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Quantitative and Computational Biosciences and Bioengineering

UMMS Program Director: Dr. David Grunwald

A Joint PhD Program with UMMS and WPI

University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) have created a premier joint PhD program in Quantitative and Computational Biosciences and Bioengineering. The program promotes collaborative, multidisciplinary research opportunities for all students. Graduates will be awarded a joint degree from both institutions.

Students in this program will become key partners in collaborative research at the interface between experimental and computational biomedical sciences, bioinformatics and data sciences, and engineering. The research areas of joint program students can span from molecular treatments to population-based studies. 

This program offers an interdisciplinary experience at the intersection of experimental and computational biomedical sciences, bioinformatics and data sciences, and engineering. Located two miles apart, the two institutions have created a hub of biotech and innovation.

To Apply

Please view the program requirements for the PhD in Quantitative and Computational Biosciences and Bioengineering. 

Students may apply to this program through UMMS or WPI.

  • Students with biomedical or clinical backgrounds should apply through UMMS.
  • Student with engineering and/or computational backgrounds should apply through WPI.
  • Students may apply to both programs.

The same committee reviews all applications, and students will have the same PhD awarded.  Applicants should have background in two of the three core competencies listed under Curriculum.

If applicants are not accepted for the Joint Program, they will still be considered for the WPI or UMMS graduate program to which they apply.


There is no set curriculum for this highly individualized program; however, there are three core competencies expected of all students:

  1. Math and statistics (up through integral/differential calculus)
  2. Computational techniques and algorithms
  3. Molecular biology and physiology

Each student will

  • be advised by two faculty members, one from UMMS and one from WPI, with oversight by the Joint Program Committee,
  • complete the specific requirements for their home program (the program into which they matriculate),
  • complete at least three 8-week lab rotations, with at least one of these at each institution, 
  • complete a course in scientific communication, and
  • complete a course in research ethics.


Students in this premier program for the next generation of biosciences will become key partners in collaborative research at the interface between biomedical, computational sciences, and bioengineering. The research areas of Joint Program students can span from RNAi treatments to whole organism behavioral studies. 

Research clusters at UMMS include:

Advanced Therapeutics Cluster
Gene Therapy Center
Program in Systems Biology
Center for Microbiome Research
Diabetes Center of Excellence
Program in Bioinformatics & Integrative Biology
Weibo Institute for Rare Diseases Research
Institute for Drug Resistance

WPI has over 20 programs and research themes students may join including:

Biomedical engineering
Bioinformatics & computational biology
Biology & biotechnology
Chemistry & biochemistry
Chemical engineering
Computational neuroscience
Biostatistics and data science
Medical robotics
Health and biotech

UMMS has over 40 core facilities including the following:

Molecular Biology Core Labs
Model Organism CRISPR Core
Deep Sequencing Core Facility
Center for Comparative NeuroImaging

Facilities at WPI’s Life Sciences & Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park include the following:

Histology Core
Instrumentation Core
Microscopy Core
Vivarium Core

Core Faculty

Download the PDF that describes all the UMMS and WPI core faculty research focus areas for this program. In addition to faculty members listed in this document, students may choose from many other faculty research areas across the two universities.

Associated Faculty

To explore more UMMS faculty, visit the GSBS Faculty page.

To explore more WPI faculty faculty associated with this program, visit the Faculty Directory. You can narrow your search to view faculty in the areas of Biomedical Engineering, Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Biology and Biotechnology, Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Chemical Engineering.