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Dean's Message

Welcome to The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research! 

As most traditional universities have been around for a century or more, it’s exceedingly rare to encounter a new way of doing things in the world of academia.

The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute represents precisely that: a new vision for how graduate education can best serve the needs and diversity of predoctoral researchers in the modern scientific world.

Under the leadership of our founding dean R. Scott Hawley, Ph.D., The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research was designed to offer a distinctively research-intensive approach toward graduate education. In creating a 21st century program that is centered around predoctoral researchers while leveraging a world-class faculty and the unique technological capabilities of the Stowers Institute, no stone was left unturned in the search for better ways to serve the needs of the scientists of the future.

As it was designed and remains today, our predoctoral program has three major phases: module courses, rotation lab research, and thesis lab research.

First, newly admitted predoctoral researchers are immersed in an intensive sequence of module courses during their first fall semester. Seven consecutive two-week modules provide a broad conceptual foundation in diverse areas of modern biology, ranging from transcription and genomics to developmental biology and evolution. Laboratory work is an integral component of this phase, offering immediate proficiency with diverse model organisms and core technological areas, including hands-on exposure to microscopy, proteomics, discovery genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology. As a final element of the first phase, predocs are also provided with mentoring in the essential areas of critical reading, writing, and thinking.

Following a semester of the bootcamp-style module courses, predoctoral researchers have a solid foundation to select and begin three research rotations in potential thesis labs. By freeing predocs from the distractions of coursework and other responsibilities during this second major phase of our program, research rotations are designed to allow predocs to achieve a deep level of immersion in the science of Stowers labs while fully exploring the potential for doctoral research in diverse areas of biology.

By June of the first year and with rotations complete, predoctoral researchers select their thesis lab and begin the third and most crucial phase of our program: intensive doctoral research. Working in conjunction with their new faculty mentors as well as the Stowers Institute’s state-of-the-art core technology centers, our predocs are encouraged and empowered to seek every possible opportunity to explore far beyond the boundaries of what’s known today and discover the new biology of tomorrow.

Each year we seek to recruit a diverse and talented group of predoctoral researchers from all over the world.  As prospective applicants consider the right environment to pursue their passion for research through doctoral education, we encourage them to consider the many unique facets of our program, from the strength of our faculty-run labs to the incredible technological infrastructure available at the Stowers Institute. In some ways an experiment in and of itself, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute is already proving itself a remarkable success.

If you have further questions about applications, admissions, or other aspects of the program, please do not hesitate to contact me or our staff at  We look forward to hearing from you.

Matt Gibson, Ph.D.
Dean, The Graduate School of the Stowers Institute for Medical Research
Investigator, Stowers Institute for Medical Research