In addition to classes and research, students participate in many activities that enhance their education and development as scientists. These activities help students to develop a network of contacts, to acquire career skills, and to interact with faculty in less formal environments. In addition, social activities provide a support system and, most importantly, foster long-lasting friendships.
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Dr. George W. Raiziss Seminar Series: This is a weekly seminar series sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, which brings in eminent scientists from around the country. Graduate students invite two speakers each semester and are responsible for setting up the schedules for these speakers and taking them to dinner. This seminar series forms the basis for the course BMB 650 (Current Biochemical Topics).
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Friday Research Discussions: Every Friday during the academic year, faculty, students and postdocs gather over refreshments in the Johnson Foundation Library. In addition to the faculty of the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, speakers include guest faculty from across the campus.
Chemical-Biophysics Mini-Symposia: These student-organized mini-symposia are jointly sponsored by the Departments of Biochemistry & Biophysics, and Chemistry with additional University and corporate sponsorship solicited by the organizers. The goal of these mini-symposia is to explore topics of interest to the research communities of both the Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, and the Department of Chemistry in the hope of furthering interdisciplinary projects and collaborations. It also provides
Annual Retreat: BMB and the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics have sponsored this two-day event at Swarthmore College in June each year. Over 200 students, faculty and postdocs participate and present their recent work in poster sessions and talks. All graduate students are expected to present a poster at the retreat; prizes are awarded for the best posters. Highlights of the Retreat include a keynote address by a distinguished outside speaker and the student-faculty softball game, followed by the annual picnic to which family and friends are invited. The 2013 retreat will be held in the Poconos Mountains in the fall.Chemical Biology Interface Annual Retreat and Picnic: The Chemistry-Biology Interface Training Program is a joint program between the Wistar Institute and the University of Pennsylvania, funded in part by an NIH Training Grant on which many of our faculty participate as trainers. For the past three years trainees from these groups have organized and participated in an annual retreat and picnic at which trainees give oral and poster presentations.
Journal Clubs and Other Student Presentation Opportunities
Most faculty in the BMB Graduate Group have additional affiliations with training programs, institutes or other subgroups that run journal clubs or other forums for student and postdoctoral fellow presentations. Examples include:
Crystal Talks: A collection of the structural biology laboratories in PennMedicine, Chemistry and the Wistar Institute gather for weekly “Crystal Talks”. Each week two trainees from these groups present their research progress in an informal setting with ample opportunity for discussion.
Chemistry and Biology Interface (CBI) Student Luncheons: A monthly series with two student research presentations. Discussion is moderated by two CBI faculty trainers.
Programs for dissertation status students
BMB runs a program for dissertation-level students to complement the training that they receive in the laboratory environment. One aspect of this program is informal lunchtime discussions, each covering a specific topic and with guest faculty leading the discussions. Topics include advice on preparing for thesis committee meetings, writing fellowship applications, organizing data for manuscripts, different aspects of scientific writing, and career advice.
The BMB graduate group provides teaching assistantships for several BMB classes. A BMB-specific teaching assistant is also provided to assist our students with BIOM 600, required for all first year students. These teaching assistantships are funded by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics Raiziss Fund. These teaching opportunities are important both for the training of the students enrolled in the classes, and for the TAs themselves.
Senior graduate students have organized not-for-credit summer workshops aimed primarily at first and second year students. Topics of recent workshops included Metlab, and Cloning and Library Generation. They are considered a valuable training opportunity for both those who take the classes and the students who teach them.
PENN Student Activities
Many BMB students are active in these student groups:
BGS Student Groups:
University Student Groups:
A list of additional student groups can be found on the Graduate Student Center web site.
University Clubs and Organizations: Penn has a large and diverse community of students with wide-ranging interests. In the past, BMB students have been members of such varied organizations as the Penn Ballroom Dance Society, the Outing Club, and the Penn Ultimate Frisbee Team. They have also organized intramural softball and volleyball teams and have performed with the Penn Ancient Voices Chorus. Information for such organizations can be found at the Office of Student Affairs.