Graduate Student Programs

HHMI Med Into Grad - Ph.D. Program in Molecular Medicine

The Cleveland Clinic offers joint Ph.D. programs through formal partnerships with Cleveland State University (CSU), Case Western Reserve University (CWRU), Kent State University (KSU) and the University of Akron (UA). Many Cleveland Clinic faculty also have adjunct, joint or primary appointments at CSU, CWRU, KSU and UA making it possible to complete the research requirements for a Ph.D. with an advisor at the Cleveland Clinic and graduate with a degree from one of these local universities.

Molecular Medicine PhD Program – Case Western Reserve University

The PhD program in Molecular Medicine is offered through a partnership between the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University.

The focus of this Ph.D. program is to introduce medical knowledge into basic biological science Ph.D. training to train the next generation of biomedical translational researchers. Graduates of our program will have the skills to enhance the movement of discoveries from bench to bedside. The innovative and rigorous biomedical science curriculum trains students in both basic research and the principles of clinical research in a collaborative multidisciplinary clinical and research environment. Our students are engaged in basic or translational research that is relevant to human health and can lead to new understanding of disease, clinical and diagnostic tools, medications and therapies.

Each student has a Research Thesis Advisor and a Clinical Mentor who will help design an independent study, “Clinical Experience,” in addition to core coursework. All course work is completed in the state-of-the-art facilities of the Lerner Research Institute on the main campus of the Cleveland Clinic. Students can choose rotation and thesis mentors from a diverse academic faculty in research departments at both the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University campuses. The program is funded by a T32 grant from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Please click here to learn more about the program.


Program Director
Dr. Jonathan Smith

Program Manager
Sarah Kostiha Smith, MEd, MBA

Biomedical Engineering - Case Western Reserve University

The Case Western Reserve University graduate programs include the M.S., Ph.D., and Ph.D./M.D. in Biomedical Engineering. Collaborative projects with The Cleveland Clinic Foundation's Department of Biomedical Engineering are encouraged. The M.S. program in Biomedical Engineering provides broad training in biomedical engineering and biomedical sciences with depth in an engineering specialty. In addition, students are expected to develop the ability to work independently on a biomedical research or design project. For those students with primary interest in research, the Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering provides additional depth and breadth in both engineering and the biomedical sciences. Under faculty guidance, students are expected to undertake original research motivated by a biomedical problem.

Contact Faculty at CCF:
Cameron McIntyre, PhD or Katie Root, BME Education Coordinator

Contact Faculty at CWRU:
Jeffrey Duerk, PhD

Biomedical Scientist Training Program - Case Western Reserve University

The Biomedical Scientists Training Program (BSTP) is the major graduate admission program at Case Western Reserve University Medical School. Many staff members from the Cleveland Clinic Foundation have faculty appointments at Case Western Reserve University Medical School and are active participants in this program. Thirteen departments and training programs in the Medical School participate in this program: Anatomy; Biochemistry; Biology; Cell Biology; Developmental Biology; Environmental Health Sciences; Molecular Biology and Microbiology; Molecular Virology; Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease and Immunology; Molecular, Developmental, and Human Genetics; Neurosciences ; Neurosciences and Bio-engineering; Nutritional Sciences; and Pharmacological Sciences. Several of these, including Cell Biology, Developmental Biology, and Molecular Virology, are training programs, which do not have a home department, but rather extend through multiple departments. BSTP has a centralized recruitment and admission process and all students have specific core curriculum requirements. Students participate in multiple laboratory rotations during the first year, after which they choose a laboratory for their dissertation research. At that time, they become students in the department in which their mentor has an appointment. Specific course requirements, the format and timing of the Qualifying Exam, and the composition of the thesis committee may differ among departmental programs. Several departments, including Anatomy, Biochemistry, and Molecular Biology and Microbiology, admit students directly in their own Ph.D. and M.S. programs, in addition to participating in the BSTP program. These admissions programs may have separate admissions requirements and training grants.

Contact Faculty at CWRU:
Martin Snider, PhD

Physiology and Biophysics - Case Western Reserve University

The Department of Physiology & Biophysics offers training in three research areas: Biophysics and Bioengineering, Cell Physiology, and Systems Integrated Physiology. Admission to these programs is independent of the BSTP program. The requirements for admission and graduation in this program may differ relative to the BSTP programs.

Contact Faculty at CCF:
Ganes Sen, PhD

Contact Faculty at CWRU:
Thomas Nosek, PhD

Applied Biomedical Engineering

Applied Biomedical Engineering (ABE) is a collaborative effort between the Fenn College of Engineering at Cleveland State University and the Biomedical Engineering Department at the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute. It is an area of specialization that combines both biomedical and engineering principals of study within the Doctor of Engineering Program at Cleveland State University. Fenn College has 80 years of history of providing practical engineering education that prepares students to become productive engineers upon graduation.

The ABE specialization is administered through the Department of Chemical and Biomedical Engineering at Cleveland State University and is staffed by faculty members from both Cleveland State University and Cleveland Clinic. Students can pursue their doctoral research at either institution or at both, depending on the selected research topic and advisor.

Contact faculty:

At Cleveland State University:
Joanne Belovich , PhD
Darlene Montgomery

At the Cleveland Clinic:
Zong-Ming Li, PhD


The Ph.D. in Regulatory Biology is offered as a joint program between the department of Biology,Geology and Environmental Sciences at Cleveland State University and the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. In addition to the Biology faculty at Cleveland State, students may choose to work with faculty housed at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. This provides students with broad opportunities for study in diverse areas of biology, including biomedical research and all of its subspecialties as well as areas such as ecology, environmental studies and geology. Students in the program generally spend the first one to two years taking coursework in selected areas at Cleveland State and then spend the remainder of their time in research laboratories at either site, completing their thesis research. Acceptance as a doctoral candidate is granted after students have written and orally defended a competitive grant proposal, usually after most of the coursework has been completed. Students are generally supported by a teaching assistantship (at CSU) or a research assistantship (at CCF), both of which include full tuition. The program graduates 3-5 Ph.D. students per year, most of whom pursue careers either in teaching or research.

See also: Cellular & Molecular Medicine Ph.D. Specialty

Contact Faculty at CCF:
Christine Moravec, PhD

Contact Faculty at CSU:
Anton Komar, PhD
Crystal Weyman, PhD

Clinical-Bioanalytical Chemistry

The Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation and the Department of Chemistry of Cleveland State University offer a unique Ph.D. program in Clinical-Bioanalytical Chemistry. The program is open to highly qualified college graduates majoring in chemistry, biology, biochemistry, molecular biology and medical technology. Selected students may conduct dissertation research with the internationally recognized faculty members of the Lerner Research Institute at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation or the University's outstanding clinical-bioanalytical faculty. The program is further enhanced by affiliation with MetroHealth Medical Center of Cleveland. The Ph.D. program has a first-class team of nearly 60 faculty members, 28 of which are located at the Lerner Research Institute of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. State-of-the-art research facilities and expertise are available at both the Cleveland Clinic and the University, including cutting-edge technologies in such areas as mass spectrometry, IR and NMR spectroscopy, HPLC, capillary electrophoresis, X-ray crystallography, X-ray fluorescence, atomic absorption spectroscopy, and chip technology. The distinctive collaboration between the Cleveland Clinic and the University provides the highest level of training and research experience. Instruction and research in an applied setting of disease diagnosis are integral components of the doctoral program. Cleveland State University has awarded more doctorates in Clinical Chemistry than any other university in the United States.

Contact Faculty at CCF:

Contact Faculty at CSU:
Yan Xu, PhD

Cellular and Molecular Medicine

The Cellular and Molecular Medicine Ph.D. Specialty at Cleveland State University offers a unique opportunity for Biology, Chemistry and Biomedical Engineering students who wish to pursue a specialization in the application of molecular research techniques to understanding the causes, mechanisms, and potential treatments of diseases. The program seeks to expand and develop the links between basic research and clinical practice and to train more scientists and engineers in the powerful new technologies which enable us to understand the fundamental mechanisms of diseases.

Cellular and Molecular Medicine is a specialty within the three existing CSU-CCF doctoral programs - Regulatory Biology, Clinical and Bioanalytical Chemistry, and Applied Biomedical Engineering. As such, the students are governed by the rules and regulations of the three individual departments. The program is designed to provide a common base of knowledge in biomolecular structures and functions, as well as state-of-the-art analytical techniques. Students are required to demonstrate competencies in the following graduate level subjects: Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cell Biology or Physiology or Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics, and Bioethics. Core and elective courses are designed to satisfy this requirement as well as the home program requirements. Coursework and training of each student will be monitored by the student's dissertation advisory committee.

Contact Faculty at CCF:
Donald Jacobsen, PhD

Contact Faculty at CSU:
Anton Komar, PhD
Crystal Weyman, PhD

Ph.D. Partnership with Kent State University

Kent State University/Cleveland Clinic Collaborative Doctoral Program

The Cleveland Clinic Foundation and Kent State University (KSU) have formed the Kent State University/Cleveland Clinic Collaborative Doctoral Program , a joint Ph.D. program. The first class of students in the joint academic venture enrolled in the Fall of 2001. All course work during the first year of the program is taught at KSU by KSU faculty. The curriculum is based on courses currently offered by the KSU departments of Chemistry and Biomedical Sciences consisting of a series of core courses, complemented by electives. Students will complete three research rotations, one during the spring semester of the first year, and two during the first summer. Students will be required to do at least one rotation at CCF and one at KSU. Students will choose a lab for their thesis research by the beginning of the second full year in the program. A limited amount of advanced course work will be given during the second year and following years, by faculty at both institutions. For more information, please contact:

CCF Faculty Contact:
Dr. Tara DeSilva

KSU Faculty Contact:
Dr. Ernest Freeman

Please click here if you are a CCF Principal Investigator interested in becoming graduate faculty at Kent State.

Integrated Bioscience Fellowship

University of Akron /Cleveland Clinic Collaborative Program

The Cleveland Clinic and University of Akron have formed the Integrated Bioscience Fellowship in Biomedicine . Fellowships will allow students to conduct cutting edge research at the University of Akron and the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute while pursuing a PhD in Integrated Bioscience. Recipients of Fellowships will be able to work with faculty at both institutions. Please click here to apply, or for more information, please contact:

CCF Faculty Contact:
Vinod Labhasetwar PhD

Akron Faculty Contact:
Stephen Weeks PhD

For all programs, except Molecular Medicine, course work for the degree is taken at the university, although in the case of joint degree programs, some instructors may choose to have courses meet at the Clinic. In all cases, the student applicant must apply directly to the graduate school and the university program that they are interested in.

Once the student has been accepted to the university degree program, inquiries may be made regarding the possibility of conducting the research work for the Ph.D. at the Cleveland Clinic, working with a Cleveland Clinic faculty advisor.

Support for Students

Ph.D. students who have been accepted into the university degree programs, and have arranged to work with advisors at the Cleveland Clinic, are supported financially during their graduate studies with a research assistantship. The assistantship usually provides full tuition and a student stipend. Financial support for students is provided from funds that are designated specifically for graduate education. Stipends vary with university program. Specifics may be obtained from the following LRI graduate program directors:

Graduate Student Association

All Graduate Students are members of the GSA. The mission of the GSA is:

  • to welcome and support each new Graduate Student
  • to provide a common association to promote professional interest and fellowship among Graduate Students
  • to organize, promote and conduct academic activities beneficial to all Cleveland Clinic Graduate Students

Graduate Student Awards for Students enrolled in Cleveland Clinic Ph.D. Partnership Programs

  • The Graduate Student Fellowship Awards recognize outstanding contributions by Clinic Graduate Students who make an important contribution to research conducted at the Cleveland Clinic. Up to four awards are made annually. Selection of recipients is based on first-author papers that have been published or submitted for publication within the past year. [More Information]
  • F. Merlin Bumpus Junior Investigator Awards are presented at the annual Cleveland Clinic Research Day to recognize outstanding contributions submitted by junior scientists in training (Postdoctoral Fellows and Graduate Students) for presentation at the event. The abstracts and oral presentations of the semifinalists are judged by the Research Day abstract review committee.

Lerner Research Institute Outreach Program

Experience the Lerner Research Institute Outreach Program on your campus and on ours. The new Lerner Research Institute Outreach Program provides two informational venues for interested students and faculty of undergraduate science programs.

  1. Many principal scientific investigators of the Lerner Research Institute have volunteered to participate as Faculty Ambassadors to present scientific seminars and information about our Ph.D. Partnership Programs to undergraduate students and faculty at regional colleges and universities.
  2. A follow-up "Visit the Lerner Research Institute Day" can be arranged to bring interested students and faculty to our campus to experience, first-hand. the cutting-edge research programs of the Institute.

To schedule a visit from an LRI Faculty Ambassador and/or a visit to the Institute, please contact Robin Crotty, Recruiting/Development Coordinator, 216.445.9417.

Graduate Program Contact Information at the Cleveland Clinic

For additional information on the graduate programs available through the Cleveland Clinic Lerner Research Institute please contact Dr. Christine Moravec, Head of Graduate Studies or and Director of Research Education and Training