PhD Programs and Advisors

PhD programs in the biomedical sciences are designed to meet key goals in contemporary graduate research education including 1) discipline-specific knowledge, 2) research skill development, 3) research communication skills, 4) research leadership and 5) research professionalism, and to prepare graduates for a variety of research careers. 

Faculty are drawn largely from the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences, including scientists from Children’s Research Institute of Children’s National Health System. 

Students complete interdisciplinary core science and professional development courses, with the opportunity for program-specific courses and electives beginning in the second semester. Students rotate through three laboratories to gain exposure to experimental research and select a degree program and a research mentor at the end of the first year. Following additional core and elective coursework in the second year, students complete a “grant-style” qualifier examination, followed by formation of a research advisory committee and guidance through completion of dissertation research. 

Ph.D. programs in the Institute of Biomedical Sciences require 72 credit hours.

Academic advising, available research rotation faculty, and progress in each PhD program is overseen by Graduate Program Directors (GPDs), who implement important IBS policies and procedures, with oversight from the IBS Director. You will be assigned a graduate program advisor upon arrival, based on your initial interests, and you should contact advisors in other areas at any time as desired for information. At least one GPD is available on the Foggy Bottom and the Children’s National campuses. Once you’ve selected a PhD program, the associated graduate program director will ensure your timely progress. 

Cancer Biology PhD Program

The Cancer Biology PhD Program is designed to develop research scientists with expertise in the principles of cancer immunology and immunotherapy; targeted therapies and epigenetics; and cancer engineering and technology. Contemporary approaches include tools of cell and molecular biology, molecular signaling, genomics, proteomics, epigenetics, flow cytometry and high resolution imaging. 

Norman H Lee, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology
Ross Hall Room 601

Genomics and Bioinformatics PhD Program

The Genomics and Bioinformatics Ph.D. program is designed to develop research scientists with expertise in the principles and methods of genetic and epigenetic basis of diseases, chromatin remodeling, post-translational modification, systems and “omics” approaches to complex disorders including autism, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases. Approaches include genomics, bioinformatics, micro RNA processing, biomarkers, molecular biology, and next-gen sequencing as applied to the study of various diseases. 

Eric Vilain, MD, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Genomics & Precision Medicine 
Children’s National

Ljubica Caldovic, PhD
Principal Investigator
Children’s National

Keith A. Crandall
Professor, Director of Genomics Core Center, Director of Computational Biology Institute
Innovation Hall 305/Science and Engineering Hall 7000D

Raja Mazumder
Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Medicine
Ross Hall 540

Microbiology and Immunology PhD Program

The Microbiology and Immunology PhD program is designed to develop research scientists in the areas of molecular virology, molecular parasitology, and immunology. The program’s current research strengths and training opportunities include the study of host-pathogen relationships, inflammation and inflammatory disorders, vaccine development, cancer immunology, molecular parasitology, HIV and HIV immune response, and microbial genomics and proteomics. 

David Leitenberg, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Tropical Medicine; Pediatrics and Pathology
Ross Hall 621

Alberto Bosque, PhD, MBA
Assistant Professor of Microbiology, Immunology & Tropical Medicine
Ross Hall 617

Neuroscience PhD Program

The Neuroscience PhD program is designed to develop research scientists in the areas of how brains work, with research in neurotransmitter signaling to neurodevelopmental disorders to developmental neurobiology. Study ranges from anatomical organization to neurotransmitter signaling to molecular activity of ion channels; synaptic, network and metabolic changes in the living brain, under the microscope, or in the culture dish; manipulating the genome in animal models to ask how brain circuits develop; studying fossils that indicate how brains evolved, and mapping human genes, as well as human brain structure, activity and behavior to understand function and dysfunction in our own brains. 

Anthony-Samuel LaMantia, PhD
Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
Ross Hall 661 

Matthew T Colonnese, PhD
Dept. of Pharmacology & Physiology
Ross Hall 640 

Jason Triplett, PhD
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Children’s National 

Pharmacology and Physiology PhD Program

The Pharmacology and Physiology PhD program is designed to develop research scientists in research programs focused on cardiovascular and renal systems, including autonomic and respiratory control of brainstem function, cardiovascular function, neural control of blood pressure and heart rate, post-traumatic stress, hypertension and pharmacogenetic determinants of drug response.

Vincent A. Chiappinelli, PhD
Professor and Chair of Pharmacology & Physiology
Ross Hall Room 640

Nikki Gillum Posnack, PhD
Assistant Professor
Ross Hall 456

Colin N. Young, PhD
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology & Physiology 
Ross Hall 448