Nov 26, 2020  
Graduate Record 2008-2009 
Graduate Record 2008-2009 [ARCHIVED RECORD]

Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease

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The Department of Pathology offers a Ph.D. in Experimental Pathology through its Program entitled, “The Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease (MCBD).” Our students experience a unique interface between clinical, medical, and basic science realms, designed to elucidate the mechanisms of disease processes and cultivate the skills necessary to perform translational research.

First-Year Degree Requirements

Admission to the MCBD Program is normally through the Molecular Medicine Program (MMP) or the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP). Prospective students apply for entry to either the MMP or the MSTP and take courses during that first year to establish the foundation for our Program.

Once a student chooses the MCBD Program, he or she assembles a Graduate Committee with the help of the student’s Mentor, the Program Director, the Program Coordinator, and our faculty members. This Committee assists the student in planning the best curriculum course for the remainder of the students’ time in the Program in order to meet the students’ needs and interests.


Second-Year Requirements

During the second year in the Program, students complete coursework, begin their research, and prepare for the qualifying exam.

It is expected that students will complete twenty hours of elective coursework during the second year. The second-year course requirements follow:

  •  Students must complete at least 12 credit hours of didactic courses relevant to their interests and the Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease (MCBD). Didactic courses must be approved by the Program Director or the Curriculum Director.
    • Two of these courses must be PATH 857/858 Topics in Medical Pathology and PATH 807 Rotation in Pathology.
    • Other didactic electives from Pathology or other programs may be taken in addition.
  • Students must enroll in and attend at least 75% of the scheduled meeting times for the following two courses, evidenced by sign-in:
    • PATH 849/850 Pathology Research Progress Report (PRPR),
    • PATH 845/846 Molecular Medicine and Human Disease
  • In addition, students must identify and participate in a topical journal club relevant to their research interests, or relevant to their training grant. In the case that no pre-existing journal club is available, PATH 847/848 Research Correlation in Medical Pathology may be used to organize a special readings Program.

Other opportunities are available to students throughout their time in the Program which are designed to supplement basic science training activities. Examples of these include workshops to define the concepts and processes involved with patents/intellectual property, and developing skills necessary for grant writing/review.

Remainder of the Program

Beyond the second year in the Program, the remainder of the student’s time in the Program is spent completing the following requirements:

  •  Written Thesis
    • Students are required to complete a thesis project, similar in style to an NIH grant proposal, detailing the student’s research plans while in the MCBD Program. Students are required to submit written copies of this thesis to their respective Graduate Committee members by August 31st of the student’s third year.
  •  Completion of the Qualifying Exam
    • The Qualifying Exam for the MCBD Program is a successful oral defense of the thesis to the student’s Graduate Committee. Students must meet this requirement by September 30th of the student’s third year.
  •  Further research leading to papers written by the student on his or her research, submitted to peer-reviewed journals.
  •  Students are expected to continue active participation in MCBD Program research activities throughout their time in the Program, such as attendance at PATH 849/850 Pathology Reseach adn Progress Report (PRPR) and  PATH 845/846 Human Disease and Molecular Medicine (same attendance requirement as second year), the chosen journal club, and the annual Pathology Research Retreat.
  •  Final written Dissertation that conforms to Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and University specifications, a closed oral defense of the document and research conclusions, and a public oral defense (seminar presentation).

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