During the first semester, incoming students rotate in three laboratories for a period of four weeks per rotation. Laboratory rotations must be completed in labs of CMB Faculty Trainers. Laboratory rotations allow students to gain familiarity with several different laboratories, not only to learn concepts and techniques, but also to primarily select a laboratory in which they will complete their thesis research. Direct Admit students do not participate in laboratory rotations.
Lab Rotations Provide:
- An introduction to cellular and molecular biology research and techniques
- Exposure to the actual working environment of a laboratory
- Hands-on research experience
- Exposure to the variety of cellular and molecular biology research being conducted on the UW-Madison campus
- A chance to meet students and faculty trainers
Selecting Lab Rotations
- Review each faculty trainer’s lab research (see the Faculty Directory on the CMB website)
- Attend CMB faculty trainer talks during Advising and Orientation Week, where each faculty trainer will discuss research being conducted in their lab
- Identify faculty trainers of interest for possible fall lab rotations or future Thesis Committee members
- Develop a set of questions to ask each faculty trainer (see Advice on Selecting Rotations on the CMB Forms page)
- Arrange a time to meet with each faculty trainer of interest to discuss questions and obtain more information about their lab
- Students are advised to meet with at least six faculty trainers before deciding on three lab rotations
- Complete the Lab Rotation Selections form sent to you by the CMB Office
Lab Rotations: Fall 2023 Schedule
- Lab Rotation 1: Sept. 11 – Oct. 6
- Lab Rotation 2: Oct. 9 – Nov. 3
- Lab Rotation 3: Nov. 6 – Dec. 1
Selecting a Thesis Advisor
- Consider whether the faculty trainer can fulfill the Thesis Advisor Responsibilities that are most important for you to reach your career goals.
- Speak with potential Thesis Advisors about expectations that they have for you and you have for them.
- Discuss your options with your First Year Advisor.
- Interview current and past graduate students in the potential Thesis Advisor’s lab.
Selecting a Final Thesis Lab
- Upon completion of three lab rotations, the student will identify their final thesis lab choice
- Thesis lab choices may be finalized any time between December 2 and December 8, 2023
- Complete the Choice of Thesis Lab form, available on the CMB Forms section of the CMB website, and return it to the CMB Office by Friday, December 8, 2023
- After the thesis lab is chosen, the student will begin working in their new lab by Monday, December 11, 2023
Lab Rotation Concerns
- If the student experiences lab rotation difficulties or is unable to determine an appropriate thesis lab at the end of their third rotation, the student should contact:
- CMB Office
- Advising and Orientation Chair
- First Year Advisor