St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

About Us

The St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is housed in the Marlo Thomas Center for Global Education and Collaboration

Our Mission

The mission of the St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is to educate and train future generations of scientists seeking to understand the molecular basis of human disease and develop novel therapies based on that understanding.

Our Vision

The St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences is designed to maximize student potential through self-directed learning, with guidance by world-renowned researchers and clinicians. Instruction is given in a dynamic environment that annually provides education and training to more than 200 affiliated undergraduate and graduate students, 300 postdoctoral fellows, 170 medical students, and 45 clinical fellows. Collaborative and translational research enables students to choose individualized paths to success and leadership in scientific discovery. These opportunities also raise awareness of the value and urgent need to develop young scientists who will discover cures and advance treatments for catastrophic childhood diseases.

    • Stephen White, DPhil
      • President and Dean

      Stephen White is from London, England and obtained his BSc in Biochemistry from Bristol University and his DPhil in Molecular Biophysics from Oxford University. Following postdoctoral fellowships at Oxford and the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, he moved to Brookhaven National Laboratory as a staff biophysicist in 1984. In 1990, he moved to Duke University Medical Center as an Associate Professor, and in 1996 was recruited to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital to establish the Department of Structural Biology. In 2015, he was asked to establish the new St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He now serves as the first Dean of the school.  His wife, Dr. Miguela Caniza, is an infectious disease clinician at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital and a faculty member of the Graduate School and the Department of Global Pediatric Medicine.

    • Brian Walton

      Brian Walton


      • Associate Dean

      Brian Walton has worked in higher education accounting and administrative positions for the last 20 years. Hired at Brandeis University as an Associate Controller, he was then promoted to Assistant Vice President for Students and Enrollment, a newly created division responsible for ensuring the success of undergraduate students outside the classroom. Brian was then hired as the Associate Dean of Finance & Administration at the Brown University Graduate School, where he oversaw the operational areas of the Graduate School and 80+ graduate programs. Brian joined St. Jude in April 2016 to oversee the operations of the Graduate School. His expertise in admissions and recruiting, advising, finance, human resources, and student life are highly valued in this new role.

    • J. Racquel Collins, PhD

      J. Racquel Collins, PhD


      • Assistant Dean

      Racquel Collins earned her PhD in Cancer and Radiation Biology from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and her MBA from the University of Memphis. Her career at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital began in 2008 as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2011, she joined the Molecular Pathology Laboratory as a board-certified medical technologist, where she was responsible for genetic testing and assay development. In 2014, Racquel became the director of Scientific Lab Operations, where she provided administrative and supervisory direction for Scientific Operations and oversaw institution-led laboratory shared resources. Racquel joined the Graduate School in May 2016, where her responsibilities include marketing, recruiting, admissions and mentoring.

    • Dayna Baker

      Dayna Baker


      • Senior Administrator

      Dayna Baker joined the St. Jude Department of Virology & Molecular Biology in 1987, working directly with the chair, Robert Webster, PhD, and providing administrative support to the faculty. Following 10 successful years, she transferred to the Department of Structural Biology where she oversaw the expansion of the new program with chair Stephen White, D.Phil. As the departmental administrator, Dayna has coordinated diverse projects including faculty recruitment, grant submissions, budgets, capital equipment purchases and service contracts. She joins the new St. Jude Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences as the Senior Administrator.

    • Tiffany Young-Polk

      Tiffany Young-Polk


      • Registrar

      Tiffany Young-Polk has worked in higher education for 14 years at Lane College in Jackson, Tennessee, where she served as the Assistant to the Director of Information Technology, Associate Registrar and Director of Veterans Affairs. She also served on the Student Veteran Center Resource Team, the Enrollment Management Committee and the Fifth Year Review Committee.  During her time at Lane College, Tiffany led key projects including the opening of a Student Veteran Center and the redesign of the institution’s degrees. She also assisted in the setup and configuration of the institution’s student information and learning management systems.

      Tiffany joined the St. Jude Graduate School as Registrar in October 2016. She is responsible for services in the area of enrollment, academic record keeping, and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC) Accreditation.

    • McGehee Marsh, JD, PhD

      McGehee Marsh, JD, PhD


      • Legal Counsel

      McGehee Marsh is a patent attorney, licensed to practice law in Tennessee, Mississippi, Kentucky and the District of Columbia. She has a PhD in Environmental Toxicology/Chemistry. She is an environmental auditor and has practiced intellectual property and environmental law in Kentucky. McGehee was Kentucky Senate General Counsel and one of the architects of Kentucky’s postsecondary education reform, which created new funding formulas and reorganized missions and focus for Kentucky’s public colleges, universities, community colleges and technical schools. She worked for the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education as Chief Science Advisor and Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs. She was responsible for implementing legislation passed during her tenure at the Senate, which created initiatives to attract knowledge-based economy companies to Kentucky, and to recruit women to the sciences. McGehee raises and trains service dogs and is a member of American Mensa.

  1. James E.K. Hildreth, PhD, MD (Chair)
    President and Chief Executive Officer, Meharry Medical College

    Steven J. Bares, PhD, MBA
    President and Executive Director, Memphis Bioworks Foundation

    Melanie Cobb, PhD
    Jane and Bill Browning, Jr. Chair in Medical Science, UT Southwestern Medical Center

    Gabrielle Haddad, MD
    Chair, Department of Pediatrics, University of California-San Diego

    James I. Morgan, PhD
    Scientific Director, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital

    William E. Troutt, PhD
    Former President, Rhodes College

    Stephen W. White, DPhil
    President and Dean, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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