Program Director: W. Martin Kast, Ph.D.
The objective of the Ph.D. program in Medical Biology is to educate investigators to develop strategies to translate and implement knowledge from cellular, molecular and genetic advances into studies of normal human organ system function as well as mechanisms of human organ system dysfunction in disease and how to reverse this dysfunction by medical treatment. Animal disease models as well as clinical trials in patients are frequently used to advance this field.
The program applies multidisciplinary approaches to understanding the human organism as a whole. Breadth of medically related interests and training are major features of this track and wide and varied skills in many research areas characterize the faculty. To facilitate application of multidisciplinary approaches, close and regular contact between participating faculty and students is a major theme of this Ph.D. program.
The MEDB program caters to MD/Ph.D. students, clinician scientists and PIBBS students interested in but not limited to the following fields: Immunology (including Cancer Immunology), Virology (including Cancer Virology), Microbiology, Physiology, and Pathology (Examples: Diabetes, Obesity, Autoimmunity, Infectious diseases, Gastro-Intestinal and Liver diseases, Heart and Lung diseases, Hypertension, Central Nervous System diseases, etc.).
MEDB Program Requirements
Degree Unit Requirement: 60 units
PIBBS Requirement: Completion of PIBBS required core curriculum (25 units)
Required MEDB courses:
- INTD 574 – Systems Biology and Disease Seminar (1 unit) – every fall and spring semester
- MEDB 790 – Research (varies)
- MEDB 794ab – Doctoral Dissertation (at least 4 units)
Complete 8 units from the following:
- INTD 504 – Molecular Biology of Cancer (4 units)
- INTD 522 – Infection and Host Responses (4 units)
- INTD 549 – Protein Chemistry Structure and Function (4 units)
- INTD 550 – Introduction to Pathology (4 units)
- INTD 551 – Pathobiology of Disease (4 units)
- INTD 572 – Systems Physiology and Disease I (4 units)
- INTD 573 – Systems Physiology and Disease II (4 units)
Students must pass both the written and oral portions of the qualifying exam during the second year of study. The written portion will require students to write a research grant proposal, in a format modeled after an NIH F31 grant. The oral defense portion will include both a formal presentation of the grant proposal, as well as an open forum in which the guidance committee asks general questions related to the student’s research.
Student’s research is reported in a dissertation written under the guidance of the student’s mentor and dissertation committee. The dissertation must demonstrate the student’s capacity for independent research, scholarly achievement and technical mastery of a special field.