The Graduate Center's Ph.D. Program in Biology provides its students with interdisciplinary research and training opportunities in the world-class laboratories of doctoral faculty located both at CUNY campuses throughout New York City, and at affiliated institutions, which include The New York Botanical Garden and The American Museum of Natural History.
Students will acquire a fundamental orientation in the current life sciences as well as mastery of the knowledge and investigative approaches in his or her chosen areas of specialization. The program prepares doctoral candidates to become research professionals equipped to teach in university programs and for leadership positions in biotechnology and research.
The Biology PhD Program, together with the Initiative in Theoretical Sciences (ITS)
is actively forming a faculty group at the Graduate Center whose research interests focus on the phenomena of life, using methods grounded in the traditions of theoretical physics and applied mathematics. This founding group of Biology faculty will significantly expand research and educational opportunities for Biology PhD students (as well as CUNY PhD students from other disciplines such as Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science) interested in theory and other aspects of quantitative biology.
Biology subprograms include:
Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, and Behavior (EEB)
Behavior, ecology, evolution, and systematics. From anatomy to zoogeography. Faculty include members of the curatorial staff of the American Museum of Natural History.
Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCD)
Molecular basis of cell function, of prokaryotic systems, of animal and plant development, and of complex biological processes such as the immune and nervous systems.
Organization and function of nervous systems, approached from biochemical, cellular, organismal, and environmental perspectives. Faculty include staff of the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities. This subprogram is now part of the broader CUNY Neuroscience Collaborative.
Plant Sciences (PS)
Study of major plant taxa from bryophytes to flowering plants at every level of organization from the molecular to the ecosystem. Work ranges from theoretical to socioeconomic. Faculty include members of the curatorial staff of the New York Botanical Garden.
Assistant Program Officer
The Graduate Center
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Alicia Meléndez has been a faculty member at Queens College and The Graduate Center since 2006. She previously served as chair of the Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology subprogram of the Ph.D. Program in Biology, in which she oversaw the research progress of about 120 students. She was noted for her deep investment in positive student outcomes. One of her students wrote, “She was personally invested in each of us finding the best placement to help us succeed, including helping us to prepare to navigate difficult conversations or situations with potential principal investigators. Dr. Meléndez centered the experience of the students first and foremost. It was readily apparent that she was a dedicated advocate for those of us in the program and desired to give us the best possible training and preparation for a professional life in science. “