Everything is happening at once at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences this year. With the school’s first-, second- and third-year cohorts of PhD students now on campus, all phases of graduate training will be underway: year-one coursework and lab rotations, preparations for qualifying exams and doctoral thesis research.

PhD candidates in the graduate school’s third and newest cohort have arrived at St. Jude from 13 colleges and universities, from Boston to San Diego. They selected St. Jude over opportunities to continue at Cornell, Brown, Dartmouth, Johns Hopkins, M.D. Anderson, Northwestern, North Carolina, Duke, Virginia, Vanderbilt and Emory.

“Each successive cohort seems to display a new level of confidence in their individual decisions to attend St. Jude,” President and Dean Stephen White, DPhil, said.

The PhD program offers a focused, supportive training experience; diverse options across scientific fields for laboratory rotations and thesis research; and clinical care experiences to help inform scientific research directions.

“Although the school is still young, I want to grow with it,” said Jaylan Sears, who traces his interest in biomedical science back to helping his father work on cars, diagnosing and fixing problems. “Discovering the world around us (and in us) is central to how we are able to function and advance, and I’m thankful to have the opportunity to continue that discovery.”

St. Jude PhD students pursue doctoral research under the mentorship of top basic and translational research faculty.

“Renowned scientists from all over the world walk the halls of St. Jude,” said Gregory Phelps, PharmD, “and the opportunity to learn from them through lectures and Grand Rounds would be difficult to pass up.”

University of California San Diego graduate Sarah Moore began thinking about St. Jude in the second grade, when she learned about children with life-threatening diseases.

“I requested donations for St. Jude instead of gifts for my birthday,” Moore said. “Admittedly, I felt disappointed at not having gifts, until I received a card from a little boy who had been helped by my donation. I still have that card, and now I’ll be equipped to make an impact for children like him by pursuing a PhD at St. Jude.”

In addition to the PhD program’s progress, the graduate school’s first class in the Master’s Program in Global Child Health is wrapping up a month-long orientation on campus, to be followed by an out-of-class (online) fall semester. Students from around the world are being trained to facilitate delivery of timely, comprehensive and effective health care programs to children who need it.