In 2005 UCLA received an $8,000,000 bequest from the estate of Philip Whitcome. Dr Whitcome received his Ph.D. in 1974 from the Molecular Biology Interdepartmental Ph.D. Program and went on to a stellar career in the biotechnology industry. His gift allowed the establishment of the Whitcome Fellowship Program designed to attract highly talented students to a unique graduate training environment that emphasizes rapid progress toward groundbreaking scientific discoveries.

We invite applications from students with academic accomplishments and significant research experience in areas including biochemistry, systems biology, molecular biology and chemistry. Successful applicants receive support in the form of tuition/fees, a monthly stipend and travel funds.

List of Whitcome Fellows

The 2021-2022 application has closed.
Letters of recommendation can be submitted here

Information for Potential Applicants


  • PhD. students entering their 3rd, 4th, or 5th year (MSTP students entering their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year) in the MBIDP or BMSB program (Fall 2021).
  • Student’s dissertation project must be focused on molecular biology (using molecular approaches).
  • Students with no other external funding will be eligible for “Full fellowships” providing 2 quarters of tuition/fees and an annual stipend of $25,836.
  • Students with current or pending federal training grant funding (T32, F31 etc) are eligible for “Whitcome Supplements” which will make up any difference in tuition/fees for the 2021-2022 academic year, and supplement the training grant annual stipend up to $35,000.
  • Application materials and review are identical for full fellowships and supplements. Successful applicants who are subsequently awarded training grant funding before July can adjust their Whitcome funding accordingly.
  • The student and their mentor must agree to complete all fellowship requirements.
  • More than one student from the same lab can apply.
  • No residency restrictions. International students are eligible to apply.

Responsibilities of Whitcome Fellows

  • Attend the MBI Retreat and present data (either a poster or a talk).
  • Have advanced research integrity and ethics training by completing MIMG C234, CHEM C250, or an equivalent course.
  • Fully participate in graduate student seminars.

Responsibilities of Whitcome Mentors

  • Attend the MBI Retreat.
  • Participate in the MIMG C234 ethics course (Spring Quarter)
  • Participate in graduate recruitment events
  • Participate in MBI activities (Faculty research lunch, Thursday research seminars, committees, etc.)

Application Materials Checklist (with links)

Selection criteria

  • Molecular focus of the project
  • Research progress
  • Strong letters of recommendation
  • Publications
  • Mentor’s participation in MBI activities

2020-2021 Reviewers

Peter Tontonoz, M.D, Ph.D., Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Gerald Lipshutz, M.D., Professor of Surgery-Liver & Pacreas Transplantation
Guillaume Chanfreau, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Carla Koehler, Ph.D., Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Elissa Hallem, Ph.D., Professor of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics
Tamir Gonen, Ph.D., Professor of Biological Chemistry
Karen Reue, Ph.D., Professor of Human Genetics