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

Information for Potential Applicants


  • PhD. students entering their 3rd, 4th, or 5th year in the MBIDP or BMSB programs (Fall 2019).
  • MSTP students entering their 2nd, 3rd or 4th year in the program (Fall 2019).
  • Students who are not receiving any other significant funding during the 2019-2020 academic year (including UCLA training grant, dissertation year fellowship, NSF, NIH/NRSA Kirschstein, NIH-MSTP fellowship or foreign fellowship (i.e., Nakajima, Boehringer Ingelheim Fond, Royal Thai, or CSC).
  • Student’s dissertation project must be focused on molecular biology (using molecular approaches).
  • Several students can be nominated per lab, but no more than one Whitcome Fellow will be awarded per individual mentor within a given year.
  • The student and their mentor must agree to complete all fellowship requirements.
  • No restriction on citizenship; international students are welcome 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

  • Submit online application form, incl. CV (student)
  • Submit online MBI participation survey (mentor)
  • Upload letter of recommendation from mentor
  • Upload letter of recommendation from one additional UCLA Faculty member

Selection criteria

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

The 2020-2021 application period will open in early May.