Student Research
Frequently Asked Questions

Research Questions

  1. What is the time commitment for MBP research training?
    Students are required to earn 7.5 credit units of research for graduation. This is two quarters (about six months) of full-time research. Students can choose to do an additional two-quarters of research if that fits into their career plans. The extra two quarters will be considered as an academic internship. Students doing the additional two-quarters of research cannot do an industry internship.
  2. Who are MBP research advisors?
    The MBP currently has a pool of 100+ faculty members as research advisors spread across the schools of Engineering, Medicine, and Sciences and at partner companies. Every year, about 30 advisors offer research projects. The student-to-project ratio is about 1:1.5. Research projects are offered in wet lab work, computational research, data analytics, business development, regulatory affairs, etc.
  3. When does MBP research start and end?
    The first three quarters of study are dedicated to coursework. Research can begin in June, (for students not doing a summer internship) or September, (for students returning from a 3-month internship) or the following January (for students returning from a 6-month internship). The research training is six months in length and must be uninterrupted. 
  4. How does student placement in labs happen?
    Student recruitment for lab placement will occur during the spring quarter for all start dates in the MBIOTECH 501, MBP Research Seminar course. A select group of research advisors will present opportunities in their labs. Interested students will contact research advisors, meet with them and their lab members, and decide if they are a mutual fit. Students are required to explore at least three labs before choosing a lab. MBP faculty will provide one-on-one advice to help students choose the right lab. Student placement in labs will be complete by the end of spring quarter.
  5. How is MBP research evaluated?
    Students earn course credit with a quality grade for research training. Typically, students are registered for 3.5 and 4.0 units in their first and second quarters of research, respectively. Research advisors provide quarterly feedback on students’ research performance. Students are required to write mid-term and end-of-quarter progress reports and present their work at the MBP Research Symposium. Quarterly research grades comprise preceptor feedback, progress reports, and student presentations.
  6. What are MBP research training deliverables?
    Besides learning an immersive set of skills in the chosen research area, MBP research also provides training in written and oral communication. The deliverables include: the project goals assigned by the research advisor, progress reports, final report as a scientific manuscript, oral, and poster presentations at the MBP Research Symposium, and other deliverables as assigned by the research advisor and MBP. No thesis is required.
  7. Are there any opportunities to do research in the industry?
    The MBP has affiliations with multiple companies that allow students to complete research training in the pharma/biotech industry. These opportunities are generally competitive and vary year-to-year based on companies’ priorities. Scientists at partner companies will be the students’ research advisor, and students will work with industry researchers. Each year our industry partners offer about 7-10 research projects in various areas. LanzaTech, Clever Carnivore, and Octagon Therapeutics are some examples of MBP-affiliated companies that provide research opportunities. Students will be required to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement or a similar agreement to do research in the industry.
  8. Is it possible to take courses when doing research?
    Students can take one course (1.0 credit unit) during each research quarter without incurring additional tuition. Approval from the research advisor and the MBP program is needed to take a course during the research quarter.
  9. How would my decision to do an internship affect my choices of research projects?
    Your decision to do an internship may affect your choice of a research project. While most research advisors are flexible with the start dates, because of deadlines or the availability of mentors, some projects might require the students to start in June. Students should discuss their plans for an internship with the research advisors during the recruitment process and find a lab that will allow the start of research after the internship.
  10. How can I get more information about research? Can I contact research advisors myself?
    Students will explore research advisor options during the spring quarter. You can get more information about research by exploring the websites/articles of the research advisors listed on our website. You can also contact us with any specific questions about MBP research. We discourage students from contacting research advisors before enrollment in the MBP.

Additional Questions

If you have a student research question which is not discussed here, please email the program.