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The predoctoral research program of GSSIMR stresses critical thinking and the rapid development of experimental prowess. The program also focuses on in-depth understanding of the latest methodologies and approaches. In an average time of five years from matriculation, predoctoral researchers are expected to develop and execute a research project that addresses a significant biological question, which will result in a Ph.D. in Biology. The program culminates with the expectation that each predoctoral researcher is able to identify interesting biological problems, devise interdisciplinary approaches to those problems, and execute investigations using the best tools available. The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute (GSSIMR) welcomed its first class in the fall of 2012. Each year a new class of predoctoral researchers joins the program.


The mission of The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research is to prepare a superb cadre of predoctoral researchers from around the world for the pursuit of innovative and creative investigations in the biological sciences.

Simply put, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research will prepare a select group of young scientists whose truly transformative and integrative approaches to research will revolutionize twenty-first century biology.

The program focuses on extending the ability of predoctoral researchers through hands-on laboratory experience that stresses highly critical thinking in combination with in-depth training in the latest methodologies.

The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research (GSSIMR) is designed to provide exceptionally talented predoctoral researchers with mentorship and hands-on experience to refine their abilities to carry out independent biological research. Our emphasis is on research as the primary component of the program. Indeed, we seek out applicants with strong records of research as undergraduates and postgraduates.  In addition, it is important that the predoctoral researchers come to GSSIMR with a high level of general knowledge or are willing to pursue that general knowledge outside of the classroom.

The function of the module courses is to introduce the predoctoral researchers to the core disciplines and expose them to the core capabilities of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. Further, through the rotation courses and the thesis labs, the predoctoral researchers are provided the opportunity to have high quality, hands-on experiences in the research of the Institute. Having exposure to the core capabilities and participating in the hands-on experiences positions the predoctoral researchers for success both in the program and beyond.



The Graduate School is housed on the 10-acre campus of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research in the heart of Kansas City, Missouri. Lectures occur in conference and seminar rooms in the 600,000 square-foot facility, and laboratory work takes place in various laboratories and core facilities.

The Graduate School's administrative offices are in a central location within the Research Buildings. The area contains a comfortable space with wireless access in which predoctoral researchers can meet, exchange ideas, and socialize. Also in the area are a kitchenette for snacks and beverages, a conference room, a place to practice scientific talks, and a workroom with printers and office supplies.

The Stowers Institute's Library provides an organized and readily accessible collection of materials and information needed to meet the institutional, instructional and individual requirements of the predoctoral researchers and faculty. Its holdings include over 300 electronic journals, a vast print journal archive and over 400 field-specific books. Inter-library loan, document delivery, poster printing, and software training are all available in-house.

Predoctoral researchers may exercise in the Stowers Institute's fitness center, which is open 24 hours a day. Also available to predoctoral researchers are indoor and outdoor recreation, such as volleyball, basketball, bocce ball, badminton, yoga, fitness classes, and Zumba. Predoctoral researchers may walk through or relax in the fountain garden on the west side of the campus.


Core Competencies

Predoctoral Researchers will demonstrate competency in each of these areas upon completion of their degree program.

  • Scientific knowledge

    Predoctoral researchers will acquire strong scientific knowledge in their area of research, and will use evidence from primary literature to demonstrate their knowledge of concepts and models, how they were derived, and to demonstrate their knowledge about the methods used. An ability to exhibit general knowledge about other areas of research is also expected.

  • Critical thinking

    Predoctoral researchers will demonstrate critical thinking by reading, analyzing, and critiquing scientific articles. Using this knowledge, they will be able to identify gaps in knowledge and open questions and experiments to address them.

  • Experimental skills

    Predoctoral researchers will independently research appropriate scientific methods suitable for a biological question, devise applicable experiments with controls, execute the experiments in an organized and precise fashion, interpret the experimental results and perform appropriate statistical tests, and trouble-shoot experiments as necessary.

  • Project development

    Predoctoral researchers will manage a scientific project by identifying interesting biological problems, formulating hypotheses, considering alternative experimental approaches, interpreting data from experiments using knowledge gleaned from literature, and discussing their ideas and results with other scientists.

  • Scientific writing

    Predoctoral researchers will write a scientific manuscript and a hypothesis-driven research proposal. They will incorporate the expected contents for each section, include the scientific language necessary for accurate presentation, and will develop and refine their own writing through editing.

  • Research presentation

    Predoctoral researchers will create and present a scientific talk that includes introduction, results and conclusions. They will use effective graphics and slide contents, will communicate their research effectively, and will be able to answer scientific questions.

  • Ethical behavior

    Predoctoral researchers will demonstrate knowledge of appropriate professional and ethical behavior as a scientist. They will record and manage data with scientific integrity, comply with safety standards in the laboratory, communicate about situations when they observe unethical or unsafe behaviors by others, and be a collegial and reliable lab member and colleague.



Accreditation and Certification

GSSIMR is certified by the State of Missouri to operate as an institution of higher education in the State of Missouri. Authority comes from the Missouri Department of Higher Education. GSSIMR reapplies for certification to operate each year.

GSSIMR is currently not accredited through a regional or specialized accrediting body.