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In recognition of the extraordinary challenges and new opportunities in biological research, the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) offers a PhD degree umbrella program that trains students to be simultaneously conversant in the languages of biology, physics, and mathematics.

Applicants interested in the iPQB umbrella program apply to either the Biophysics PhD degree program or the Bioinformatics pathway of the BMI PhD degree program.

Graduate study in iPQB leads to a PhD degree in either Biophysics or Bioinformatics. Complex Biological Systems is an optional designated emphasis within each of these degree-granting programs, and will be listed on the graduate’s diploma if chosen.

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Molecular, Cellular, and Computational Biophysics Graduate Program (BP)

The Biophysics program offers coursework and research that focuses on applying physical, mathematical, computational, and systems approaches to biological problems. It prepares students to tackle the most challenging problems in understanding and quantifying biological processes at the molecular, cellular, and systems levels.

Biophysics is designed to equally accommodate students with a broad range of backgrounds, from pure mathematics, physics, engineering, and computer science to biology, biochemistry, and cell biology.

Research focus areas within the program include:

  • Structural biology and mechanism
  • Computational biology and theoretical biophysics
  • Cell biophysics
  • Protein design and synthetic biology
  • Complex biological systems
  • Proteomics and genomics

More info: Biophysics (BP).

Apply: Biophysics Admissions.

Bioinformatics (BI) pathway of the Biological and Medical Informatics Graduate Program (BMI)

The BMI program prepares scientists to use tools from mathematics, computer science, physics, and statistics to gather, store, analyze, predict, and disseminate information about biology and chemistry. This quantitative field is essential to interpreting and exploiting the massive and growing amounts of data generated for biomedical research.

BMI is designed to accommodate students with dual training in biology and a quantitative discipline, as well as quantitatively trained students who wish to expand their expertise to biomedical applications.

Research focus areas within the program include:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Biostatistics and statistical genetics
  • Machine learning
  • Cheminformatics
  • Genomics and epigenomics
  • Proteomics
  • Systems biology

More info: Bioinformatics Pathway of BMI.

Apply: Bioinformatics Admissions.

Optional designated emphasis in Complex Biological Systems (CBS) offered in both BP and BI

iPQB combines a remarkably rich and collaborative environment with beautiful, state-of-the-art research facilities at UCSF’s Mission Bay campus to provide an ideal opportunity for training students at the interface of the physical, computational, and life sciences. The program includes more than 100 faculty members from six different UCSF departments. Approximately 85 students are currently enrolled in the program.

More info: Complex Biological Systems (CBS).