The University of Nebraska Medical Center Biomedical Research Training Program

July 17, 2006
by Michael Johns, Project Manager
Purpose of the Program
The Biomedical Research Training Program (BRTP) is a common entry program for Ph.D. study in the College of Medicine's five Basic Science Departments and the Cancer Graduate Research Program. The purpose of this program is 1) to provide students with greater flexibility and wider opportunities for choosing a laboratory in which to pursue Ph.D. research, and 2) to provide students with a solid, broad-based training in multidisciplinary biomedical research. Biomedical Ph.D. training at UNMC prepares students for a variety of job opportunities in academia (teaching and/or research), industry (research and/or management), and other related fields.

Maximum Opportunities:
6 Departments, programs representing more than 100 Laboratories.
Students entering the BRTP have the opportunity to explore a variety of research laboratories and academic programs. Students can rotate through any of the >100 research laboratories affiliated with the 5 basic science departments: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Biology & Anatomy, Pathology & Microbiology, Pharmacology & Experimental Neuroscience, Cellular & Integrative Physiology and the Cancer Graduate Research Program. Students may also do Ph.D. research in laboratories in the departments of Internal Medicine, Ophthalmology and Surgery. The research interests of the BRTP faculty are largely focused in eight topic areas as described in the following pages. These areas are: Cancer Biology, Cardiovascular Biology, Cell and Developmental Biology, Cell Signaling, Genetics, Immunology, Molecular Biology, and Neuroscience. Before the end of the first year, students select their thesis research laboratory and degree-granting program in which to enter as second year students.

A Solid Foundation: Curriculum, Rotations, and Seminars.
During the first year, students take an integrated curriculum that forms the foundation of their graduate training. The core curriculum consists of four courses:
- BRTP 821: Macromolecular Structure and Function (PDF)*
- BRTP 822: The Cell and Gene Regulation (PDF)*
- BRTP 823: Molecular Cell Biology (PDF)*
- BRTP 824: Cell Signaling (PDF)*

- To view and print the PDF files you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 you can download it free from Adobe.

During the first year, students usually perform research rotations in four laboratories. The curriculum, along with research rotations, provides the first year student with a strong, multidisciplinary foundation that is important for success in modern biomedical research. In addition, students can attend a wide variety of regularly scheduled seminars given by research scientists visiting UNMC.

Subsequent Training:
After the first year, students then complete the curriculum of the selected department. Additional course requirements depend upon the interests and goals of the student and are defined on an individual basis by the student's Supervisory Committee. A comprehensive examination is required for admission to Ph.D. candidacy. After the second year, students spend most of their time performing the Ph.D. thesis research project. The Ph.D. is awarded upon the successful completion of the thesis research dissertation.

Financial Support
All students are supported throughout their first year ($21,000 for the 2005-2006 academic year). Students are supported in subsequent years by a variety of fellowships, assistantships, and grants.

Cost of Study
Tuition is waived for BRTP students.

Living and Housing Costs
UNMC has on-campus housing and there are a variety of apartment complexes found within walking distance of campus. Within a short driving distance there is a wide variety of housing options available at UNMC or around UNMC/UNO in a range of prices, the average cost of monthly rent is $300 to $550. The BRTP office is available to assist with housing information.

Student Group
There are over 2800 students at UNMC receiving health sciences related training (MD, Pharmacy, Nursing, Allied Health, etc.). As of spring 2004, 174 students were pursuing the Ph.D. in the various research laboratories; approximately 50% of these students are women.

Student Outcomes
Former students who have received their PhDs at UNMC currently hold academic positions at a variety of Universities and have positions at a variety of biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies.

The Medical Center
The University of Nebraska Medical Center is the health sciences training and biomedical research university for the state of Nebraska. UNMC employs 3500 individuals and consists of the School of Allied Health and the Colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, and Pharmacy. The sixty-acre UNMC campus is located in the center of Omaha within a five minute drive of downtown Omaha and the historic Old Market (restaurant and entertainment) district.

Learn more from the University of Nebraska Medical Center website.