The Chemistry-Biology Interface curriculum enables students to individualize their programs to enjoy the desired balance of chemistry, biology and biophysics. CBI graduates are trained to address diverse questions in chemistry and biology using a broad array of experimental methods.

Coursework ensures that students have a strong foundation in chemistry in addition to ample knowledge of the biological sciences. The breadth of faculty research and teaching interests enables students to explore many aspects of the Chemistry Biology Interface.

Our curriculum, including writing an original research proposal, is designed to help students further develop their analytical skills and the ability to think independently. Peer support and learning are also integral to the educational experience.

Requirements for the PhD in Chemical Biology

In addition to completing an original research thesis, all Johns Hopkins University PhD candidates are required to pass the Graduate Board oral exam. CBI students are required to meet the following additional requirements:

CBI Forum (030.613)

CBI students and faculty meet monthly in a forum. The forum hosts:

  • CBI preceptor presentations – Fall semester
  • First-year student rotation presentations – Throughout the year
  • Third-year Research Proposal Seminars – Fall semester
  • Advanced-year student research updates – Spring semester
  • Seminars presented by distinguished visitors – Throughout the year.  

Third-Year Research Proposal Seminar

As a third-year CBI student, you will prepare and present a research proposal in an area that is unrelated to your dissertation research. The research proposal will help you develop the critical reading, grant proposal writing, and presentation skills that will enhance your success as a research scientist.


The Chemistry-Biology Interface Program holds an annual retreat in mid-September. The retreat brings together faculty and students from the program to share current research, develop collaborations, and socialize with colleagues and friends. 


Many departments throughout the university host seminar series, giving students the opportunity to listen to and interact with scientists from around the world. As a CBI student, you will have the opportunity to attend weekly seminars in the departments of biochemistry, molecular biology, biology, chemistry, and pharmacology and molecular sciences, and all other Johns Hopkins University departments. 

Journal Club

The student-organized club meets monthly throughout the academic year. Meetings include “brainstorming” sessions, when students present current research challenges that they are facing in addition to discussions of current literature.