Students are an integral and important part of the department, and are encouraged to be active, contributing members of our scientific community. Along with participating in laboratory research with their mentors, students have the opportunity to take part in all aspects of academic life in the department.
This student-organized seminar series was established to honor Dr. Wendell Griffith, a distinguished faculty member who joined the department in 1923. Dr. Griffith pioneered studies of experimental nutrition and was an outstanding teacher. This speaker is specifically chosen and invited by the students. Recent Wendell H. Griffith speakers have included Drs. Rick Morimoto (Northwestern University), Cynthia Kenyon (University of California-San Francisco), David Ron (New York University), Daniel Klionsky (University of Michigan), Jorge E. Galan (Yale University), Guillermo Ameer (Northwestern University), John Wallingford (UT-Austin), Gurol Suel (University of California-San Diego) and Ralf Langen (University of Southern California).
A day-long retreat held every fall for the core graduate program. It provides an opportunity for older graduate students to share their research with incoming students as well as students from other departments in the core graduate program. Faculty give a short talk about their research to introduce the incoming class to their different research programs available.
Every afternoon at 3:30, the members of the department gather together in the 4th Floor Conference Room to chat over coffee, tea, and cookies. This traditional break in the day draws a crowd for a sociable interlude and discussions ranging from the latest research papers to the outcome of yesterday's baseball game.
As befits the close-knit community fostered by the department, members of the department meet socially, both formally and informally, on a regular basis during the year. These social events include TGIF's, a Christmas party, and an annual Halloween 'Spooky Cookie Contest' with prizes for the best desserts. The department supports many of these events and students are often the enthusiastic organizers.
The GSA Symposium is organized yearly by the graduate students. It features graduate student research in physical, social and biological sciences, as well as business and the humanities. Student research in either a poster or paper format is presented and evaluated by faculty judges. Students from disciplines across the university participate, providing an opportunity to meet students from a variety of departments and schools.
Graduate students are automatically members of the Simon Recreation Center. Students have access to a fully-equipped gym with cardio machines, a variety of weight machines and free weights, 6 wooden-floor basketball courts, racquetball and squash courts, a 6-lane 40 meter indoor pool as well as a satellite facility at the Salus Center with weight machines, free weights and cardio machines only a few blocks from the medical school.
Since the well-being of students is just as important as that of the faculty, students are given a voice in governance and decision making within the department. Student representatives are included in departmental committees dealing with issues concerning graduate curriculum, health and safety, selection of journals for the department reading room, and organization of social events. Student input is actively sought when other types of decisions affecting the infrastructure of the department are being considered. The students also have a representative to the Graduate Student Association of the University, which provides a forum for addressing their broader concerns and bringing them to the attention of the administration. The association also provides funds for graduate student-initiated projects to improve the infrastructure for training in their programs.
The Medical School comprises five biomedical departments, each containing a variety of shared research facilities operated for use by everyone in the medical school, as well as department-owned facilities that are often made available to other researchers who might need them. In addition, the Departments of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology and Pharmacological and Physiological Sciences have active seminar series and journal clubs that are open to all interested students in the medical school. As a consequence of taking the same curriculum in the first year of the Programs in Biomedical Sciences, graduate students often form bonds with their classmates that last even after they enter separate programs. This camaraderie is often a catalyst for productive interactions between members of different departments, frequently forging the way for collaborations and new enterprises.
St. Louis is a dynamic city for biomedical research. With St. Louis University, Washington University, and the University of Missouri, St. Louis has a thriving scientific community. Add industrial and institutional opportunities to the academic science mix, and St. Louis really shines. Pfizer, a leader in the pharmaceutical industry, has a research division based in St. Louis. Monsanto, a leading plant biotechnology company, has their headquarters in St. Louis. Several of our faculty have active collaborations with scientists at Pfizer and Monsanto. Sigma Chemical Company, as well as numerous small biotech companies, are also based here. In fact, the distribution center for Sigma Chemical Company is just a few blocks from the medical school. The Donald Danforth Plant Science Center in combination with the world renowned Missouri Botanical Garden, Washington University, and Monsanto Company will make St. Louis one of the top cities for plant biotechnology. Research seminars abound and students are free to take courses at other universities in the area. Collaborations are common and almost any specialized technique or equipment can be found locally. Prospects for future jobs in St. Louis are excellent with this diversity of academia and industry.
Students in the department have access to the Medical Center library, which houses a collection of over 100,000 bound volumes and 1,400 current periodical titles. The library has a seating capacity of 218 in general study areas, as well as study carrels designed for instructional audiovisual and multimedia materials. Additional space includes a current periodical reading room, a seminar room for large study groups, four smaller study rooms, and a media preview room. The Reference Department provides same-day professional literature searches of databases from several major research databases. Cost-free computer searches of journal literature are available on all computers on the university-wide network via OVID. Many journals now have full-text online access and are freely available to all researchers within the Saint Louis University network.
The university has a newly upgraded, high-speed internet with access from nearly every room in the medical school. Students with laptops can access the university network from the lab, library or lecture halls. All students are provided with an email account and free modem access from their home.
Situated in the heart of the Midwest, this is considered one of the 10 most livable cities in the United States. Our nearly 3 million residents enjoy affordable living, excellent education at all levels, many cultural and social activities. More information on the St. Louis area and visiting Saint Louis University are available at the visitor's guide.