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Faculty Resources

The Molecular Biology Program and the Biological Chemistry Program are developed and managed by participating faculty. Each member is expected to participate in Program functions, including mentoring graduate students, teaching courses, serving on committees, interviewing prospective students, and attending Program events.

Some of the Program annual activities are the Bioscience Symposium, Program picnics, and recruiting weekends.

Below are links to information useful for our participating faculty. Please contact us if you have questions that are not answered below.

Faculty Application

Faculty who want to join the Molecular Biology Program or the Biological Chemistry Program should follow the guidelines and email the requested CV and letters of support to the Bioscience PhD Office and the Program Director.


Affiliate Faculty

A number of University of Utah faculty are affiliated with the Bioscience PHD Programs and have active research labs but who are not currently taking PhD students. These faculty are included in this section below.


Lab Rotations

Program students complete three (3) laboratory rotations with different faculty members in their first year of graduate study. An additional rotation can be done in the summer before the first year.

Rotation Schedule for 2023-24

(Please note: these dates do not correlate with the academic quarters.)

Fall 2023 Semester

1st Rotation: Monday, August 28, 2023 – Friday, October 20, 2023

2nd Rotation: Monday, October 23, 2023 – Friday, December 8, 2023

Spring 2024 Semester

3rd Rotation: Monday, January 8, 2024 – Friday, March 1, 2024

Verbal Lab Commitments Begin: Monday, March 4, 2024

Details about the guidelines for lab rotations are in the requirements for current students:

Students are expected to work in the lab 10-30 hours a week: each case may be unique. Their coursework does take priority and if they are having trouble they should communicate their concerns to you and their academic advisor.

At the outset of the rotation project, students are asked to discuss conceptual and methodological details with the Rotation Advisor.  It is the Rotation Advisor’s responsibility to ensure students understand rotation expectations, such as attendance at group research meetings and the format of the end-of-rotation report/presentation.

Faculty are encouraged to only have one or two rotation students at one time. Faculty should email the Program Director if they intend to have more than 2 rotation students at a time.

Rotation Advisors are required to review the Rotation Report and sign a Rotation Verification Form indicating both satisfactory performance during the rotation and approval of the Report.


Accepting a Graduate Student

In order to allow fair access to thesis labs, faculty and students are asked to wait until the Monday following the last rotation before making a firm commitment to a thesis lab (early March). In principle, students and faculty should be talking during their rotation about the possibility of joining the lab. The question of space and funding should be made very obvious to the student prior to establishing a rotation so there are no misunderstandings when he/she is choosing a thesis lab.

Please refer to the BC Thesis Advisor Guidelines or MB Thesis Advisor Guidelines for additional details.

The Program recommends each participating department maintain the current stipend amount but departments may vary on other support, i.e., insurance benefits. Please consult the individual department and potential thesis advisor about support and coursework requirements.

All Program faculty members strive to arrange space in their labs so that they can accommodate at least one thesis student from each class.

Faculty are strongly encouraged to take no more than two students each year (from MB & BC combined). Faculty wishing to take more than two students must get prior approval from their Department Chair and the Program Director(s).

There is a strong Program expectation that all PIs taking students will serve as a capstone examiner the following year.


Faculty Profile

Participating faculty maintain a research profile on the Bioscience PhD Program webpage highlighting current projects and publications in the laboratory. Faculty are asked to update these profiles regularly.


Curriculum & FRIS

Faculty Research Interest Sessions, also known as MB/BC Fashion Show

  • FRIS are an important part of the experience of first-year students
  • These sessions provide an opportunity for faculty members to describe key aspects of their research to the first-year graduate students
  • Students claim it is a major factor in choosing their rotation laboratories, and the majority of rotations and thesis labs are with faculty who participated in FRIS
  • Format is a mixture of assigned 15 minute poster visits of 2-4 students followed by an open house format where students can visit additional faculty that they were not assigned
  • Assignments are made based on student requests, student application information, and intentional diversity of lower & upper campus, newer & established faculty across multiple departments and research focus
  • Each FRIS faculty will host a poster and inform students about the diversity of possible thesis topics and the variety of experimental approaches employed in the different Program laboratories
  • Faculty will receive a request for availability in the summer before fall semester. Email Elizabeth Loertscher with questions
  • Only Program faculty are allowed to speak at FRIS. Proxy/substitute presenters must be approved by a Program Director in advance
  • It is assumed that faculty who are presenting in FRIS will strive to arrange space in their labs so that they can accommodate at least one thesis student from the current class
    • Fall 2023 FRIS Dates:
      • Tuesday, August 15, 3-5 PM, EHSEB Alumni Hall
      • Wednesday, August 16, 3-5 PM, Crocker Science Center (CSC) RM 206
      • Thursday, August 17, 10–12 PM, HCI Research South Lobby
      • Tuesday, August 22, 3-5 PM, Marriott Library Gould Auditorium

Oral Capstone

The written original grant proposal prepared in the Guided Grant Preparation course will be used as a basis for an oral capstone examination by a faculty committee. This exam will ensure that students meet our standards for thesis work and review material from the core courses before they join a department and lab. Students will prepare an R21-style grant proposal (~6 single-spaced pages, covering 2 years of work) to be submitted 5 days before the exam. They will present and defend the proposal in front of a 3-member capstone exam committee.

Capstone exams will be held during Final Exam Week:Thursday, April 25, 2024 – Wednesday, May 1, 2024

There is a strong Program expectation that all PIs taking students will serve as an examiner the following year. Additional faculty should email Elizabeth Loertscher for more information.


Additional Curriculum Resources

The Molecular Biology and Biological Chemistry Programs maintain the highest academic standards.


Committee Membership

The Molecular Biology Program and the Biological Chemistry Program are developed and managed by participating faculty. Each member is expected to serve on committees based on their suitability to the task at hand, as well as with regard to keeping a balance of workload between Program members and an equal representation of participating departments.

Please see the Program Administration Pages for additional details.


Recruiting weekends are in January, February and March. Faculty participation is crucial to the continuing success of the Program. There are 5 interviews conducted each Friday, dinners for prospective students Friday evenings, and a mini symposium on Saturday morning.

  • Only Program faculty are allowed to interview prospective students. We do not allow postdocs or other proxy interviewers.
  • Spring 2024 Dates
    • Friday, January 19, 2024
    • Friday, February 2, 2024
    • Friday, February 16, 2024
    • Friday, March 1, 2024


Recruiting Slides

The Recruiting Committee requests that, as part of our recruiting efforts, you put this slide up after an acknowledgements slide and leave up during Q/A at end of talks/guest lectures at other universities. 



Last Updated: 1/10/24