CMB’s Integrative Biosciences program is not a traditional marine biology program. The marine in Coastal Marine Biolabs is where your scientific journey begins.

All program sessions begin with an authentic scientific question that focuses on a locally relevant marine organism, system, or phenomenon. To explore that question, students work alongside scientists to conduct interrelated field and laboratory work that draws upon advanced scientific concepts and innovative technologies that span a variety of seemingly unrelated disciplines that may include ecology, environmental science, neuroscience, genetics, molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, environmental chemistry, and biomimetics.

At CMB, scientific discovery unfolds in the field and in the laboratory to reveal – sometimes in surprising clarity – the interconnectedness of the natural world and the natural sciences.

From the giant kelp forests to CMB’s biosciences laboratory

Inextricably bound together in a complex and fragile matrix of life, the inhabitants of the giant kelp forests hold innumerable secrets that benefit humanity in some fascinating and unanticipated ways. In the Biomes to Genomes program, students learn how scientists evaluate human and natural impacts on the health of these fragile habitats in order to protect the astonishingly diverse plants and animals that call these biomes their home. Upon returning to the lab, they then use state-of-the-art genetic technology to participate in a landmark scientific initiative that seeks to genetically catalog Earth’s plants and animals. In the Genomes to Connectomes program, students explore a surreal underwater landscape of glowing corals, anemones, and other invertebrates, and later apply groundbreaking visualization tools developed through our knowledge of marine bioluminescence to understand how scientists explore the function of genes during nervous system assembly. Students who enroll in the Nature’s Engineers program collect and examine marine sponges to learn how these simple animals can provide remarkable new technological inroads into the design of superior and environmentally benign materials for telecommunications and other advanced applications. While conducting scientific work in the Biomolecular Messengers program, students explore the settlement and recruitment of red abalone during an in-depth exploration of cellular communication and the role of chemical cross-talk in human development and disease.

Is CMB for You?

If you have a fascination for the natural world, a desire to learn more about diverse scientific fields and the ideas and tools that bind them together, and an interest in working alongside scientists toward a real scientific goal, then take a closer look at our program sessions and the exciting learning opportunities available to our talented and motivated students. 

Because the scientific work that students pursue at CMB is real, prospective applicants should plan to arrive at CMB prepared to meet the intellectual challenges that await them. Coursework, which is scheduled for each day of a program session (including weekends), combines visually engaging interactive multimedia presentations, lively group discussions, highly informative guest seminars delivered by visiting research scientists and other professionals, and authentic laboratory and field research (the latter of which involves diving; click here for details). 

Given the immersive nature of each CMB experience, the unpredictability of authentic laboratory and field research, and long workdays, each session is offered in a 9-day residential format to 8-10 selected applicants. By limiting class sizes, CMB ensures that students receive the personalized guidance that they need to make the most of their scientific training. Along the way, students quickly learn that the CMB experience is entirely unique.  Unlike most academic environments, CMB does not evaluate student performance using conventional exams.  Instead, students have an opportunity to impress a panel of scientists with their newfound skills, insights, and knowledge by developing and presenting a collaborative project on the last night of their residential program session.  If you’re prepared for the challenge and a scientific experience that will last a lifetime, read on!

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