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Keck Graduate Institute
Established 1997
Type Private
President Sheldon Schuster
Location Claremont, CA, U.S.
Website [1]

Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences (short KGI) is a small graduate school in Claremont, California. It was founded in 1997 through a startup grant of $50 million from the W. M. Keck Foundation. KGI is a member of the Claremont Colleges.

KGI offers a professional science masters degree called the Master of Bioscience (MBS), as well as a PhD in Applied Life Sciences, which is built upon the MBS degree, and a separate PhD in Computational and Systems Biology. The two year MBS program integrates scientific, engineering, and business curriculum, culminating in a Team Master's Project (TMP), which is sponsored by one of KGI's industry partners.


Team Masters Project

The capstone of the MBS program is the TMP in which teams of three to five students work with sponsoring companies to solve real problems. The Team Masters Projects ideally include both business and technical aspects; for example, students may be asked to validate a new technology and to develop a strategy for market penetration of the technology. The actual deliverables for each TMP are negotiatied by the student team and the company liaison.


KGI MBS graduates have been hired by companies including Amgen, Genentech, Beckman Coulter, and Eli Lilly. Graduate employment is typically in the areas of Bioprocessing, Marketing, Regulatory Affairs, Business Development, Project Management or Research.


Keck Graduate Institute of Applied Life Sciences is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges

Notable members of Keck's advisory council include Bruce Alberts, Simon Ramo, John Hopfield, Alfred Mann, and J. Craig Venter. Arthur Riggs, one of Genentech's founding scientists, is a trustee of the institute.

Ionian Technologies was founded in 2000, and is the first spin-off company to commercialize technology developed at KGI. Ionian focuses on molecular diagnostics for emerging and infectious diseases, and in 2004 was awarded a contract to develop a handheld biothreat detector using isothermal amplification of DNA[1]. Other KGI startups include Zuyder Pharmaceuticals and Claremont BioSolutions.


  • KGI students Peter Vandeventer and Christopher Warner were awarded "Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation" (SMART) scholarships from the US Department of Defense to support PhD research related to Biodefense.[2] Only 100 SMART scholarships were awarded nationwide, out of 1600 applicants.
  • The Haynes Foundation recently awarded a grant to support an 18 month project titled “The Marketplace for Ideas: Can Los Angeles Build a Successful Biotechnology Cluster?” which is led by professor Steve Casper [3].
  • In June 2006 KGI received a grant of $100,000 from the Michael J. Connell Foundation of Pasadena in support of Professor Animesh Ray's project titled “Creating a Comprehensive Integrated Database for Multidisciplinary Data on the Avian Influenza”.
  • In April 2005, the Amgen Foundation donated $2 million to establish a teaching and research scale bioprocessing center at KGI. Additional donations from Amgen EVP Dennis Fenton and the W.M. Keck Foundation will endow a professorship in honor of George B. Rathmann to direct the center. In January 2006 Dr. Matthew S. Croughan was selected as the center's first director.
  • A group of KGI faculty was awarded a $4.88 million grant through the NSF's Frontiers in Integrative Biological Research (FIBR) program to study the basis of modularity in biology.

Past Opposition

The decision to establish Keck Graduate Institute as a seventh Claremont College met with some opposition, particularly from faculty of the other Claremont Colleges who objected to its lack of tenure, and environmentalists who opposed its plans to build a campus next to the Bernard Field Station, an area of undeveloped scrubland. The environmental issue was largely settled when KGI decided to establish its campus at a different location, and other opposition gradually faded.[4][5]


External links



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