The University of Missouri Board of Trustees voted unanimously today (Nov. 16) to approve two new Ph.D. programs at Missouri University of Science and Technology. The new Bioengineering and Life Sciences programs support the continued growth of S&T in education and research related to health and related fields.
Programs must now be approved by the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). Pending this approval, the university aims to admit students to these new programs from the fall of 2024.
“The confluence where the physical sciences and engineering meet the biological sciences and medicine is poised to become one of the greatest areas of academic and scientific research ever imagined,” says S&T Chancellor Mo Degani. “At Missouri S&T, we are poised to play an important role in these areas of the future. Graduates of our bioengineering and life sciences PhD programs will contribute to a growing body of knowledge and positively impact human health through their research and work.”
Ph.D. in bioengineering
The bioengineering doctoral program will be housed in Doshi’s Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of bioengineering, faculty in 13 departments across all three S&T colleges will contribute to the program.
In addition to chemical and biochemical engineering, departments will include biological sciences; chemistry; Informatics; civil, architectural and environmental engineering; electrical and computer engineering; engineering management and systems engineering; materials science and engineering; mathematics and statistics; mechanical and aerospace engineering; mining and explosives engineering; nuclear engineering and radiation science; and psychological science.
Dr. Hu Yang, chair of Doshi’s Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, will lead the program. Dr. Jee-Ching Wang, Associate Chair for Research and Program Coordinator for the Chemical Engineering Graduate Program, will serve as Program Coordinator.
Ph.D. in biological sciences
The PhD program in biological sciences will be housed in the S&T department of the same name. The well-established Department of Biological Sciences currently offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in biological sciences, a bachelor’s degree in environmental science, a bachelor’s certificate in bioinnovation, plus minors in biomedical engineering, pre-medicine, sustainability and bioinformatics. Students can also obtain a secondary school certificate.
The Doctor of Sciences program will include three areas: biomedicine, bioinnovation and environmental biology. Each year, Missouri offers approximately 600 open positions for PhD candidates in biological sciences. Some of the positions include medical scientist, biological or life scientist, plant scientist, environmental scientist, food scientist, biochemist, epidemiologist, microbiologist, and wildlife biologist.
The graduate program director and department chair will lead the program. Dr. Melanie Mormill, professor of biological sciences, is director of the graduate program in biology. Dr. David Duvernell, professor of biological sciences, is currently the department chair.
In September, curators approved a new Bachelor of Biomedical Engineering for S&T to meet the growing demand for workers in medicine, health and biosphere-related fields. Pending CBHE approval, the university plans to offer this bachelor’s program in fall 2024 as well.