The Biological Sciences Graduate Program (BISI) offers outstanding opportunities for research and discovery within and across contemporary disciplines. Faculty mentors help students investigate exciting questions, in directions driven by each student’s interests and curiosity. Enthusiastic and interactive colleagues, agile minds, and cutting-edge technologies work together to advance and apply science. The goal of the Biological Sciences Program is to enable students to obtain the best training in their intended research areas, to work closely with outstanding faculty, and to prepare for successful futures contributing to innovative advances and effective teaching in the life sciences.

University of Maryland offers strong collaborations and enriched opportunities for research with distinguished institutions.

In addition to being a vibrant hub of science, medicine, biotech, and environmental research and policy, the D.C. area’s rich and diverse culture make it an especially lively, friendly, accessible community for students to thrive professionally and personally. The campus is “inside the beltway,” situated a swift 20 minutes (by convenient Metro ride from College Park) from the heart of the nation’s capital. 

Concentration Areas

Each student is part of, and advised though, one of the interdisciplinary concentration areas:

  • BEES: Behavior, Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics
  • CBBG: Computational Biology, Bioinformatics, and Genomics
  • MOCB: Molecular and Cellular Biology
  • PSYS: Physiological Systems


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Recent Publications

For a complete list, please see publication site here.


BISI Awardees

Outstanding Graduate Director
2014-15: Dr. Michelle Brooks, BISI Associate Director

Flagship Fellowship:
2015:  Jake Weissman (Fagan Lab)
2014:  Guarav Kandlikar (Kraft Lab)
2013:  Carl Sabottke (Butts Lab)
2012:  Shrutii Sarda (Hannenhalli Lab)
             Andy Foss Grant (Fagan Lab)
2011:   Laura Dillon (Sayed Lab)

Graduate Dean's Dissertation Fellowship
Vivek Advani (Dinman Lab)
Shang-Hsuan Lin (Colombini Lab)

Ann G. Wylie Fellowships

Vasudevan Achuthan (DeStefano Lab)
Cheryl Ames (Bely/Collins Lab)
Ashley Nazario Toole (Wu Lab)
Alyssa Stewart (Dudash Lab)
Lijuan Du (Wang Lab)
Suna Gulay (Dinman Lab)
Kyle Miller-Hesed (Wilkinson Lab)
Jenni Shemansky (Chang Lab)
Frank Stearns (Fenster Lab)



  • Kun Wang (CBBG, Cao Lab) presented a talk at the ACM-BCB15.  He was awarded a NSF Travel Award to attend the meeting.
  • Rachel Shahan (MOCB, Liu Lab) was recently awarded a NIFA Graduate Fellowship.  Congrats to Rachel.
  • Congratulations to Sri Pratima Nandamuri (PSYS, Carleton lab) who was awarded a travel award after her successful presentation at the FASEB Biology and Chemistry of Vision.
  • Alex Novarro (BEES, Lips Lab) was recently awarded an Exploration Fund Grant (Explorers Club); SSAR Grant-in-Herpetology (Soc. for Study of Amphibians), and the Margaret Walton Fellowship (Mountain Lake Biological Station).
  • Edward Hurme (BEES, Wilkinson Lab) was the recipient of two grants: one from the National Geographic Young Explorers and one from the Animal Behavior Society.
  • Micki Kuhlman (MOCB, Simon Lab) was recently given the "Outstanding Performance in Botany" award.
  • Mona Orr (MOCB, Lee Lab) was presented with the best poster award at the International Symposium on c-di-GMP Signaling in Bacteria conference.
  • Noor White (BEES, Braun/Mitter Lab) was awarded the Ernest Mayr Award, which is given to the presenter of the outstanding student talk in the field of systematics at the annual meetings of the Society of Systematic Biologists.
  • Noor White (BEES, Braun/Mitter Labs) and Carly Muletz (BEES, Lips Lab) have advanced to the second round in the UMD 3MT Thesis competition.  
  • Cora Johnston (BEES, Gruner Lab) was awarded the Graduate School's Outstanding Graduate Assistant Award for 2014-15.  Congrats Cora!
  • Juannan Zhou (BEES, Dudash/Fenster/ZImmer lab) has been awarded an NSF Dissertation Improvement Grant.
  • Madhvi Ventkatraman (BEES, Gruner/Fleischer/James lab) was awarded both a CIC Fellowship AND an NSF predoctoral fellowship.  Congratulations to Madhvi!
  • Vasudevan Achuthan (MOCB, DeStefano Lab) was awarded the prestigious Stephanie and Richard Vogel Graduate Student award for Spring 2015..
  • Dr. Antony Jose and students Sinduja Ravanapally and Snusha Ravikumar featured in CMNS News.

BISI Merit Award Recipients

The Biological Sciences Graduate Program is proud to announce this year's Merit Award winners.  The Merit Award provides recognition and encouragement to students that perform unusually well in graduate school.  The award comes with a $2000 honorarium.