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The Graduate Biomedical Sciences program at UAB is composed of eight interdisciplinary graduate themes, centered around the following research and education areas: Biochemistry & Structural Biology; Cancer Biology; Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology; Genetics, Genomics & Bioinformatics; Immunology; Microbiology; Neuroscience; Pathobiology, Pharmacology & Physiology.

GBS employs a training approach that combines flexibility, choice, and structure. Students select one of the eight interdisciplinary thematic programs for entry. They participate in a three-module core course in the Fall semester and then select four sequential one-month modules from a menu of elective course modules for increasingly specialized training, in the Spring semester. Groupings of modules align with each theme focus and students are also able to tailor a course sequence according to their personal interests. Students participate in three to four research rotations during the first year with any active GBS Faculty member regardless of theme affiliation, who has the capacity, and whose research is of interest. Students can change theme affiliation as their interests evolve. At the end of their first year, students select a research advisor and confirm a theme affiliation for advanced training and completion of PhD requirements.

The GBS interdisciplinary theme structure allows students to explore varied courses and sample diverse GBS faculty's research expertise before deciding on a thesis research direction. Alternatively, it allows a more focused or experienced student to immediately begin to focus in-depth on the research area they wish to pursue. Several such students have successfully competed for individual fellowships within their first two years of training under the GBS thematic program. The average one-year retention rate for PhD students in GBS programs from 2015-2019 was 94.9%. The average time to degree for GBS students is 5.4 years.

The UAB Graduate Biomedical Sciences community currently encompasses approximately 360 graduate students and 350 faculty. These faculty represent more than 40 departments, 8 Schools, and over 40 Research Centers, and include the affiliated Southern Research Institute and the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology. Faculty participation in GBS is based on a tri-annual review of active GBS program participation and on scholarly productivity. The GBS Office provides central administrative support and hosts a variety of programs and services, including national diversity recruitment efforts and alumni tracking, on behalf of GBS students and faculty.

Oversight of the GBS program is provided by the Senior Associate Dean for Graduate and International Education in the UAB Graduate School. The Graduate Biomedical Student Outreach student organization is composed of student representatives of all themes and organizes the annual GBS Student Research Retreat among a variety of other career development and social activities. The Theme Directors Council is composed of all theme directors and co-directors as well as an MSTP representative and meets monthly to address common challenges and opportunities.

GBS students are selected through a holistic review of applicants by one of the eight theme-based admissions committees. Each committee is composed of five faculty members and two or more current students. After a successful interview, students are invited to visit campus prior to selecting their preferred graduate program.

GBS students may also participate in a new certificate program in Translational and Molecular Science, which is an outgrowth of the HHMI Med to Grad (HMG) Fellowship program housed in the GBS until the recent national termination of the HMG program. Additionally, GBS students have access to an extensive career and professional skills development program, organized by the Office of Professional Studies and Experiential Learning (OPSEL), including responsible conduct of research training, grant-writing, presentation skills, teaching, lab management, mentorship, and leadership. All students also participate in a career management program, including mandatory preparation of an Individual Development Plan (IDP), which is overseen initially by the Senior Associate Dean and updated at least annually within the lab.