Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Health Sciences Center Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Health Sciences Center Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Stony Brook, NY
student ratio
Not Reported
total students
average amount to complete degree
January 15
fall application deadline
acceptance rate
1 Degree Offered
degrees offered


Program in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University

The PhD program in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at Stony Brook University engages students in rigorous coursework and research activities to train for careers in fields including molecular genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and immunology. The program is uniquely research-intensive, with graduate students interacting with highly skilled faculty members in state-of-the-art research labs. In conducting their dissertation research, students participate in a wide variety of activities, including seminars with visiting scholars, research presentations, journal clubs, symposia and an annual program retreat.

Since the program's inception in the early 1970s, graduates receiving PhD degrees have gone on to become leaders in academic research, highly ranked professionals in government science administration agencies or in industries such as pharmaceuticals, or science educators.

Graduates most frequently become research scientists, and their expertise is typically applied to the investigation of pressing issues such as cancer, infectious diseases, and cell cycle regulation.

Course of Study

First-year students working toward their PhD degrees in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology take part in a rotation of 3 laboratories of their choice during the first and second semesters. They also have the option of rotating in an additional laboratory during the summer.

Following their first year, students choose a laboratory to join, where they conduct their dissertation research. Upon satisfying all required coursework and successfully defending their dissertation proposal, the student conducts research with the supervision of their dissertation advisor and advisory committee.

Highly Distinguished Faculty

Graduate students in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology program at Stony Brook University are mentored by a faculty of outstanding scientists working at Stony Brook University, as well as Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory and the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research.

Molecular Genetics and Microbiology faculty have received many awards and honors. Professors Jorge Benach and Eckard Wimmer, for example, are Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Professor Wimmer is a Fellow of the National Academy of Science. Professor Wimmer has also won the prestigious international M.W. Beijerinck Virology Prize and the Robert Koch Gold Medal for his work sequencing the poliovirus genome and his contributions to RNA virology. Professors Jorge Benach, James Bliska and Erich Mackow are Fellows of the American Academy of Microbiology. Professor Martha Furie serves as president of the American Society for Pathology. Professor Carol Carter has been appointed to the Council of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Research Areas

The Molecular Genetics and Microbiology program's training faculty performs groundbreaking research in 6 key research areas: molecular virology; bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogenesis; yeast genetics; cell growth and development and cancer; immunology; and structure and biochemistry of macromolecules.

Research labs within each specialty cover a broad range of topics. In the bacterial, viral and fungal pathogenesis research specialty, for instance, the laboratory of Carol Carter focuses on the assembly of HIV and the molecular basis of resistance to drugs that target the protease of HIV.

In molecular biology, the lab of Arne Stenlund focuses on papillomavirus DNA replication and cancer; and in immunology, the focus in the lab of Christopher CutlerNancy Reich Marshall is inflammation, host-parasite interactions, dendritic cells and bacteriacytokines and defense against viral infections. One of several areas of focus in John J. Dunn's The focus in Huilin Li's laboratory is a genomic and proteomic analysis of the Lyme disease spirochete and how certain genes take part in immune evasion and pathogenicityelucidation of the mechanism of macromolecular assemblies through determination of their structure.

Chemical Biology Training Program

Graduate students involved in research groups that are run by faculty members who are involved in the Chemical Biology Training Program (CBTP) may also apply to the CBTP.

While in the CBTP, students continue to meet the requirements of the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Program and take additional courses in chemical biology. They also participate in a spring seminar course and annual retreat of the Institute of Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery.

The degree that is conferred to students once they have met all requirements is a PhD in Molecular Genetics and Microbiology.

Top Research Facilities at Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University offers outstanding facilities to support the institution's expansive research efforts. The Proteomics Center, a core facility at Stony Brook, for instance, provides services including protein sequencing, peptide synthesis, analytical HPLC, preparative HPLC, MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, and DNA sequencing. The DNA Microarray Center provides researchers with facilities to simultaneously analyze the expression of thousands of genes in humans, rodents, yeast plants, bacteria, or Drosophila.

The university's Center for Structural Biology has advanced instrumentation for NMR spectroscopy and X-ray crystallography, and the University Microscopy Imaging Center assists in research projects requiring advanced light, electronic light, and electron microscopy techniques.

Cell Culture/Hybridoma Research Facility

The university's Cell Culture/Hybridoma Facility has a superb reputation for research support services and has supported collaborations to broaden technical capabilities in areas ranging from infectious disease to cancer stem cells. More than 150 cell lines have been cryopreserved in the facility for Stony Brook researchers, and many hybridomas have been produced, with numerous clones disclosed for licensing.


Applicants to the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology graduate program should have an undergraduate background in biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology. Most successful applicants have had some independent laboratory experience demonstrating a commitment to research activity.

Applicants should also have strong recommendations from individuals who are in a position to evaluate the student's potential for success as a graduate student.

Graduate applicants at Stony Brook are strongly encouraged to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) early enough to ensure receipt of the scores by the application deadline.

The program does not offer admission in the spring semester.

Graduate Admissions

Financial Aid Includes Full Financial Support

All graduate students in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology receive a stipend, health care insurance as a benefit and and a full tuition scholarship. The stipend level is reviewed annually.

Stony Brook University

Stony Brook University has earned high ratings on global rankings of universities, and the school was recently ranked as one of the "100 Best Values in Higher Education" among public universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance.

The university's main, 1,000-acre campus is on Long Island's North Shore, and the school recently opened the new Stony Brook Manhattan campus, a research and development park.

Location & Contact

Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology

Health Sciences Center
Stony Brook University, State University of New York

Nicolls Road
Stony Brook, NY 11794
United States

Dr. Jorge Benach


Phone: 631-632-4225
Fax: 631-632-9797

Kathryn Bell

Graduate Program Director

Phone: 631-632-8812
Fax: 631-632-9797

Request More Info

Degrees & Award

  • Degrees Offered
    • Major Degree Levels Offered
    • Molecular Genetics Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Degrees Awarded
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees 4
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported
    • * Shows the number of degrees awarded for the last academic year that data was reported.
  • Earning Your Degree
    • Part-time study available? Not reported
    • Evening/weekend programs available? No
    • Distance learning programs available? Not reported
    • Terminal master's degree available? Yes
  • Degree Requirements
    • Master's Degrees Not reported
    • Doctoral Degrees
    • First Professional Degrees Not reported
    • Other Advanced Degrees Not reported


20% of applicants are admitted.
  • Acceptance Rate
    • Applied 67
    • Accepted 9
    • Acceptance Rate 20
    • Enrolled 2
  • Applying
    • Application Fee - Domestic $100
    • Application Fee - International $100
    • Electronic applications accepted? Not Reported
    • Applications processed on a rolling basis? Not Reported
  • Application Deadlines
    • Type Domestic International Priority Date
    • Fall deadline January 15th Not Reported Not Reported
    • Winter deadline Not Reported Not Reported Not Reported
    • Spring deadline October 1st Not Reported Not Reported
  • Entrance Requirements
    • Master's DegreesNot Reported
    • Doctoral's DegreesGRE General Test, GRE Subject Test, undergraduate training in biochemistry, and genetics, and cell biology; recommendations; personal statement
    • First-Professional's DegreesNot Reported
    • Other Advanced DegreesNot Reported
    • International DegreesTOEFL required, 550 paper based, TOEFL iBT

Tuition & Fees

  • Tuition & Fees *
    • Tuition & Fees$4,685
    • *Average dollar amount (tuition & fees) required to complete the degree
  • Financial Support
    • Financial award applicants must submitNot Reported
    • Application deadlines for financial awardsMarch 15
    • Types of financial support availableFellowships, Research Assitantships, Federal Work-Study

Student Body

  • Gender
    • Total Graduate Students23
    • Female Percentage35%
    • Male Percentage65%
  • Participation
    • Total Graduate Students23
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Full-time Percentage100%
  • Ethnicity
    • Hispanic / Latino11%
    • Black / African American0%
    • White / Caucasian56%
    • American Indian / Alaskan Native0%
    • Asian28%
    • Native Hawaiian / Other Pacific Islander0%
    • Two or more races0%
    • Unknown5%


  • Faculty Breakout
    • Total Faculty18
    • Full-time Percentage100%
    • Part-time Percentage0%
    • Female Percentage28%
    • Male Percentage72%


  • Existing Research
    • Focus of faculty researchAdenovirus molecular genetics, molecular biology of tumors, virus SV40, mechanism of tumor infection by SAV virus
    • Externally sponsored research expenditures last year$11,455,510