The post-graduate program 'Molecular Biology & Biomedicine' was established in 1997, jointly by the Department of Biology and the School of Medicine of the University of Crete. The Program aims to offer practical and academic instruction in Biomedical Sciences at the highest level of quality. Over 40 internationally renowned scientists, including members of national academies of science, EMBO members, faculty members from the Departments of Biology and Medicine of the University of Crete and researchers of the Institute of Molecular Biology & Biotechnology of FORTH actively participate. The Program pursues training in the fields of molecular, cellular and developmental Biology, of structural and functional biochemistry and of molecular and developmental genetics. Studies are on biological models which range from bacteria to mammals in a variety of subject areas, from transcriptional machinery to ageing. In these fields, the Program offers cutting-edge instruction and creates a new generation of scientists participating in frontline research in Greece.
It is one of the few post-graduate programs in Europe which has an agreement with the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) for associated training and award of PhD degrees: in this regard, two PhD degrees have been awarded and three more are in progress.
During its first 10 years of operation, the Program received more than 200 applications, of which 123 were accepted. The enrolled students attend courses and perform laboratory projects which lead to a Masters degree. To date, the Program has awarded 109 such degrees with a mean study time of 2.1 years. The ratio of lecturers to students is almost 1.7:1, one of the best at a National and International level. Indicative of the success of the Program is the fact that more than 75% of the students who successfully completed this part of the training continue for a PhD in the same or other post-graduate programs while approximately 15% moved to the private sector.
In total, the Program has received approximately 200 applications for a full PhD of which 113 were accepted and 53 have been successfully awarded. The mean time to PhD graduation has been 5.1 years, although there has been a trend over the last few years for a shorter period of 4.6 years for the 27 most recent PhDs. The students of the Program have participated in 220 already published articles (November 2007), that is a mean of almost 2 publications per student. What is even more striking is that 85% of these publications are in international scientific journals which are placed at the upper 10% of the ISI index based on impact factor. The students of the Program have published in the journals Nature (3), Nature Genetics (2), Science (2), Genes and Development (1), Molecular Cell (4), Developmental Cell (1), Nature Reviews in Microbiology (1), PLoS Biology (1), Trends in Biochemical Science (1) , Blood (1) , PNAS (4), EMBO J (10) , Current Biology (5), Development (5), J Cell Biology(2), Cancer Research (1) , Molecular and Cellular Biology (8), EMBO Reports (7), Cell Death and Differentiation (1) , J. Immunology (1), Nucleic Acid Research (7), Oncogene (1), J Biological Chemistry (21), J Cell Science (1), Molecular Microbiology (4), Endocrinology (1) and Developmental Biology (2). Therefore, 45% of the publications are in the top 5% of the ~6000 journals in biological and medical sciences. That is almost one prestigious publication per student. In the majority of these publications, the students were first authors. The aforementioned statistics place the 'Molecular Biology & Biomedicine' post-graduate program among the best of its kind worldwide.
Among the 53 students who have received their PhD from this Program, Dr K. Mavromatis is staff scientist at JGI, Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, USA , Dr N. Kormouli is junior researcher at IMBB, ITE, Greece, and Dr E. Soutoglou is in process of setting up her lab abroad. Other students have received competitive fellowships (HSFP, EMBO, Marie Curie, etc.) as post-doctoral researchers at various institutions including the University of Harvard, Columbia, Yale, MIT, CalTech, Univ of. Chicago, Cambridge University etc., from the NIH (USA) and MRC (UK) and Greek institutions. Five of the students who have received their PhD from this Program are teaching as adjunct lecturers in Greek Universities and 3 are working in biotech companies. These numbers are especially significant given that the first PhDs were awarded only 5 years ago.