Division of Education

Rae Nishi

Rae Nishi, PhD
Director, Division of Education
Burroughs Wellcome Fund Director of Education

Welcome to the MBL Division of Education! As a former student, teaching assistant, faculty member, and course director at MBL, I am proud to be the Director of the Division of Education. I am looking forward to sustaining the excellence of our existing courses, and building new courses that will run during the academic year at MBL. I am particularly interested in enhancing the diversity of the scientific and academic workforce.

The MBL offers a wide range of scientific courses, workshops, conferences, and internships throughout the year. Central to the MBL’s identity are its advanced, discovery-based courses for graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty. In these courses students learn from internationally renowned scientists and are immersed in the laboratory, learning cutting-edge techniques while investigating contemporary research problems.

Each year, MBL courses attract more than 500 of the best and brightest students in the world, from more than 400 institutions and over 40 countries. Course directors and faculty are leaders in their fields, drawn from leading universities and research institutions around the world. Substantial financial support to defray the costs of attending these courses comes from federal and private grants. The courses also benefit from partnerships with many commercial developers and vendors, who share the very latest technology in advanced imaging and other scientific equipment each year through the MBL Vendor Equipment Loan Program.

In addition to teaching courses, the MBL hosts dozens of workshops and conferences, as well as courses for the University of Chicago in addition to other colleges and universities as a campus away. Like the more advanced courses, undergraduate programs and research internships at the MBL emphasize immersive, discovery-based learning.

Discovery Courses

Discovery Courses are intense, full immersion courses for pre- and postdoctoral trainees who seek advanced, hands-on training in the disciplines of embryology, cell and molecular biology, neuroscience, microbiology, neural systems and behavior, reproductive biology, and parasitology. The courses run for six to eight weeks each summer. They are called “Discovery” courses because much of the laboratory work focuses on pioneering research in the field.

Special Topics Courses

These courses provide intensive, hands-on training in specialized research techniques for one to four weeks throughout the year. Topics include image analysis, genetics, stem cells, immunohistochemistry, professional development, inner ear, microbial genomics, history of biology, computational neuroscience, and molecular evolution.

Undergraduate Programs

MBL offers a Semester in Environmental Science and summer research internship opportunities for qualified undergraduates. For University of Chicago students, a fall semester away course on “The Whale: Biology, Culture and Evolution on Nantucket Sound” is offered at MBL.

Other Educational Programs

Programs for teachers and science communicators are also offered to expand the diversity of education at MBL.

Rhonda Dzakpasu
Rhonda Dzakpasu, PhD

Associate Professor, Georgetown University

SPINES: 2005
Neurobiology: 2006

“The skills that I obtained in the MBL courses were directly responsible for my securing a joint faculty position in Physics and Pharmacology/Physiology. These courses are intense immersions in hands-on training in neuroscience; imperative for scientists not trained in the field. This facilitates the learning of cutting-edge techniques while learning the relevant neurobiology – all from experts well versed in pushing and blurring the boundaries of interdisciplinary neuroscience.”