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How to apply to the Chemical Biology option

How do I apply to the program?

The Chemical Biology Option is offered by three departments: Biochemistry, Chemistry, and Pharmacology and Therapeutics.

Students wishing to enroll in the program must apply directly for admission to graduate studies in one of these three departments (Biochemistry, Chemistry, Pharmacology).

Students may apply for CIHR-funded scholarship support.

Acceptance into the Chemical Biology Option consists of three steps, the first two of which are the same as the regular graduate programs of the participating departments:

  1. Preliminary approval by the Department's Graduate Committee based on the student's transcript, references and other documents submitted with the application. The criteria for assessment at this level are the same as for the regular graduate programs of the participating departments.
  2. Acceptance by an individual research director (supervisor).
  3. Submission of a research project proposal by the student in consultation with their research director.

Research projects in the Chemical Biology Program should provide training in the methods and philosophy of chemical biology. The project proposal should comprise two pages, presenting the background/rationale, methodology and objectives of the project and highlighting the relevance and suitability of the project for training in the field of chemical biology. Further information for the identification of suitable research projects is found in the section "What constitutes a suitable research project for the Chemical Biology Option?" below.

 Furthermore, proposals can be submitted prior to the application process to Chemical Biology scholarship application form

What are the application deadlines?

To find out, please consult the graduate admissions section of the individual departments' Web sites:

How do I identify potential research directors?

Potential research directors for the Option must be able to provide a project that provides training in the practice and philosophy of chemical biology. Projects jointly supervised by multiple individuals with complementary expertise are encouraged. You can identify potential supervisors from the departmental Web sites or the list of Mentors.

The choice of possible research directors for the Option is not restricted to current Mentors. However, faculty members who undertake to direct a student research project for the Option will be expected to agree to serve as Mentors.

In some cases potential supervisors may be from departments other than the three departments noted above (for example if they are associate members of one of these departments). However, in this case, the student must still register for graduate studies in one of the three participating departments.

What constitutes a suitable research project for the Chemical Biology Option?

As already noted, the Program Committee evaluates the potential suitability of projects for the Option. The key criterion is the ability of the project to offer training in the identification and use of small molecules as specific modulators of biological processes.

Some examples of appropriate projects would be:

  • NMR, crystallographic and/or modeling studies of the interactions of small molecules (as inhibitors, activators, etc.) with proteins or nucleic acids.
  • Creation or screening of small-molecule libraries for activity against specific biological targets or pathways.
  • Characterization of the mechanisms or targets of biological action of novel small molecules.
  • Design and use of systems employing small molecule-modulated 'chemical switches' to manipulate specific biological pathways in living cells.

Further examples may be found in the projects of students currently participating in the Option.

This list is not an exclusive one, and research directors with potential projects are encouraged to contact the Chair of the Program Committee for informal feedback on proposals before submitting them to the Program Committee.