Our Program


An interdisciplinary approach employing advanced methods of Molecular Biology and Structural Biophysics is the hallmark of modern scientific research, whether fundamental, clinical or translational. The Department aims to promote, at all levels, the understanding of the function of living systems.

  • Investigate the structure and function of cells at the molecular and even atomic level
  • Comprehend the general laws of nature and, for physiology, how they operate in living systems
  • Integrate the details to understand the function of the entire organism and exploit this knowledge for the betterment of human health

Modern molecular physiologists and biophysicists may investigate the function of the heart by cloning a membrane channel or transport protein, expressing it and studying its kinetics through patch clamping in a model cell system, while exploring the relationship between molecular structure and function through crystallography and spectroscopy of the protein.

Our research-intensive program is designed to train students to identify significant biological problems and use the most advanced and modern methods for solving them. The emphasis of our department and expertise in molecular physiology and biophysics provide a unique environment for interdisciplinary training of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.

The biomedical sciences graduate program (BIMS)

Our predoctoral program is designed to attract and train candidates from 2 applicant pools. PhD candidates who matriculate through the BIMS program, choose Molecular Physiology and Biological Physics as one of 3 Research Disciplines, and select a mentor from our department as a thesis advisor in the spring semester of their 1st year. The BIMS Program provides mechanisms for recruiting, evaluation and admissions for all PhD matriculants to the UVA School of Medicine, and supports them financially in their 1st year. Apply to BIMS – the entrance program for all Biomedical Sciences here at UVA.

The medical scientist training program (MSTP)

MD-PhD candidates who matriculate through the MSTP, and select a mentor from our department as a thesis advisor in the spring semester of their 2nd medical year. MSTP students are typically supported by that program during Med Y1 and Y2 and Grad Y1. They may apply for support from our training grant beginning in grad Y2.
Students in either group are usually supported for only 1 year on the training grant, but participate in Program activities throughout their graduate student career. The department provides a cohesive focus in Molecular Physiology and/or Biological Physics, while the PhD degree is conferred by the mentor’s department.

Financial Support

Students are awarded stipends of $27,000 per year plus tuition and fees, health insurance ($2,152). Living and Housing Costs: Most students prefer to live in off-grounds apartments or houses. On-Grounds dormitories for both single and married students are available

Admissions and Contacts

Graduate Admissions Application

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The online application system begins accepting applications September 1 and we encourage you to apply. The application deadline is December 1.

Suggested Undergraduate Preparation for Application: Applicants should have a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college, and their background should include one year each of biology, physics, organic chemistry and physical chemistry, as well as mathematics through calculus. Qualified candidates may meet a limited number of these prerequisites after enrollment.

International students must submit their score on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).

Carrie Walker
Graduate Program Administrator
Email: caw9g@virginia.edu
Phone: 434-924-1744
McKim Hall, Rm 1125


Graduate Admissions Application

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