Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

  • Jason Cowan

    Jason Cowan.Undergraduate institution: University of Guelph, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

    My current research interests focus on the molecular and developmental mechanisms underlying development of left-right asymmetry, including the etiology of heterotaxy syndrome and associated congenital heart defects.

    I had already worked for several years as a genetic counselor and research coordinator before deciding to pursue further graduate studies. These past experiences had helped foster a strong interest in translational genetic research, particularly in the field of developmental cardiovascular biology. The quality and quantity of faculty with similar research interests initially brought my attention to the University of Cincinnati and, in particular, to the Molecular and Developmental Biology Program, which is closely affiliated with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. I had been aware of the program’s outstanding reputation prior to my interview; however, it was my discussions with students and faculty during that process that solidified UC as the right choice for me.

    Although I arrived at the University of Cincinnati with established research interests, I was immediately struck by the diversity of developmental research conducted within the department. This breadth not only promotes a strong core classroom curriculum, but also provides all entering students with the opportunity to explore a variety of research interests before committing to a specific laboratory. Students of all years benefit from weekly seminars provided by a diverse array of internationally recognized speakers, a number of student and faculty-run journal clubs, and an annual symposium during which students in the program present their own research. These discussions contribute to an overall sense of community, not just among the graduate students in the program, but also among the faculty and research staff. I am grateful for the opportunity to develop my research skills in such an environment and sincerely recommend interested students to consider application to the program.