All students are required to take at least three rotations. This can be supplemented with a fourth rotation in the summer after the second semester, if the student has not yet found a dissertation adviser. Three credits will be given for the 3 rotation sequence, which is graded as pass/fail.
Students will be expected to give short presentations on two of their rotation projects to their fellow first-years and select faculty members. The first presentation will be after the first two rotations and the second will be after the third rotation. This is the schedule for 2019-2020:
- Late September – November 22nd
- December 2nd – March 6th
- March 23rd – May 15th
The laboratory rotations provide students with the opportunity to broaden their scientific experience in Computational Biology and Bioinformatics and are the basis for ultimately choosing the laboratory for their thesis research. There is a CBB-specific version of the BBS Rotation Guide available as a pdf. The CBB Registrar also maintains a notebook with short reports about all the rotations that CBB students have done in the past. Entering students are encouraged to consult these resources.
Students should take time early on to acquaint themselves with the science that is being conducted in the labs of the CBB faculty. For example:
- Visits to group meetings are encouraged. Schedules for group meetings are generally listed on the faculty website. After reviewing the work being conducted in the lab of your interest, make an appointment to speak with the P.I. and have ready an idea of the type of work you are interested in.
- Several BBS departments schedule retreats during the fall to acquaint BBS students with the research being performed by their faculty. All first year BBS students are invited and expected to attend either the MBB Retreat or the MCDB retreat.
- The CBB program schedules sessions where certain CBB faculty describe their research interests.
What happens during rotations?
Students are expected to devote significant non-classroom time to the rotation. This works out to approximately 15-20 hours per week. You will be given space and are expected to join lab meetings and presentations so you get to know the people and other projects in the lab. You may also be expected to give a presentation to the lab in addition to the CBB talks mentioned previously.
Your project should be discussed with the PI or a senior member of the lab at the beginning of the rotation. Although completing a well-defined project may be possible, the short rotation period may not allow this. The most important aspect of the rotation is familiarizing yourself with the work of the lab and participating in meetings, discussions, and seminars. This is the basis on which you and a faculty member will decide on whether you would be a good fit for the lab. Do not be too discouraged or disappointed if your project doesn’t progress as hoped at the outset, since that’s the nature of research, but do try to understand the reasons for the lack of progress or success.
Both students and PIs are required to submit evaluations sent by the registrar at the end of the rotation. It is expected that the given forms will be returned within a two-week period. The student’s version will be added to the rotation notebook for future students to consult.