The graduate program in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology provides a well-integrated curriculum designed to train students to become independent researchers in cellular, biochemical and molecular aspects of immunology, virology, and bacteriology. The Department of Microbiology and Immunology has a very strong commitment to graduate education as evidenced by the number and performance of our PhD graduates and the presence of an NIH-funded training grant in immunology and pathogenesis.
Opportunities are available for laboratory training in the cellular and molecular of bacterial and viral pathogenesis and immunology. This emphasis is also reflected in a pre-doctoral training grant in Immunology and Pathogenesis that was awarded to the Department by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
The great majority of the coursework is completed within the first academic year, enabling students to begin their dissertation projects in the subsequent summer. The most important element in our graduate program is training students how to effectively design and conduct a research project that leads to publication in the scientific literature.
The quality of a person's track record of publication constitutes the main criterion by which success is measured in a research career. As evidenced by the strong publication record of our students and the quality of their subsequent career growth, our program has been very successful in developing these skills in students.
In large part, our success has been dependent upon the strong mentoring skills of the faculty.
Another important aspect of our graduate training is to help our students secure the best possible position at the next step in their careers, which is usually a postdoctoral fellowship. The choice of postdoctoral position is a critically important element for success, since it is usually from a postdoctoral fellowship position that our graduates seek independent positions in the academic, government or commercial sectors.
Help and advice in choosing the appropriate postdoctoral position to match a student’s career goals is a high priority for every faculty member who serves as a mentor for our students.