Individuals in the Interfaces program are awarded up to a two-year fellowship to cover didactic training and access to opportunities including multidisciplinary faculty membership, professional development workshops, networking opportunities, and funding for travel and training materials. Following the first two years, scholars are funded by their thesis lab.


Coursework includes both 18 months of preclinical medical school courses in Perelman School of Medicine and imaging sciences courses in University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The Interfaces program offers two different tracks for imaging sciences courses to match the growing application of data science in imaging: 1) imaging physics and analysis and 2) applied data science. These core courses are taken concurrently with preclinical courses to integrate quantitative and technical training. Below is a bare bone schedule of the medical school courses in addition to the core imaging science courses for the first two years. Please note that the core imaging science courses are dependent on the different tracks. All of these courses help to meet some of the requirements for the Penn Bioengineering Ph.D.


Research topics span a multitude of focus areas, including image acquisition, physics of medical imaging systems, computational image analysis, and translational applications of imaging and data science. Trainees often employ one or more imaging modalities, such as MRI, x-ray/CT, ultrasound, nuclear imaging (PET/SPECT), optical imaging, or microscopy. Thesis advisors include faculty in the expansive Bioengineering Graduate Group as well as clinical advisors in the Perelman School of Medicine.

The research journey for trainees begins in the summer of their first year with a research rotation followed by two more research optional research rotations in the spring of the second year. The subsequent summer, summer of the second year, trainees select their PIs and take their qualifying exam. The thesis proposal is then proposed in late third year to early fourth year with at least 8 months before the thesis defense. Despite the delayed schedule compared to compatriots within the department, the median time to graduation remains the same at approximately 5.5 years.


The program seeks applicants who have a background in or show enthusiasm for medical imaging, have prior research experience, and work effectively in cohorts. We value students from diverse personal, educational, and professional backgrounds, identities, and perspectives.

To apply for the Interfaces program, apply to Penn’s Bioengineering Ph.D. program and indicate interest in the Interfaces program by selecting HHMI-NIBIB as one of the concentrations as well as imaging. Be sure to discuss your interest in the Interfaces program in the personal statement and mention faculty members of interest. Once invited to visit Penn BE, applicants may select interest in interviewing for the Interfaces program during recruitment.