Why MCO?

I want to learn to be a topnotch scientist from topnotch scientists and there are plenty of those to go around at MCO. The 5.5-year average completion time was also a huge draw for me, compared to 7 years at other programs.
— Brenda Marin-Rodriguez, G2, Dulac Lab
Brenda Marin-Rodriguez
I love that the interdisciplinary nature of the program—a collaborative atmosphere with access to multiple departments and countless research areas—mirrors the interdisciplinary nature of molecular and cellular biology itself.
— Felix Baier, G2, Hoekstra Lab
I chose MCO because I liked the seriousness and the passion students displayed toward their research as well as their nerdy scientific humor. I also loved the tour of the Harvard Center for Biological Imaging; the variety of cutting-edge microscopes there—especially the laser microdissection microscope, cutting and popping out tissues with a laser—is amazing!
— Haneui Bae, G2, Hensch Lab
I am looking for a future career in industry and believe that the exceptional training offered by MCO will help me acquire a broad understanding of basic research.
— Dalila Ordonez, G2, Feany Lab
The people that comprise the MCO Program here at Harvard are what make it truly exceptional. I feel that I am part of an extraordinary community of scientists, where the diversity of scientific knowledge and experience seem limitless.
— Jon Russell, G4, Losick Lab
Jon Russell
I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to study when I came to MCO, so the wide diversity of faculty and research areas in the MCO program was invaluable. I ended up rotating in three rather different labs, and without the ability to do that, I would never have found such a good match.
— John McGee, Ph.D. 2013, Verdine Lab
The best resources and professors available, the best funding opportunities, an amazing city, all mean the fewest limitations on possible research.
— Thomas Dial, G2, Lee Lab
Thomas Dial
Kayla Lee
I was most drawn to MCO because of the faculty members, students in the program, and program structure. Clearly, both faculty and students work extremely hard, but seem 100% excited and invested in what they do.
— Kayla Lee, G2, Springer Lab
At MCO we are constantly stimulated and challenged in a very supportive yet dynamic environment.
— Mo Mostajo, G4, Arlotta Lab
Students in the MCO program have a say. Faculty and administrators are very supportive of our ideas as to how we can shape the program to be better for all of us through student-initiated data clubs, student-taught Nanocourses, peer-mentoring, and the student-organized MCO retreat.
— Guo-Liang Chew, G5, Schier Lab
The diverse research interests of faculty in different sub-disciplines of biology was what interested me most in the MCO program. I also appreciate the fact that there is an emphasis on quantitative aspects of Biology and a substantial amount of both system level and molecular level approaches in the research conducted in the MCO program.
— Shristi Pandey, G2, Schier Lab
Emily Nagy
Because the program is located at an undergraduate campus it can provide many teaching and mentoring opportunities that are not always available at medical school based programs.
— Emily Nagy, G2, Losick Lab & Kahne Lab
Students in the MCO program are working on incredibly exciting, high-impact research and seem genuinely happy.
— Gonzalo Gonzalez del Pino, G2, Eck Lab
The breadth of high-quality research, the outstanding lecture series, and the diversity of students combine to provide excellent training in a supportive and exciting community to be a young scientist.
— Aaron DeLoughery, G6, Losick Lab
I was very interested in joining a program with an interdisciplinary approach to biology so the broad fields represented by the required courses at MCO and the freedom to join labs in various areas appealed to me. I was also impressed with the equipment available in the core facilities, which would allow me more freedom in my research.
— Denise Sirias, G2, Gibbs Lab
Denise Sirias
The open-mindedness and genuine enthusiasm portrayed by the faculty members during interviews and other events stood out to me, particularly in contrast to other programs. I was also drawn to the MCO journal club, both for the camaraderie and for the emphasis on teaching students how to talk about and present scientific work.
— Juliana Rhee, G2, Cox Lab
MCO’s high level of organization helps us stay on top of our progress and comes with a tremendous amount of support from the facultytyty, the administrative staff, and fellow students. You never feel alone in MCO.
— Vu Nguyen, Ph.D. 2014, Leschziner Lab
Martha Zepeda
MCO’s phenomenal team knows each of us and keeps the program running in an extremely organized fashion. These guys really help in making the tough transition into graduate school a little easier. You are never just a number or a face in a crowd.

With the broad array of academic and personal backgrounds of the individuals of my class, I can always find someone to give me general support. This ranges from explaining a concept from class I’m not entirely comfortable with, introducing me to techniques I’ve never used, or suggesting new ways of using methods I am familiar with. Or, sometimes, it’s just someone who gets me and helps keep me motivated on a tough day.
— Martha Zepeda, G3, Gibbs Lab
These are faculty who really care whether you will be successful. MCO is a program where you can try and learn things that are completely different from what you are used to, without feeling incompetent or lagging behind.
— Hannah Shen, G6, Ramanathan Lab
You get the feeling that the program—administration, faculty, even on a departmental level—is truly invested in you, not just as a student or scientist, but as an individual.
— Christina Saak, G4, Gibbs Lab