Program Description
The objective of the graduate program in Cellular Physiology and Biophysics is to provide a stimulating and supportive environment enabling graduate students to acquire fundamental training in physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and biophysics while participating in the rich intellectual life of Columbia University. While the graduate program is administered by the Dept. of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics, it is part of the Coordinated Doctoral Program in the Basic Sciences at Columbia University Medical Center, within the Program, The Graduate Program in Molecular Basis of Health and Disease. Columbia University provides a superb intellectual and physical environment in which to work and learn. The close interaction between graduate students and faculty that occurs in graduate courses, laboratory rotations and thesis research helps us to tailor each student’s educational program to his or her professional and personal goals. Program Directors: Ellen Lumpkin and Jane Dodd.

Physiology Group
     2013 Physiology Retreat | Helen Mills Theater, New York, N.Y.

student quotes

Areas of Research
Research in the Physiology & Cellular Biophysics Department is grouped in to 4 main categories

Approved dissertation sponsors
Faculty from acoss campus can act as dissertation sponsors for physiology students.

Current dissertation sponsors


Application Information
Applications should be submitted by December 4, 2017for admission in the fall semester 2018.

When applying on-line, please select under
Program: Integrated Program
Specialization: Cellular Physiology and Biophysics


Course Work
Students are required to take 5 core courses and 1-3 elective courses. Many graduate courses within a variety of disciplines are available to Physiology students. Most are conducted in small groups, providing excellent opportunities for in-depth interactions between students and faculty.

Translational Cardiovascular Research Training
The graduate program in Cellular Physiology and Biophysics includes an optional program for students interested in pursuing advanced graduate training in cardiovascular biomedical research. The program is conceived to enhance and ensure the development of cardiovascular scientists with broad-based knowledge in the fields of Cardiovascular Cell Biology, Biophysics, Genetics and Genomics, Bio- and Tissue-Engineering and Clinical Sciences.

Laboratory rotations provide an opportunity for each student to participate actively in ongoing research projects at Columbia, allowing the student to become familiar with techniques, literature and current questions in a variety of research areas. Rotations also provide the opportunity to identify a mentor with whom to pursue thesis work. Each graduate student will undertake three laboratory rotations (3–4 months in duration) during his or her first year. At the beginning of their second year, students choose research mentors and begin planning their thesis topics. Rotations are from Sept - Dec., Jan. - March, April - June.

Seminars, Journal Club & Departmental Retreat
Students attend the weekly Departmental seminar series. All other departments at Columbia University Medical Center also hold weekly seminars at which our students are welcome. A Physiology graduate student-led Journal/Data Club meets monthly and provides students with a forum for informal discussion of the literature and of one another's work.

Each year, the Physiology Graduate Students nominate and host a speaker within the Physiology Seminar Series. Students are invited for a private lunch with the speaker after the seminar. Such events provide students with opportunities for personal interactions with senior scientists of their choice, to seek career advice etc.

At the annual Departmental Retreat, each student delivers a platform or poster presentation. This all-day event provides opportunities for scientific feedback, informal interactions and fun for all faculty, postdoctoral fellows and graduate students in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics.

Financial Support
All students making adequate progress toward the degree and registered as a full-time student will receive full financial support including tuition and fees plus a stipend for living expenses throughout their entire graduate career. The annual stipend for all CUMC graduate students for the 2017–2018 academic year is $38,352.

Outreach Opportunites
There are many opportunities around the campus for students to participate in varius outreach and teaching programs. For example several physiology students have been instrumental in the Science Matters Research Internship (SMRI) program which aims to foster interest and confidence in the sciences within underrepresented and underprivileged New York City high school students. SMRI selects enthusiastic 11th grade (Junior Year) students from Minds Matter NYC (, who first attend a rigorous Bio-Boot Camp where they receive lectures given by CUMC graduate students and postdocs on a wide range of biological topics and are introduced to a laboratory setting during a tutorial workshop. This important training element to the internship provides the interns a baseline level of knowledge and skillset that prepares them to excel when they start their research project. Secondly, they begin the three-month research internship where they are paired with a mentor, a senior pre or postdoctoral fellow, in a Columbia University laboratory to engage in a research project that culminates in a final presentation. SMRI interns earn valuable research experience at Columbia University, develop professional speaking skills, and participate in active discussions on scientific research, career goals and life in the sciences.