Student Perspectives

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Erin Haley

I am one of the first group of MD/PhD dual degree candidates to begin at Princeton. I’m thrilled with the reception I’ve received—the sincere interest in the motivations of an MD/PhD student, interactions about how translational research can be successfully carried out and implemented in the clinical setting, and the desire of Molecular Biology students and faculty to discuss the philosophical reasoning for studying basic science within the context of medicine.  I often remind myself that our basic science research is setting the groundwork for the clinical advances of the future in a very concrete way. A quick look at the research interests of various faculty members—cancer biology, virology, bacterial communication, parasitic virulence, stem cell biology, evolution, computer modeling of biological systems, and metabolomics (just to name a few)—reminds me that our research at the bench is completely invaluable and intimately tied to an innate desire to understand disease, cure illness, and save human lives.  I have been amazed by the collaborative efforts and generosity of the department. I know that the relationships forged between experts in many different fields are the most compelling reason that the research done at Princeton is so well received and highly respected within the scientific community. I have great hopes that my small contribution to the scientific community at large will be magnified by the strength of collaborative interactions with other researchers at Princeton as we generate answers to the unknown details of biology and their relationship with human disease.  —MD/PhD student UMDNJ

Photo of Dante Ricci.

Dante Ricci

When I initially considered applying to Princeton, I have to admit I was somewhat intimidated by the University’s academic prestige. Yet when I arrived on campus, I felt a comforting sense of community that immediately quelled my fears.  The Molecular Biology program at Princeton offers students of very diverse backgrounds endless opportunities to engage in dialogue at the very forefront of biological science. The resident and affiliated faculty members are not only experts and leaders in their fields, they are also impassioned educators, impressive thin Students in the program cooperate and collaborate rather than compete with one another, and the department’s collegial atmosphere is reinforced by the mutual respect that the students, faculty, and staff have for one another. I am consistently treated as a colleague, and by merit of being a graduate student at Princeton, I am afforded world-class opportunities to grow intellectually, professionally, and personally. The outstanding academics, pioneering research, and gorgeous scenery make Princeton an ideal setting for graduate studies in Molecular Biology.  The decision to attend Princeton was one of the best I ever made. If I can answer any questions about Princeton that might help you make your decision, please don’t hesitate to contact me. —Dante Ricci

Photo of Yunzhou Wei.

Yunzhou Wei

When I first visited Princeton, I was so impressed by the beautiful campus.  The prospect of working with some of the best scientists in the world in the Molecular Biology department was very exciting.  As an international student here, I feel very at ease, which helps free me to concentrate on my research.  One thing that also impressed me is the high quality of the courses.  The professors are not only top-notch scientists, but excellent teachers.  I’ve come to love my fellow students, who all come from different backgrounds, even different countries, and have different interests. We have not only formed friendships but share ideas with each other, making the experience much richer.  I’m thrilled with my decision to come to Princeton, where you can be part of pure science research and communicate with outstanding scientists and scientist candidates. —Postdoc, Princeton University