More than 100 incoming biomedical science Ph.D. students participated in the Simple Beginnings lab coat ceremony held Sept. 3 in Light Hall. The annual tradition welcomes new doctoral students to the School of Medicine and presents them with personalized white lab coats, a classic symbol of scientific training.
“The students with us today have chosen to pursue the highest possible academic degree: the Ph.D. It is a degree that requires the candidate to display academic excellence, and to make original research contributions that advance our knowledge and understanding in a significant fashion,” said Larry Marnett, dean of the School of Medicine Basic Sciences, Mary Geddes Stahlman Chair in Cancer Research and University Professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry.
“You students have chosen an institution at which to pursue your Ph.D. where the opportunities to make significant discoveries are exceptional,” Marnett said. “Vanderbilt has a long history of curiosity-driven research that not only has elucidated how living systems work, but has set the stage for advances in clinical treatment.”
The ceremony’s name comes from the last paragraph of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, published in 1859: “From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.”
“Biomedical graduate school is about gaining many different competencies as well as doing research and making discoveries,” said Kathy Gould, senior associate dean for BRET and Louise B. McGavock Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology, in her opening session for students’ families and friends. These students, over the course of their graduate training, will become no less than world experts in their respective fields, she said.
This year’s biomedical Ph.D. students hail from 14 countries including the United States and 32 U.S. states and territories. Sixty-one students entered the Graduate School through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program.
Other biomedical science programs and departments welcoming new doctoral students this fall include: Biological Sciences (7), Biomedical Informatics (2), Biostatistics (5), Cell and Developmental Biology (1), Chemical and Physical Biology (2), Epidemiology (7), Health Policy (4), Hearing and Speech Sciences (6), Human Genetics (1), Neuroscience (10), Pharmacology (3) and Quantitative and Chemical Biology (19).
This year’s event was held in person for students, with family and friends watching via livestream. A recording of the ceremony is available for viewing at the link on this webpage.
The 12th annual Simple Beginnings ceremony was sponsored by the Office of Biomedical Research Education and Training.
Abbie Wolf contributed to this story.