Skip to Main Content

Immunobiology Graduate Program

The Yale Immunobiology Graduate Program is recognized as one of the top Immunobiology training programs in the country. This is reflected by the outstanding quality of our applicants and the trainees who decide to attend Yale. We are proud that a recent report from the National Research Council ranked our program as the number one Immunology graduate program in the United States. Our goal is achieved by preparing graduate students for independent careers in research and teaching in Immunology and related disciplines. Graduate education in Immunobiology emphasizes interdisciplinary training and collaborative and interactive research, an approach based on the idea that solving difficult problems requires the integration of individuals with common goals but differing expertise.

The research in Yale Immunobiology focuses on the molecular, cellular and genetic underpinnings of immune system function and development, on host-pathogen interactions, and on the development of new treatments for human disease, particularly those related to immune dysfunction;(see Section of Human and Translational Immunology). For specific areas of interest see the listing of Faculty Research Interests.

The Department of Immunobiology at Yale provides one of the largest integrated training programs in immunology in the country, led by a faculty with a reputation for leadership and excellence in research. Thirteen of the 26 faculty in the Department of Immunobiology are housed in the Anlyan Center (TAC), a $176 million building dedicated as a biomedical research facility. The building, located at the corner of Congress Avenue and Cedar Street, provides six floors of laboratories for disease-oriented research as well as core research resources and teaching facilities, including an animal resources center and a magnetic resonance center.

Six Immunobiology faculty have their laboratories in the 300 George St. building: Herold (co-Director of HTI), Hafler (Chair of Neurology), Lucas, Chen, Bender, and Meffre. The HTI (Human Translational Immunology) Program represents a vital component of the Yale Immunobiology Graduate Program and is rapidly growing. Dr. Pober (Director of VBT and co-director of HTI), has his laboratory in the Amistad building. With all of these laboratories located in close proximity in these three buildings, we offer a unique concentration of superb laboratories and investigators dedicated to the study of the immune system. We believe this represents an outstanding training environment.


Students enter the program through the Biological and Biomedical Sciences (BBS) Program of Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Once admitted, one of the seven BBS Tracks will be your home department. During the first year, the Track you entered will oversee your educational plan. During this year, students take courses, do three research rotations, and become familiar with the wide variety of research opportunities available in the biological sciences at Yale. By the end of the first year, you will select a laboratory to enter for your thesis research. This will be based on your experience with one of your rotations which will allow you plenty of opportunity to make a thoughtful and informed decision.

Immunobiology laboratories are fully equipped with all of the standard, modern equipment needed for research in molecular biology and immunology. The Department of Immunobiology maintains a wide variety of major equipment including fluorescence microscopes, scintillation counters, film developer, phosphoimagers, fluorimager, BIAcore apparatus, multiple flow cytometers/cell sorters, cesium irradiator, and an upright laser scanning microscope with a two-photon laser used for real time imaging of cells within lymphoid tissues. Dr. Richard Flavell, past chair of the department, oversees a very active transgenic mouse/ES cell/knockout facility including CRISPR/Cas9 technology, to which members of the department have easy access. Also easily available are core facilities in electron microscopy, histology, pathology, mass spectroscopy and monoclonal antibody production. HHMI operates an efficient, low cost oligonucleotide and peptide synthesis facility, which also performs DNA and protein sequencing. A wide variety of additional facilities are provided by Yale University including modern computer technology, access to the internet and excellent libraries.

Please find here information pertaining to our Immunobiology PhD students' degree and career data

The First Year


The first year is spent taking courses (two to three each semester) and performing three laboratory rotations. Students are encouraged to supplement the core courses in molecular and cellular immunology with additional courses selected from the wide range available in cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular medicine. In conjunction with other BBS Tracks, the Immunology Track maintains an active and well attended weekly seminar series for which students participate. Informal interactions with other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty also form an important part of graduate education. By the end of the first year, the student chooses a Ph.D. thesis supervisor and begins thesis research. In most cases, this choice also determines from which department the student will receive the Ph.D. degree. For example, many students entering the Immunology Track will perform thesis research with a faculty member in the Department of Immunobiology and hence receive their Ph.D. degree from this department. However, students are free to work with any faculty member in any department.


Year 1

Year 1: Coursework

Below is a description of the typical first year program for a student in the Immunobiology Track of BBS. Asterisks(*) mark courses that are required by the

Immunobiology Graduate Program.


Course Work

The DGS, your faculty mentor, student liaison and student services officer are on hand to help you with your course decisions. Students are required to take at least four or five science courses for a grade in the first year. The typical load is 2-3 courses per semester.


First Semester

IBIO 530a: Biology of the Immune System *REQUIRED

Required unless consultation with DGS and course director determines that passing the previous year final exam shows sufficient knowledge in subject.

Does not reduce the six course requirement.

IBIO 600a: Introduction to Research, Faculty Research Presentations *REQUIRED, Pass/Fail At least one elective graduate course

IBIO 611a, Laboratory Research training (not for a grade—Pass/Fail) *REQUIRED,

IBIO 612a: Laboratory Research Training (not for a grade—Pass/Fail)*REQUIRED


NB: First year graduate students may

not

take the Immunobiology Seminar Course during their first semester. IBIO530a is a pre-requisite for the seminar courses. Rare exceptions may be given based on students past coursework in immunology.


Second semester

IBIO 531b: Advanced Immunology *REQUIRED

IBIO 601b: Fundamentals of Research (responsible conduct in of research) *REQUIRED (Pass/Fail)

IBIO 613b: Laboratory Research Training *REQUIRED (not for a grade—Pass/Fail);

Feb 25-Apr 26

At least one elective graduate course.


Laboratory Rotations (611a, 612a, 613b) and Rotation Evaluation Forms

Three rotations are required for all first year immunology graduate students. A rotation done during the summer prior to matriculation does not count as one of the three rotations required during the first year. Rotation dates are as follows and are strictly followed:

August/September

Rotation shopping period

September/October Rotation 1

October/November

Rotation 2 (can be extended)

January/February Rotation 3

February/March Rotation 4 (students can begin selecting thesis lab at the end of this rotation

March/April Rotation 5 (optional)

How do you learn about Immunology Research at Yale?

There are several ways for you to find out about the research going on at Yale

  • meet the faculty in 600a, take notes, and then contact them individually for further discussion
  • read about the faculty interests on the websites and in their published papers
  • contact the faculty directly

Meet the faculty – IBIO 600a: The Immunobiology Department coordinates “Research Talks presented by two-three faculty per week for several weeks. After each session, if interested, contact the faculty through their admin assistants for a separate short meeting to discuss their research and possible rotation opportunity projects.

Read about the faculty interests: The BBS provides a rotation manual compiling opportunities in many labs within the 7 tracks. You can also visit the BBS website and peruse the Immunology track faculty research interests. Additionally, there are other faculty at Yale not necessarily in the Immunology Track, who have interests in Immunology, with who you may want to rotate. If they do not present their research in our series of short talks, please feel free to contact them to see if they are accepting rotation students.

Contact the faculty: If you are interested in rotating in a non-Immunology track faculty lab, then you will need to contact that faculty member. This is routine and you should not hesitate to do so.

All BBS faculty who have open rotation opportunities are open to all incoming BBS students.

How do I select a lab to rotate in?

After attending the faculty research presentations and meeting individually with faculty, you should feel confident to send a note to your faculty of choice. Dr. Rothlin and other faculty are available to discuss your choices and provide guidance on how to proceed. Consulting with more senior students in the program can be very helpful as well. Let Caroline and Carla know whose lab you are going to rotate in.

Choosing a Thesis Laboratory

Near the end of the third rotation, students will determine which lab they would like to do thesis research in and presumably have made arrangements with their mentor of choice. Once that is determined, let Caroline and Carla know.

A fourth rotation is allowed, with approval from the DGS.

Choosing a Graduate Program

This is a very important choice because it determines what requirements (courses, exams, etc.) you will have to fulfill for the remainder of your graduate career. The decision should be made by June 15, after consulting with the DGSs. See the discussion on the Transition between BBS Tracks and Departmental Graduate Programs.

Within BBS, there are approximately 350 participating faculty in numerous basic science and clinical Departments located on Yale’s North, South and West campuses. Graduate training begins within interest-based Tracks, each of which provides robust academic and advisory structures designed to prepare students for cutting-edge research. Recently, the BBS launched two new Tracks that epitomize our strong collaborative environment for graduate student training:

  1. Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics, and Structural Biology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/biochemistry/
  2. Computational Biology and Bioinformatics http://bbs.yale.edu/computational/
  3. Immunology

    https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/immunology/

  4. Microbiology

    https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/microbiology/

  5. Molecular Cell Biology, Genetics, and Development https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/molecularcell/
  6. Molecular Medicine, Pharmacology, and Physiology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/molmed/
  7. Neuroscience https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/neuroscience/
  8. Plant Molecular Biology https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/plantmolbio/

Special Programs

Within the BBS there are 5 special programs that offer specialized training to students. The first three require applicants to express interest in the program during the BBS application process.


Yale’s Cancer Biology Training Program

http://bbs.yale.edu/training/nihprograms/YaleCancerBio.aspx

With close proximity and teamwork by scientists, clinician-scientists, and clinicians, Yale provides a rich environment for fundamental and translational cancer research. Yale is home to the Yale Cancer Center, designated as a US National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Yale’s Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology

https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/training/initiatives/peb.aspx

The Integrated Graduate Program in Physical and Engineering Biology combines traditional training in the biological sciences with skills and techniques employed in physics and engineering.

The Yale Medical Research Scholars Program

http://bbs.yale.edu/training/nihprograms/mrsp.aspx

The Medical Research Scholars Program bridges barriers between traditional predoctoral and medical training by providing both medically oriented coursework and a mentored clinical experience to select BBS students.

China Scholarship Council-Yale World Scholars Program

https://medicine.yale.edu/bbs/training/initiatives/csc.aspx

The CSC-Yale World Scholars in Biomedical Sciences recruits top applicants from five of China's best universities for training in the BBS Program.


Additional Learning Opportunities

In today's scientific arena, even rigorous Ph.D. training is not enough. To help our students develop the additional skills necessary to succeed after graduation, we offer the additional programs and services below.


The Yale PhD/MBA Joint Degree Program

Recognizing the long-standing applicability of the PhD beyond the academy and the increasing relevance of sophisticated management analysis in the highly

varied positions held by many PhD recipients, the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) has joined with the School of Management (SOM) to offer one of the first joint degrees of its kind, the MBA/Ph.D. Combined MBA-PhD are required to do a minimum of two rotations, which can be done during a single summer.

The Yale Healthcare and Life Sciences Club (YHLC)

The Yale Healthcare and Life Sciences Club (YHLC) is a student-run group for students interested in the business aspects of the healthcare and life sciences industries. YHLC, with membership exceeding 1,200 people, includes students from Yale's business, medical, public health, and graduate schools. Many of its members are BBS students. The club hosts activities throughout the year and features pharmaceutical case competitions, biotech seminars, and an annual healthcare conference. For BBS students considering careers in business, biotechnology, or consulting, YHLC is a great place to gain knowledge and develop a network of professional contacts.

The Science Alliance

The Yale Graduate School has negotiated free membership for our students in the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and its Science Alliance. Students benefit from the numerous online and on-site professional development programs that the Academy has to offer. The Science Alliance also hosts 2 career workshops annually at Yale. Through the Science Alliance, students discover what it’s like to work as a scientific editor, management consultant, patent attorney, and other “off-the bench” occupations.

Graduate Career Services (GCS)

Career advising. CV and cover letter workshops. Networking opportunities. Career panel discussions. Job postings. And everything in between. GCS is a full-service career center for students and alumni of the Graduate School.

Graduate Teaching Center (GTC)

The GTC not only trains students to become excellent lecturers, it also teaches students how to create presentations, develop new courses, write exams, and control classroom dynamics. Those interested in careers in academia greatly benefit from this type of training.

Women in Science at Yale (WISAY)

WISAY links students with postdoctoral scholars and faculty from all science disciplines at Yale to foster career development among female scientists and to establish networks with renowned women scientists.

Women Mentoring Women (WMW)

WMW, encompassing both the sciences and humanities, provides graduate students with postdoctoral and faculty mentors to help them with career development.