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Biomedical umbrella programs recruit the cream of the crop

Posted by on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 in Uncategorized .

By Beth Bowman and Lorena Infante Lara

Recruiting for Fall 2020 admission in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences and the Quantitative and Chemical Biology program wrapped up earlier this month with a banner year. Both umbrella programs saw an increase in the number and quality of applicants compared to previous years, setting the record for total number of combined applicants since the IGP program started in 1992. Given the high number of exceptional applicants, both programs also interviewed the greatest number of candidates of any other year, filling both cohorts with the top talent in the country.

The IGP will be bringing in 70 students this fall. The director, Jim Patton, Stevenson Chair of Biological Sciences and professor in the same department, noted that, “In a recruiting season that was disrupted by COVID-19, the research prowess of our faculty stood out, allowing us to enroll the largest IGP class since 2010.”

For its first recruiting season under new leadership, the QCB recruited a class of 12 exceptional students. The chemistry, physics, and engineering backgrounds that the incoming students will bring provide a unique contribution to the strong biomedical research already ongoing at Vanderbilt.

Recruiting students in the midst of a global pandemic wasn’t ideal, but the resourcefulness of our community shone through. Despite the fact that some applicants were not able to come to campus, they still were interviewed by faculty through video chats and were given a digital tour of campus by current students. These efforts resulted in a particularly large, strong, and diverse class.

The number of underrepresented minority students who applied to the combined programs also set a record high. This year, the IGP will have 17 and the QCB will have 1 URM student, collectively making up nearly a quarter of the cohort.

Vito Quaranta, associate director of the QCB and professor of biochemistry and pharmacology, remarked upon this year’s cohort. “The QCB applicants were just outstanding this year. Our recruiting program is wholly competitive with the top institutions in the country during a time when computation, mathematical modeling, and data analysis have become essential across biomedical research. We look forward to an exceptional 2020 class!”