Semester in Biological Discovery (SBD)

The MBL’s Semester in Biological Discovery (SBD) will be starting in the spring of 2024 as a 13-week program that provides an intensive, immersive research experience in discovery-driven biological sciences modeled on the MBL’s world-renown Advanced Research Training Courses.

Course date:
Feb 26, 2024 - May 17, 2024
Application due date: TBD
Composite image of octopus, starfish and sea anemone

Explore regeneration in axolotls, the synapses of lamprey, and camouflage in cephalopods. Work with the diverse marine organisms responsible for key advances in biology. Build your own microscope and learn cutting edge imaging techniques. The SBD program is organized as a series of four 3-week modules, each a deep dive into a subject taught by an MBL scientist who is actively engaged in research in the topic they’re teaching. Students will be conducting open-ended experiments and independent research projects, not following a lab manual with cookbook expectations.  A fifth course runs across several modules and explores topics such as visual arts or the history and philosophy of science.    

The SBD will be administered similarly to the MBL’s Semester in Environmental Science, which has been running for almost 25 years. After the first module the SBD program merges with two quarter-long programs currently offered to students from the University of Chicago. Thus while the SBD program itself is new, it is built on and around existing highly successful programs.

The SBD program is designed for students majoring in biology or biology-adjacent fields who have completed a basic introductory science curriculum, but there are no formal prerequisites. Admission is based primarily on faculty recommendation and a demonstrated desire to engage in an intense research experience.