Info for Incoming Students


Congratulations on your recent admission to UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences!

This site will be a useful tool, as it includes everything you need to know regarding getting started at UAB. Please do not hesitate to contact your theme manager, if you have any additional questions or concerns.

Shortly after we conclude this year's recruitment season, your theme manager will send you the following HR paperwork:1.  Fellowship letter
2.  Scholarship letter

Below are items you will need to complete after May 1.  Most are deadline-specific.

Mohammad Abdelgawwad, PBMM Theme, UAB
Karen Balcazar, Neuroscience Theme, Cal State Fullerton
Gokul Banumurthy, Neuroscience Theme, National Univ of Singapore
Soniya Bastola, Cancer Biology Theme, Wesleyan College
Dominique Benson, BSSB Theme, Xavier College
Laurence Black, BSSB Theme, Univ of Georgia
Joseph Blake, BSSB Theme, Kennesaw State Univ
Sarah Bowhay, BSSB Theme, Samford Univ
Baiyi Cai, Microbiology Theme, Univ Edinburgh-UK
Radhika Chadha, Neuroscience Theme, Univ College London-UK
Mariana Cortes, Neuroscience Theme, Univ of Houston-Downtown
Ellenore Craine, Neuroscience Theme, Rhodes College
Matthew Defenderfer, Neuroscience Theme, Tennessee Tech
Rhea Derke, Microbiology Theme, Jacksonville Univ
Katelyn Dunigan, CMDB Theme, Univ of Central Florida
Hailey Edwards, Neuroscience Theme, Westminster College
Leland Fleming, Neuroscience Theme, Baylor Univ
Allison Fusilier, Neuroscience Theme, McNeese State Univ
Nancy Gallus, Neuroscience Theme, Eberhard Karls Univ Tubingen
Justin Gibson, CMDB Theme, Northern Kentucky Univ
Tanner Godfrey, BSSB Theme, Utah State Univ
Lacy Goode, Neuroscience Theme, Florida State Univ
Joseph Gould, Microbiology Theme, Univ of Maine at Orono
Rebecca Hauser, GGB Theme, Univ of Alabama in Huntsville
Rylie Hightower, Neuroscience Theme, New Mexico State Univ
Jyoti Jyoti, Microbiology Theme, UAB
Kaela Kelly, Neuroscience Theme, Mary Baldwin College
Christy Killion, CMDB Theme, Auburn Univ
Annesha King, Neuroscience Theme, Univ of the Virgin Islands
James Kizziah, BSSB Theme, Spring Hill College
Tesh Lama-Sherpa, Cancer Biology Theme, Mississippi Univ for Women
Catherine Landis, CMDB Theme, Towson Univ
Ashley Landuyt, Microbiology Theme, Auburn Univ
Samantha Lear, PBMM Theme, Univ of Toledo
Ashlee Long, CMDB Theme, Indiana Univ of Pennsylvania
Xi Lou, PBMM Theme, Henan Univ College of Medicine
Joseph Mackel, IMM Theme, Univ of Notre Dame
Tyler Maltbie, CMDB Theme, San Diego State Univ
Jesie Martinez, GGB Theme, Indiana Univ Southeast
Kiara Miller, Neuroscience Theme, Savannah State Univ
Mateus Mota, Cancer Biology Theme, National Cancer Institute
Shelly Nason, Cancer Biology Theme, Univ of Michigan Flint
Rachael Orlandella, Cancer Biology Theme, Univ of Georgia
Jessica Peel, Immunology Theme, North Carolina State Univ
Justin Quiles, CMDB Theme, Florida Atlantic Univ
Kellie Regal, PBMM Theme, Lipscomb Univ
Dustin Revell, CMDB Theme, Shepherd Univ
Jaimie Richards, GGB Theme, Univ of Georgia
Christopher Risley, Microbiology Theme, Centre College
Alyncia Robinson, Cancer Biology Theme, Georgia Southern Univ
Grace Salzer, GGB Theme, Furman Univ
Aubrey Schonhoff, Neuroscience Theme, Rhodes College
Michaella Scopel, PBMM Theme, UAB
Victoria Smethurst, GGB Theme, Florida State Univ
Brian Spurlock, BSSB Theme, Univ of Mississippi
Zachary Wallen, GGB Theme, UAB
Shijie Wang, PBMM Theme, Univ of Illinois at Chicago
Shannon Weeks, PBMM Theme, Eckerd College
Benjamin Wildman, CMDB Theme, Southern Adventist Univ
Gregory Williams, GGB Theme, Louisiana State A&M Baton Rouge
Ashley Wimer, Microbiology Theme, Gannon Univ
Dingguo Zhang, Cancer Biology Theme, Xuzhou Medical College 

Visit BlazerID Central to create your own Blazer ID and password, if you have not already done so. Please note the date that appears on the top of your admission letter. You will not be able to establish your Blazer ID and password until the day following the date on that letter.

Deadline:  Prior to registering for classes the first time

UAB's primary concern during any emergency or severe weather situation is the safety of its students, faculty, staff and visitors.During any actual emergency or severe weather situation, this site -- -- will be the official source of UAB information. In addition, the UAB Emergency Management Team will use B-ALERT, the university’s emergency notification system, to communicate through voice calls, SMS text messages and e-mails to the entire campus all at the same time. B-ALERT also integrates with Facebook and Twitter.The UAB Severe Weather & Emergency Hotline at 205-934-2165 also will be updated as appropriate to provide official updates on the university's and UAB Hospital's opening and closing status.To register for B-ALERT or update your existing information in the system, go to All registration is connected to your BlazerID.

Deadline: Prior to registering for classes the first time

You must either elect or decline student health insurance. UAB requires that all graduate students have health insurance.

If you have insurance through either a parent or spouse and do not want/need student health coverage, be sure to use the Waiver option as you move through BlazerNet to release your registration hold (see bullet points below).

For those who will be covered by student health insurance, remember that GBS only pays for single health coverage. If you choose to also have coverage for any dependent(s), you will be responsible for paying for this additional coverage. Student health insurance posts to your student account in fall and spring semesters. GBS will pay the dollar value for the individual coverage. The remaining amount to cover the cost of your dependent(s) is your responsibility and will need to be cleared from your student account before the end of each semester in which coverage costs post to avoid a hold on your registration.

Instructions to release your student health/registration hold from your account (which also includes insurance waiver):

  • Log in to BlazerNet --
  • Click “Personal Information” at the top of the page
  • Click  “Mandatory Student Health Insurance Selection/Waiver” towards the bottom of the page
  • Verify if you will be returning in the fall
  • Verify the address where you will live while taking classes at UAB. ***This step is very important. Any student who uses an out-of-state address in this section will be charged for out-of-state insurance. **If you have not moved here yet, please click "Moving to Alabama but don’t know my address yet"
  • Click either "I will have my own personal health insurance coverage" if you do not need student health insurance (because you have outside insurance either through parent or spouse) or "I wish to purchase health insurance coverage through UAB" if you do not have private insurance and need student health coverage
  • If you choose to waive coverage, you will be asked to provide coverage information. Enter information and click on "Confirm insurance"
  • The final screen should summarize your choices
  • Go back to BlazerNet home and the hold should be removed
  • If you encounter a problem, please contact Candace Ragsdale at Student Health by email or by phone 205-996-2589.

Instructions on signing up for Health Insurance:
If you did not click to sign a waiver, you need student health insurance, which is a requirement for all graduate students. Your Program Manager will email you an application. Do not use an online version you may find on a website. There are several potential start-dates, and your Program Manager will send you the one appropriate for you to use.

Although your Program Manager will mention this in her email to you, use the GBS address - 1825 University Blvd, Birmingham AL 35294 - on the application where you are expected to list your local address. This will ensure you are seen as a local versus out-of-state student.Student Health Insurance becomes effective on these dates
 Early Admits -- June 1, 2015; Mid-Term Admits -- July 16, 2015;  Fall Admits -- August 15, 2015.

Deadline to sign-up:  August 1

VIVA Health Student Insurance Information   /    Most Current Mandatory Student Health Brochure

Your theme manager will provide you with detailed information regarding registration, which is done via
Deadline: Registration begins April 6 and must be completed by May 4 for summer (if applicable) and April 6-July 24 for fall semester. 

NOTE: You will not be able to register for classes until you have completed the items above: set up your Blazer ID account and B-Alert notifications and taken care of your mandatory health insurance.
Receive medical clearance by submitting proof of required vaccinations through Certified Background. You can read more about what is required of GBS students at this site. Certified Background is the service UAB Student Health Services uses to enter and maintain all student health records. As in-coming students, you need to create an account with Certified Background in order to upload the required immunization and other health records. Students who do not create an account and upload the required information may have holds placed on their registration. Please note: since health records are considered to be sensitive information, the GBS Office cannot track specific immunization records or documents each students needs to submit. You will receive emails direct from Certified Background and/or UAB Student Health Services. A report of those students who are not compliant will be sent to the GBS Office for follow-up each week.

Domestic Students -
Then, follow the instructions in this document – Instructions for Domestic Students – to access and upload the pdf to Certified Background.

Fill out this form (pdf), getting all of the needed health care signatures -
Non-Clinical Domestic HH and Immunization form

International Students -
Then, follow the instructions in this document – Instructions for International Students – to access and upload the pdf to Certified Background.
Fill out this form (pdf), getting all of the needed health care signatures -
Non-Clinical International form

Deadline:  August 1 to set up your account  /  September 30 to be in compliance

We receive many questions about housing on-campus or in Birmingham. A few resources for you to explore include:
On-Campus Housing: The application for graduate student housing goes live in April, and due to the small number of spaces, early application is encouraged. More information is available by contacting the Capstone On-Campus Management Agency at

Starting in the 2015-2016 academic year, Graduate Student housing is located in Denman Hall, which is in the heart of UAB’s campus, about a 2-4 block walk from most GBS academic buildings and research labs. The price is $4,400/semester (i.e., about $900/month) for the fully-furnished apartments, which includes all utilities, internet, and free laundry. You will pay separately for parking (just as any other student with a car on campus) and will have two parking options available. The rooms will be single occupancy, although married couples are also allowed to live together in one of the apartments. For more information and to apply online, please go here. Please note that students who live on campus are required to purchase a meal plan option, with the lowest-cost plans starting at $200/semester.

A map of where some GBS students live has been compiled, and you can access it by clicking here. This is not all inclusive, so if you have questions about a particular area of the city, please contact your theme manager. You can also check out one complex at this site and others are available at UAB Off Campus Housing and in this listing from the School of Medicine student site.
You may go online to make your arrangements for student parking with UAB Parking & Transportation Services. It is best to do this early. UAB has limited parking options.

Deadline: If you need parking, it is best to do this immediately after registering for classes.
Orientation is scheduled for Monday, August 11. Last year's agenda is provided to give you an idea of what to expect.

2014 GBS Orientation Agenda GBS Orientation Agenda

This day includes an overview of importation information, lunch and photos. Orientation is in the Bevill Biomedical Research Building (BBRB), room 170. This is the same location where you meet each day for your first core courses.

Map to Orientation

If you arrive on time, you can park for free in the deck behind the Community Health Services Building (CHSB), on the corner of 19th Street and 10th Avenue. Note that the entrance to the free parking in deck is on the 10th Avenue side.

Map to parking

You will receive your paycheck the last business day of each month.

For students starting in June, you will receive your first paycheck, covering June 1-30, on Tuesday, June 30th.
For students starting in August, you will receive your first paycheck, covering August 11-August 31, on Monday, August 31st.

To ensure timely payment, all students must do the following:
1. Check to make sure your local address and phone number are correct in Oracle. If changes are needed, follow the instructions in this document:  Changing your personal information
Deadline:  Early Admits --- June 18: Fall Admits --- August 18

2. You must set up your direct deposit. UAB does not issue payroll checks. Here are the instructions on doing this:  Direct Deposit Initial Set-up

Deadline: Early Admits --- June 18; Fall Admits --- August 18

Before any training module or requirement can be accessed via the Learning Management System (LMS), the student's personnel paperwork must have completed the process to be in the appropriate human resources system.
Deadline: August 7

  • Go to (IE is the preferred browser)
  • Select "Access Learning System"
  • Log in using your BlazerID and password
  • Click to place the radial button under "Student/Manager"
  • Select "Proceed with Login"
  • "UAB/UABHS HIPAA Privacy and Security Training" will appear under "Assigned Learning"
  • Select "UAB/UABHS HIPAA Privacy and Security Online Training" (choose the ONLINE version and not the classroom version)
  • Click "Enroll"
  • Select "Online Presentation"
  • Select "Click here to view slide presentation"
  • Presentation slides will display
  • View all training material
  • When complete, exit by selecting either the "X" at the top of the screen or "Exit" at the bottom
  • Select "Post Test" and read the instructions
  • Complete the quiz as presented, being careful to answer each of the 16 questions
  • Return to course details
  • An option to print a certificate is displayed in the green banner (this certificate is available to be printed at any time by accessing "My Transcript", selecting the HIPAA course, and a green banner for printing a certificate displays)
  • An evaluation of the course is available, but it is optional
  • Successful completion (a score of 75% or better) will automatically be recorded by the LMS. If you are unsuccessful and must retake the quiz, repeat these steps

For students admitted in the fall, you will begin your first rotation on August 24th and continue through November 18th. Registration for the first rotation is in fall semester; for the second rotation (November 19-March 1) in spring semester, and for the third rotation (March 2-May 26) in summer semester. This means that students will have completed their three rotations and moved into their permanent labs by the time they register and receive a grade for their third rotation. Each rotation is followed by a mandatory poster session.

You may explore a comprehensive list of more than 350 UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences Faculty who offer graduate research training in highly diverse areas of the biomedical sciences.

Choosing a Rotation Lab.
Students should choose their rotation labs in consultation with their theme director and/or manager. To help students become familiar with faculty research interests, a faculty poster session will be held August 12, during Orientation Week. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to contact faculty to request a one-on-one meeting to learn more about faculty research interests (and that person's interest in taking rotation students). While rotations will typically occur with faculty in the student's chosen theme, students are free to rotate with faculty in other themes and research areas.
Each student should contact faculty via email to set up a time to meet face-to-face to discuss doing a rotation in that lab. When a student secures a rotation, she/he needs to notify the theme manager, as there is a form for the rotation mentor to use for evaluation purposes. Faculty are very busy, so it is important that you follow up by email, phone, or in person.

Deadline for choosing 1st rotation lab: Early admits -- June 1;  Fall admit students --- August 24.

End of Rotation Poster Sessions.
After each rotation, there will be a poster session. Each rotation student will present a poster, approved by the rotation mentor, in a public forum and will be judged by faculty, post-docs and/or senior students, selected by the GBS staff. You may or may not be alerted to the identity of the judges; therefore, you are expected to present to any and all who come to your poster, just as you would in any professional setting. Posters can be printed, free of charge to the mentor, in the poster printing facility housed in Shelby, provided it is submitted on time. More information will be forthcoming as the poster session draws closer.

The choice of a dissertation advisor/mentor is one of the most important decisions you will make as a graduate student. Thus, you should keep this matter in mind as you choose laboratory rotations and participate in lecture and seminar activities throughout your first year in the program. First year students arriving in August should select a dissertation advisor by June 1. Students who arrive during summer semester, should make this decision in mid-February. Students should make this choice in consultation with appropriate faculty so that the student and the faculty member can come to a mutually agreeable decision and arrangement. In special cases, students unprepared to make this choice may be allowed to complete an additional laboratory rotation during the summer term. Clearly, a fourth rotation should be elected only after careful consideration, since doing so could delay the student's completion of the doctoral program. Your program manager should be advised of your preference of dissertation mentor on the appropriate form.
Students enter with a given theme affiliation but have the flexibility to rotate with any faculty with active GBS status and may change theme affiliation if their research training interests change. Alternatively, faculty outside of a given theme may elect to join additional themes, if consistent with theme interests, wherein the student could retain his/her original theme affiliation. Additionally, first year theme-specific courses that may be required upon theme transfer can be completed in year two in fulfillment of advanced course requirements. Communication among the student, selected mentor, and both the original and the new theme directors will be necessary to facilitate transfer among themes. All students should confirm their theme affiliation at the time of selecting the dissertation mentor.
Many students are admitted to Graduate Biomedical Sciences while in the final semester of undergrad or a master's program. Your admission is contingent upon successful completion of that prior degree so you may have additional steps (e.g. submitting a final transcript) to complete. Likewise, your admission may have been contingent on other factors. You will not be allowed to register for the second semester until all contingencies are cleared, so be attuned for message from the Graduate School on your student account in BlazerNet and from your program manager. Not clearing these will result in a hold that will prevent you from progressing in graduate school.

Important Dates
Start Date for Early Admits       Monday, June 1
Summer Rotation for Early Admits       June 1-August 7
Summer Orientation for Early Admits       June 4
Fall Orientation for All Students       August 10
Faculty Poster Session       August 12
Welcome Reception       August 11
Rotation Dates

      Early Admits Rotation: June 1-August 7
      Rotation 1: August 24-November 18
      Rotation 2: November 19-March 1
      Rotation 3: March 2-May 26

Classes Begin       August 11
First Paycheck Issued       Early Admits: June 30
      Fall Admits:  August 31
GBS 707-Biochemistry Course       August 11-September 21
GBS 708-Genetics Course       September 22-November 2
GBS 709-Biological Organization Course       November 3-December 18


Important Deadlines:

Set up Direct Deposit           Early Admits: June 18
          Fall Admits:  August 18
Update Personal Information in Oracle           Early Admits:  June 18
          Fall Admits:  August 18


  • Check out the new student information on the GBS website. Information on first year courses is available online, including the syllabi for GBS 707, 708 and 709.
  • Review the GBS Handbook. The UAB Graduate School Handbook is also a helpful resource.
  • Consult the UAB Academic Calendar for important updates.
  • Review resources on the Graduate School website for enrolled students, including an overview of "Succeeding in Graduate School" and very important "Requirements for Completing a Graduate Degree".
  • Check out this Guide to Dining in Birmingham.