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Biotechnology Graduate Program Information

Graduate Co-ordinator W. Floriano
Core Doctoral  
  M. Albert (Chemistry),
  A. Chen (Chemistry),
  G. Das (Physics),
  P. Fatehi (Chemical Engineering),
  J. Fiaidhi (Computer Science),
  W. Floriano (Chemistry),
  J. Jiang (Chemistry),
  N. Khaper (NOSM East Campus),
  B. Kjartanson (Civil Engineering),
  D. Law (Biology),
  P. Lee (Biology),
  S. Lees (Adjunct to Biology - NOSM West Campus),
  K. Leung (Biology),
  B. Liao (Chemical Engineering),
  L. Malek (Biology),
  S. Mohammed (Computer Science),
  C. Phenix (Adjunct to Chemistry),
  S. Pichardo (Adjunct to Physics),
  G. Pyle (Adjunct to Biology),
  W. Qin (Biology),
  S.K. Rakshit (Chemical Engineering),
  A. Reznik (Physics),
  B. Ross (NOSM West Campus),
  O. Rubel (Adjunct to Physics),
  H. Schraft (Biology),
  Z. Suntres (NOSM West Campus),
  M. Ulanova (NOSM West Campus),
  R. Wang (Biology),
  L. Wu (Health Sciences),
  G. Yang (Kinesiology),
  I. Zehbe (Adjunct to Biology)


Biotechnology is defined as "the application of science and technology to living organisms as well as parts, products and models thereof, to alter living or non-living materials for the production of knowledge, goods and services."[Conference Board of Canada].

The PhD in Biotechnology is a research-based, interdisciplinary graduate program focused on the professional development of scientists in two areas of specialization - medical biotechnology and environmental biotechnology (focus on toxicology, waste and emissions).

Biological research at Lakehead University is very diverse, and biotechnology research is a focus of many faculty. Consequently, there has been substantial recent investment in infrastructure to support biotechnology research at Lakehead University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, at the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre, and by biotechnology companies in Thunder Bay such as Genesis Genomics, Inc. and Molecular World, Inc. State-of-the art equipment includes quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and laser capture microscopy instrumentation, a gas chromatograph/quadrupole mass spectrometer, flow cytometer and a new microarray facility for highthroughput transcript profiling. The acquisition of this instrumentation, coupled with the Paleo-DNA Laboratory and the biotechnology initiatives of the City of Thunder Bay, provide excellent opportunities for PhD projects and future employment. Graduates of the PhD in Biotechnology will have career opportunities at universities, research institutes and the biotechnology industry, in Canada and abroad.

Admission to the PhD program is governed by Lakehead University's general regulations for graduate programs (see Faculty of Graduate Studies Doctoral Regulations). However, admission will be subject to the availability of a Supervisory Committee for the student.

Normally, an applicant to the Program would be expected to have completed a Master's Degree in science, engineering or an allied discipline. The academic program for each PhD candidate will be developed by the Supervisory Committee in consultation with the student.

Students in the first year of a Master's degree may apply for transfer into the PhD in Biotechnology provided that they have succcessfully completed one FCE of course work and have had their research proposal approved by their thesis committee.


Supervisory Committee
The Supervisory Committee will consist of at least three members, of whom two are core faculty. One of the core faculty will be the supervisor or co-supervisor for the student and also serve as the Chair of the Committee. Other members of the Committee may include core faculty and non-core faculty who participate in the teaching of graduate courses.

In consultation with the student, the academic program for each PhD candidate will be developed by the Supervisory Committee. The Supervisory Committee will recommend the academic program of the student to the Biotechnology Graduate Studies Committee for approval.

Minimum Satisfactory Academic Standing
As an exception to the Faculty of Graduate Studies Doctoral Regulations, Minimum Satisfactory Academic Standing, a minimum grade of 70% is required for every course undertaken as part of the program.

The residency requirement will be a minimum of one year (three terms), of which two terms must be consecutive.

Comprehensive Examination
The comprehensive examination will assess the student's general preparedness for the PhD degree and specific areas in his or her chosen area of study and research. It will also assess the student's ability to integrate material from divergent areas, to reconcile theoretical, methodological and empirical issues, and to think creatively. The comprehensive examination will be an oral examination conducted by the Comprehensive Examination Committee. The student's Supervisory Committee, in consultation with the student, will set up the Comprehensive Examination Committee consisting of the Supervisory Committee and at least one additional examiner. The comprehensive examination may include a written component, if recommended by the Supervisory Committee.

The comprehensive examination must be completed no later than 12 months after initial registration. Only two attempts at the comprehensive examination will be permitted. Students who fail the second attempt will be required to withdraw from the PhD Program.

Dissertation and Defence
The dissertation research must be original and independent work that will significantly advance knowledge in biotechnology. Review of the dissertation will be by the student's Supervisory Committee and by an examiner from outside Lakehead University with expertise in the student's area of research.

The student must successfully defend the dissertation both in a normally public oral presentation and in an examination. The Examination Committee at the defence normally consists of the student's Supervisory Committee and the External Examiner. If the External Examiner cannot personally come to the defence, he/she may participate by audio/video conferencing or by proxy (represented by the student's Examination Committee).

Period of Study
Students are expected to complete all requirements within a minimum of nine terms (3 years), up to a maximum of twelve terms (4 years) of continuous full-time registration. Candidates must meet a minimum residency of three terms, two of which must be consecutive.

For course requirements to complete the program see:

Doctor of Philosophy in Biotechnology