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 Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences | Graduate Education

Graduate Education

The MBES graduate track provides training for the Ph.D. degree in numerous aspects of marine molecular biosciences and chemistry that relate to environmental and human health.   MBES is a track within the interdepartmental program, Molecular & Cell Biology and Pathobiology (MCBP), of the College of Graduate Studies of the Medical University of South Carolina.  New students begin their training in the first year curriculum taken  by all matriculating doctoral students. This provides the students with a  strong grounding in state of the art courses in biochemistry and molecular and cell biology   This knowledge is then applied to "real world" environmental and human health  problems through the MBES students doctoral research.

Unique Approach
MBES is not a traditional marine biology program nor is it a classical medical school doctoral program. MBES is a hybrid of the 2 programs. This unique approach to graduate education allows students to choose where along the spectrum of interest from human health to marine environment they wish to focus their research.


Students who wish to strengthen their environmental background can take relevant graduate courses (e.g. ecology, oceanography, marine botany) at the Grice Marine Laboratory, College of Charleston on the Fort Johnson campus. Students wishing to increase their background in human disease can take graduate level courses at the downtown medical campus (e.g. pathology, immunology, cancer biology). The focus of MBES is on the students gaining molecular/chemistry skills and then applying them to environmentally important questions.

Financial Information
Students are provided a College of Graduate Studies stipend of $24,000 per year including health insurance. Beginning with the 13th month students are supported by their mentor from extramural grant funds, agency operating funds, or other sources including fellowships, grants or awards that the student themselves may acquire. Competitive scholarships and fellowships are available  through the graduate school as well as extramurally.

Students’ mentors can be chosen from the MBES graduate faculty. The mentor must be a full member of the graduate faculty whether located onsite at the Fort Johnson Campus, Medical Campus or another institution. Students choose a mentor  no later than the end of the 14 month College of Graduate Studies stipend. Choice of the mentor is made by the students having done four laboratory rotations of approximately six weeks each during the afternoon of the first academic year. Together with the mentor and in consultation with the MBES director, students choose a dissertation research committee consisting of five faculty members. Students present and defend a thesis proposal before the scientific community and their committee no later than the end of their second academic year. Students are expected to defend their thesis and complete all academic requirements for the PhD degree no later than five years from the date of their matriculation.

Partners on the Marine Campus
Key to the doctoral training and research program is the active collaboration of our other on-site partner institutions:

1.National Ocean Service (NOAA)
2.Grice Marine Lab (College of Charleston)
3.Marine Resources Research Institute (SC Department of Natural Resources)
4.National Institutes of Standards and Technology

Organizational Memberships

MBES belongs to the following professional societies:

  1. Southern Assoication of Marine Laboratories (SAML)

  2. American Association for the Advancement of Science

  3. Sigma Xi

  4. Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science

  5. American Elasmobranch Society

  6. Pan American Marine Biotechnology Association (PAMBA) -Asociancion Panamericana de Biotechnologia Marina (APABM)

Beginning with the second academic year, students are required to attend two seminars per week. These may include the MCBP External, Internal, or the Fort Johnson Marine Seminar series.

MBES Committee Participation

  1. Graduate Council. MBES representative is Dr. Demetri Spyropoulos

  2. Admissions MBES representatives are Dr. Michael Janech

  3. First Year Curriculum Steering Committee  MBES representative is Dr. Satomi Kohno

  4. College of Graduate Studies Curriculum Steering Committee  MBES representative is Dr. Cheryl Woodley

  5. Hollings Marine Lab Safety Committee  MBES representatives are Ms Chloe Backman, Dr. Gary (Gerald) Hardiman.

  6. Hollings Marine Lab Science Board  MBES representatives are Dr. Harold May

  7. Hollings Marine Lab Executive Board  MUSC representative is Dr. Kathleen Brady

  8. MUSC Intellectual Property Committee  MBES representative is Dr. John Baatz

  9. MCBP Executive Committee  MBES representative is Dr. John Baatz

  10. Fort Johnson Seminar Committee:  MBES representative is Dr. Erik Svendsen 

   12.   Fort Johnson Seminar Committee MBES Student Representative: Thomas Galligan