Welcome to the PhD Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health

As part of Harvard’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, the PhD Program in Biological Sciences in Public Health (BPH), established in 1993, trains students in individual fields of biological research with a focus on understanding, preventing and treating diseases affecting large populations. Students in the BPH program obtain a broad interdisciplinary knowledge of both mechanistic and quantitative approaches to biomedical research.

Major Areas of Investigation include:

  • The Metabolic Basis of Health and Disease
  • Immunology and Infectious Diseases
  • Gene-Environment Interactions
  • Inflammation and Stress Responses

All of these areas are studied with an emphasis on biochemical, cell biological and genetic approaches to delineating disease mechanisms.  Our research, whether basic or translational, is relevant to human health. Students apply cutting-edge research technologies toward the improved understanding, treatment and prevention of human diseases with the greatest current impact on global populations. Our program embraces the idea that progress in a given disease area is optimally promoted by a close interaction between scientists from diverse disciplines, including genetics, cell biology, biochemistry, physiology, and systems biology.  Core quantitative disciplines like biostatistics and epidemiology are also fundamental to analyzing large datasets, such as those generated from “omics” approaches, and for assessing the broad impact of health problems, allowing us to look beyond individuals to entire populations.  With our roots in biology, we are able to confront the most pressing diseases of our time, gaining insights into their underlying mechanisms and uncovering novel therapeutic opportunities.

Current research within BPH laboratories includes, but is not restricted to, the following diseases or disease risk factors (see our Health and Diseases page for more information):

  • AGING
  • AIDS
  • ASTHMA
  • ATHLEROSCLEROSIS
  • CANCER
  • CHAGAS’ DISEASE
  • DIABETES
  • ENVIRONMENTAL EXPOSURE TO TOXINS
  • INFECTION
  • INFLAMMATORY DISEASES
  • KIDNEY DISEASE
  • MALARIA
  • METABOLIC SYNDROME
  • NUTRITION
  • OBESITY
  • TUBERCULOSIS

The BPH program is rooted in the rich and diverse environment of the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. The field of public health is inherently multi-disciplinary and so, too, are the interests and expertise of the School’s faculty and students, which extend across the biological, quantitative, and social sciences. From advancing scientific research to training national and international leaders, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health has been at the forefront of efforts to benefit the health of populations worldwide. Shaping new ideas in our field and communicating them effectively will continue to be priorities of the BPH Program in the years ahead as we serve society’s changing health needs.