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The Program in Quantitative and Computational Biology (QCB) is intended to facilitate graduate education at Princeton at the interface of biology, the more quantitative sciences, and computation. Administered from The Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics, QCB is a collaboration in multidisciplinary graduate education among faculty in the Institute and the Departments of Chemistry, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Computer Science, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Molecular Biology, and Physics. The program covers the fields of genomics, computational biology, systems biology, biophysics, quantitative genetics, molecular evolution, and microbial interactions.
An Outstanding Tradition: Chartered in 1746, Princeton University has long been considered among the world’s most outstanding institutions of higher education, with particular strength in mathematics and the quantitative sciences. Building upon the legacies of greats such as Compton, Feynman, and Einstein, Princeton established the Lewis-Sigler Institute of Integrative Genomics in 1999 to carry this tradition of quantitative science into the realm of biology.
World Class Research: The Lewis-Sigler Institute and the QCB program focus on attacking problems of great fundamental significance using a mixture of theory and experimentation. To maximize the chances of paradigm shifting advances, there is an emphasis on studying fundamental processes in biology, such as transcription and metabolism, in tractable model organisms including bacteria, yeasts, worms, and fruit flies.
World Class Faculty: The research efforts are led by the QCB program’s 44 faculty, who include a Nobel Laureate, 8 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 4 Howard Hughes Investigators, and over a dozen early career faculty who have received major national research awards (e.g., NSF CAREER or NIH Innovator).
Two courses: QCB 515 and COS/QCB 551 are required for all students, as is a Responsible Conduct in Research (RCR) course. Three additional courses can be chosen from the following list. Course selections must include at least one course from both quantitative and biological course options.
Note: The full course of study must be reviewed and approved by the DGS.
Quantitative Courses (must take at least one)
Biological Courses (must take at least one)
Selected undergraduate courses of interest
(Note: these do not count towards course requirements)
Research Colloquium: QCB Graduate Colloquium
QCB Graduate Colloquium is a research colloquium that has been developed for QCB graduate students, usually held on an afternoon during the fall and spring terms. In the fall, the colloquium will give students an opportunity to hear about the work our faculty are doing and is intended to help students with their lab rotation decisions. In the spring, students enhance their oral presentation skills by presenting their lab work to their peers.
All students are required to complete a minimum of two research rotations, with a maximum of four, to explore possible research advisers. At least one rotation project must be theoretical/computational, and one must be experimental.
The general examination is usually taken in January of the second year, and consists of one 3-hour oral session on the student’s thesis proposal, as well as a second “mock” thesis proposal on a subject outside the scope of the thesis work.
The Master of Arts (M.A.) degree is normally an incidental degree on the way to full Ph.D. candidacy and is earned after a student successfully passes the general examination. It may also be awarded to students who, for various reasons, leave the Ph.D. program, provided that the requirements have been met.
At least two semesters of teaching are required for all graduate students. Students will typically teach in the fall and spring terms of their third year. Teaching assignments are made by the DGS, and students are notified of assignments in the summer of their second year.
Research progress is overseen by a thesis committee selected by the student after passing the general exam.
The dissertation and FPO are required for all Ph.D. students. All students must write and successfully defend their dissertation.
Eric F. Wieschaus
Peter Andolfatto, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Coleen T. Murphy, Molecular Biology, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Joshua D. Rabinowitz, Chemistry, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Joshua W. Shaevitz, Physics, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Olga G. Troyanskaya, Computer Science, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Eric F. Wieschaus, Molecular Biology, Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics
Courses listed below are graduate-level courses that have been approved by the program’s faculty as well as the Curriculum Subcommittee of the Faculty Committee on the Graduate School as permanent course offerings. Permanent courses may be offered by the department or program on an ongoing basis, depending on curricular needs, scheduling requirements, and student interest. Not listed below are undergraduate courses and one-time-only graduate courses, which may be found for a specific term through the Registrar’s website. Also not listed are graduate-level independent reading and research courses, which may be approved by the Graduate School for individual students.