The Graduate Consortium in Microbial Sciences presents a new opportunity for graduate students interested in microbial sciences to enhance their research. This Graduate Consortium fosters a community of students who, through their participation in MSI activities and coursework, will become well versed in the many and diverse disciplines that are advancing our understanding of microbial systems. 

Microbes, which account for a large fraction of the world's biomass and whose numbers and diversity greatly surpass those of all other organisms, remain relatively unexplored and unexploited.  While microbes are ubiquitous and have an impact on every aspect of our existence, their intrinsic invisibility has meant that their properties remain largely unknown--and their effects on our biosystems are often unrecognized. Recent breakthroughs in genomics research have begun to reveal the vastness of microbial life, and have propelled the microbial sciences into an exciting new era of investigation involving disciplines such as molecular biology, biogeochemistry, oceanography, and environmental engineering. 

The Graduate Consortium in Microbial Sciences seeks to harness this growing momentum.  It is a structured research cluster open to enrolled Ph.D. and D.Sc. students at Harvard who have completed at least one semester in their home departments; participating students are expected to retain their primary affiliations with their home programs.  Subject to advisor approval, current GSAS students may apply to join the Consortium now, and the inaugural first-year PhD cohort will be able to apply for affiliation in the Spring of 2009.

Consortium activities will include weekly informal discussions, Friday breakfasts, a monthy seminar series, a summer journal club, and an annual symposium.  Members will also take "full-immersion" microbial sciences workshops offered during Harvard's January session.  'A Microbial World', an interdisciplinary course taught each spring semester, will serve as the MSI Consortium's required core class, and all member students are expected to complete it some time during their graduate career.  In addition, many elective courses covering various aspects of microbial sciences are offered across the University. 

For more details on The Graduate Consortium in Microbial Sciences, see the Microbial Sciences Initiative's (MSI) website.  Current and prospective students should also feel free to contact Dr. Christy Herren, the Microbial Sciences Initiative's Manager of Educational Programs (617-495-8643, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), at any time.