Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

  • Ming Fang

    Ming Fang.Undergraduate institution: Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China

    “You couldn’t go wrong there”, as my previous advisor said. They were talking about the Molecular and Developmental Biology (MDB) program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

    Before coming here, I was a student in a MS program at Boise State University, in Boise, Idaho. Back then I was working on the collagens in zebrafish development. This small tropic fish helped me to contribute to two first-author papers. The two-year experience in Boise actually set another start point in my life as I think of it now.

    As many PhD program applicants, I was looking for a place that I could find potential PIs that I would like to work with. The MDB program at CCHMC was one of the a few that attracted my attention. Now, at Cincinnati Children's, I’m enjoying diving into the cardiovascular field. If you don’t like this particular area, no worries, because the diverse research interests among the 80 plus faculty members in the MDB program could almost guarantee you a lab you would like. Also, this is one of the few places that could extend your opportunity to explore different organ systems, not just general biology like some other programs. Even better, the research profile is highly regarded in terms of various long-term rankings and NIH funding at Children’s, and hence, trainees will benefit from this reputations and funding in the long term.

    Perhaps another major concern on the road towards a PhD degree is the trainee-mentor relationship, which definitely could help us to succeed in the future, if this is a strong relationship. Although I’m just doing my 2nd rotation here, I’ve already got a sense that a close trainee-mentor bond is the standard in the MDB program. The professors I have worked with are supportive and good at giving guidance. This nice atmosphere is almost guaranteed and promoted by a low student-PI ratio. I feel like I can completely release my energy and be devoted to the science I love.

    Like many others, I always wonder how the basic scientific work is related to medical treatment. At Children’s, it is the place to see how translational research is done. Clinical physicians at Children’s Hospital also participate in research divisions. I have seen many doctors working in both clinical and bench science; they bring their medical knowledge and the first hand clinical data, which, in turn, fosters the bench science. On the other hand, new findings and discoveries from the bench side could therefore be efficiently integrated into disease diagnosis and treatment. This is not what you could get to experience in an average place, and this is another part that makes me excited about doing science in the MDB program.

    At CCHMC people are sincerely nice. This is a place that real science is done. I’m more than happy to be here, and I encourage you, our potential colleagues, to explore our website for program details. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me at