Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

  • Mariana Louza

    Mariana Louza.Undergraduate Institution: Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

    During my undergraduate studies in Rio de Janeiro, I had close contact with scientific research. Of which, the last three years was focused primarily on Developmental Biology. All of this time spent in the lab was crucial in my decision to continue with my academic career which involved taking another year and a half of studies to finish my Masters degree. However, the high level of education provided in the U.S. led me to find out more about the graduate programs offered in my research area of interest (Developmental Biology). Searching online, I found Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Molecular and Developmental Biology Program.  After exploring the very informative website, I found myself facing a wonderful place to pursue my PhD.

    Overall, the application process here in the U.S. was very demanding for foreign students due to many English exams required and essays to be written. In spite of that, I have to admit that all of my work was worth it! After my interview, I quickly acquired a positive response from the Admissions Committee. A few months later, I moved to Cincinnati. There are two remarkable things that the MDB Program offers. The first one is the rotation system. The system gives the student the opportunity to get to know not only the research conducted, but also the lab members, and more importantly, the PI. Deciding the lab you are going to work for the next 5 years is a very delicate and crucial step in your scientific career. If you have time to feel the atmosphere of the lab, your decision becomes easier. The second one to mention is that during our first year, the classes provide a very good background. Putting all of us at the same knowledge level and preparing our brains for the next four years of reading and thinking that graduate school requires.

    After leaving my country and my huge city of Rio de Janeiro, I can’t lie and say that I didn’t feel afraid about moving to a small city such as Cincinnati. However, I figured out that Cincinnati can provide an affordable, good quality of life. Not to mention that it was way more fun than I expected!  You can easily find good restaurants, cinemas, theaters, museums, water parks, amusement parks, and yes, night life!

    I’m very happy with my decision to join MDB program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. I have felt welcomed since the first contact with the Admissions Committee. I highly encourage foreign students to apply and embrace this amazing opportunity to study abroad and learn something new every single day.


    Tadjuidje E, Cha SW, Louza M, Wylie C, Heasman J. The functions of maternal Dishevelled 2 and 3 in the early Xenopus embryo. Dev Dyn. 2011;240(7):1727-36.