If you're interested specifically in translational bio, have you considered grad programs at hospitals? Mt Sinai in NYC, Cleveland Clinic, Cedars Sinai in LA (highly recommend this one I'd you want to keep doing tissue engineering - big Regenerative Medicine dept). They all have PhD programs with a heavy emphasis in translational bio.

Thank you BabyScientist! I looked at some of the faculty members and program descriptions of Cedar Sinai and will definitely look into more programs with hospital collaborations. For a student like myself with a fairly low GPA (Major GPA is actually 3.5, doesn't make much of a difference though) and no published papers or presentations outside of team and company meetings (kinda the one big drawback with having lots of industry experience), what kinds of schools would be in the realistic tier and safety for molecular/cellular biology? Most schools I've looked at have at least 3 labs that I am interested in doing work at, I'm mostly just wondering what schools would fall in line with my statistics that I should be looking into more.

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Undergrad Institution:

Local junior college

 

Major(s):

Arts and Humanities - AA; Teacher Education Preparation - AA; Mathematics and Science - AS

 

Overall GPA:

3.5

 

Undergrad Institution:

167 year-old private university mostly known for its dental, pharmaceutical, and international studies programs (university focus is not research-based)

 

Major(s):

Biology & Biochemistry - BS

 

Overall GPA:

3.4

 

Grad Institution:

Same private university as undergrad

 

Major:

Biology - MS

 

Overall GPA:

4.0

 

Position in Class:

Top 10%

 

Type of Student:

Domestic female

 

GRE Scores:

I took the exam as a formality three years ago (without having studied) when applying to my MS program and scored within the mid-50’s percentile across all three sections. I definitely plan on retaking the exam later this fall after having studied for it. Will update with actual results later.

 

Research Experience:

Biochemical research - one semester; Project focused on protein interactions and predictive models of protein folding. Not much came out of my time here other than some networking and a single conference presentation (no publications).

 

Biological research - 4 years; Project focused on morphological studies. Project approach was very integrative and resulted in two publications (first and second authorship), three published acknowledgements, and two more publications that are in preparation (first authorship).

 

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Dean’s list

Awarded graduate fellowship (from attending university)

Active Phi Kappa Phi membership

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Graduate TA - human anatomy & human physiology

Substitute lecturer - human anatomy

 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Resident presenter at annual research conference (four years running)

President of academic (non-greek) chemistry club (highly involved with local academical outreach)

President of several non-academic campus clubs (I’m hoping this shows interest diversity)

 

Special Bonus Points:

Female, first generation college student

 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

I took 8 years getting my 5 undergraduate degrees and 3 ½ years earning my master’s degree. This was due to ongoing family issues (I was the primary caregiver of an elderly stroke survivor which required an immense time commitment), but I’m worried that the amount of time taken to complete my education will negatively impact my chances of entering a PhD program. In addition, the duration of time spent means I’m older than most candidates (late 20’s), and I’ve heard this can also reflect poorly on applicants.

 

Applying to Where:

 

University of Washington - BS

Oregon State University - IB

University of New Hampshire - I&OB

Clemson - OB

Purdue - EEB

Lehigh University - IB

Boise State University  - EEB

AMNH - CB

 

I hope I did this correctly (first post and all), if not my apologies. Feedback would be appreciated because I'm uncertain as to how realistic my school choices are. I chose programs based on my interest in the works of specific PIs at each of the universities listed. I'd be open to school suggestions if anyone feels I missed something that might be a better match for me. I'm really interested in integrative biology with a particular focus on comparative vertebrate morphology, as well organismal biology.

 

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

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19 minutes ago, willut said:

Thank you BabyScientist! I looked at some of the faculty members and program descriptions of Cedar Sinai and will definitely look into more programs with hospital collaborations. For a student like myself with a fairly low GPA (Major GPA is actually 3.5, doesn't make much of a difference though) and no published papers or presentations outside of team and company meetings (kinda the one big drawback with having lots of industry experience), what kinds of schools would be in the realistic tier and safety for molecular/cellular biology? Most schools I've looked at have at least 3 labs that I am interested in doing work at, I'm mostly just wondering what schools would fall in line with my statistics that I should be looking into more.

I'm a little biased because I worked at Cedars for years, but I'd say your stats definitely qualify you there. But also don't limit yourself just because of your GPA. My GPA was a 3.4 and I'm at an Ivy... I did have a lot of experience and publications to balance that, though. Other UCs (Davis, Irvine, SB) would be good, hospital PhD programs (like the ones I mentioned, plus I think Mayo Clinic and City of Hope). It's really a matter of knowing there are at least 3 faculty members you want to work with. Look for faculty, not just schools. I recommend looking up grants you're interested in on the NIH project reporter website and looking for similar grants and seeing what schools they're at.

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Hi everybody!  I am very slowly narrowing down my list of places to apply to and I am worried that my list is too top heavy.  Does anyone have any suggestions for programs that are less competitive to round out my choices? 
Stats below :) 

Undergrad Institution: R1 Institution in the northeast US
Major(s):  Biology 
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 3.91
Position in Class: Top 5% 
Type of Student: Domestic minority female 

GRE Scores:
Q: 157 (65th)
V: 165 (96th)
W: 4.5 (82nd) 

Research Experience: 
2 years at big pharma lab (1 year full time while in undergrad)
(Concurrently with pharma) 1 year at Harvard Medical School lab
2 year postbac at the NIH in microbiology 

(1) middle author pub in Nature 

(1) middle author pub in Nature Microbiology
2 posters at institutional poster sessions 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 
Dean's Scholarship
Dean's list (every semester) 


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 
Biochemistry tutor for 1 year 
Student Peer Advisor (advising students with critically low GPA within department) for 1 year 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Kappa Kappa Psi, band for 4 years 

Special Bonus Points: 
2 grad courses (Immunology, Electron Microscopy) 

1 famous PI, 1 relatively famous PI 

Applying to Where: 
I am interested in immunology programs with an emphasis on infectious disease/inflammation.  I like departments that offer immunology/microbiology-heavy courses.  Geographically speaking, I'm pretty open but mostly interested in east coast/large cities.  

Rockefeller
UPenn IGG
Harvard BBS 
NYU Sackler 
UCSF BMS 
BU PiBS
UChicago COI
Northwestern DGP
Georgetown-NIH GPP 
Cornell

Please advise, thanks :)

Edited by biggielarges
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On 10/10/2018 at 8:36 AM, cis-stem error said:

Undergrad Institution:

Local junior college

 

Major(s):

Arts and Humanities - AA; Teacher Education Preparation - AA; Mathematics and Science - AS

 

Overall GPA:

3.5

 

Undergrad Institution:

167 year-old private university mostly known for its dental, pharmaceutical, and international studies programs (university focus is not research-based)

 

Major(s):

Biology & Biochemistry - BS

 

Overall GPA:

3.4

 

Grad Institution:

Same private university as undergrad

 

Major:

Biology - MS

 

Overall GPA:

4.0

 

Position in Class:

Top 10%

 

Type of Student:

Domestic female

 

GRE Scores:

I took the exam as a formality three years ago (without having studied) when applying to my MS program and scored within the mid-50’s percentile across all three sections. I definitely plan on retaking the exam later this fall after having studied for it. Will update with actual results later.

 

Research Experience:

Biochemical research - one semester; Project focused on protein interactions and predictive models of protein folding. Not much came out of my time here other than some networking and a single conference presentation (no publications).

 

Biological research - 4 years; Project focused on morphological studies. Project approach was very integrative and resulted in two publications (first and second authorship), three published acknowledgements, and two more publications that are in preparation (first authorship).

 

 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Dean’s list

Awarded graduate fellowship (from attending university)

Active Phi Kappa Phi membership

 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Graduate TA - human anatomy & human physiology

Substitute lecturer - human anatomy

 

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Resident presenter at annual research conference (four years running)

President of academic (non-greek) chemistry club (highly involved with local academical outreach)

President of several non-academic campus clubs (I’m hoping this shows interest diversity)

 

Special Bonus Points:

Female, first generation college student

 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

I took 8 years getting my 5 undergraduate degrees and 3 ½ years earning my master’s degree. This was due to ongoing family issues (I was the primary caregiver of an elderly stroke survivor which required an immense time commitment), but I’m worried that the amount of time taken to complete my education will negatively impact my chances of entering a PhD program. In addition, the duration of time spent means I’m older than most candidates (late 20’s), and I’ve heard this can also reflect poorly on applicants.

 

Applying to Where:

 

University of Washington - BS

Oregon State University - IB

University of New Hampshire - I&OB

Clemson - OB

Purdue - EEB

Lehigh University - IB

Boise State University  - EEB

AMNH - CB

 

I hope I did this correctly (first post and all), if not my apologies. Feedback would be appreciated because I'm uncertain as to how realistic my school choices are. I chose programs based on my interest in the works of specific PIs at each of the universities listed. I'd be open to school suggestions if anyone feels I missed something that might be a better match for me. I'm really interested in integrative biology with a particular focus on comparative vertebrate morphology, as well organismal biology.

 

Thank you in advance for your time and assistance!

Hi!  I think your school choice looks okay.  You have a mixture of tiers in there which I think is good.  I also wanted to mention that age does not matter for applicants, at least not in bio.  I was 30 when I applied for school, got in, and no one batted an eye at my age.  And there were at least a couple fellow prospectives on my interviews who were around my age.  Everyone has their own paths to graduate school (and beyond).

I'm in a different area, so I don't know any other good schools to apply to, but I think if you focus on your fit with the school when writing your personal statement/research statement, you should at least get an interview if these programs do that.

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Posted earlier in the year; updating as I submit my applications.

Undergraduate Institution: University of Nebraska at Omaha

Major(s): Biology, Neuroscience
Minor(s): Philosophy
GPA in Major: 3.56/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.35/4.0
Position in class: ?

Supplementary education: bioinformatics courses through UCSD-Extension
Type of Student: domestic white male

GRE Scores (revised)
Q: 160 (74%)
V: 160 (86%)
W: 5.5 (98%)
B: N/A

Research Experience:
- Summer REU (via NSF)
- 2&1/2 years molecular neuro/genetics research (assisting in NIH projects; conducting my own, below)
(6 months of the above experience have been a paid tech position)
- 1 grant for project started 1/1/2018, manuscript in progress (primary author)
- 1 year computational biology research, paid position, project manager, manuscript in progress (senior? author)
- 3 months (ongoing) molecular ecology research, PI, directing team of 3 undergraduates


Awards/Honors/Recognitions:
- University philosophy honors scholarship
- Deans list
- Nu Rho Psi honors society
- Professional memberships (AAAS, ASBMB, SfN)


Pertinent Activities or Jobs:
- Started undergraduate late (2015), began paid research positions mid 2017.
Prior to 2017, held several unrelated jobs, worked full time while enrolled.
- Founder of science communication campus organization (active 1&1/2 year, ongoing)
- Founder and director of 501(c)(3) scientific research organization (active 3 months, ongoing)


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
- Organized/hosted several public outreach events through founded organizations


Special Bonus Points:
- Graduate course in ecology/genetics
- NSF GRF applicant (2019)
- Three very solid LORs (plus LOR from prospective PI for NSF)
- Additional tertiary author on two publications (projects in progress for next year or so)


Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:
- Enrolled/Dropped classes at different University after high school. Transcript and GPA is a train-wreck leading up to enrollment at current institution (8/2016), but show upward trend.

Applying to:

2019 NSF GRFP (target: Princeton)
Princeton - QCB
ASU - Animal Behavior
Penn State - MCIBS
UCLA - EcoEvoBio
UIUC - Neuroscience
UVM - Biology (QUeST Program)
Iowa State - IGG

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Undergrad Institution: McMaster University
Major(s): Molecular Biology  
GPA in Major: 10.0/12.0
Overall GPA: 9.0/12.0

Undergrad Institution: UOttawa
Major(s): Biology  
GPA in Major: A
Overall GPA: A

Type of Student: International student, female, minority

GRE Scores:
Wrote 2 years ago and have scores in the 50th percentile, considering writing again. Although most schools don't tend to require GRE now. Thoughts?

Research Experience: 

  • 1.5 years work exp. in government labs related to Plant Biology/ Fungal biology
  • 8 months at undergrad research lab related to plant biology for honours thesis project
  • 2 years master's work related to fungal and plant biology, RNA-Seq 
  • 5 posters at local, national and international conferences

No pubs yet, which might be an issue

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

  • Dean's list both years during my master's
  • Travel grants for conferences
  • Poster prize for best poster during undergrad 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

  • TA for 2 years: intro biology, plant bio and genetics


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • Organised science symposium for grad students from two universities
  • Department representative for club in undergrad that focused on science outreach

Special Bonus Points: 


Applying to Where: 
MIT - talked to potential supervisor who seemed interested
WUSTL - DBBS Plant Science

Please list some more universities to where I should consider applying. Mainly looking for programs related to plant biology or even microbiology. Don't really have much knowledge regarding US universities. Thanks for your help ?

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4 hours ago, stressedgradstudent said:

Undergrad Institution: McMaster University
Major(s): Molecular Biology  
GPA in Major: 10.0/12.0
Overall GPA: 9.0/12.0

Undergrad Institution: UOttawa
Major(s): Biology  
GPA in Major: A
Overall GPA: A

Type of Student: International student, female, minority

GRE Scores:
Wrote 2 years ago and have scores in the 50th percentile, considering writing again. Although most schools don't tend to require GRE now. Thoughts?

Research Experience: 

  • 1.5 years work exp. in government labs related to Plant Biology/ Fungal biology
  • 8 months at undergrad research lab related to plant biology for honours thesis project
  • 2 years master's work related to fungal and plant biology, RNA-Seq 
  • 5 posters at local, national and international conferences

No pubs yet, which might be an issue

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

  • Dean's list both years during my master's
  • Travel grants for conferences
  • Poster prize for best poster during undergrad 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

  • TA for 2 years: intro biology, plant bio and genetics


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • Organised science symposium for grad students from two universities
  • Department representative for club in undergrad that focused on science outreach

Special Bonus Points: 


Applying to Where: 
MIT - talked to potential supervisor who seemed interested
WUSTL - DBBS Plant Science

Please list some more universities to where I should consider applying. Mainly looking for programs related to plant biology or even microbiology. Don't really have much knowledge regarding US universities. Thanks for your help ?

Look into UC Davis! 

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Undergrad Institution: R1, Private, Top 30 school in the US
Major(s): B.S. Microbiology, B.A. Business, B.A. Chemistry
Minor(s): Chinese Literature
GPA in Major: 3.96/4.0
Overall GPA: 3.96/4.0
Position in Class: Top 2%
Type of Student: International Asian


GRE Scores (revised/old version): Did not take the GRE
Q:
V:
W:
B:

Research Experience: 

I've done research for around 2 and a half years in a virology lab. I've had two poster presentations, and expect to have a second author paper published by the end of my senior year.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Dean's List all semesters, Phi Beta Kappa  Honor Society, Beta Gamma Sigma Honor Society, Continuing Student Scholarship, All-Academic Honors in my Athletics League

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor, TA, Resident Advisor and work as the director for a non-profit organization focused on education.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: I was in the army for three years as a commissioned officer before attending undergrad in the US. Also an NCAA Division III swimmer.

Special Bonus Points: I've taken three graduate level immunology and virology courses in my school and scored highly on all of them.  I think I'll be able to get two strong LOR's, not sure about the last one. 

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:  I took an average of 28 credits a semester and am doing a triple major if that demonstrates good time management and effort. 

I didn't take the GRE because I was asked to apply for the Rhodes Scholarship and focused on that instead, didn't make it, unfortunately. 

A lot of the apps asked about publications, but because my lab hasn't submitted the manuscript yet, and its a paper that's taken over 2 years to gather data for, I'm not sure how to express this. 

Applying to Where: Microbiology and Immunology PhD programs, preferably with a focus on Immunotherapy. 

My schools are limited because of the GRE, but I'm also prepared to take a gap year if necessary. 

Harvard-Immunology

MIT-Immunology

Rockefeller-Immunology

UPenn-Immunology

Mount Sinai-Immunology

University of Texas Health Science Center-Immunology

University of Oxford- Masters in Infection, Immunology and Translational Medicine

University of Cambridge-Masters in Infection, Immunity and Inflammation

Stanford-Microbiology and Immunology

 


 

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On ‎8‎/‎16‎/‎2018 at 8:51 PM, squigglyface_emoji said:

Undergrad Institution: Top 10 US Public School
Major(s): Cell and Developmental Biology
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 
Overall GPA: 3.13
Position in Class: N/A
Type of Student: Domestic Asian Female


GRE Scores (revised/old version): Retaking in October for better quant and writing score.. but not sure if I can get it up significantly. I have a really poor affinity for standardized testing :(
Q: 157
V: 158
W: 4.0
B:


TOEFL Total: (if applicable, otherwise delete this)

Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

  • Lab Assistant --> Research Associate 2 at Medical Diagnostic Biotech Startup (2.5 years).
    • Not really sure how to categorize the field of assay development. Probably closest to microbiology/biochem
    • 1 patent pending, 2nd patent currently being written
    • Currently helping write up paper to submit to scientific journal (probably nature biotech) for first ever product release. Definitely not the first author on this, but I'm going to be an author nonetheless :)
    • Holding a company-wide seminar talk about the development of a novel AMR detection method
    • Presented data weekly to CEO and CMO on various projects
  • Undergraduate researcher at undergrad university (1 year)
    • Basic genomics lab studying unicellular eukaryotic organisms
  • Visiting Undergraduate Researcher: Arizona State University Biodesign Institute (2 summers)
    • Early cancer detection research, biomarker discovery and diagnostic method development
       

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

  • Graduated undergrad with distinction in major (Honors)
  • Not sure how to really go about talking about awarded grants when I'm not listed as the PI, but I'm a major contributor. Anyways, here they are:
    • NIH SBIR Phase II
    • AMR Challenge step 1 semi finalist (BARDA)
      • Primary researcher for step 2 submission


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

  • Mentor in undergraduate mentorship program for underclassmen majoring in biology


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • In a few months, I can say I'm a key player in bringing my company's first ever product from R&D to market. I'm employee #18 and company is now over 70 people.

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

  • Great LORs from CEO, CFO, Director of R&D Assay, and PI of summer cancer research lab
    • CEO is well known. Previously Stanford associate professor in cancer lab. Forbes 30 under 30.
    • CMO is well known Stanford MD. Currently emeritus professor at Stanford with an active infectious disease research lab.


Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

  • There's an upward trend in my undergrad transcript.... managed to pull a 2.79 to a 3.13. I really screwed up for one quarter (winter junior year) because of burn out. Learned how to study smarter and better coping/resting mechanisms from that point on.

Applying to Where:

  • UCSF - BMS Cancer Biology and Cell Signaling
  • Stanford - Cancer Biology
  • University of Washington - MCB
  • MDAnderson (UTHealth) - Cancer Biology
  • UCSD - BMS Cancer Biology
  • University of Michigan - MCP
  • University of Chicago - Biosciences Cancer
  • UCLA - Biosciences, molecular, cellular & integrative physio
  • UCI - MCB

 

My goal is to specialize in early cancer detection research. Liquid biopsy, circulating tumor cells/DNA/exosomes, biomarkers are all of interest to me and I understand that it's fairly broad. Any suggestions on which schools/labs are good for this are greatly appreciated!




 

So I'm a Uchicago Grad student in this organization called GRIT https://voices.uchicago.edu/grit/ since you are considering apply to our Cancer bioprogram I wanted to reach out and let you know we are here to help you get in contact with faculty and give you tips on your application like how to frame things like a low GPA as a demonstration of your motivation and resilience. We can also hook you up with an application fee waiver. Feel free to reach out using the contact info on the website. Personally given how much research experience you have I think you'd be a strong applicant. We also convinced the Biosciences to make the GRE requirement optional so don't worry about your scores holding you back here.

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On ‎10‎/‎12‎/‎2018 at 2:21 PM, stressedgradstudent said:

Undergrad Institution: McMaster University
Major(s): Molecular Biology  
GPA in Major: 10.0/12.0
Overall GPA: 9.0/12.0

Undergrad Institution: UOttawa
Major(s): Biology  
GPA in Major: A
Overall GPA: A

Type of Student: International student, female, minority

GRE Scores:
Wrote 2 years ago and have scores in the 50th percentile, considering writing again. Although most schools don't tend to require GRE now. Thoughts?

Research Experience: 

  • 1.5 years work exp. in government labs related to Plant Biology/ Fungal biology
  • 8 months at undergrad research lab related to plant biology for honours thesis project
  • 2 years master's work related to fungal and plant biology, RNA-Seq 
  • 5 posters at local, national and international conferences

No pubs yet, which might be an issue

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

  • Dean's list both years during my master's
  • Travel grants for conferences
  • Poster prize for best poster during undergrad 

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 

  • TA for 2 years: intro biology, plant bio and genetics


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

  • Organised science symposium for grad students from two universities
  • Department representative for club in undergrad that focused on science outreach

Special Bonus Points: 


Applying to Where: 
MIT - talked to potential supervisor who seemed interested
WUSTL - DBBS Plant Science

Please list some more universities to where I should consider applying. Mainly looking for programs related to plant biology or even microbiology. Don't really have much knowledge regarding US universities. Thanks for your help ?

Uchicago Cell and Molecular Biosciences has some really cool plant biologists if that's what you are looking for. If you want to talk to some grad students or get connected with faculty in that program use this website to get in contact with a student organization designed to help women and minorities get their PhDs here https://voices.uchicago.edu/grit. We don't require the GRE any more either so you don't need to worry about that.

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On ‎10‎/‎11‎/‎2018 at 7:58 PM, biggielarges said:

Hi everybody!  I am very slowly narrowing down my list of places to apply to and I am worried that my list is too top heavy.  Does anyone have any suggestions for programs that are less competitive to round out my choices? 
Stats below :) 

Undergrad Institution: R1 Institution in the northeast US
Major(s):  Biology 
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 3.91
Position in Class: Top 5% 
Type of Student: Domestic minority female 

GRE Scores:
Q: 157 (65th)
V: 165 (96th)
W: 4.5 (82nd) 

Research Experience: 
2 years at big pharma lab (1 year full time while in undergrad)
(Concurrently with pharma) 1 year at Harvard Medical School lab
2 year postbac at the NIH in microbiology 

(1) middle author pub in Nature 

(1) middle author pub in Nature Microbiology
2 posters at institutional poster sessions 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 
Dean's Scholarship
Dean's list (every semester) 


Pertinent Activities or Jobs: 
Biochemistry tutor for 1 year 
Student Peer Advisor (advising students with critically low GPA within department) for 1 year 


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:
Kappa Kappa Psi, band for 4 years 

Special Bonus Points: 
2 grad courses (Immunology, Electron Microscopy) 

1 famous PI, 1 relatively famous PI 

Applying to Where: 
I am interested in immunology programs with an emphasis on infectious disease/inflammation.  I like departments that offer immunology/microbiology-heavy courses.  Geographically speaking, I'm pretty open but mostly interested in east coast/large cities.  

Rockefeller
UPenn IGG
Harvard BBS 
NYU Sackler 
UCSF BMS 
BU PiBS
UChicago COI
Northwestern DGP
Georgetown-NIH GPP 
Cornell

Please advise, thanks :)

You sound like a really strong candidate for all of these programs. Assuming you have strong rec letters and can write well about your research I'd imagine you should get interviews at most of your list. I would also suggest you look into http://www.einstein.yu.edu/ they have a great immunology program but they aren't as competitive as the rest of your list. If you want some extra guidance from grad students at UofC feel free to reach out to this D&I student organization called GRIT. https://voices.uchicago.edu/grit/ 

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On 10/11/2018 at 8:09 PM, StemCellFan said:

Hi!  I think your school choice looks okay.  You have a mixture of tiers in there which I think is good.  I also wanted to mention that age does not matter for applicants, at least not in bio.  I was 30 when I applied for school, got in, and no one batted an eye at my age.  And there were at least a couple fellow prospectives on my interviews who were around my age.  Everyone has their own paths to graduate school (and beyond).

I'm in a different area, so I don't know any other good schools to apply to, but I think if you focus on your fit with the school when writing your personal statement/research statement, you should at least get an interview if these programs do that.

Thank you for your feedback, StemCellFan!  I appreciate you sharing your personal experience, it was very encouraging.  I'm also grateful for your advice regarding the application process, I'll definitely be tailoring my statements for each applied program.

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Hello,

I am interested in genetics. Would you recommend that I apply to additional programs? 

Undergrad Institution: Public State University
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): 
GPA in Major: 4.00
Overall GPA: 3.93
Position in Class: Summa sum laude (Top 2%)
Type of Student:  Domestic minority female

GRE Scores (revised/old version):  Schools that I am going to apply don't require GRE. 
Q:
V:
W:
B:

Research Experience: 

Two years at the undergraduate institution in virology lab. (14 months full time)

Three years at the NIH in genetics lab as a postbac

1 second author , 2 middle author publication

2 poster presentations at the NIH 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

Outstanding Poster Awards at the NIH

Statewide Private Leadership Scholarship

University Leadership Scholarship

Phi Beta Kappa

Undergraduate research grant ( 1 semester)

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)
Peer tutors for low GPA students, Math Volunteer at the local elementary school


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: 

Experience with bioinformatic tools such as R and Python 

Special Bonus Points: 

Conducted a research semester during undergraduate school

3 strong recommendation letters 

Applied NSF fellowship

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

Harvard BBS

MIT Biology

JHU CMDB

Stanford Biosciences

UCSF Tetrad

UC Berkeley MCB

University of Washington MCB

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Hey all,

I applied last year and didn't have great luck, but thankfully I've been able to get great research experience and hopefully, this will boost my chances. I'm pretty hopeful that I'll be accepted somewhere, but It'd be great if I could get some feedback on what seems like a strong point and if I should address anything in particular in the essay.

Thanks!

 

Undergrad Institution: Large Public school, very heavy on research and engineering.
Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Overall GPA: 3.08
Position in Class:  Average
Type of Student: Domestic Asian Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:165
V:157
W:4.5



Research Experience:

Undergrad lab

Undergraduate research at school in an electrophysiology lab studying neuroscience  - Peripheral cuff electrode design and fabrication for bioelectronics

5 semesters part-time and 1-semester full time

1 conference poster

2-second author publications and undergraduate thesis

 

Current Lab

NIH postbac research fellowship studying sensory neuroscience - Studying the olfactory system in locusts to understand the coding of odor information in turbulent plumes

About a year and a half and still going

2 poster presentations at  major conferences, and 1 poster presentation at NIH

This project is in the process of being published and I will be a 2nd author.  (High Impact factor Journal)



Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

 

Best Poster award at NIH - Postbac presentations only

President's Undergraduate Research Award at School 

Scholarship for graduate classes at NIH 



Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

 

TA for 2 semesters for Engineering class

 

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

I took a graduate level Neuroscience course and got an A which should help my GPA situation

I mentored 6 different people that I could talk about?...

My PI would really like for me to do my PhD here and he knows the admissions board very well

Currently collaborating with a lab at UCSD and will be publishing with them and their PI likes and knows me!



Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Electrophysiology for 4 years with different animal models

A lot of electrical engineering classes (almost got a minor)



Applying to Where:

Brown-NIH Graduate Partnership Program  - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Olfactory or Vision)

Johns Hopkins - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision)

Upenn - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision or Olfactory)

Baylor Medicine - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Olfactory)

UCLA - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision or Olfactory)

UCSD - Neuroscience or Salk Institute - Sensory information processing (Vision or Olfactory)

Caltech - Neurobiology - Sensory information processing (Vision)

UC Berkely - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision)
 

For the schools I've picked out at least 2 profs I would like to work with and do what I would want to do, and I keep going back and forth whether I should reach out to them and try and meet them during SfN. It seems a little early to be trying to meet with them, so if you could give some advice on that I would really appreciate it too. Thanks again!

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8 hours ago, bkim346 said:

Hey all,

I applied last year and didn't have great luck, but thankfully I've been able to get great research experience and hopefully, this will boost my chances. I'm pretty hopeful that I'll be accepted somewhere, but It'd be great if I could get some feedback on what seems like a strong point and if I should address anything in particular in the essay.

Thanks!

 

Undergrad Institution: Large Public school, very heavy on research and engineering.
Major(s): Biomedical Engineering
Overall GPA: 3.08
Position in Class:  Average
Type of Student: Domestic Asian Male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q:165
V:157
W:4.5



Research Experience:

Undergrad lab

Undergraduate research at school in an electrophysiology lab studying neuroscience  - Peripheral cuff electrode design and fabrication for bioelectronics

5 semesters part-time and 1-semester full time

1 conference poster

2-second author publications and undergraduate thesis

 

Current Lab

NIH postbac research fellowship studying sensory neuroscience - Studying the olfactory system in locusts to understand the coding of odor information in turbulent plumes

About a year and a half and still going

2 poster presentations at  major conferences, and 1 poster presentation at NIH

This project is in the process of being published and I will be a 2nd author.  (High Impact factor Journal)



Awards/Honors/Recognitions: 

 

Best Poster award at NIH - Postbac presentations only

President's Undergraduate Research Award at School 

Scholarship for graduate classes at NIH 



Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

 

TA for 2 semesters for Engineering class

 

Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

I took a graduate level Neuroscience course and got an A which should help my GPA situation

I mentored 6 different people that I could talk about?...

My PI would really like for me to do my PhD here and he knows the admissions board very well

Currently collaborating with a lab at UCSD and will be publishing with them and their PI likes and knows me!



Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Electrophysiology for 4 years with different animal models

A lot of electrical engineering classes (almost got a minor)



Applying to Where:

Brown-NIH Graduate Partnership Program  - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Olfactory or Vision)

Johns Hopkins - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision)

Upenn - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision or Olfactory)

Baylor Medicine - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Olfactory)

UCLA - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision or Olfactory)

UCSD - Neuroscience or Salk Institute - Sensory information processing (Vision or Olfactory)

Caltech - Neurobiology - Sensory information processing (Vision)

UC Berkely - Neuroscience - Sensory information processing (Vision)
 

For the schools I've picked out at least 2 profs I would like to work with and do what I would want to do, and I keep going back and forth whether I should reach out to them and try and meet them during SfN. It seems a little early to be trying to meet with them, so if you could give some advice on that I would really appreciate it too. Thanks again!

It definitely looks like you'll have better odds now than when you applied in undergrad. Unfortunately, your GPA could still be a drawback, and I think you have too many reach schools on your list.

It isn't too early to contact people, especially if you're going to SfN. When I applied I emailed people beforehand and mentioned I'd be going to SfN so we could meet if they were too. If they weren't, we could do a phone call. If your 2 people suck or talk to, or aren't taking students, you want to know that before you apply.

I'm in one of the programs on your list and would be happy to answer any questions if you want to PM me! 

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Hi! I've been reading these for a while now and decided to finally post one of my own. Although I ended up at a school that I loved, I had a bad experience applying to college in high school because I applied to schools out of my reach and I'm trying avoid repeating that mistake. So please be brutally honest with your opinions of my chances of getting into these programs! Thanks!

Undergrad Institution: Mid-size R1, relatively well known for biology/sciences/engineering
Major(s): Biochemistry
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 3.56
Overall GPA: 3.53
Position in Class: Not reported
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Not sure if I will send these in to schools that are optional, does anyone have any thoughts on whether it will help my application or am I wasting money on score reports?
Q: 163 (83%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
B: N/A

Research Experience:

Undergraduate Institution: 2 years in a relatively well-known cancer and aging lab (school year and summers), worked on a few different projects but my main one was studying the relative cancer resistance of different rodent species. I wrote a senior thesis on this project to graduate with honors in research and got a second author paper. I also have a mid-author paper but that project was very small and had a ton of other undergraduate authors.

Post-bac: I have been working as a tech at The Rockefeller University for the past two years in a lab studying obesity. I've been mostly doing behavioral experiments for a few postdocs and I'm beginning to take on a small project of my own that is part of their larger projects.  This research is very different from my undergrad research and what I eventually want to study (which is cancer biology), but I've gained a lot of experience and learned a lot about working full time in a lab. I have one second-author paper now and possibly one mid-author by the time I leave, although most likely not before applications are due.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Honorary Science Award Scholarship, Graduated with Honors in Research, Dean's List 5 semesters

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None :(

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Vice president of my social sorority, Financial Vice President of my university's Panhellenic Executive Council (which oversees all sorority activities), first chair alto sax in wind symphony all 4 years

Does anyone have thoughts on whether I should include my sorority affiliation in my applications? I know some people look down on it but I gained a lot of leadership experience and it really enhanced my college experience. 

Special Bonus Points: My undergrad PI/recommender is well known in the aging field, my Rockefeller PI/recommender is famous, I took 2 grad classes as part of my undergrad major and did relatively well

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am expecting an excellent recommendation letter from my undergraduate PI and at least a very good one from my undergraduate major advisor who will write about how rigorous the curriculum was at my school and that my major is one of the hardest at the university. Unfortunately I have not enjoyed working in my current lab and I am not terribly interested in the topic of research. I initially signed on because I wanted to get experience in a different field from my undergraduate research and I was very excited to work for such an esteemed PI. Things didn't really turn out as planned but I'm trying to make the most of it. So, I'm slightly unsure about the recommendation letter I will get from my current position but I don't really have any other options.

Applying to Where: I have a VERY long list of schools that I am slowly narrowing down. I am mainly looking at umbrella programs that provide a lot of flexibility to explore different areas. I have a wide range of interests but I am mainly focused on cancer biology and gene regulation. I don't want to enter into a specific program but I am fine with choosing a track once I've picked a lab.

MIT - Biology

Stanford Biosciences - Cancer Biology

UCSF BMS - Cancer Biology and Cell Signaling

Duke CMB - Molecular Cancer Biology

WashU DBBS - Molecular Cell Biology

UCSD Biomedical Sciences - Cancer BiologyU

U Michigan PIBS - Cancer Biology

U Penn CAMB - Cancer Biology

U Washington MCB - Cancer Biology

Cornell Weill BCMB - Molecular Biology

Gerstner Sloan Kettering - Cancer Biology

Northwestern DGP - Cancer Biology

UNC BBSP - Genetics and Molecular Biology

NYU Sackler - Molecular Oncology and Tumor Immunology

Tufts Sackler - Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology

BU PiBS - Genetics and Genomics

GWU IBS - Cancer Biology

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

 


 

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4 hours ago, Claire617 said:

Hi! I've been reading these for a while now and decided to finally post one of my own. Although I ended up at a school that I loved, I had a bad experience applying to college in high school because I applied to schools out of my reach and I'm trying avoid repeating that mistake. So please be brutally honest with your opinions of my chances of getting into these programs! Thanks!

Undergrad Institution: Mid-size R1, relatively well known for biology/sciences/engineering
Major(s): Biochemistry
Minor(s): Chemistry
GPA in Major: 3.56
Overall GPA: 3.53
Position in Class: Not reported
Type of Student: Domestic female

GRE Scores (revised/old version): Not sure if I will send these in to schools that are optional, does anyone have any thoughts on whether it will help my application or am I wasting money on score reports?
Q: 163 (83%)
V: 164 (94%)
W: 4.5 (82%)
B: N/A

Research Experience:

Undergraduate Institution: 2 years in a relatively well-known cancer and aging lab (school year and summers), worked on a few different projects but my main one was studying the relative cancer resistance of different rodent species. I wrote a senior thesis on this project to graduate with honors in research and got a second author paper. I also have a mid-author paper but that project was very small and had a ton of other undergraduate authors.

Post-bac: I have been working as a tech at The Rockefeller University for the past two years in a lab studying obesity. I've been mostly doing behavioral experiments for a few postdocs and I'm beginning to take on a small project of my own that is part of their larger projects.  This research is very different from my undergrad research and what I eventually want to study (which is cancer biology), but I've gained a lot of experience and learned a lot about working full time in a lab. I have one second-author paper now and possibly one mid-author by the time I leave, although most likely not before applications are due.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Honorary Science Award Scholarship, Graduated with Honors in Research, Dean's List 5 semesters

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: None :(

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Vice president of my social sorority, Financial Vice President of my university's Panhellenic Executive Council (which oversees all sorority activities), first chair alto sax in wind symphony all 4 years

Does anyone have thoughts on whether I should include my sorority affiliation in my applications? I know some people look down on it but I gained a lot of leadership experience and it really enhanced my college experience. 

Special Bonus Points: My undergrad PI/recommender is well known in the aging field, my Rockefeller PI/recommender is famous, I took 2 grad classes as part of my undergrad major and did relatively well

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: I am expecting an excellent recommendation letter from my undergraduate PI and at least a very good one from my undergraduate major advisor who will write about how rigorous the curriculum was at my school and that my major is one of the hardest at the university. Unfortunately I have not enjoyed working in my current lab and I am not terribly interested in the topic of research. I initially signed on because I wanted to get experience in a different field from my undergraduate research and I was very excited to work for such an esteemed PI. Things didn't really turn out as planned but I'm trying to make the most of it. So, I'm slightly unsure about the recommendation letter I will get from my current position but I don't really have any other options.

Applying to Where: I have a VERY long list of schools that I am slowly narrowing down. I am mainly looking at umbrella programs that provide a lot of flexibility to explore different areas. I have a wide range of interests but I am mainly focused on cancer biology and gene regulation. I don't want to enter into a specific program but I am fine with choosing a track once I've picked a lab.

MIT - Biology

Stanford Biosciences - Cancer Biology

UCSF BMS - Cancer Biology and Cell Signaling

Duke CMB - Molecular Cancer Biology

WashU DBBS - Molecular Cell Biology

UCSD Biomedical Sciences - Cancer BiologyU

U Michigan PIBS - Cancer Biology

U Penn CAMB - Cancer Biology

U Washington MCB - Cancer Biology

Cornell Weill BCMB - Molecular Biology

Gerstner Sloan Kettering - Cancer Biology

Northwestern DGP - Cancer Biology

UNC BBSP - Genetics and Molecular Biology

NYU Sackler - Molecular Oncology and Tumor Immunology

Tufts Sackler - Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Biology

BU PiBS - Genetics and Genomics

GWU IBS - Cancer Biology

 

Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer!

 


 

Hi! I was also heavily involved in my sorority, and included it on my applications. I would highly suggest you include it, especially if those are your only leadership positions while in college. When ( both male and female) interviewers asked me about being president of my sorority, it was always in an open-minded "what did you learn?" kind of way. That's when you talk about learning collaboration, speaking skills, etc.

For the GRE, your scores would not hurt you. They're very good. As far as it being a waste of money on scores reports, I truly have no idea, given that schools that make it optional probably don't weigh it heavily at all. With your GPA being slightly below average, it could help to reinforce that your major was just really hard.

Make sure to know the ins and outs of your new project, when it comes to research statements/interviews. Since you said you're unsure about the rec letter coming out of this, show your PI that you have it all together when collecting, sharing, and especially presenting data. You may lack the excitement and motivation to work on this project, but if you can exemplify discipline, that's much more valuable. Motivation will fade before you have your PhD, but discipline is what will get you to the finish line. Then tell your PI to frame the letter as you being a very disciplined and talented scientist, even when you're not interested in the specifics (just imagine how well she'll do in a field she actually likes)!

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Undergrad Institution: University of Minnesota
Major(s): Neuroscience BS
Overall GPA: 3.1
Type of Student: Domestic

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 157 - 65th
V: 159 - 83rd
W: 5.0 - 92
B: N/A

Research Experience: 1.5 years in a cellular neuroscience lab at my university. Two publications (2nd author out of 5, 3rd author out of 6). Also have presented some of my work at a symposium.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Within school: Dean's list

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor (intro biology - usually basic genetics and cell biology), have a job lined up as a lab technician for when I graduate in December.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Not sure where exactly where this fits, but is somewhat relevant to my experience; I worked the majority of my time as an undergrad (average ~30 hours a week), eventually was promoted to a supervisor position (not a job related to biology)

Special Bonus Points: strong letters of recommendation

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: My biggest worry is my transcript being a little "all over the place." I started college in 2009 (non-science and had a very low GPA). Took time off and worked, went to community college later then transferred to UMN. My GPA is largely weighed down from classes I took in 2009-2010. 

Applying to Where:

Northwestern - NUIN
Baylor - Cancer & Cell Biology, Genetics & Genomics
Case Western - BSTP

UNC - BBSP

Emory - Cancer Biology, Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology

UT Health (MD Anderson) - GSBS

University of Minnesota - Neuroscience

University of Illinois - Chicago - GEMS

University of Tennessee - IBS

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On 10/20/2018 at 3:13 PM, e106vikingS said:

Undergrad Institution: University of Minnesota
Major(s): Neuroscience BS
Overall GPA: 3.1
Type of Student: Domestic

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 157 - 65th
V: 159 - 83rd
W: 5.0 - 92
B: N/A

Research Experience: 1.5 years in a cellular neuroscience lab at my university. Two publications (2nd author out of 5, 3rd author out of 6). Also have presented some of my work at a symposium.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: Within school: Dean's list

Pertinent Activities or Jobs: Tutor (intro biology - usually basic genetics and cell biology), have a job lined up as a lab technician for when I graduate in December.

Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help: Not sure where exactly where this fits, but is somewhat relevant to my experience; I worked the majority of my time as an undergrad (average ~30 hours a week), eventually was promoted to a supervisor position (not a job related to biology)

Special Bonus Points: strong letters of recommendation

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter: My biggest worry is my transcript being a little "all over the place." I started college in 2009 (non-science and had a very low GPA). Took time off and worked, went to community college later then transferred to UMN. My GPA is largely weighed down from classes I took in 2009-2010. 

Applying to Where:

Northwestern - NUIN
Baylor - Cancer & Cell Biology, Genetics & Genomics
Case Western - BSTP

UNC - BBSP

Emory - Cancer Biology, Biochemistry, Cell and Developmental Biology

UT Health (MD Anderson) - GSBS

University of Minnesota - Neuroscience

University of Illinois - Chicago - GEMS

University of Tennessee - IBS

You've got quite the spread of programs here, with some neuroscience and some completely different. Are you wanting to continue in neuro or branch into something else? If you want to keep your options open, it may be wise to apply to the schools' umbrella programs when available, instead. Baylor has a separate umbrella program (IMBS), as does Northwestern (IBiS or DGP, for the respective campuses). You'd be able to rotate in any department's labs. As for Emory, they don't have an umbrella, so you'll be picking your top two for possible interviews. As you can probably tell, I applied to a several of these schools, so let me know if you have any specific questions.

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Here we go! I'm looking to do a PhD in systems and synthetic biology, with a specific interest in quantifying the dynamics of microbial ecosystems and using this information to develop synthetic organisms that can be stably integrated (e.g. gut microbiome, plant root/leaf microbiomes, etc.). My research experience and degree don't directly relate to this research area but I think they do give me skills that could (and have been applied to) answer very challenging questions in systems biology - will admissions committees buy that? Any feedback would be really appreciated.

Undergrad Institution: University of Cambridge
Major(s): Instrumentation and Control Engineering, Bioengineering
GPA in Major: 78.9/100
Overall GPA: 78.5/100
Position in Class: Year by year - top 39%, top 6%, top 3% (last year ranked somewhere between 5th and 7th out of 240 students across all engineering disciplines)
Type of Student: International male

GRE Scores (revised/old version):
Q: 170 (96th)
V: 170 (99th)
W: 5.5 (98th)
B: N/A

Research Experience:

2 years (~10 hours/week) in high school - microfluidics and microbiology in two labs. In the first lab, I proposed my own project and executed it, unfortunately did not get very far. In the second lab, I was meant to help a post-doc with one of his projects but ended up doing a lot of it independently. Our work won a poster prize at a provincial conference. No publications.

2 months (~40 hours/week) - Amgen Scholar (Europe). Worked in microfluidics again, in a relatively well-known lab. Won a poster prize at the Amgen symposium, but no publication yet. What's the best way to include a paper if it's in prep or submitted?

1 year and counting (~10 hours/week) - Currently working on glioblastoma mechanobiology. I was running some experiments for a postdoc for the past year but have expanded this into my senior thesis, where I will use my microfluidics knowledge to address some of the problems with one of the assays we were using. I'm working completely independently now and spending ~20 hours/week. Again, a possibility of a publication being submitted before applications are due, and I would likely be second or third author. Hopefully expecting a first-author publication at the end of senior year.

2 months (~40 hours/week) - Bioinformatics internship at Illumina. Developed an algorithm that is currently seeing further use.

Awards/Honors/Recognitions:

Full scholarship (4 years tuition + stipend) upon entry to university

Top-ranking student in Instrumentation and Control last year (i.e. bachelor's diploma)

Top-ranking engineering student inside my college at Cambridge for 2 years

Pertinent Activities or Jobs:

Worked as project manager for the synthetic biology society. Cambridge doesn't do iGEM anymore, so students run our own organized research projects throughout the year that are similar. I planned a project and taught some students lab and computational skills while leading them through it. Undergraduates don't get to TA officially so I also ran my own computational biology workshop for around 40 students. I'm now president of the society and focus on more high-level things like sponsorship and retaining membership.


Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

Got a silver medal in the International Biology Olympiad in high school... Does this still count for anything? If only to show that I still do know a bit of biology even though my degree isn't focused on that.

Got a couple thousand dollars worth of funding on the startup circuit pitching a biotech idea, but this fell through eventually.


Special Bonus Points:

One of my recommenders is pretty famous in synthetic biology, another is fairly well-known in quantitative biology/biophysics.

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Is it worth mentioning differences (perceived by me?) in academic/research culture between the UK and the US, or is this understood by application committees? Is it true that participating in research in your undergrad, even through the school year, is something more normal in the States? When I wanted to do that last year reactions from my faculty advisors and peers ranged from surprised to worried for my grades, and I was the only undergrad in my department who was working on a research project without it counting for course credit. Maybe it's just sampling bias based on the type of people who are on this forum and the people I'm in contact with in North America.
 

Applying to Where:

Harvard - Systems Biology

UCSF - iPQB

Caltech - Biology - Systems Biology

Yale - BQBS - Quantitative Biology

Cornell - Biomedical Engineering

Columbia - Systems Biology

UW Madison - MCB, Biophysics

Stony Brook - Biomedical Engineering

ETH Zurich - Systems Biology

Cambridge - Engineering - Bioengineering/Information Engineering

Edited by PinkUnicron
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Hey, guys! Looking for some help here. I'm taking my GRE soon, but majority of the programs that I apply don't really require them and I know I have to score really high (like 165~167ish at least) to be avg~above avg for my list of schools so I'm not sure how to go on with this. Maybe I won't submit to schools that don't require them if I get below 167ish for each section.... I'm shotgunning top schools and that's why I'm applying a lot. Do I have a chance?

 

 

Undergrad Institution: one of the top public universities for bio (UC)
Major(s): Biology/psychology double major
Minor(s):
GPA in Major: 3.62
Overall GPA: 3.69
Position in Class: (No numbers needed, but are you top? near top? average? struggling?) ~top 10%
Type of Student: (Domestic/International, male/female, minority?) - international, Asian male

GRE Scores (revised/old version): I'm taking one very soon

Research Experience: (At your school or elsewhere? What field? How much time? Any publications (Mth author out of N?) or conference talks etc...)

I did 1.5 yrs of research at my undergrad institution (back then was small, now big), 2 years at HYPSM as a lab tech at a very well known lab in the field

1 mid author paper submit soon before I apply, 1 international conference (poster), two regional conference (poster), several undergrad conferences. 

Awards/Honors/Recognitions: (Within your school or outside?)

Cum laude

Summer Research Scholarship at my school

Provost honors

One school academic scholarship



Pertinent Activities or Jobs: (Such as tutor, TA, SPS officer etc...)

TAed for several lower div and upper div bio classes



Any Miscellaneous Accomplishments that Might Help:

1 rec from my PI (very well known), 1 rec from physician I worked with, 1 rec from one of the prof from my undergrad. Letters are all solid.



Special Bonus Points: (Such as connections, grad classes, famous recommenders, female or minority status etc...)

Any Other Info That Shows Up On Your App and Might Matter:

Applying to Where:

Harvard

Division of Medical Sciences/biological and biomedical sciences

Human biology and disease mechanism/molecular neuroscience/Stem cell and regenerative biology

MIT

Department of biology

Molecular Medicine and Human Diseases

Yale

Biological and Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience

Stanford

Biosciences

Neuroscience

Caltech

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering

Molecular medicine

University of Chicago

Biological Sciences Division

Biomedical sciences

Cornell

Weili Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences

Neuroscience

Columbia

Biological Sciences

Molecular Biology, Cellular Biology, and Molecular Genetics

Northwestern

NUIN

 

Duke

Neurobiology

 

Johns Hopkins

School of Medicine

Neuroscience

UPenn

Biomedical graduate studies

Neuroscience

NYU

Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience and Physiology

USC

Neuroscience

 

UC Berkeley

Neuroscience

 

UCSF

Biomedical sciences

 

UCLA

Neuroscience Interdepartmental Program (NSIDP) 

Neuroscience

UCSD

Biomedical Sciences

Neurobiology of Disease

UCI

Biological Sciences

Interdepartmental neuroscience

UMichigan

Biomedical Sciences

Neuroscience

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