Webinar: Get Into Grad School

Date: August 30, 2023
Time: 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm Eastern Time

Registration Deadline: August 28, 2023 (11:59 PM ET)


The Society for Developmental Biology is hosting a webinar for students interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in developmental biology or related fields. In this webinar, you will interact with faculty from SDB’s leadership who have a wealth of experience in Ph.D. program admissions, as well as current doctoral students who recently went through the admissions process. This event is designed for current undergraduate students and post-baccalaureates looking to learn more about U.S.-based doctoral programs, the key elements of a compelling graduate school application, and the interview process.

The webinar will be presented by SDB Past President Victoria Prince (University of Chicago), SDB President Ken Cho (University of California, Irvine), and 2022 Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Prize recipient Christopher Wright (Vanderbilt University). There will also be a panel discussion, featuring SDB Trainee Representative Madison Martinez (University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center) and other doctoral students.


SDB Members: Free
Group (classroom): $100
Non-members: $25

Become a member today and take advantage of the wide range of membership benefits. The seminar will be recorded and made available for a limited time to SDB members. The link to the webinar will be sent to registrants closer to the event date.

SDB Disclaimer

The views expressed by our panelists during the webinar are those of the individuals based on their personal experiences and not necessarily of the SDB. The goal of this session is to share information that will be useful to all graduate school applicants; we cannot provide individualized mentorship to participants.

The webinar will be recorded and available for a limited time to registrants. Attendees will not have microphone or camera access during the webinar; written submissions of questions may be shared during the Q&A portion of the event.

If you have any questions about the webinar, please email slee@sdbonline.org.



Victoria Prince

Victoria Prince
University of Chicago

Vicky Prince is the Past President of the Society for Developmental Biology. She grew up in England and graduated with a B.S. degree in Biochemistry from Imperial College.  She was a graduate student at the National Institute for Medical Research in London, and completed postdoctoral training at King’s College, London and Princeton University, before establishing her independent lab at the University of Chicago in 1997, where she is now Professor of Organismal Biology & Anatomy.

Prince lab research has focused on vertebrate axial regionalization—primarily using the zebrafish model—making important contributions in Hox genes, hindbrain patterning, consequences of gene and genome duplications, and pancreas development. Ongoing projects are focused on neural crest and anterior lateral line development.

Vicky is committed to training and mentoring.  She served as Dean for graduate affairs at UChicago Biosciences from 2010-2022, directs an NIH T32 Developmental Biology Training Program, and co-directs UChicago’s myCHOICE (Chicago Options in Career Empowerment) program.

Ken Cho

Ken Cho
University of California, Irvine

Ken Cho is the current President of the Society for Developmental Biology.  He grew up in Korea and Japan and graduated with a BA degree in Chemistry from Grinnell College.  He received a PhD. degree from University of Pennsylvania, and completed postdoc training at University of California, Los Angeles before establishing his lab at the University of California, Irvine in 1991, where he is Professor in the Department of Developmental and Cell Biology.

Cho lab research has focused on vertebrate gastrulation and elucidated the gene regulatory logic governing Spemann’s organizer formation and germ layer specification. In recent years, his research has focused on the interactions between maternal transcription factors and chromatin to address how the genome of embryos undergoes major structural changes as they proceed from pluripotent to differentiated cell states.

Ken has been an active researcher, educator, and administrator in developmental biology for ~30 years. He has taught many undergraduate courses in Developmental Biology and Cell Biology, and offered career counseling for undergraduates who are interested in developmental and cell biology, and served on graduate admissions committee for many years.

Christopher Wright

Christopher Wright
Vanderbilt University

Christopher Wright is the 2022 SDB Viktor Hamburger Outstanding Educator Prize winner. He grew up in England and graduated with a B.S. from the University of Warwick. He earned his D.Phil. in Biochemistry at the University of Oxford. Following postdoctoral training at the Biozentrum of the University of Basel, and also at the University of California, Los Angeles, he established his lab at Vanderbilt University in 1990. Today he is a Professor in the Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Director of the Vanderbilt University Program in Developmental Biology, and Associate Director of the Vanderbilt Center for Stem Cell Biology.

His research program has focused on early embryonic development and organogenesis. Seminal publications were in the areas of homeobox gene discovery and functional analysis. He also collaborated productively with Dr. Brigid Hogan on many areas of Nodal and BMP intercellular signaling in early embryos. With respect to pancreatic fate acquisition and cell-type differentiation, he has focused on multi-potential stem cells, endocrine and exocrine cell ontogeny, as well as plasticity and interconversion during development, metastasis, and neoplasia. 

Chris has been Director of the Program in Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt for 30 years. Many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows are now renowned lab leaders at major institutions worldwide. He has provided invaluable mentorship to students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty throughout his professional career, and is committed to training at all levels.

Madison Martinez

Madison Martinez
University of Texas, Southwestern Medical Center

Madison is an incoming fourth-year doctoral graduate student at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. She received her B.S. in Biology at the University of Arkansas in 2020 and immediately went into graduate school that fall. She had two amazing research experiences during her undergraduate career: being a research assistant in Dr. Daniel Lessner's lab at University of Arkansas for two years and being a summer research intern through the summer undergraduate research program (SURF) at UT Southwestern in Dr. Linda Baker's lab. Both experiences were instrumental when it came to applying for graduate school. Madison is currently in Dr. Jane Johnson's lab at UT Southwestern where she studies the gene regulation of an important neural developmental transcription factor, ASCL1. She holds many leadership positions including the Society for Developmental Biology Graduate Student Trainee Representative, student mentor for two high schools in the Dallas area, and seminar coordinator for the Alliance of Women Scientists (AWS) club on campus.

Amber Rock

Amber Rock
Harvard University

Amber is a fifth-year graduate student in Mansi Srivastava’s lab in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. She grew up in California and graduated with a B.A. in Biology from Bowdoin College. During her undergraduate, she spent two summers working in Mark Martindale’s lab at the University of Florida, once through an NSF REU program and then through SDB’s Choose Development! program. She also spent two summers as a course assistant for the Marine Biological Laboratory’s Embryology Course. Both of these experiences were incredibly influential on her scientific training and shaped her current doctoral research. Her thesis focuses on blastomere plasticity in the early embryo of the acoel worm, Hofstenia miamia.

Michael Wen

Michael Wen
University of Chicago

Michael is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Development, Regeneration, and Stem Cell Biology graduate program at the University of Chicago. He grew up in South Africa and Taiwan and graduated with bachelor’s degrees in biology and sociology from Duke University. During his time as an undergraduate, Michael worked for over three years in the lab of Dave McClay at Duke and for a summer in Chen-Hui Chen’s lab at Academia Sinica in Taipei, Taiwan. His two research experiences led him to decide to apply to graduate programs in developmental biology. Before joining the University of Chicago for his Ph.D., he pursued a master’s degree in zoology at the University of Oxford in the lab of Aziz Aboobaker. His prior research experiences not only helped him during the graduate school admissions process, but also currently in his graduate studies where he will be studying evolution and development of the neural crest in Vicky Prince’s lab. Outside of the lab, Michael is part of the Graduate Recruitment Initiative Team (GRIT) at UChicago and is a fellow of International House.