Doctor of Philosophy in Medical Genetics (PhD)

Quick Facts

Degree
Doctor of Philosophy
Subject
Life Sciences
Mode of delivery
On campus
Registration options
Full-time
Specialization
Medical Genetics
Program Components
Dissertation
Faculty
Faculty of Medicine
 

Overview

The UBC Department of Medical Genetics is an inspiring and productive community of scholars of genetics and genomics; an outstanding provider of knowledge, technical expertise, and compassionate care for our patients. The Department is composed of dozens of faculty members at the forefront of their fields who use cutting edge genetic, epigenetic, genomic, and bioinformatic methodologies to gain insight into diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity, neurodegenerative and neurological disorders, and other genetic diseases. Research is highly interactive and often involves local, national, and international collaborations which further enrich the research experience.

Individual labs conduct clinical and/or translational research and basic experimental research engaging a wide variety of approaches including the use of model organisms such as mice, flies (D. melanogaster), worms (C. elegans), and yeast (S. cerevisiae).

What makes the program unique?

The mission of the Department of Medical Genetics is to pursue basic and clinical research for diagnosis, prevention and treatment of genetic disease. Our goal is to be a world leader in the research, clinical practice and teaching of Genetic Medicine.

 

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Research Information

Research Focus

Research in the Department of Medical Genetics covers the study of human genetics with areas of focus in mammalian development, regulation of gene expression, genetic diseases due to single gene or complex inheritance, birth defects, reproduction, cancer, immunology, genomics, bioinformatics, ethics and population health.

Research Divisions:
Developmental Genetics & Birth Defects;
Epigenetics & Chromosome Transmission;
Genomics & Bioinformatics;
Genetic Epidemiology & Human Gene Mapping;
Neurogenetics & Immunogenetics;
Stem Cells & Gene Therapy;
Pharmacogenomics;
Clinical Genetics, Genetic Counselling and Ethics & Policy.

Program Components

ROTATION PROGRAM: Beginning in the Fall of 2017, highly ranked students accepted for graduate studies in the Medical Genetics Graduate Program will have the opportunity to rotate in three laboratories (nine-week rotations) before choosing a thesis lab. The Rotation Program is open to both MSc and PhD applicants; Canadians, Permanent Residents of Canada, and international students.

Requirements

TOEFL (ibT) Overall Score Requirement

100
22
25
22
22

IELTS Overall Score Requirement

7.0
6.5
6.5
6.5
6.5

Supervisor commitment required prior to application?

No

GRE required?

Not required

Prerequisites / Course Requirements

Recent, advanced-level courses in:
genetics; biochemistry; and statistics (biometrics)

Other Requirements

Relevant laboratory research experience; excellent references with assessment of applicant's research expertise and aptitude.

Funding Sources

Stipend Amount and Duration: The recommended minimum yearly stipend for a full time Medical Genetics (MEDG) graduate student is $22,000. The student is expected to pay tuition from their stipend. This stipend may come from an independent studentship award and/or from the Research Supervisor's research grant. Admission to the Medical Genetics Graduate Program normally includes a commitment from the Supervisor to ensure that each student is supported to the recommended funding level. Exceptions to this policy may be granted under unusual circumstances. Financial support from personal resources is not acceptable as “funding” for incoming students in the Medical Genetics Graduate Program.

The duration of the annual stipend is normally two years for a MSc student and four years for a PhD student. After the two-year MSc and four-year PhD point, continued funding is at the discretion of the Supervisor. The Supervisor should inform their student in writing (with a copy to the Medical Genetics Graduate Program office) at least six months prior to the end-date of the student's stipend.

Funding depends both on satisfactory academic and research progress, as determined by the Student’s Advisory Committee, and on the Research Supervisor's continued grant support. Termination of funding for other justifiable reasons must be approved by a majority of the Medical Genetics Graduate Advisory Committee.

Career Outcomes

53 students graduated between 2005 and 2013: 1 is in a non-salaried situation; for 4 we have no data (based on research conducted between Feb-May 2016). For the remaining 48 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 (9)
Stanford University (2)
University of Toronto (2)
Washington University in St Louis (2)
Babraham Institute
University of Hong Kong
University of Calgary
Duke University
Ulm University
University of Warwick
Sample Employers Outside Higher Education
BC Cancer Agency (3)
Hospital for Sick Children (2)
Mayo Clinic
PROOF Centre of Excellence
InSilixa, Inc.
Vancouver Coastal Health
Rick Hansen Institute
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Provincial Health Services Authority
Spectrum Mobile Health
Sample Job Titles Outside Higher Education
Postdoctoral Fellow (3)
Scientist (2)
Research Associate (2)
Site Manager
Staff Scientist
Strategic Development Officer
Management Consultant
Director, Co-founder
Associate Project Manager
Senior Product Marketing Manager
PhD Career Outcome Survey
You may view the full report on career outcomes of UBC PhD graduates on outcomes.grad.ubc.ca.
Disclaimer
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.

Alumni on Success

Ryan Yuen

Job Title
Scientist
Employer
The Hospital for Sick Children

Jane Gair

Job Title
Teaching Professor/ Affiliate Professor of Teaching
Employer
University of Victoria/ University of British Columbia

Steven Maltby

Job Title
Research Academic
Employer
Hunter Medical Research Institute & The University of Newcastle

Obi Griffith

Job Title
Assistant Professor
Employer
Washington University School of Medicine

Tuition / Program Costs

FeesCanadian Citizen / Permanent Resident / Refugee / DiplomatInternational
Application Fee$102.00$165.00
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)$923.38 (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

 20162015201420132012
Applications1615101417
Offers42443
New registrations41443
Total enrolment3739413634

Completion Rates & Times

This program has a graduation rate of 100% based on 11 students admitted between 2004 - 2007. Based on 10 graduations between 2013 - 2016 the minimum time to completion is 4.00 years and the maximum time is 7.33 years with an average of 5.95 years of study. All calculations exclude leave times.
Disclaimer
Admissions data refer to all UBC Vancouver applications, offers, new registrants for each year, May to April [data updated: 12 July 2017]. 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.

  • Aparicio, Samuel (Breast cancer, genome sequencing )
  • Arbour, Laura (northern and aboriginal health issues as they pertain to genetics)
  • Austin, Jehannine (Genetics, genomics, genetic counseling, psychiatric illness, mental illness, mental health, psychiatry, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, postpartum depression, perinatal mental health, Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Schizophrenia)
  • Birol, Inanc (bioinformatics, computational biology, genomics, transcriptome analysis, next generation sequencing, cancer, Bioinformatics, sequence assembly, transcriptomics, gene regulation networks, high throughput informatics for big data)
  • Brinkman, Ryan (Bioinformatics, flow cytometry, high throughput data analysis, data standars, GvHD biomarker identification, cluster identification)
  • Brooks-Wilson, Angela (human genetics, cancer genetics, cancer families, longevity, Super seniors, genetic susceptibility)
  • Brown, Carolyn Janet (Epigenetic control of gene expression, X-chromosome inactivation, Long non-coding RNAs, XIST RNA, Genes escaping X-chromosome inactivation, DNA methylation)
  • Burgess, Michael (Philosophy and social sciences, ethics and social policy in the areas of genomics, genetics and biotechnology (health, agriculture and environment))
  • Carleton, Bruce (Pharmacogenomics, Adverse drug reactions (ADRs), Drug safety and effectiveness, Clinical pharmacology, Pharmacovigilance)
  • Clarke, Lorne (Lysosomal storage disease, disorders or sulfate transport, mucopolysaccharidosis, phenylketonuria)
  • Conibear, Elizabeth (Molecular pathways, cellular transportation, Alzheimer's, lysomsomal storage diseases, yeast genetics)
  • Eaves, Constance Jean (Normal and leukemic stem cells, normal and malignant breast stem cells)
  • Farrer, Matthew (human genetics, population genetics, neurology, neuroscience, neurobiology of disease, cell biology (primary murine culture and iPSC), genomics, neurodegeneration, Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Epilepsy)
  • Friedman, Jan Marshall (Application of whole genome sequencing to diagnose genetic disease, Clinical genomics, Neurofibromatosis, Birth defects epidemiology)
  • Gibson, William (Childhood Diseases; Weaver syndrome - mutation detection and new therapies; Cohen-Gibson syndrome - mutation detection and new therapies; Appetite regulation; Energy expenditure; Body composition; Monogenic human obesity disorders; Familial Brain Aneurysms)
  • Goldowitz, Daniel (Genetic basis of brain disease, neurobiology of autism, Huntingtong's gene, mouse/mice epigenetics, gene regulatory network)
  • Hayden, Michael (Huntington disease, Disease progression, Diabetes)
  • Hieter, Philip (Molecular biology of eukaryotic chromosome transmission )
  • Holt, Robert (Immunogenetics, Metagenomics - Infectious agents in Cancer, Cancer Genomes, Neurobiology, DNA Sequencing)
  • Hoodless, Pamela (Embryology, Transcriptional regulation, Epigenetics, Heart valve formation, Liver development)
  • Humphries, Richard Keith (Genetic control and manipulation of hemopoiesis. Stem Cell Regulation. Retroviral Gene Transfer. Transgenic Mice.)
  • Huntsman, David (hereditary cancer, molecular pathology, cancer biomarkers, Pancreas centre)
  • Jefferies, Wilfred Arthur (Iron transport molecules)
  • Jiang, Xiaoyan (Basic and translational leukemia research, Leukemic stem cell biology , Gene regulation , Drug resistance , Proteomics)
  • Jones, Steven J (Bioinformatics, genome science, mutations, cancer progression)

Pages

Recent Doctoral Citations

  • Dr. Carol Chia-Lu Chen
    "Using DNA sequencing-based strategies, Dr. Chen showed that histone phosphorylation was far more prevalent than previously thought in mammalian cells. These experiments are consistent with a role for this conserved epigenetic mark in bookmarking regions of the genome for gene expression and replication." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Christopher Kay
    "Dr. Kay revealed the frequency of the Huntington disease mutation in our population and described new genetic variations in the surrounding gene. He showed that sets of variations, called haplotypes, are associated with the Huntington disease mutation around the world, offering therapeutic targets for silencing the gene in the majority of patients." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Alexandre Andre Lussier
    "Dr. Lussier studied the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on epigenetic mechanisms using basic and clinical models. In addition to identifying new effects of alcohol in the developing brain, he also found an epigenetic signature that could be used to screen children at risk for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder for early interventions." (November 2017)
  • Dr. Regan-Heng Zhang
    "Dr. Zhang developed genetic models to study the development of tissues in the human body, including muscle, fat, and bones. By characterizing a key regulatory factor, his research highlights how development is controlled by genetic information beyond the DNA." (May 2017)
  • Dr. Joanna Yeung
    "Dr. Yeung examined the function of a novel molecule in cerebellar development, Wntless, and how it defines new compartments in cerebellar development. She also documented that Pax6 is a master gene for the cerebellum as in other brain regions. Her findings will lead to new understandings of the molecular bases of cerebellar development and disease." (May 2017)

Further Program Information

 

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January 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 May 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
15 July 2017
International Applicant Deadline
15 June 2017

September 2018 Intake

Application Open Date
01 November 2017
Canadian Applicant Deadline
01 February 2018
International Applicant Deadline
01 February 2018

January 2019 Intake

Application Open Date
01 March 2018
Canadian Applicant Deadline
30 April 2018
International Applicant Deadline
30 April 2018

Program Information

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