There are lots of reasons why you should consider coming to UVA for your PhD/postdoc:
Academic excellence: UVA is routinely ranked in the top 3 public universities in the United States (it goes back and forth between UVA and UC Berkeley) and an original on the Public Ivy League list. It has a highly regarded medical school and Biomedical Engineering program (both undergrad and PhD level).
Commitment to biomedical data science: UVA is making significant investment in biomedical data-intensive and computational research, with more than 10 recent or pending faculty hires in areas related to biomedical data science. The Data Science Institute hosts an annual Datapalooza to showcase data-driven resources and research at UVA. In April 2016, UVA won an NIH training grant in biomedical data science.
- Interdisciplinary environment: UVA has a co-located School of Medicine, Arts and Sciences, and Engineering schools, making translational and interdisciplinary collaboration easy. In addition to colleagues within the Center for Public Health Genomics, we share interests with various entities across campus, such as these:
- Child Health Research Center,
- Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics,
- Dept. of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology,
- Dept. of Public Health Sciences,
- Dept. of Biomedical Engineering,
- Dept. of Computer Science
- Graduate training program in biomedical data science,
- Graduate training program in biotechnology,
- Graduate training program in data science,
- Graduate training program in biophysics,
- Other graduate training programs.
- The UVA Cancer Center, one of only 69 National Cancer Institute-designated cancer centers, elite leaders in cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment.
Computational infrastructure: We are lucky to have access to Rivanna, UVA’s high-performance computing environment with over 6000 cores, petabyte-scale storage, and high speed interconnectivity, which was built in 2014 and hosted by the Advanced Research Computing team.
Prestigious history: UVA is one of the oldest universities in the US, founded by Thomas Jefferson, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with nearby Monticello (since 1987). In fact, UVA is the only collegiate UNESCO site in the US. As you may imagine, there are lots of other historical sites in the area as well, such as Miche Tavern, Monroe’s Ashlawn Highlands, and James Madison’s Montpelier. A bit further away are Appomatox Court House and Jefferson’s Poplar Forest.
Biotech hotspot: Charlottesville may not be the first place on your list of “biotech hotspots”, but it does have a young and rapidly growing biotech industry. The Cville Biohub, launched in 2017, brings together more than 50 local biotech companies around shared interests. Recent news articles describe how biotech is booming in Charlottesville. This creates an environment of both academic and industry strength.
Setting: Charlottesville has the vibrant feel of a college town with a population near 50,000 (230,000 metropolitan area; UVA has about 22,000 students), meaning things like traffic, long lines, and crowded accommodations are rare. The historic downtown mall is a bustling business district with restaurants, markets, concerts, and events. The populace is quite cosmopolitan, forming a variety of active special interest groups focused on things like running (check out the annual Charlottesville marathon), trail running, or hiking. It also has a reputation as a foodie’s paradise, with lots of unique local restaurants.
Cost of living: Charlottesville has a lower cost of living than most other places with tier 1 research universities. For example, housing (likely your greatest expense) is about 50% lower in Charlottesville than in Boston, 65% lower than Palo Alto, 43% lower than Seattle, etc. – so your money will go much further.
Nearby attractions: Charlottesville is a short distance from the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway, Shenandoah National Park with its Skyline drive, the Appalachian Trail, and the Smoky Mountains. It’s a pretty 2-hour drive to Washington DC, making for interesting weekend trips to the nation’s capitol, and it’s also under 3 hours to Virginia Beach.
- Nice weather: Charlottesville has 4 seasons, but none are particularly extreme. It’s generally sunny, but gets plenty of rain.