3.4 Research Rotation

The objective of the research rotation is to allow students to become familiar with different areas of research, learn new experimental techniques, obtain experience in unique research laboratories, and ultimately to identify a lab in which to conduct dissertation research. The research being performed during a rotation may correspond to the initial stages of a thesis project or may be on a totally different topic. Students perform rotations in JGGB Group faculty members laboratories during the first year, and should join a research group by the beginning of the second year. Rotation projects should involve independent research. Each student’s performance during a rotation is evaluated by the rotation sponsor (faculty member), who submits a written report at the conclusion of the rotation period. Progress is monitored by the head graduate advisors, who review rotation evaluation reports and assign course credit for work performed. Students will be invited to present their results to faculty and peers at the end of each semester.

Selection of Rotation

Students should actively seek rotation projects and interview faculty during the month of September of the first year. They should also consult with their advisers to help identify potential opportunities. Prior to starting a research rotation, the student and proposed faculty sponsor must complete a Research Rotation Authorization form indicating the research rotation project title and confirming the rotation commitments of time, support and resources. This form is available on the JGGB and Beast web sites and must be signed by the Graduate Adviser to validate fulfillment of the rotation requirement. Research Rotation Authorization forms are due by the Monday prior to the start of each rotation period.

Students should perform three 12-week rotations in different JGGB faculty laboratories during the first year. The rotation schedule corresponds roughly with the UCSF quarter system and should facilitate placement of most students in the thesis lab by July 1 of the first academic year. Actual dates will vary by year and will be clearly publicized. The rotation schedule is given below:

1st Rotation: September 25- November 17, 2017
2nd Rotation: January 5 – March 2, 2018
3rd Rotation: March 5 – April 27, 2018

Dissertation lab selection: May 4, 2018

While the goal of a rotation is ultimately to select a lab for dissertation research, there should be no immediate commitment from either the student or faculty mentor during the rotation period. It should be understood, however, that faculty who host rotation students in their labs must be potentially capable of supporting the student in subsequent dissertation work.

Upon completion of the third rotation, students should finalize dissertation lab selection. Students are encouraged to speak with each faculty member with whom they have an interest in pursuing dissertation research. Students should discuss potential dissertation projects, lab space, and availability of support (which may vary depending on the number of other students seeking positions in the same lab). All options should be carefully considered by the student before the selection is made. Academic Advisers should be consulted as needed. Consult the Selecting a Mentor section of the handbook.

Students who are unable to arrange a match with one of the three rotation labs may perform a fourth rotation with the approval and guidance of their Academic Adviser.