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Novclouds

Developmental Biology PhD: JHU vs Duke??

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Hi everyone!

 

Just heard back from Duke that I got admitted into the CMB (Cell and Molecular Biology) program. I’m glad to go back to where I did a wonderful summer internship before, but as I got another offer from the CMDB (Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics) program at Johns Hopkins previously, it turns out to be a tough decision to make.

 

I am an international student from China and my research interest is developmental biology/stem cell. It seems that both programs will be a good fit for me (several PIs I want to work with, comparable stipend, great resources in academia), but not a perfect one that I can directly say No to the other. They share a lot in common actually, but there are some differences that could be important to my grad study in the future.

 

*Pros:

JHU: solid training for grad students, more chances to publish high IF papers, smaller lab size, a prestigious school in cell biology, low cost of living

 

Duke: close relationship to the medical school, more familiar with Durham, more research on stem cell/regenerative medicine, amazing school spirit

 

*Con:

JHU: Baltimore, know little about the vibe and cohort, less connection to the medical school (Research in Johns Hopkins medical school is well-known, but faculty in the CMDB program are mainly in the Homewood Campus), less research on regenerative medicine

 

Duke:

Fewer big papers in recent years (in my field?), fewer rotations, lower ranking in biology (I know ranking doesn’t mean anything but might indicate something?)

 

If anyone has been admitted or is currently in these programs and know these programs well, please let me know! Any help will be much appreciated! Thanks!

Edited by Novclouds

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On 2/13/2019 at 11:31 AM, Novclouds said:

Hi everyone!

 

Just heard back from Duke that I got admitted into the CMB (Cell and Molecular Biology) program. I’m glad to go back to where I did a wonderful summer internship before, but as I got another offer from the CMDB (Cell, Molecular, Developmental Biology, and Biophysics) program at Johns Hopkins previously, it turns out to be a tough decision to make.

 

I am an international student from China and my research interest is developmental biology/stem cell. It seems that both programs will be a good fit for me (several PIs I want to work with, comparable stipend, great resources in academia), but not a perfect one that I can directly say No to the other. They share a lot in common actually, but there are some differences that could be important to my grad study in the future.

 

*Pros:

JHU: solid training for grad students, more chances to publish high IF papers, smaller lab size, a prestigious school in cell biology, low cost of living

 

Duke: close relationship to the medical school, more familiar with Durham, more research on stem cell/regenerative medicine, amazing school spirit

 

*Con:

JHU: Baltimore, know little about the vibe and cohort, less connection to the medical school (Research in Johns Hopkins medical school is well-known, but faculty in the CMDB program are mainly in the Homewood Campus), less research on regenerative medicine

 

Duke:

Fewer big papers in recent years (in my field?), fewer rotations, lower ranking in biology (I know ranking doesn’t mean anything but might indicate something?)

 

If anyone has been admitted or is currently in these programs and know these programs well, please let me know! Any help will be much appreciated! Thanks!

Hi there! I don’t know anything about these programs, but I hope I can help anyways! 

I think if you want somewhere familiar, somewhere you know you already can fit into and know that you will like, Duke seems like the way to go. Durham is a cool place and has Raleigh and Chapel Hill close by, which makes the entire area a hub for fun events and good companies to work for after graduating.

However, if you maybe want to explore a new place, JHU might be for you. I have only been to Baltimore once, but I loved it when I was there. They have this cool aquarium near the bay and the nearby Barnes and Noble is huge! Additionally, Washington DC is about an hour and a half from Baltimore, which has a lot of interesting stuff to do there. 

It does seem like Duke has more of the research  you are interested in, but there must have been a reason you applied to JHU besides it’s good reputation, right? Maybe you like the research there too? I don’t know, but definitely dig deeper into that as well.

Ranking doesn’t really matter and Duke is such a good school that I don’t think that’s something to worry about. 

I am not sure if this helps, but hopefully it will give you something to think about. Good luck! 

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On 2/15/2019 at 1:11 AM, Moods said:

Hi there! I don’t know anything about these programs, but I hope I can help anyways! 

I think if you want somewhere familiar, somewhere you know you already can fit into and know that you will like, Duke seems like the way to go. Durham is a cool place and has Raleigh and Chapel Hill close by, which makes the entire area a hub for fun events and good companies to work for after graduating.

However, if you maybe want to explore a new place, JHU might be for you. I have only been to Baltimore once, but I loved it when I was there. They have this cool aquarium near the bay and the nearby Barnes and Noble is huge! Additionally, Washington DC is about an hour and a half from Baltimore, which has a lot of interesting stuff to do there. 

It does seem like Duke has more of the research  you are interested in, but there must have been a reason you applied to JHU besides it’s good reputation, right? Maybe you like the research there too? I don’t know, but definitely dig deeper into that as well.

Ranking doesn’t really matter and Duke is such a good school that I don’t think that’s something to worry about. 

I am not sure if this helps, but hopefully it will give you something to think about. Good luck! 

Thanks Moods!  Great points!

I was told by grad students currently in the program that Hopkins has very good training courses for grad students, and there are also interesting research in development and cell biology. 

I feel like going to Duke will not help me jump out of my "comfort zone" in research and I would like to explore more in the future!  

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Hi there!

I'm not really sure if you are still looking for any advice on your decision or not, but I'm currently a grad student in JHU's CDMB program and pretty much everything you said about our program is spot on. We do have quite a few PIs working on stem cells in some kind of fashion, and since we also have the Carnegie Institute's Embryology Department on campus here, we can also rotate through their labs. There are a lot of developmental biology labs here.

Relationships with the med school here are pretty much just depends on the lab. My lab holds a joint lab meeting with another lab at the med school, so we are probably one of the more interactive labs with people in the med school. But pretty much everyone has some kind of contact with people at the med school and they are always very receptive to helping out in any way possible or very friendly to start collaborations also. It might not be as close of a relationship as compared to other programs, but there is definitely a relationship between our department and the med school.

And then Baltimore itself is a very fun city to live in honestly. There is a very large stigma that Baltimore is dangerous, but in my opinion, it is blown out of proportion by people who haven't really lived here. Its quite safe in neighborhoods that, as a grad student, you will frequent. There are plenty of fun things to do and it is only a 1 hour train ride to Washington DC, or 2 hours to Philadelphia, so its in a very good location if you want to visit other cities.

I'm not sure if this post is even relevant to you anymore, but thought it couldn't hurt. But congratulations being accepted to both programs, no matter what you are going to be a great grad student. Good luck with everything!

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On 3/18/2019 at 11:08 AM, RNAguy said:

Hi there!

I'm not really sure if you are still looking for any advice on your decision or not, but I'm currently a grad student in JHU's CDMB program and pretty much everything you said about our program is spot on. We do have quite a few PIs working on stem cells in some kind of fashion, and since we also have the Carnegie Institute's Embryology Department on campus here, we can also rotate through their labs. There are a lot of developmental biology labs here.

Relationships with the med school here are pretty much just depends on the lab. My lab holds a joint lab meeting with another lab at the med school, so we are probably one of the more interactive labs with people in the med school. But pretty much everyone has some kind of contact with people at the med school and they are always very receptive to helping out in any way possible or very friendly to start collaborations also. It might not be as close of a relationship as compared to other programs, but there is definitely a relationship between our department and the med school.

And then Baltimore itself is a very fun city to live in honestly. There is a very large stigma that Baltimore is dangerous, but in my opinion, it is blown out of proportion by people who haven't really lived here. Its quite safe in neighborhoods that, as a grad student, you will frequent. There are plenty of fun things to do and it is only a 1 hour train ride to Washington DC, or 2 hours to Philadelphia, so its in a very good location if you want to visit other cities.

I'm not sure if this post is even relevant to you anymore, but thought it couldn't hurt. But congratulations being accepted to both programs, no matter what you are going to be a great grad student. Good luck with everything!

Thanks a lot RNAguy! I have already accepted the CMDB offer, and am looking forward to meeting you guys on campus this fall!

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