Biomedical Sciences (PhD)

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Degree Offered: PhD
Program Leadership:
Anita Sil, MD, PhD, Co-Director
Adrian Erlebacher, MD, PhD, Co-Director
Eric Huang, MD, PhD, Associate Director
Admissions Inquiries:
Meredith Miner, Program Manager

Program Description

The Biomedical Sciences (BMS) program is an interdisciplinary graduate research program that equips students with the training and research tools to dissect disease-related biology, from single cells to tissue and organ systems. Students in the BMS program must acquire a level of competence in molecular biology, genetics, and cell biology comparable to that expected of students in traditional programs focused in these areas. At the same time, the program incorporates the rigorous and molecular study of core developmental, physiological, and pathological features of human biology and disease.

The BMS curriculum results in a new generation of interdisciplinary biomedical scientists who are able to forge collaborations that break down traditional research boundaries.


More than 250 faculty members are associated with the BMS program across more than 50 departments at UCSF.

Thematic Areas

  • Cancer biology and cell signaling
  • Developmental and stem cell biology
  • Human genetics
  • Immunology
  • Neurobiology
  • Tissue/organ biology and endocrinology
  • Vascular and cardiac biology
  • Virology and microbial pathogenesis

The BMS program office is located at the Parnassus campus. Labs and/or classrooms are located at the Mission Bay and Parnassus campuses as well as at San Francisco General Hospital, Mt. Zion, and the Veterans Administration Medical Center in San Francisco.

The BMS program is offered by the UCSF Graduate Division, administered by the UCSF Graduate Medical Education Unit, and delivered by faculty members in the UCSF schools of medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry.

Learning Outcomes

Specific training program objectives for each BMS student include:

  • Establishing a solid grounding in cellular and molecular biology, genetics and tissue and organ biology, and a broad understanding of human disease states.
  • Acquiring a sophisticated awareness and practical exposure to research technologies, and experimental and quantitative approaches that are accelerating basic and translational research in the biomedical sciences.
  • Establishing competency in core scientific and professional skills including: Rigorous experimental design, data collection, analysis and interpretation; critical evaluation of the scientific literature; identification of impactful and experimentally tractable research problems; formulation and writing of research proposals; oral presentation of scientific findings to diverse audiences; preparation and publication of scientific manuscripts.
  • Establishing competency in working effectively and respectfully with diverse colleagues of varied cultural and personal backgrounds, promoting and supporting inclusive scientific environments.
  • Performance, with increasing self-direction, of a body of basic and/or translational biomedical research that significantly advances the chosen field of study. Students are expected to complete their graduate studies in five to six years of full-time effort.

Additional Information

Program Core Faculty

Career Outcomes