Students begin their curriculum centered around a two-semester course, Molecular and Cellular Sciences, which provides broad exposure to these fundamental topics:
- Macromolecular synthesis, structure and function
- Regulation of gene expression and genetics
- Cell structure and cell communication
- Organ systems integration, physiology and pathology
Additionally, students take a short course in analytical skills followed by their choice of three program-specific electives taught by the five participating graduate programs (Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular Genetics and Genomics, and Molecular Medicine and Translational Science). Study is complemented by a seminar/discussion course in Scientific Professionalism and Integrity.
During the first year, students explore scientific research projects by participating in three laboratory research rotations, choosing laboratories from within the five participating PhD programs. These laboratory rotations introduce students to new techniques and guide in the selection of a dissertation research advisor. Once a research mentor has been selected, students begin specialization in the research area of that laboratory.
Students are also encouraged to participate in the Molecular Medicine Journal Club.
Elective —Regenerative Medicine Immersion - Fundamentals, Principles and Clinical Applications—is offered during the summer semester and limited to a total of five (5) students.
Year One (Fall, Spring, Summer)
- Take the Molecular and Cellular Biosciences curriculum in the fall and spring, including Foundations of Translational Science as the second elective.
- Choose MMTS program and advisor by the end of the spring term.
- Take Research (MMTS 791) in the summer term and choose a clinical mentor during the summer semester.
Projected Progress: By end of May, student has consulted with Track Director and MMTS program directors, completed the MCB coursework and begun thesis research.
Year Two (Fall, Spring, Summer)
- Take Translational Science Seminar, Statistics, Research, and any electives in the fall term.
- Take Clinical Experience in the fall and spring terms.
- Take Translational Science Seminar, Scientific Development and the Business of Science, Research, and any electives in the spring term.
- Take Foundations of Translational Science (MCB-752) in the spring term, if this was not taken in year one.
- Take Research and prepare for the preliminary exam in summer term.
Projected Progress: By end of May, student has completed second-year MMTS coursework and clinical lab experience; selected a thesis committee (with advisor) and had committee approved by MMTS program directors; and discussed thesis topic with thesis committee.
*MD, DVM and DO students enter the PhD program as second-year students.
- Take Translational Science Seminar and Research each fall and spring semester, take Research in the summer term.
- Take preliminary examination by September 1 at beginning of third year.
- Sign up for Thesis Only the final semester before graduation.
Projected Progress: By July 1, student has submitted outline of preliminary research proposal to thesis committee. By September 1, the thesis committee will give an oral examination on the research proposal and coursework. Two weeks before the oral defense, student will provide a written copy of research proposal to the committee.
Year Four and Beyond
- Each semester, meet with the thesis committee to present progress on the thesis research.
- Complete thesis and submit written research thesis to the thesis committee
- The Thesis Committee will give an oral examination on the student's research results.
Projected Progress: Once per semester, student will present progress on thesis research to thesis committee. When research is completed, student will finalize thesis and submit written research thesis to committee, which will give an oral examination on the research results presented in thesis.
First Year Courses - MCB Curriculum
The PhD training programs in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences provide aninterdisciplinary curriculum that utilizes the tools of molecular andcellular biology to train students for research in the detailed analysis offundamental biological processes.
The common MCB first year curriculum utilizes a two semester course, MCB701/702, to provide broad exposure to these fundamentals topics:
- Macromolecular synthesis, structure and function
- Regulation of gene expression and genetics
- Cell structure
- Cell communication
Additionally, students will take a short course in analytical skillsfollowed by their selection of three Program-Specific electives taught bythe 5 participating MCB Graduate Programs. This first year course of studyis complemented by a seminar/discussion course in ScientificProfessionalism and Integrity.
During the first year, students explore scientific research projects byparticipating in three laboratory research rotations, choosing laboratoriesfrom within the 5 participating PhD programs. These laboratory rotationsintroduce students to new techniques and guide in the selection of adissertation research advisor. Once a research mentor has been selected,students begin specialization in the research area of that laboratory.Students will complete courses specific to that program of study during thesecond year.
Second Year Courses - MMTS Curriculum, Statistics and Electives
Required courses are numbered 11-15.
11. MMTS 711, 712. Translational Science Seminar Series. (1, 1)
Offered: Fall and Spring
Faculty and students jointly describe their research in a human disease,first in clinical terms, and then follow the development of theunderstanding of that disease to the molecular level with an emphasis ontranslational applications. Presentations introduce students to potentialpreceptors and experimental strategies used to study human disease.Students present their own research to gain experience and professionalskills for seminars and national meeting presentations.
12. STATISTICS. MMTS students must take a course in statistics. The requirement can besatisfied by taking one of the following three courses:
THSS 730. Introduction to Statistics. (4)
The course is an introduction to statistical concepts and basicmethodologies that are prevalent in biomedical literature. It includesdiscussion topics such as descriptive statistics, probability, samplingdistributions, hypothesis testing, simple linear regression, correlation,one-way analysis of variance, categorical data analysis, survival analysis,sample size and power analysis, and nonparametric methods. Access to SASEnterprise Guide required.
HES 721. Data Analysis and Interpretation. (3)
Offered: Fall(Reynolda Campus)
The application of basic statistical techniques in the analysis andinterpretation of data in scientific research. Topics include descriptivestatistics, simple linear and multiple correlation/regression analysis,t-tests, analysis of variance and covariance, and non-parametricstatistics.
IPP/NEUR 741. Quantitative Methods in Bioscience. (3)
An introduction to essential concepts and methods for the quantitativeanalysis of biological data, with a focus on descriptive and inferentialstatistics. General topics include basic concepts in statistics such asprobability theory and chance models, samples and populations, analyses ofthe relationships between variables, analysis of normal data, analysis ofnon-normal data and non-parametric analyses, an introduction to Bayesianframeworks, clustering analysis, and multivariate analyses. Didacticlectures cover core frameworks, analytic approach, and the mechanics andintuitive logic behind the methods. Laboratory sessions provide experienceusing a software platform (R) for data analysis and visualization usingpractical problems.
13. MMTS 715/716. Clinical Experience (1, 1)
Offered: Fall and Spring
Students who choose to enter the MMTS program must take this course in thefall (MMTS 715) and spring (MMTS 716) term. This course serves as anintroduction to clinical medicine for the PhD students. Each studentobserves and participates in 10 hours of clinical immersion with his/herclinical mentor. Experiences are custom-designed by the clinical mentor foreach student. At the end of the semester, students enrolled in the coursemeet and each student presents a case study, based on his/her personalclinical experience.
14. MMTS 724. Scientific Development and the Business of Science.
(1-3)*credit hours are based on student enrollment
This course reviews techniques for effective communication of scientificproposals and presentations, both oral and written. For oral presentations,emphasis is on content organization and connecting with the audience.Assignments include the presentation and critical discussion of studentresearch. For written presentations, the emphasis is on grant proposaldevelopment, as well as familiarization with the peer-review process. Thecourse consists of lectures on all aspects of grant development (includingbudgets and protocols and compliance regulations for human and animalresearch), and student preparation of a grant proposal. An oral exerciseincludes the discussion of an NIH RO1 proposal in a mock study sectionformat.
15. MMTS 791, 792. Research. (1-9)
Offered: Fall, Spring and Summer
This course involves closely supervised research in various topics inmolecular medicine, with a special emphasis on models of human disease,including research in preparation for the doctoral dissertation.
RESEARCH. MMTS students must sign up for the MMTS research course each semester,beginning with the summer of the first year. The number of hours forresearch varies, depending on the hours taken in other courses, but must beat least 1. The total number of hours (including coursework and research)must equal at least 6 in the summer term and at least 9 each semester.
ELECTIVES. MMTS students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and chooseelective coursework that complements their area of research during thesecond year. No specific numbers of hours or courses are required. Studentsmay choose any graduate level courses in the sciences, including thefollowing MMTS course and electives in the MCB track (see Bulletin). Todeepen knowledge in the physiological sciences, selection of blocks in theIntegrative Physiology and Pharmacology track course "IPP 702: SystemsPhysiology and Pharmacology" is especially encouraged.
MMTS 719, 720. Special Topics in Stem Cell Biology. (2)
Offered: Fall, Spring
This course utilizes directed readings and student presentations of primaryliterature to introduce students to the field of stem cell biology. Contentfocuses primarily on human stem cell properties, including pluripotency andits maintenance, the role of chromatin remodeling in fate determination andlineage restriction, selfrenewal and differentiation, and the geneticconversion of somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. The field isexpanding rapidly and course content will be modified as needed toincorporate new findings and applications in stem cell biology andtranslational medicine. A background in the form of undergraduate orgraduate courses in developmental biology is strongly recommended. Thiscourse is cross-listed as MOGN 719, 720.
IPP 702. Systems Physiology and Pharmacology. (1-6)
The second required course for physiology and pharmacology students iscomposed of blocks focusing on neuroscience, endocrine, renal/gastrointestinal, cardiovascular/pulmonary, and regenerative physiology.The course may be taken by blocks.
MMTS 713. Advanced Readings in MMTS (1)
This course will allow students to read and discuss literature pertainingto their dissertation research or a specific area of interest in molecularmedicine with their advisor. The advisor will choose papers (10/coursecredit hour) for the student to read and they will meet weekly to discussthe papers. At the end of the course, the student will write a "CurrentOpinion"-style paper that summarizes the key points of the papers and newinsights gained from the literature review. Ideally, this course would betaken in the summers after the first and second years, but will not belimited to this time frame. Prerequisite - Completion of 1st year.
Students are encouraged to participate in a journal club that matchestheir research interests.
Third year (and beyond) - MMTS courses and preliminary examination
COURSES.MMTS students take MMTS 711 and 712 (Translational Science Seminar) andMMTS 791 and 792 (Research) each semester until they file their intent tograduate. Total hours must be 9 in the fall and spring semesters and 6 inthe summer term.
PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION. MMTS students should take their preliminary examination by September 1st atthe beginning of their third year (end of second year).
Based on the advanced degree, a M.D., D.V.M., or D.O. enters as a MMTSsecond year PhD student and take the preliminary examination by September 1 st at the beginning of their third year (end of second year).