Two courses are offered by the Department: A two-year M.Sc. program and a Ph.D. program. Both programs are based on a strong foundation of research in individual laboratories. The department enjoys a unique strength of having faculty with research specialization using a range of model systems such as Drosophila, Arabidopsis, Yeast, Dictyostelium, and human-induced pluripotent stem cells.
The M.Sc. program is open to students with a Bachelor’s degree in any area of science (biological/chemical/physical) through a national level entrance test. The curriculum spread over four semesters aims at teaching not only the basics of the science of heredity but also emerging concepts in almost all related disciplines of biology. Another distinct feature of this course is the emphasis on "learning by doing" which allows imparting of hands-on training to the students. Emphasis is given to laboratory-based learning including a project work during the fourth semester. During the project work, students are encouraged to conceptualize, design, and perform experiments to answer fundamental questions in a given area of study. During this training period, the student hones their skill to troubleshoot, interpret their data, write a report and learn to defend their findings during an oral presentation at the end of the semester.
The Ph.D. program is designed around the research interest of individual faculties which is an integral part of the departmental academic activity. Research programs of the faculty using cutting-edge technology are focused on basic aspects of genetics, genomics, and molecular biology with direct implications for crop improvement and health/disease. Specific projects under the plant sciences include high-resolution mapping and marker-assisted breeding in mustard; development of pathogen and pest-resistant food crops using RNAi technology; understanding plant-pathogen interactions using conventional and contemporary OMICS approaches in Arabidopsis and Tobacco; and unraveling promoter architecture for regulation of transgene expression in plants. Biomedical research projects include the discovery of putative disease causal genes in common genetic disorders such as intellectual disability, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis, etc using informative families and next-generation sequencing technologies and their functional characterization providing leads for novel therapeutics; determining molecular mechanisms underlying cellular toxicity and polyQ induced neurodegeneration in Huntington’s and Parkinson’s diseases using Drosophila as a model system; and epigenetic and molecular mechanisms in cancer stemness, progression, and therapy in gliomas and lung cancer. Ongoing projects on understanding cell signaling in stress and development with Dictyostelium as a test system; and how mitochondrial genetics and ribosomal synthesis/activity impact cell fate using yeast provide insights into important basic biological processes.