IMSD Program Overview

The IMSD@UB is devoted to student success, and the program offers unique resources to help you develop your talent, reach your goals, and earn your PhD.


Good mentoring is an integral component of a scientist's training. In addition to the traditional reseach faculty mentor, the IMSD@UB connects students with many mentors that will make a positive impact on their development. These mentors help students navigate life as a graduate student and provide advice to promote the students' academic, professional, and personal growth.

Financial support

Students in the IMSD@UB receive funding that covers tuition and receive a $31,000 yearly salary for the first 2 years in their PhD program. Funds are also available to help students attend national conferences and present their research.


The IMSD leadership has created a knowledge base identifying professional development and doctoral training activities each scholar should complete to aid in successful completion of their PhD program and career development. The knowledge base will be introduced to IMSD scholars during orientation, July ahead of the fall semester of the 1st year of graduate training, and emphasized throughout their training at student advisory group (SAG) meetings and during professional development workshops. Activities provided in the knowledge base are divided into categories including professional development workshops and seminars, research and ethics training, writing training, conference and meeting attendance, and mentor support. The IMSD leadership meet with IMSD scholar and IMSD mentor pairs yearly to ensure the IMSD scholar is meeting PhD program and career development milestones as outlined in the knowledge base.

Laboratory training course

Before the first semester begins, students complete an intensive 2 week program designed to give incoming graduate students the basic laboratory skills, IACUC animal care/handling training, and laboratory safety procedures necessary to be successful in research rotations and beyond.

A summer research rotation

Students begin the IMSD program in the summer before their first semester of course and spend several weeks conducting research in the lab of a funded IMSD Research Mentor.

Professional Development Workshops

Students in the IMSD@UB participate in professional development workshops that promote skills needed for success in graduate school. Initial workshops are designed to help students have a successful start to graduate school (choosing mentors, excelling in research rotations, etc.). Later workshops focus on developing oral and written communications skills, with the eventual goal of securing funding by submitting a training grant.

Academic support

Each student in the IMSD@UB has a Student Advisory Group (SAG) that ensures the student meets all graduate program requirements and has the support to succeed. The SAG can develop an individualized curriculum when necessary to include courses to increase scientific strength, and provide advice regarding research rotations and core courses.

The IMSD@UB will also help students form study groups to strengthen their learning community.

Career planning - Individual Development Plan

Students create individual development plans with help from the IMSD leadership and faculty advisers to map their career goals and maximize their talent. IMSD mentors, faculty advisers, and guest speakers will provide advice and insights into potential careers in science.