Designated Emphases

Focused Specializations Across Ph.D. Programs

A Designated Emphasis (DE) is an area of specialization, such as a new method of inquiry, important field of application or focus that maps near the edges, or overlaps with, the traditional disciplinary boundaries that define existing Ph.D. programs. The curriculum of a DE thus tends to focus on emerging fields or technologies that are interdisciplinary in nature and, by definition, are relevant to more than one doctoral program.

The graduate programs in biological sciences offer the following Designated Emphases:

Biophotonics and Bioimaging

This program offers specific training in fundamental principles of the interaction of light with biological organisms, tissues, cells and molecules and develops new technology for basic science and applications based on these principles in biology and medicine.

View Biophotonics and Bioimaging DE info


This program provides a very effective multidisciplinary biotechnology concentration, which includes exposure to bioethics, business and legal aspects of biotechnology as well as a 3-6 month internship in a biotechnology company or research laboratory in another college or national laboratory.

View Biotechnology DE info

Reproductive Biology

This program offers research opportunities ranging from molecular to organismal, and from basic research to applied studies in agricultural and health-related sciences. The astonishing breadth and depth of the campuses research programs in this field have created a dynamic research environment that promotes collaborative investigations and provides outstanding opportunities for graduate education.

View Reproductive Biology DE info

Stem and Progenitor Cells

This program allows graduate students to fully explore and participate in formal training on the basic biology and potential clinical applications of stem and progenitor cells. Students will leave the program well-versed and educated in all relevant areas such as the basic biology, use for regenerative medicine purposes, ethical, legal and social implications of stem cell research, and related educational experiences.

View Stem and Progenitor Cells DE info

Translational Research

This program allows Ph.D. students to receive and be credited for training in the area of translational research. This training is a key component of a larger UC Davis strategy to create a multidisciplinary approach to changes how we train our basic scientist students to discover answers to medical challenges. The program provides an innovative model for training a new cadre of Ph.D. biologists for careers in clinically-relevant basic research.

View Translational Research DE info