About the Program

The Duke Development and Stem Cell Biology (DSCB) Program is a broad, interdepartmental consortium of students and faculty doing developmental stem cell, and regenerative biology research at the molecular, cellular, genetic, evolutionary, and systems levels. Researchers from across over 10 departments at Duke University and Duke Medical School participate. DSCB is one of many PhD programs offered under the purview of the Office of Biomedical Graduate Eduation. With our established strength and the continuing influx of new faculty talent, the Program has attracted top students from around the US and the world. Financial support is through NIH funding as well as other sources. 

Mission statement:

The mission of the DSCB PhD program is to train the next generation of scientists in principles of development, stem cell biology, and regeneration through targeted coursework, lab research, and interactions within the DSCB community. The diverse backgrounds, research expertise, and perspectives of our community enable us to enrich and personalize the training environment. Our goal is to develop in our students confidence, independent critical thinking, academic rigor, and the intellectual curiosity and creativity to synthesize new ideas and communicate them effectively.

A few unique aspects of our program:

  • Scientific strengths and breadth: DSCB students join a tight-knit community of faculty and students who are passionate about development and stem cell biology. Our labs study diverse model systems including worms, flies, mice, sea urchins, turtles,  zebrafish, induced pluripotent stem cells and organoids. This is enhanced through a campus-wide Regeneration-Next Initiative.

  • Our faculty:  We are a young faculty; more than 70% of the DSCB faculty arrived at Duke in the past 10 years, reflecting the explosive surge in interest in this area of biological science. Our faculty also participate in mentoring training.

  • Niche buddies: Current DSCB students are intimately involved with programming and advocating for their student peers. Each incoming student is paired with a DSCB upperclassman (Niche buddy)

  • Outreach with the community: DSCB students and faculty are actively involved in outreach through mentoring, teaching and scientific communication.

  • Colloquium: Students participate in a DSCB colloquium seminar series which brings in world-class experts in development and stem cell biology.

  • Why Duke?

    • Duke BioCoRE Scholars Program provides enhanced opportunities that complement the bioscience undergraduate and graduate programs. The goals of BioCoRE are to increase the diversity of scientists in the biosciences, and to promote student development with research experiences, engagement with faculty, and career development activities. All incoming graduate students are invited to apply, and incoming scholars are eligible for an early-start summer program as well as other community-building activities throughout the academic year. 

    • Research Triangle: Duke University is located in Durham, North Carolina, one of three cities — Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh — that form North Carolina’s famed Triangle Region. Our students interact with other students at UNC-Chapel Hill, NCState, NIEHS, and other nearby schools. The research triangle and Durham has many local startups (including from Duke scientists) and pharmaceutical companies. Many of our graduates remain in Durham to work at these Universities and Companies.
    • Unique campus geography: Duke University and Duke University Medical Center are on the same campus. This gives our students the unique opportunity to work in labs across campus, to interact with experts across broad disciplines, work with Duke undergraduates in the lab, and benefit from the cultural events across the University.
    • Opportunities to personalize your career paths. Our students can pursue internships in pharmaceutical industry, clinical shadowing programs, science communication, and more.
    • Teaching opportunities: There is no teaching requirement, however there are ample opportunities for students who are interested in teaching. For formal training students can obtain a Certificate in Teaching. For students interested in moving into a teaching Academic position they can take advantage of the Preparing Future Faculty program