Application Process


Program Objective and General Information

The aim of the program is to train a new breed of creative investigators who are able to translate basic science discoveries into technological developments for the needs of society, government, and industry. Students who gain entry into the program have demonstrated academic excellence, leadership credentials, and prior significant research experience. Over the past several years, the program has received 30-50 applications annually, and has offered two-year fellowship commitments to 7-8 students per year. Entry into the program requires students to commit to participate in the program for the student's entire graduate career (whether they are funded by the program at that time or not). The community of Biotech Fellows is an elite cohort that is continually challenged to learn deeply, excel in all their endeavors, and become consummate professionals able to skillfully explore, execute, and communicate science and engineering to broad audiences. The program provides personalized guidance to each and every fellow to ensure that they become the very best professional that they can be.

Applying To Our Biotechnology Training Program

Before applying to the Biotechnology Training Program, a student must have gained admission to a life science, physical science, or quantitative science department at Rutgers University. Undergraduate training should include: biological science, general and organic chemistry, physics and calculus. A course in physical chemistry is also highly recommended. Selection to the training program is based on scholastic record as indicated by undergraduate and graduate grade point averages (GPA), Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, previous research experience, letters of recommendation, and other pertinent criteria such as an indication of leadership potential. A student must be a United States citizen or permanent resident to gain admission to the program. Entering students and those who are about to complete one year of graduate study are encouraged to apply. Students who are about to complete 2 years of graduate study may also apply, especially if they have taken some of the Biotech program required courses and participated in Biotech program activities during their first 2 years.

Download Biotechnology Training Program Application

Required Courses

Topics in Advanced Biotechnology I: After the Biotech Program fall orientation which takes place the last week in August, students and faculty meet biweekly during the fall semester for the Topics course. This forum introduces the new students to research opportunities within the program and allows advanced students to sharpen their presentation skills by providing an experienced audience to critique their work. Students who do not have ongoing work to describe may present a recent paper from the literature which is chosen in consultation with the faculty/student group.

Topics in Advanced Biotechnology II: This course is one of the primary unifying threads of the Program. It occurs biweekly during each spring semester (for 2-3 hour sessions), and all students in the training program (those currently supported as well as those who were supported in the past) are required to attend. The course serves as a forum to: 1) highlight and unify ongoing biotechnology research on campus, 2) introduce emerging new areas of biotechnology to students and faculty, and 3) provide trainees with insight into the technological development of basic discoveries. Faculty guide students in the choice of literature articles that they will present. Critical analysis of data, its interpretation and implications are highlighted, and special attention is paid to applied research, technology-oriented issues, ethical considerations, and policy-oriented issues in the subject area. In this regard, invited investigators from industry play a key role. By having students enroll in the course during their entire graduate career (every spring semester), it is possible to involve advanced students in the selection of topics and seminar speakers (including the responsibility for organizing speakers) and to encourage their interaction with scientists from outside institutions.

Bioengineering in the Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Industries: The goal of this course is to offer students insight into the practical aspects of industrial bioprocessing. Industrial practitioners from various fields of expertise provide lectures and facilitate discussions highlighting problems and issues that engineers and scientists encounter.  Topics vary from year to year but always include: drug discovery, drug metabolism, microbial fermentation and mammalian cell culture optimization and scale-up, monoclonal antibody, vaccine and gene therapy production, downstream purification, drug delivery, formulation, regenerative medicine, stem cell culture, tissue engineering, cellular therapies, regulatory considerations, manufacturing challenges, and clinical research.  This course provides students with exposure to topics which are beyond the scope of a purely theoretically-structured course.  After taking this course, students have a much better understanding of the challenges that engineers and scientists face in industrial bioprocessing.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship for Science and Technology: This course introduces and outlines the fundamentals of “technology entrepreneurship” and introduces a framework for identification of high-potential, technology-intensive, commercial opportunities,gathering required resources (human and financial), and maturing the innovation to a commercializable product. The course places a specific focus on commercialization derived from scientific and technological research with special emphasis on biotechnology and the life science industry.  The course is led by Susan Engelhardt and Martin Yarmush with guest lecturers from industry and academia. The course objective is to have students complete the class with: 1) an understanding of the major components of the life cycle from research to innovation to commercialization, 2) knowledge of the many ways that innovation manifests itself, in the context of start-up, corporate, social and public sector concerns, 3) practical methods to intelligently and objectively evaluate potential commercialization opportunities, and 4) a framework within which to consider the ethical issues that are intertwined with entrepreneurial activities. Through the collection of lectures and projects, students build upon the following critical skills for entrepreneurial success: 1) opportunity evaluation, 2) strategic thinking, 3) teamwork, 4) art of selling, persuasion and motivation, oral and written communication, basics of start-up legal concepts, basics of startup finance and accounting. This course was developed in response to student demand.

Rutgers University is an Equal Opportunity – Affirmative Action Institution. Disabled Individuals and members of Underrepresented Minority Group are encouraged to apply.

The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD) prohibits differential treatment based on race, creed, color, national origin, nationality, ancestry, age, sex, (including pregnancy), familial status, marital status, affectional or sexual orientation, atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, genetic information, liability for military service, and mental or physical disability, including perceived disability and AIDS and HIV status.

Additional information regarding the Biotechnology Training Program can be obtained by writing, calling, or emailing the Biotechnology Training Program at: Rutgers University, Department of Biomedical Engineering, 599 Taylor Road, Room 231C, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8058;, (848) 445-6530.