Doctor of Philosophy in Cell and Developmental Biology (PhD)

Overview

The graduate program in Cell and Developmental Biology offers M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees to students undertaking advanced study and research in cell and developmental biology. The program is flexible and is designed to accommodate the diverse backgrounds of students and the broad nature of research in cell and developmental biology.

The program's courses provide a thorough understanding of the scientific fundamentals and methodologies of contemporary cell and developmental biology. All students also undertake original and significant research from the start of their studies. With nearly 50 faculty members engaged in cutting-edge research in cell and developmental biology, a wide range of research topics is available to students.

The program also aims to enhance linkages and facilitate research interactions between the larger community of cell and developmental biologists in British Columbia by acting as a common forum for scholarly exchange in cell and developmental biology through its student-led seminar series, research retreats and other activities.

What makes the program unique?

The Program is administered through the Life Sciences Institute (LSI), Canada's largest Institute for life science research which houses over 80 laboratories conducting internationally recognized research in areas such as cell and molecular biology, cancer biology, diabetes and microbiology & immunology.

Program faculty and students also conduct research at hospital-based research Institutes and Centres, including the BC Cancer Research Centre, the Biomedical Research Centre, the Centre for Brain Health, BC Children's Hospital Research Institute, the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics,and the Centre for Macular Research. All of these Institutes and Centres offer highly collaborative research environments and provide outstanding facilities and resources to the ~ 70 graduate students who call the program home.

Given the number of researchers associated with the program and their varied Departmental and Faculty affiliations, the potential range of research topics available to students in the Program is very large.

Minimum level of financial support for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students of $22,000 per year, with top-ups for students who receive scholarships.

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Life Sciences
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Cell and Developmental Biology
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Medicine

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Meet a UBC representative

Graduate Student Housing Info Session

webinar
Date: Tuesday, 02 October 2018
Time: 15:30 to 16:30
It's not too early to explore your options for accommodation, particularly if you are hoping to live on campus, in residence at UBC. About 1300 graduate students live in residence at UBC. Learn about the UBC student residences available for graduate students, the application process, waitlist logistics, and more in this 1-hour webinar presented by UBC Student Housing and Hospitality Services.

Virtual Office Hours

webinar
Date: Thursday, 04 October 2018
Time: 09:00 to 10:00
Are you considering UBC for graduate school? Join our Virtual Office Hours to learn more about academic requirements, the admissions process, and more. Ask your questions in advance when you register. Please note that we will not be able to provide answers to questions that involve specific personal information.

Application Notes

Acceptance into the Program is dependent upon a prospective student getting written agreement from a Faculty member that he/she will be their Research Supervisor.

Requirements

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

100
22
22
22
22

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?

Highly recommended

Deadline Details

Application Deadline

Deadline to submit online application. No changes can be made to the application after submission.

Transcript Deadline

Deadline to upload scans of official transcripts through the applicant portal in support of a submitted application. Information for accessing the applicant portal will be provided after submitting an online application for admission.

Referee Deadline

Deadline for the referees identified in the application for admission to submit references. See Letters of Reference for more information.

January 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2017
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 October 2018
Transcript Deadline: 16 November 2018
Referee Deadline: 23 November 2018
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 31 August 2018
Transcript Deadline: 31 October 2018
Referee Deadline: 31 October 2018

May 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2017
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2018
Transcript Deadline: 31 December 2018
Referee Deadline: 31 December 2018
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 November 2018
Transcript Deadline: 31 December 2018
Referee Deadline: 31 December 2018

September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2018
Canadian Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 April 2019
Transcript Deadline: 30 June 2019
Referee Deadline: 30 June 2019
International Applicants
Application Deadline: 30 April 2019
Transcript Deadline: 30 June 2019
Referee Deadline: 30 June 2019

Funding Sources

Research Supervisors must commit to supporting you financially during the course of your training. The minimum level of financial support is $22,000 per year, for a minimum of 4 years. As a general rule, financial support continues to the completion of your degree, so long as performance is satisfactory and you remain in good academic standing. Students are expected to pay tuition from their stipend.

Financial support is in the form of a minimum funding package which can be made up from several sources – usually a combination of a Scholarship/Award, a Teaching Assistantship (from teaching duties as a graduate student, to a maximum of two 0.5 TAships per year) and a Research Assistantship (paid from a Supervisor’s research funds). There are no citizenship requirements for Teaching or Research Assistantships.

Career Outcomes

40 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 graduate is seeking employment; for 4 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 35 graduates:


RI (Research-Intensive) Faculty: typically tenure-track faculty positions (equivalent of the North American Assistant Professor, Associate Professor, and Professor positions) in PhD-granting institutions
TI (Teaching-Intensive) Faculty: typically full-time faculty positions in colleges or in institutions not granting PhDs, and teaching faculty at PhD-granting institutions
Term Faculty: faculty in term appointments (e.g. sessional lecturers, visiting assistant professors, etc.)
Sample Employers in Higher Education
University of British Columbia (6)
New York University
National Tsing Hua University
University of California - San Diego
Western University (Ontario)
Simon Fraser University
Douglas College
University of Bonn
University of Minnesota - Twin Cities
Duke University Medical Center
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
STEMCELL Technologies (3)
National Human Genome Research Institute, National Institutes of Health
Lowy Medical Research Institute
Allen Institute for Brain Science
Carl Zeiss Canada Ltd.
Alberta Health Services
Cardiac Services BC
GFY Biotech Consulting
Amgen
TRI
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Director (2)
Consultant
Senior Manager, External R&D and Alliances
Postdoctoral Fellow
Manager
TV Producer
Senior Product Marketing Manager
Account Manager
Senior Associate Scientist
Scientist
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
This program underwent a name or structural change in the study time frame, and all alumni from the previous program were included in these summaries. These data represent historical employment information and do not guarantee future employment prospects for graduates of this program. They are for informational purposes only. Data were collected through either alumni surveys or internet research.
Career Options

Our graduates are well-prepared and highly competitive for the next step in their careers, whether in academia or in other sectors (e.g. biotechnology, health care, government, business, finance) where an in-depth knowledge of modern cell and developmental biology is required.

Alumni on Success

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$104.00$168.25
Tuition *
Installments per year33
Tuition per installment$1,632.61$2,868.22
Tuition per year$4,897.83$8,604.66
Int. Tuition Award (ITA) per year (if eligible) $3,200.00 (-)
Other Fees and Costs
Student Fees (yearly)$930.14 (approx.)
Costs of living (yearly)starting at $16,884.10 (check cost calculator)
* Regular, full-time tuition. For on-leave, extension, continuing or part time (if applicable) fees see UBC Calendar.
All fees for the year are subject to adjustment and UBC reserves the right to change any fees without notice at any time, including tuition and student fees. In case of a discrepancy between this webpage and the UBC Calendar, the UBC Calendar entry will be held to be correct.

Statistical Data

Enrolment Data

 20172016201520142013
New registrations53322
Total enrolment3331343741

Completion Rates & Times

Based on 6 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 4.33 years and the maximum time is 7.00 years with an average of 5.78 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 9 March 2018]. Enrolment data are based on March 1 snapshots. Program completion data are only provided for datasets comprised of more than 4 individuals. Rates and times of completion depend on a number of variables (e.g. curriculum requirements, student funding), some of which may have changed in recent years for some programs [data updated: 29 September 2017].

Research Supervisors

This list shows faculty members with full supervisory privileges who are affiliated with this program. It is not a comprehensive list of all potential supervisors as faculty from other programs or faculty members without full supervisory privileges can request approvals to supervise graduate students in this program.

  • Accili, Eric (molecular mechanisms responsible for cellular pacemaking behavior )
  • Allan, Douglas (Nervous system)
  • Auld, Vanessa (Cell, Neurogenesis and Gliogenesis, Developmental Genetics, Molecular Genetics, development, nervous system, permeability barriers, glia , cell biology , genetics, in vivo imaging, epithelia)
  • Bamji, Shernaz (synapse biology, primary neuronal cultures, transgenic mouse models, neurodevelopmental disease)
  • Clee, Susanne Michelle (Obesity and diabetes are world-wide epidemics)
  • Conibear, Elizabeth (Molecular Genetics, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Genomics and Proteomics, Neurodegenerative Diseases, Membranes, Enzymes and Proteins, Parkinson's Disease, Protein Palmitoylation, Vesicle Trafficking)
  • Coombs, Daniel (Cell Signaling and Infectious and Immune Diseases, Mathematics, Epidemiology, Mathematical biology, Cell biophysics, Immune cell signalling, Disease models)
  • Edelstein-Keshet, Leah (Mathematics, Modelization and Simulation, Cell Signaling, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Differential Equation, cell polarity, cell migration, developmental and cellular biology, swarming and aggregation, Rho GTPases)
  • Gold, Michael (understanding cell signaling, morphology, trafficking, and effector function of immune cells and tumour cells)
  • Gordon, Michael (Neuroscience, Neural circuits, Sensory systems, Feeding, Taste, Gustation, Drosophila, Chemosensation)
  • Haas, Kurt (Plasticity / Neuronal Regeneration, Neurological Diseases, Genetics of Neurological and Psychiatric Diseases, Neuronal and Synaptic Activity, Neuronal Systems, Neuronal Modeling, Neuronal Communication and Neurotransmission, Autism, Epilepsy, Synaptic Plasticity, Dendritogenesis, Brain Circuit Development, Neurodevelopmental Disorders, Neuronal Computation)
  • Hakkinen, Lari (Cell Therapy, Cell Signaling, Connective Tissue, Wound healing, Tissue regeneration, Fibroblasts, MSC, Extracellular matrix, Cell to cell communication, Oral mucosa and skin)
  • Hammond, Geoffrey Lewis (Steroids in growth and development, reproductive health, nutrition)
  • Hoffman, Bradford (Understanding how the genes critical to endocrine pancreas development, as well as ?-cell function and proliferation are regulated is essential for the development of novel strategies for the production of insulin-secreting cells, and for improving the efficacy of available transplantable material. )
  • Hoodless, Pamela (Embryonic Development, Genomics, Heart Valve / Valvular Diseases, Liver, Stem Cells and Organogenesis, Developmental Genetics, Embryology, Transcriptional regulation, Epigenetics, Heart valve formation, Liver development)
  • Johnson, James (diabetes, hormones, cell biology, signal transduction, apoptosis or programmed cell death, heart failure, heart disease, calcium signalling, pancreatic cancer, obesity, longevity, imaging, Causes of type 1 and type 2 diabetes at a molecular level discovery of genes and associated gene networks linked to diabetes risk and by known risk factors that predispose individuals to diabetes)
  • Kieffer, Tim (Diabetes)
  • Kopp, Janel (Pancreas, Pancreatic cancer, Pancreatic development, Modeling cancer)
  • Li, Xin (Molecules in plants, plants defence against pathogen infection, plant genes)
  • Lim, Chinten James (Cell Signaling and Cancer, Leukemia, Immunotherapy, Chemotherapy, tumour cell biology, mechanisms of drug resistance, integrin cell adhesion and migration, tumour microenvironment, pediatric oncology)
  • Loewen, Christopher (Membranes and Organelles, Lipid Signalling, Lipid Traffic, Membrane Contact Sites, Genetic Networks, Systems Biology, Super Resolution Microscopy, Cell Polarity, Endoplasmic Reticulum, Golgi, Membrane Diffusion Barriers, Cell Biology, Autism, Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Cancer Cell Metabolism)
  • Luciani, Dan (Diabetes, Diabetes, Pancreatic beta-cell function and failure, Mitochondrial physiology, Cell calcium signalling, Cell stress signalling, Mechanisms of cell death)
  • Lynn, Francis (diabetes, ß-cell development, ß-cell biology, Human pluripotent stem cells, CRISPR/Cas, transcriptional regulation)
  • Matsubara, Joanne Aiko (Alzheimer's, age-related macular degeneration)
  • Matsuuchi, Linda (Cell signaling of specific membrane receptors, combining aspects of Cell Biology, Immunology , Biochemistry and Molecular Biology)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Nicole Angela Jane Krentz
    "Diabetes is caused by a loss of the insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas. By studying how the pancreas forms during fetal development, Dr. Krentz uncovered new details about how insulin producing cells form. Her research may improve methods to make replacement insulin-producing cells for those with diabetes." (May 2018)
  • Dr. Ursula Hope Neumann
    "Aside from insulin, the hormones leptin and glucagon also play a role in controlling blood sugar levels. Dr. Neumann examined the effects of leptin therapy and glucagon suppression therapy in various models of diabetes. Her work revealed potential benefits and limitations of these therapies for the treatment of type 1 and type 2 diabetes." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Jiangyuan Gao
    "Dr. Gao studied what causes retinal cells to die in age-related macular degeneration (AMD), an important eye disease. He found that a protein complex, called the inflammasome, is responsible for molecular interactions between inflammation and cell death pathways. His discoveries will aid in the development of new therapies to stop blindness in AMD." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Anna Marie D'souza
    "Dr. D'souza examined the role of the hormone leptin on body weight and blood glucose levels. She assessed the role of leptin signalling on insulin secretion and the significance of insulin levels when leptin is absent. These studies have further expanded our knowledge of leptin function in the context of obesity and type 2 diabetes." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Michael John Fairchild
    "Sexual reproduction requires the creation of sperm and eggs within the complex environment of the body. Dr. Fairchild investigated how specialized cells within the body form a physical architecture that guides the formation of sperm. This physical architecture is critical for the creation of sperm and consequently for the fertility of animals." (May 2017)

Further Program Information

 

Apply Now

If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
If you don't have a UBC Campus-Wide Login (CWL) please create an account first.
 

January 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
31 October 2018
International Applicant Deadline
31 August 2018

May 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 November 2018
International Applicant Deadline
30 November 2018

September 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
02 October 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 April 2019
International Applicant Deadline
30 April 2019

Program Information

Application Enquiries

Supervisor Search

 

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