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.

Curriculum Overview

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.

Year Three

  • 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.