The most important aspect of the Ph.D. program is the dissertation research. Students are required initially to gain experience with laboratory research through at least 3 laboratory rotations during their first year. The first laboratory rotation begins the summer prior to starting coursework, the second rotation typically begins during the fall semester of the first year, and the third rotation is typically during the spring semester of the first year. At this point most students will have identified a laboratory for thesis research, but if a student is still undecided, a fourth rotation is possible.

During the third, fourth, and fifth years of the program, the student devotes the bulk of his/her time to original research and to preparation of the doctoral thesis. During these years, students are expected to attend and participate in seminars sponsored by the IPN, to give a seminar annually (Student Seminar Series), and to participate in a relevant journal club. While carrying out thesis research, the student may audit advanced courses in any subject of relevance to his/her thesis research or long-term career interests.

To explore the current research carried out by members of the IPN, go to the People tab.