Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

  • David Milewski

    David MilewskiUndergraduate Institution: Miami University, Oxford, Ohio

    My research interests have led me to pursue a PhD in Molecular and Developmental Biology are focused on the roles of stem cells during normal development as well as their aberrant proliferation and differentiation in various cancers and diseases.  While almost all developmental biology programs have faculty who share these interests, few match the number, diversity, and excellence in translational research found here at Children's.  Actually, one of the hardest choices I had to make when joining the program was trying to identify only a few labs to rotate in.  There are simply so many outstanding labs (90+) in the program and each has their own unique approach to address different aspects of development and disease.

    The program itself is structured in a way that ensures graduates will become successful in whatever careers they pursue.  The coursework is supplemented with journal clubs and seminars with renowned speakers from across the country.  In addition to in-depth analysis of current advancements in the field, all students must write grants for their qualifying exam.  Not only is this very helpful practice for the future, but many students actually submit their grants and receive additional research funding.  This is a fantastic resume builder and you also receive a raise in your stipend that is already higher than you will find in nearly any other PhD program.

    Even though CCHMC is annually awarded one of the nation's best institutions for pediatric research and graduates from the MDB program are successful in a variety of disciplines, there was one last thing that led me to join the program.  I remember asking myself: Is this an atmosphere that I could see myself working hard for the next 5 years?  Everyone, and I'm not generalizing, that I have met so far in these first 2 months is genuinely happy to be here.  The labs are always collaborating with each other, sharing not just reagents but expertise which fuels the publication rich environment.  And finally, the students that make up the program are fun and active people, whether it’s playing intramural sports or just going out for dinner or trivia.  The students are highly valued by faculty who are eager to work with students whether it be as a mentor, a professor, or just a source for advice.  And as a Cleveland native, it really hurts to say this… Cincinnati is a very, very nice city to live in.  There are obviously plenty of fun attractions and events within the city but there are a lot of parks, trails, lakes and rivers that are no more than ten minutes away if you need some fresh air.

    The MDB program offers everything I value in a PhD program: professional development, focus on translational research, success of graduates, and a fun atmosphere to work in.