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Physio - Graduate Program

Houston, Texas

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Graduate Program
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Molecular Physiology and Biophysics Graduate Program

The Department of Molecular Physiology and Biophysics at Baylor College of Medicine offers a strong research-oriented program of graduate study leading to a Ph.D. Our broad and enthusiastic faculty offers training that will prepare students for scientific careers in academia or biotechnology. The graduate program applies cutting-edge methods of molecular and cell biology, genetics, genomics, neuroscience, biomedical imaging, electrophysiology, biophysics, immunology, protein biochemistry, and pharmacology to the study of problems of physiological importance. Additionally, the DeBakey Heart Center Cardiovascular Track headed by Dr. Sean Marrelli offers specialized training in the development, physiology and pathology of the cardiovascular system within the Molecular Physiology graduate program.

A major emphasis of the department is the study of the mechanisms of human diseases in part through the development of sophisticated animal models. These include:

  • Cancer
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Developmental diseases of the nervous system, eye and heart
  • Diabetes
  • Skeletal muscle disease (myasthenia gravis, muscular dystrophy, malignant hyperthermia, central core disease)
  • Motor neuron disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and spinal muscular atrophy)
  • Asthma
  • Autoimmune Diseases

The training faculty use diverse research approaches and interact extensively with the students to promote a collaborative and collegial environment that enables great research through innovation. Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) is an internationally recognized medical and research institution known for excellence in education, research and patient care. The College consistently ranks among the top of the country's 125 medical schools and is among the most well funded medical schools by the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation. BCM is at the heart of the Texas Medical Center, the largest collection of hospitals and medical research institutions in the world. This location in central Houston among some of the best neighborhoods in this large, very diverse and culturally aware, yet affordable city allows students a good lifestyle to compliment the academic and research endeavor.


After completion of the first year in the program, students must have completed the required 60 term hours including all required courses. Graduate students must make a grade of "B" or better in all required course work.

Lab Rotations

During the first year, each student rotates through at least three different laboratories in the department. This time should be used to identify the student's mentor for the dissertation research, to learn a variety of techniques, and to become familiar with the research work in the department.

Major Dissertation Advisor and Advisory Committee

After the completion of the first year, each student must choose his/her major dissertation advisor and Dissertation Advisory Committee. The advisor guides the student in effective and maximal use of resources within the department. Status reports must be completed each year by the end of the second term and at the end of the fourth term.

Qualifying Exam

Within two years following entry into the program, students must have taken their qualifying exam. The proposal must be written independently and defended by the student. The exam is designed to assess creativity and rationality in the design of research. The student's basic knowledge of molecular physiology and biophysics will also be examined and the student is responsible for all information gained during the student's course of study.

Dissertation Defense

Upon written consent from the student's advisory committee, the student should begin to write the dissertation. The student must submit the dissertation to members of the Dissertation Advisory Committee not less than two weeks prior to the defense. A dissertation seminar is to be presented as a public event and should be scheduled as part of the normal departmental seminar series.

2012-2013 Brochure in PDF formatDirectors

Dr. Robia Pautler
Co-Director of Graduate Studies
Baylor College of Medicine
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
One Baylor Plaza, BCM 335
Houston, Texas 77030
Telephone: 713-798-3892
Fax: 713-798-3475

Dr. Steen Pedersen
Co-Director of Graduate Studies
Baylor College of Medicine
Molecular Physiology and Biophysics
One Baylor Plaza, BCM 335
Houston, Texas 77030
Telephone: 713-798-3888
Fax: 713-798-3475

Non-Discrimination Policy can be found in the BCM Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Policy Handbook.

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