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School of Medicine—Graduate Programs

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine has a long tradition of research excellence and training by world-class faculty committed to mentoring the next generation of scientists. It offers a variety of programs leading to the Doctor of Philosophy, the Master of Science, or a certificate. In addition, it works with other schools of the University through collaborative graduate programs. The School of Medicine offers an MD program, described in the professional section of this bulletin. It also offers a joint MD/PhD program enabling exceptionally able students to earn both degrees simultaneously.

Contact Information

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
524 Scaife Hall
412-648-8957
Fax: 412-648-1077
http://www.somgrad.pitt.edu

Biomedical Informatics Program

Biomedical informatics is the science and engineering of information handling in health care delivery and biomedical research. It studies and develops models of the various aspects of health care delivery and biomedical research in order to better understand how they operate. Those models suggest interventions that may improve health care delivery and biomedical research, including new methods for capturing, organizing, analyzing, and conveying clinical information to clinicians and researchers. Experiments are performed in which the effect of promising interventions on health care delivery or biomedical research are observed and compared to existing methods, which serve as controls. The analysis of the results of such experiments can lead to greater understanding of health care delivery and biomedical research, and thereby to methods with which to improve them.

Example areas of investigations in biomedical informatics at the University of Pittsburgh include the development and evaluation of new computer-based methods for (1) analyzing proteomic data to diagnosis disease, (2) supporting clinical trials, (3) providing clinical information to patients, (4) understanding the mechanism of diseases from genomic data, (5) natural language processing of electronically available medical text to extract important clinical features, (6) alerting clinicians when patient care appears atypical, (7) real-time detection and assessment of outbreaks of infectious disease and (8) teaching clinical trainees.

This program offers both master’s and doctoral degrees. Most students choose to follow a general course of study in biomedical informatics; some, however, elect a specialization in one of the following areas: bioinformatics, dental informatics, health services research, or biosurveillance/infectious disease informatics. The specific curricula for the specializations, which are variations of the general course of study in biomedical informatics, can be found on the Training Program Web site at http://dbmi.pitt.edu.

Individuals who want a less intensive exposure to informatics may seek a 15-credit certificate in lieu of an academic degree. The biomedical informatics certificate can be a means of augmenting professional training in fields related to informatics and/or fulfilling educational needs associated with a professional position. Trainees across all health professions are welcome.

Contact Information

Toni Porterfield
Training Program Coordinator
415 Baum
412-648-9203
Fax: 412-648-9118
E-mail: tls18@pitt.edu

Admissions

Financial Aid

Curriculum

Course Listing

Degree Requirements

In addition to School of Medicine requirements, all University requirements as detailed in the Regulations Pertaining to Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh section of this document apply.

Faculty

MS Degree

Credits: The Master of Science in Biomedical Informatics requires a minimum of 36 credits consisting of required biomedical informatics core Foundation Series (9 credits); required computational competency Research Methods Series (6 credits); biomedical informatics distribution Research Skills Series (7 credits minimum); electives (11 or more credits); and Master’s Thesis/Project Research (BIOINF 2480)research methods (3 or more credits including BIOINF 2480: Master’s Thesis/Project Research).

All required courses must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of the Journal Clubs/Colloquiums and some independent and/or dissertation studies (to be determined by faculty advisors). A minimum “B” grade is required in all graduate courses.

Research Project or Thesis: A key element of the program is a research project with two key deliverables: (1) the writing and submission of a paper of publishable quality based upon the research and (2) the completion of an oral examination on its contents. A master’s project committee will oversee the student’s research progress, including the oral comprehensive examination. Students have the option of developing their projects into a formal master’s thesis.

Successful completion of the oral examination on the research project satisfies the comprehensive examination requirement of the University's Committee on Graduate Studies. Final certification of the completion of the master's degree requires submission of the hard copy of the master's research project to the program coordinator.

PhD Degree

Credits: To earn the PhD degree in biomedical informatics, a student must complete a program of study approved by a committee of biomedical informatics faculty. This program requires must include a minimum of 72 credits consisting of required Foundation Series (9 credits); Research Methods Series (9 credits); Research Skills Series (7 credits); BIOINF 3998 Teaching Practicum (3 credits); electives (9 or more); successful completion of a written preliminary evaluation followed by an oral exam; an MS-level research project involving significant research, design, or development work and a written report; successful completion of a doctoral comprehensive examination composed by a doctoral committee; and research work leading to an acceptable dissertation. All required courses must be taken for a letter grade, with the exception of the Journal Clubs/Colloquiums and some independent and/or dissertations studies (to be determined by the faculty advisors). A minimum “B” grade is required in all graduate courses.

Admission to Candidacy/Dissertation: To qualify for admission to candidacy, a student must have completed formal coursework with a 3.3 GPA or higher, successfully completed the master’s level project, passed the comprehensive examination, and received approval of the proposed subject and plan for the dissertations from their dissertation committee following a prospectus meeting. The dissertation committee usually includes the principal dissertation advisor and four additional University graduate faculty (a majority of the committee must be biomedical informatics core faculty).

An appropriate dissertation project involves a substantive piece of original and independent biomedical informatics research, grounded in an appropriate mode of literature and providing a significant contribution to the field. The dissertation must be successfully defended in a public oral defense. The dissertation process will follow the applicable regulations and procedures of the University and the School of Medicine, as described in the Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees section of this document.

Certificate in Biomedical Informatics

The biomedical informatics certificate is a 15-credit (minimum) experience. The curriculum of all students in this program will have the following general structure: consist of required Foundation Series (7 credits); electives (minimum 6 credits); and BIOINF 2480 research project (2-3 credits)

Research Project: The research project should be summarized in a report commensurate with its scope, one copy of which must be submitted to the training program coordinator after approval by the student’s research advisor.

Additional Requirements for Master’s, Doctoral, and Certificate Students in Biomedical Informatics

Instruction in the Responsible Conduct of Research: This Web-based set of instructions and evaluation modules may be accessed at http://www.ctsi.pitt.edu/RCR/index.shtml.

Attendance at and participation in the Department of Biomedical Informatics’ invited lectures, symposia, conferences, etc. (e.g., The Annual Lindberg Lecture and particularly the Annual Training Program Retreat). Such lectures are considered important educational experiences, as well as introducing students to primary researchers and their work in the field of biomedical informatics.

Master of Science and Certificate in Medical Education

This program is designed for a diverse group of individuals whose career focus is on medical education and clinical teaching. These individuals include, but are not limited to, fellows and faculty in general medicine, sub-specialty medicine, pediatrics, surgery, family medicine, and psychiatry. The program offers both a Master of Science degree and a Certificate in Medical Education.

Contact Information

Institute for Clinical Research Education
200 Meyran Ave, Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-586-9632
Fax: 412-586-9672
www.icre.pitt.edu/degrees/degrees.html

Admissions

Admissions Criteria:

  • Candidates who are U.S. Citizens, non-citizen nationals, or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the U.S., or individual who already holds a J-1, H1-B, or F1 transfer visa

  • Candidates who have completed one of the following degrees: MD, DDS, DMD, DC, OD, ND, PharmD, PhD in nursing, and other disciplines involved in clinical teaching.

  • Candidates who possess a high level of interest and potential for the pursuit of long-term career focus in teaching and leadership positions in medical education programs.

Financial Assistance

All students are responsible for their own tuition.

 

Degree Requirements

In addition to School of Medicine requirements, all University requirements as detailed in the Regulations Pertaining to Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh section of this document apply.

Master of Science in Medical Education

The University requires the successful fulfillment of a minimum of 30 credits for awarding a Master of Science in Medical Education. The degree is granted upon the completion of a tightly integrated curriculum with three components: (1) coursework plus observed teaching activities focusing on adult learning, classroom and clinical teaching skills, curriculum development, innovation in medical education, professional development, and medical administration; (2) additional courses to provide trainees with fundamental research skills; and (3) a project on curriculum development or a mentored research project.

Core Curriculum: Required courses include 20 credits of coursework, including: MEDEDU 2080 Master Thesis Research, MEDEDU 2100 Enhancing Teaching Skills, MEDEDU 2111 Fundamentals of Adult Learning for Medical Education, MEDEDU 2120 Professional Development, MEDEDU 2130 Curriculum Development, MEDEDU 2140 Medical Writing and Presentation Skills, MEDEDU 2150 Medical Education: Current Practice, Administration, and Future Directions, MEDEDU 2005 Computer Methods for Clinical Research, MEDEDU 2010 Clinical Research Methods, MEDEDU 2020 Biostatistics, and MEDEDU 2040 Measurement in Clinical Research.

A minimum “B” grade is mandatory for all required coursework and a minimum of a “B-“ grade is required to receive credit for any elective courses.  To remain in good academic standing, students must also maintain a 3.0 or better QPA. 

Research Project, Project in Curriculum Development, or Thesis: Individuals pursuing the Master of Science in Medical Education are required to complete a formal thesis or substantive research project that applies towards the 30-credit requirement for the degree. Three (3) credits will be awarded for successful completion of this component of the curriculum. The project must meet the following requirements: (1) be primarily independent work by the trainee, (2) be reported to the respective sponsoring faculty in written form, and (3) form the basis for a comprehensive review of competence by a committee of at least three training faculty recommended by the major advisor and approved by the Program Director. The four standard mechanisms for the project are:

  • Curriculum development project

  • Peer-reviewed publication

  • A major grant application (R01, K award, or equivalent award)

  • A standard University thesis

Students must successfully defend their research project to a review committee as required by the University's Committee on Graduate Studies.

Certificate in Medical Education

For individuals who do not want to pursue a Master of Science but who desire to take specific courses for added knowledge and skills in teaching and/or research, the Certificate in Medical Education may be appropriate. In most cases, it is expected that individuals pursuing this option will typically choose courses in teaching and learning to enhance skills as a clinician-educator at either a university or community-based program. The Certificate in Medical Education requires the completion of 15 credits, the majority of these credits (minimum of 9) must be Medical Education courses. A minimum “B” grade is mandatory for all required coursework and a minimum of a “B-“ grade is required to receive credit for any elective courses.  To remain in good academic standing, students must also maintain a 3.0 or better QPA. 

Training Faculty

A list of the ICRE training faculty can be found http://www.icre.pitt.edu/faculty.html

Course Listings

The ICRE offers a wide variety of courses by professors from a diverse background.  A complete listing can be found http://www.icre.pitt.edu/courses/courses.aspx

Master of Science and Certificate in Clinical Research

The degree programs in Clinical Research aim to teach trainees the skills necessary to design and conduct high quality clinical research involving human subjects. The program offers both a Master of Science and a Certificate in Clinical Research.

Contact Information

Institute for Clinical Research Education
200 Meyran Ave, Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
412-586-9632
Fax: 412-586-9672
www.icre.pitt.edu/degrees/degrees.html

Admissions

Admissions Criteria

  • Candidates who are U.S. Citizens, non-citizen nationals, or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the U.S., or individual who already holds a J-1, H1-B, or F1 transfer visa.
  • Candidates who possess a high level of interest and potential for the pursuit of innovative clinical and translational research as a major focus of career plan.
  • Candidates with long-term goals of entering a clinical research career.

Along with the candidate’s individual qualifications, preference will be given to the following:

  • Candidates with departments that provide the staff, research support, and facilities to create a high quality environment for the conduct of clinical research during and after the candidates complete their training.
  • Candidates with distinguished personal qualifications of past academic and research efforts, publications, and references.
  • Candidates with departments or program directors assuring that the candidates will be able to engage in 50-75% protected time for at least two years in order to participate in their program.
  • Candidates with an advanced clinical degree (MD, DMD, PharmD, etc.) .

Financial Assistance

All students are responsible for their own tuition.

 

Degree Requirements

In addition to School of Medicine requirements, all University requirements as detailed in the Regulations Pertaining to Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh section of this document apply.

Master of Science in Clinical Research

The University requires the successful fulfillment of a minimum of 30 credits for awarding a Master of Science in Clinical Research.  To receive the Master of Science in Clinical Research, trainees must complete 6 required courses detailed below totaling 13 credits, the requirements for one of the specialty tracks that focus on research methodologies, a thesis or substantive research project, and additional elective credits that have been approved by the student’s advisor. Trainees who are interested may take additional coursework in an optional specialization. A minimum “B” grade is mandatory for all required coursework and a minimum of a “B-“ grade is required to receive credit for any elective courses.  To remain in good academic standing, students must also maintain a 3.0 or better QPA. 

Depending on the clinical responsibilities of the trainee, it will take 2 or 3 years to fulfill the requirements for the Master of Science degree. The directors of the program have scheduled many of the courses in a way that allows trainees to balance coursework with clinical and other responsibilities.

Degree Requirements: Required courses include 13 credits of coursework, including: CLRES 2005 Computer Methods for Clinical Research, CLRES 2010 Clinical Research Methods, CLRES 2020 Biostatistics, CLRES 2040 Measurement in Clinical Research, CLRES 2050 Ethics and Regulation of Clinical Research, CLRES 2071 and 2072 Research Design and Development Seminar, and CLRES 2080 Master Thesis Research. Students must also complete the requirements for a specialty track. 

Specialty Track Requirements: Trainees in the Master of Science in Clinical Research must complete the requirements of one of the four specialty tracks listed below:

  • Clinical Trials Research Track
  • Comparative Effectiveness Research Track
  • Health Services Research Track
  • Translational Research Track

Thesis or Substantive Research Project: Individuals pursuing the Master of Science in Clinical Research are required to complete a formal thesis or substantive research project. The project will count for up to 3 credits and must satisfy the following requirements: (1) be primarily independent work by the trainee,  (2) receive preliminary approval from both the trainee's advisor and the ICRE Leadership, and (3) form the basis for a comprehensive review of competence by a formal review committee. The three standard mechanisms for the substantive project are:

  • A grant proposal for an R01, K-award, or equivalent grant application
  • Peer review publications
  • A standard University thesis

Students must successfully defend their research project to a review committee as required by the University's Committee on Graduate Studies. Final certification of the completion of the master’s degree requires submission of the hard copy of the master's research project to the program coordinator.

Certificate in Clinical Research

To receive the Certificate in Clinical Research, trainees must complete 15 credits of coursework, including CLRES 2005 Computer Methods for Clinical Research, CLRES 2010 Clinical Research Methods, CLRES 2020 Biostatistics, CLRES 2040 Measurement in Clinical Research, CLRES 2050 Ethics and Regulation of Clinical Research, and 5 additional credits of coursework that have been approved by the student's advisor or program director or core curriculum director.

A minimum “B” grade is mandatory for all required coursework and a minimum of a “B-“ grade is required to receive credit for any elective courses.  To remain in good academic standing, students must also maintain a 3.0 or better QPA. 

Training Faculty

A list of the ICRE training faculty can be found http://www.icre.pitt.edu/faculty.html

 

Course Listings

The ICRE offers a wide variety of courses by professors from a diverse background.  A complete listing can be found http://www.icre.pitt.edu/courses/courses.aspx

 

Certificate in Comparative Effectiveness Research

The certificate in Comparative Effectiveness Research aims to teach trainees the skills necessary to design and conduct high quality comparative effectiveness research.

 

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Graduate Program

Students may be admitted into 6 PhD degree-granting programs in the School of Medicine through the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Graduate Program. These programs include:

  • Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology
  • Cellular and Molecular Pathology
  • Immunology
  • Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology
  • Molecular Pharmacology
  • Molecular Virology and Microbiology

Students will not be admitted to pursue the master’s degree. However, master’s degree programs are available in each of the programs leading to the doctoral degree. Students who cannot complete the PhD program for personal, financial, academic, or medical reasons may be awarded the master’s degree.

The Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Graduate Program is flexible and accommodates students whose research interests are still evolving by introducing them to a variety of fields through interdisciplinary courses and laboratory experiences. For those students who have a clearly defined research interest, the program offers the opportunity to move quickly into the laboratory and accelerate their study.

Contact Information

Associate Dean for Graduate Studies
524 Scaife Hall
412-648-8957
Fax: 412-648-1077
E-mail: gradstudies@medschool.pitt.edu
www.gradbiomed.pitt.edu

Admissions

Financial Assistance

Academic Standards

Students must maintain a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00 in courses. In addition, a minimum of a B grade must be earned in each of the required courses and in each of the degree-granting program core courses.

General Degree Requirements—All Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Graduate Students

The first term core course, Foundations of Biomedical Science, is required of all students and is followed by increasingly specialized course work in the program the student has chosen. A course in biomedical experimental design and analysis and a course in research ethics are also required of all students. The first year includes three laboratory research rotations. (See listing of Required Courses below.) Students are guided through their first year of graduate study by a faculty mentor assigned by the program.

The mentor helps to identify rotation laboratories, provides advice on classes, and ensures that students reach appropriate milestones in the first year of the program. At the end of the first year, a preliminary student performance evaluation is conducted by the Program Steering Committee. When a student has successfully completed the preliminary evaluation and chosen a dissertation advisor, the student transfers into one of the degree-granting programs.

Evaluation following the first year is undertaken by the degree-granting program and includes course performance and a comprehensive exam at the end of the second year of study. The comprehensive exam is in the form of an original research proposal followed by an oral examination before a faculty committee composed of three program training faculty members with one appointed as chair. Upon successful completion of the comprehensive exam, the student presents a dissertation proposal to a dissertation advisory committee and is admitted to candidacy. The training program is completed by execution of an original and independent research project and defending a dissertation. Please see Regulations Pertaining to Doctoral Degrees.

Required Courses—All Students

The following courses are required of all students in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Program:

INTBP 2000 Foundations of Biomedical Science Lecture, INTBP 2005 Foundations of Biomedical Science Conference, INTBP 2013 D2K: From Data to Knowledge- Biomedical Experimental Design and Analysis, INTBP 2290 Scientific Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research, and INTBP 2010 Laboratory Research Rotation.  A minimum of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the PhD degree.

Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology Program

The graduate program in Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology provides an exceptionally exciting and vigorous academic environment for modern biomedical research. The MGDB program brings together faculty in both basic and applied sciences, including researchers from the School of Medicine, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Magee-Womens Research Institute and the Department of Biological Sciences.  MGDB research is at the cutting edge of many emerging fields, including developmental and reproductive biology, stem cell biology, proteomics, computational biology and genomics.  Our work has direct relevance to acute injury, congenital disorders, cancer, diabetes, muscular dystrophy and other genetic diseases. The faculty members in the Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology program have diverse research interests and are exploring questions that address fundamental and critical issues in biology and medicine. Faculty research interests can be broadly divided into five major areas: Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, DNA Replication and Repair, Gene Regulation and Signal Transduction, Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes, and Protein Structure and Molecular Dynamics.

Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology Core Courses

The following are core courses in the molecular genetics and developmental biology program: MSMGDB 2525 Developmental Mechanisms of Human Disease, MSMGDB 2535 Model Organisms and MSMGDB 2550 Research in Progress Seminar.

Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology Program

The graduate program in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology has a rich tradition of scientific training and discovery. For example, members of this program were first to identify the hormonal mechanisms that regulate the female menstrual cycle. Graduates of the PhD program are now chairs of departments at six major U.S. medical schools. Today, the program combines basic and clinical research faculty who are dedicated to their research programs and to the training of students. Among the medical school programs, this faculty is uniquely focused on integrative biology: using the tools of cellular imaging, genetics, biochemistry and molecular biology to understand the integrated functions of cells, tissues and organisms post-genomic era. The program is home to the Center for Biologic Imaging, a world-class, state-of-the-art imaging center. Through this unique facility, advances in laser confocal microscopy, live cell multicolor fluorescence microscopy, electron microscopy, and computer-assisted image processing have facilitated University-wide research efforts and collaborations. Areas of research interests in the program include the trafficking of proteins and lipids in cells. genetic disorders of ion channels, regulation of gene expression during development, signal transduction in diabetes, cell biology and physiology of renal diseases, and the regulation of male and female reproduction systems.

Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology Core Courses

Students take at least two of the following core courses for the Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology program: MSCBMP 2880 Cell Biology of Normal and Disease States, and MSCBMP2885 Imaging Cell Biology in Living Systems,  or MSCBMP 2840 Regulation of Membrane Traffic and MSCBMP 2830 Cell and Molecular Physiology.

Other electives include: MSCBMP 2860 Multiparametric Microscopic Imaging and MSCBMP 2870 Histology.

Cellular and Molecular Pathology Program

The cellular and molecular pathology program integrates cellular and molecular biology with the study of human diseases, often in the context of Regenerative Medicine with translational goals. Utilizing the latest technologies, the program combines both basic science and clinical research to explore fundamental questions related to the biology of normal tissue growth and embryonic development, current best practices in tissue engineering, and the cellular and molecular pathways leading to disease development in both human and animal models. Active research programs investigate diverse topics such as liver development, disease and transplantation, developmental neuroscience and neurological diseases, mechanisms of gene regulation, cancer biology, angiogenesis, pulmonary disease, inflammation and autoimmunity, genetics, bioinformatics, and molecular diagnostics. Research laboratories are located throughout the medical center campus and research studies involve both basic research scientists (PhD's) and clinician scientists (MD/PhD's).

Cellular and Molecular Pathology Core Courses

 

The following are core courses for the cellular and molecular pathology program:
 
MSCMP 2730 Molecular Mechanisms of Tissue Growth and Differentiation
and either

MSCMP 3710 Cancer Biology and Therapeutics or
MSCMP 2740 Molecular Pathobiology or
MSCMP 3790 Basics of Personalized Medicine
   
Additionally we require at least 5 terms of:
MSCMP 2750 Research Seminar as well as two electives from courses throughout the SOM on diverse topics of interest to students such as the following CMP courses:
MSCMP 2770 Angiogenesis or
MSCMP 3740 Stem Cells or

MSCMP 3770

Cell Therapy

 

Immunology Program

The immunology program focuses on six areas of research: cancer immunology, transplantation immunology, infectious disease immunology, autoimmunity, immunology of barrier surfaces, and basic immunologic mechanisms.

Tumor immunology studies include tumor antigen discovery and presentation, vaccination strategies to develop safe and effective treatments for cancer, and the search for underlying genetic or biochemical defects that lead to cell transformation and tumorigenesis that may also influence tumor immunogenicity. These studies emphasize intracellular signal transduction, programmed cell death, and oncogene function.

Transplantation immunology concentrates on weakening both the acute and chronic phases of immune responses, to facilitate the acceptance of foreign organ and tissue transplants. Program members focus on the basic biology of immune cell non-reactivity (tolerance) to foreign organs and tissues, as well as on the use of new immunomodulatory drugs to promote transplant acceptance without endangering patients' abilities to resist infections.

Studies of the immune response to infectious disease focus on mechanisms the immune system uses to eliminate viral, bacterial, or parasitic infections as well as the immune evasion mechanisms employed by pathogens. Investigation of autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, systemic lupus erythematosis, and type-1 diabetes involve detailed analysis of the molecular mechanisms underlying the autoimmune response and of the development of novel therapeutic and preventive measures for these often-fatal diseases.

Immunology of barrier surfaces studies both basic mechanisms of host defense with a focus on the lung, gut and skin which form major physical barriers to infection.  These organs are the main portal of entry for a variety of air and food borne pathogens, allergens and other environmental pollutants. Mechanisms of dendritic cell maturation and their influence on T-cell differentiation and the relevance of these interactions in disease second in tolerance. Some foci of basic immunologic mechanisms include cell and organ development and homeostasis, cellular activation and inactivation signaling cascades, and the use of gene therapy to modulate immune responses.

Immunology Core Courses

The following are core courses in immunology: MSIMM 2210 Comprehensive Immunology, MSIMM 2230 Experimental Basis of Immunology, MSIMM 3220 Contemporary Topics in Immunology, and MSIMM 3230 Immunology and Human Disease.

Molecular Pharmacology Program

Biomedical research in the Molecular Pharmacology program is focused on cutting-edge discovery of molecular and cellular mechanisms of intracellular signaling using a combination of biochemical, molecular biological, biophysical, ultra structural, and imaging approaches. Basic research into cellular communication in health and disease is the main emphasis of the program with the added advantage of an array of translational opportunities into the development and testing of novel therapeutic agents. Applications of this common theme are directed toward research in molecular biology of cancer, neuropharmacology, cell and organ system pharmacology, signal transduction, neurodegenerative diseases and drug discovery. Formal collaborative interactions with the Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, the Center for Neuroscience, the Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases (PIND), the Division of Clinical Pharmacology, the University of Pittsburgh Drug Discovery Institute, University of Pittsburgh Structural Biology Imaging Center, the Vascular Medicine Institute and the Center for Biological Imaging provide a broad multidisciplinary approach to training in modern molecular pharmacology.

Molecular Pharmacology Core Courses

The following are core courses in the molecular pharmacology program: MSPHL 2310 Principles of Pharmacology, MSPHL 3360 Molecular Pharmacology, MSMPHL 2360 Biology of Signal Transduction and either MSPHL 3310 Cancer Biology and Therapeutics, MSPHL 3375 Neuropharmacology or MSMPHL 2370 Drug Discovery.

Molecular Virology and Microbiology Program

The molecular virology and microbiology program faculty address a diverse array of contemporary issues ranging from elucidation of the molecular mechanisms governing pathogen-host interactions to the epidemiology underlying infectious diseases. Research topics include the study of gene expression, mechanisms of persistence and pathogenesis, the host immune response, and molecular-based strategies to combat infectious disease. As a result, students in the program gain a comprehensive interdisciplinary background in modern molecular virology and microbiology with a strong underpinning in molecular biology, immunology, and biochemistry. This program acts as a network to coordinate and promote collaborative basic and clinical advancement of microbiology and virology, enabling transfer of new ideas and technologies among faculty laboratories to the clinical arena.

Molecular Virology and Microbiology Core Courses

The following are core courses in molecular virology and microbiology: MSMVM 2410 Molecular Virology, MSMVM 2430 Microbiology Teaching Assistant, MSMVM 2450 Research Seminar and MSMVM 3410 Microbial Pathogenesis.

Interdisciplinary Biomedical Science Graduate Program Faculty

  • Cell Biology and Physiology Training Faculty
  • Cellular and Molecular Pathology Training Faculty
  • Immunology Training Faculty
  • Molecular Genetics and Developmental Biology Training Faculty
  • Molecular Pharmacology Training Faculty
  • Molecular Virology and Microbiology Training Faculty

Joint CMU-Pitt PhD Program in Computational Biology

Daniel M. Zuckerman and Russell Schwartz, Directors

Computational biology is defined as the development and application of data-analytical and theoretical methods, mathematical modeling, and computational simulation techniques to the study of biological, behavioral, and social systems.* It is an interdisciplinary approach that draws from specific disciplines such as mathematics, physics, computer science and engineering, biology, and behavioral science.

The Joint Pitt-CMU PhD Program in Computational Biology is an intensive, interdisciplinary training program that provides students with a deep understanding of the current state of the art in computational biology. Students in this program acquire the quantitative background and research skills needed to advance the field of computational biology. In addition, they develop the critical thinking skills needed to appreciate the potential, strength, and limitations of computational, mathematical, and engineering tools for tackling biological problems.

*NIH Working Definition, July 17, 2000.

Contact Information


 

University of Pittsburgh:

Carnegie Mellon University:

Directors:

Daniel M. Zuckerman, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Computational and Systems Biology
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
3501 Fifth Avenue, BST3, Room 3079
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-3315
Fax: 412-648-3335
ddmmzz@pitt.edu

Russell Schwartz, PhD
Associate Professor of Biological Sciences and Computer Science
Carnegie Mellon University
654B Mellon Institute, 4400 Fifth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-3971
Fax: 412-268-7129
russells@andrew.cmu.edu

     

Student Recruiting Administrators:

James Faeder, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Computational Biology
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
3501 Fifth Avenue, BST3, Room 3082
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-8171
Fax: 412-648-3163
faeder@pitt.edu

Carl Kingsford, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Computational Biology

School of Computer Science, Carnegie

Mellon University

Gates Hillman Center, Room 7705

5000 Forbes Avenue

Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-268-1769

Fax: 412-268-2977

carlk@cs.cmu.edu

 

 

 

     

Program Coordinators:

Kelly Gentille
Educational Programs Coordinator
Department of Computational and Systems Biology
School of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh
3501 Fifth Avenue, BST3, Room 3067
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412-648-8107
Fax: 412-648-3163
kmg120@pitt.edu

Thom Gulish
Administrative Coordinator
Lane Center for Computational Biology
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-2474
Fax: 412-268-2977
tgulish@cmu.edu

     

Program Website:

www.compbio.pitt.edu

www.compbio.cmu.edu

 

Admissions

The interdisciplinary character of the program is unique and distinct from many other programs that are focused toward a specific discipline. The program seeks outstanding students from the biological, physical and computational sciences, and engineering. For example, computational biology majors, or double majors in biology and quantitative sciences are ideal candidates.

Recommended Prerequisites

For students planning their undergraduate course schedules in anticipation of applying for the PhD in computational biology, prerequisites in life sciences, computer science, physical sciences, mathematics, statistics, and computational biology are recommended. Students whose background does not include these courses may be admitted with the additional requirement to take appropriate compensating classes. For more information on prerequisites, see www.compbio.pitt.edu/Admissions/prerequisites.html.

Application

The application receipt deadline is December 5. Required application materials include:

  • Completed online application
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended
  • Official report of GRE scores (general, required; subject, recommended)
  • Official report of TOEFL score (required for foreign applicants from countries other than Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, or New Zealand)
  • Application fee of $75

Applications are reviewed by the Joint CMU-Pitt PhD Program in Computational Biology. Each admitted student is assigned an initial university of matriculation, and receives an admissions offer letter from that university. Incoming students can be placed directly in a laboratory (if mutual interest exists between a student and an advisor), or go through a period of three rotations, after which the student chooses an advisor. Students have the ability to change advisors (subject to agreement of the new advisor and availability of support) and to transfer between the two universities to reflect advisor changes.

For more information on application process, see www.compbio.pitt.edu/Admissions/.

Financial Aid

All students are provided with a stipend and full tuition remission. Assistance is also provided for health insurance.

Teaching Assistantships

Although all students are supported as research assistants throughout their time in the program, there are opportunities to assist in the teaching courses of the program. Students are also encouraged to develop teaching skills by mentoring other students and passing on their knowledge to lab mates and fellow students.

Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to train students who will shape the next generation of discovery in computational biology in academia and industry. Students are required to complete 72 credit hours of academic work toward partial fulfillment of the requirements for completion of dissertation study. Of these, 30+ are formal coursework, and the remaining to be completed with full-time research.

All students are required to take five core graduate courses. The core courses aim at providing a strong common background in computational biology before they specialize in particular research areas

Core Courses

  • Machine Learning
  • Intro to Computational Structural Biology
  • Computational Genomics
  • Cellular and Systems Modeling
  • Laboratory Methods for Computational Biologists

In addition, all students are required to take five graduate elective courses: a life science/physical science course and an advanced interdisciplinary elective specified for the student’s chosen area of specialization; a quantitative elective from a program-wide menu; and two general electives.

Specialization Areas

  • Computational Genomics
  • Computational Structural Biology
  • Cellular and Systems Modeling
  • Bioimage Informatics

For more information on the curriculum, see www.compbio.pitt.edu/curriculum.html.

Other Courses

In addition to core and elective courses, students take complementing courses, if needed, and participate in program seminar, journal clubs, ethics courses and directed studies toward their dissertation projects.

Program Seminar Series

Students enrolled in the program are expected to attend scientific seminars during all years of training. Beginning in their second year and ending in the year before their thesis defense, students present their research progress to fellow students and the faculty on at least an annual basis.

Journal Club

Effective presentation of scientific data is an invaluable aspect of graduate training. Therefore, all first- and second-year students must present a scientific article on a topic (selected by a faculty member) that introduces students to the methodology and applications of computational biology. The talk is made in a format that allows the student to develop basic presentation skills. Students subsequently receive feedback on their talks, thereby improving their presentations skills as their graduate training advances.

Training in Ethics

Ethical conduct and scientific integrity is an essential aspect of research. This is especially important given the competitive nature of funding processes and the high demand for productivity. Hence, the program instructs students on the significance and practice of ethical conduct.

Directed Study

Credits are given for laboratory projects (wet or computer labs) under the direction of the dissertation advisor prior to admission to candidacy for the doctorate.

Scheduling

We anticipate two types of course schedules for students in the program. The default for students who have taken the prerequisites will be to take three courses in each of the first two terms (50-75% time) and spend the remaining time on research. Such students would normally take the core courses in the first year along with one additional course. The third and fourth terms would be split between taking electives and doing research.

Students who enter with some biology or computer science or physical science background but not with sufficient background to take all of the core courses would take a mix of missing prerequisites and core courses in each of the first two terms (approx. 90% time) and spend 10% time on research. These students would then take a mix of remaining core courses and electives in the third and fourth terms (along with 30% research) and finish electives in the fifth and/or sixth terms.

Comprehensive Examination

Students are required to pass a comprehensive examination after completion of their courses, prior to being officially admitted to candidacy to the PhD degree. Students are expected to complete this examination no later than the beginning of the spring term of their third year. The comprehensive examination consists of two parts: a 12-page “grant-style” written proposal of the proposed research, followed by an oral defense of the proposed research.

Post-Comprehensive Qualifying Examination

Students who have been accepted to PhD candidacy conduct research on a full time basis, and are required to complete a minimum of 40 credit hours (9 credits per term) of full-time dissertation study in order to meet the criteria for dissertation defense. Hence, all students will have completed at least 72 credit hours of study prior to graduation, including 29 credit hours of core + elective courses, and at least 40 credit hours of dissertation research.

Completion of Degree

The program is structured in such a way that students can finish their degree within four years of entering their dissertation laboratory. However, it is recognized that the actual time required to attain the degree depends on the specific type of research undertaken and how quickly progress is made in completing the experimental program.

Terminal Masters Degree

The Program does not admit students whose goal is to attain a MS degree. However, it might become necessary for a PhD student to transfer to an MS track for academic reasons or reasons beyond the student’s control, e.g., medical circumstances or a change in family circumstances necessitating a long-distance move.

Training Faculty

The program provides students with cross-disciplinary training in established as well as newly emerging fields of computational biology. Students have access to a community of faculty mentors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University, which not only provides a breadth of research areas for investigation, but also offers the technical and intellectual resources to make rapid progress toward their doctoral degree.

For a list of training faculty, see http://www.compbio.pitt.edu/?page_id=50/

Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology

The Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology graduate program at the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University educates students to conduct research at the interface between biology, chemistry, and physics.  The disciplines of Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology aim to unravel and explain biological phenomena and processes in atomic and molecular detail.  Research carried out by program faculty covers a diverse range of topics in Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology.  Areas of study focus on understanding fundamental principles involved in reactions and regulatory interactions in biological systems.  Our research projects attempt to answer key questions, such as:  How do proteins fold and can we prevent misfolding?  Can we design proteins with novel functions?  How does the coordinated interaction between proteins and nucleic acids lead to cellular differentiation and the formation of an organism?  How do macromolecules assemble into molecular machines and viruses? How do these assemblies operate? How do signals traverse membranes?

Contact Information

University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University
Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology Graduate Program
Graduate Studies Office
3550 Terrace Street
524 Scaife Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
412-648-8957

Fax: 412-648-1077
E-mail: MBSBinfo@medschool.pitt.edu
www.mbsb.pitt.edu

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Students with at least a baccalaureate degree in physics, chemistry and mathematics or cellular and molecular biology are encouraged to apply.  Admissions are based upon the student’s academic record, GRE scores, letters of recommendation, previous research experience, written statement of interest, and a personal interview.  Applicants who are citizens of countries where English is not the official language (and the Province of Quebec in Canada) are required to submit evidence of English Language proficiency by submitting the official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 600 (paper) or 100 (iBT), or IELTS score of at least 7.00 is required for admission to the Program. We actively seek qualified applicants from underrepresented minorities and students with disability.

Additional information and a link to the online application can be a found at http://www.mbsb.pitt.edu.

Financial Assistance

All students receive complete financial support in the form of stipend, tuition, and health insurance.

Degree Requirements

All students enter the Program in the fall session and after performing three rotations identify an advisor and area of research. Areas of research focus include: Macromolecular recognition; Virus, lipid and protein structure and interactions; Principles of protein structure and dynamics; Membrane proteins; Gene regulation and signaling; Cellular biophysics; Chemical structure and dynamics. Methodologies employed comprise NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography, cryo electron microscopy, atomic force microscopy, mass spectrometry, infrared spectroscopy and computational molecular biology. Required coursework is completed during the first year. Students are required to complete the Comprehensive Exam by August 31 of their second year in the graduate program.

A minimum of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the PhD degree. The 72 credits are completed by taking required and elective course work as well as dissertation research credits upon being admitted to candidacy.

Laboratory Research Rotation (MSMBPH/MOLBPH 2000)—taken during the first fall, spring & summer term of the first year.

Foundations of Biomedical Science (INTBP 2000)—taken during the fall term of the first year

Molecular Biophysics I: Structural Biophysics (MSMBPH/MOLBPH 2001)—taken during the fall term of the first year

Molecular Biophysics II: Biomolecular Interactions & Dynamics (MSMBPH/MOLBPH 2012)—taken during the spring term of the first year

Molecular Biophysics III: Theory and Simulation (MSMBPH/MOLBPH 2013)—taken during the fall term of the second year

Scientific Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research (INTBP 2290)—taken during the summer term of the first year

Introduction to Statistical Methods I (BIOST 2041) – taken during the first summer semester of the first year

Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics Research MBSB Seminar (MSMBPH/MOLBPH 2020)—taken every fall and spring term through graduation

Data and Literature Club (MSMBPH/MOLBPH 2030)—beginning with the spring term of the first year, D&L Club is taken every fall and spring term through graduation

Advanced Elective Courses—6 credits total—a number of courses are available and are listed on the following Web site: www.mbsb.pitt.edu/site/curr_electives.php with permission of his/her advisor, students are permitted to choose from a number of courses offered at Pitt as well as CMU

Additional information on the core curriculum can be found at http://www.mbsb.pitt.edu/index.php/people/faculty

Training Faculty

The Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology training faculty can be found at http://www.mbsb.pitt.edu/index.php/people/faculty

Course list

The curriculum stresses an interdisciplinary approach to learning and research in modern Molecular Biophysics and Structural Biology. Upon entering the program, each student is advised by a mentoring committee, explores research options through laboratory rotations and then chooses a thesis advisor in the first year.

A list of available courses can be found at the following Web site: http://www.mbsb.pitt.edu/index.php/training/curriculum

Center for Neuroscience Training Program (CNUP)

The Center for Neuroscience (CNUP) Training Program is an interschool PhD degree-granting program offered cooperatively by the School of Medicine (Neurobiology, MSNBIO) and the Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences (Neuroscience, NROSCI).  The program introduces students to the fundamental issues and experimental approaches in neuroscience and trains them in the theory and practice of laboratory research.  Research interests of the training faculty focus on several prominent themes, including behavioral/systems/cognitive, cell and molecular, development/plasticity/repair, and the neurobiology of disease.

This large research-based training program offers outstanding opportunities for students to pursue research in laboratories within more than 30 different departments and University centers. Major features of the program include extensive collaborative interactions among its faculty members and its affiliation with the Auditory Research Group, the Brain Institute, the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (a joint program with Carnegie Mellon University), Conte Center for the Neuroscience of Mental Disorders, Pittsburgh Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, Pittsburgh Center for Pain Research, and other on-campus research centers

 

Contact Information

Center for Neuroscience
E1440 Thomas E. Starzl Biomedical Science Tower
200 Lothrop Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15261
412-648-9537
Fax: 412-648-1441
jblaney@pitt.edu

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Students are admitted into the CNUP training program on the assumption that they will be able to meet all requirements for the PhD degree. Those who are selected show evidence of a high level of intellectual talent, a strong interest in neuroscience, and a commitment to scholarship and research.

Admission decisions are based on many factors including the candidate's statement of interest and goals in the field of neuroscience, evidence of research experience and accomplishment, letters of recommendation, test scores, grades, and personal interviews. An outstanding record in one of these areas may compensate for poorer performance in another area. In general, successful applicants have a BS degree in biology, chemistry, computer science, mathematics, neuroscience, or psychology with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.40 (on a 4.00 scale) and a cumulative Graduate Record Exam (GRE) score greater than (160 verbal and 155 quantitative) and a 4.5 in analytical writing. Applicants with a GPA below 3.0 will not be considered.

Additional information and a link to our on-line application can be found at: cnup.neurobio.pitt.edu/training/phd/admissions.aspx

Financial Assistance

All students receive full stipend support and individual health benefits. This support is derived from University fellowships and numerous grants funded by the federal government and private agencies. Students in the program also have access to sponsorship on NIH training grants.

PhD Degree Requirements

Credits: A minimum of 72 credit hours including a 23-credit course requirement covering fundamental material in cellular and molecular neurobiology, systems neurobiology and several elective courses.

Specifically, the following core courses and graduate level statistics, ethics, and grant writing courses:

BIOST 2041 Intro to Statistical Methods 1 3 cr.

MSNBIO/NROSCI 2010 Scientific Ethics 1 cr.

MSNBIO/NROSCI 2100 Cell and Molecular Neurobiology 1 4 5 cr.

MSNBIO/NROSCI 2101 Cell and Molecular Neurobiology 2 4 3 cr.

MSNBIO/NROSCI 2102 Systems Neurobiology 6 cr.

MSNBIO 2624 Grant Writing 3 cr.

In addition to University requirements for graduate degrees, students are also required to obtain research experience in at least two separate laboratories; attend journal clubs and research seminars; pass a reprint exam following their first year of study, a comprehensive exam, and a doctoral dissertation and defense; and, to serve as a teaching assistant for at least one term (or course).

Training Faculty

A list of CNUP Training Faculty may be viewed at: http:// cnup.neurobio.pitt.edu/people/faculty.aspx?by=x1

Neuroscience Courses:

Our complete list of courses may be viewed at: cnup.neurobio.pitt.edu/training/phd/courses.aspx#cc

Integrative Systems Biology Program

 

ISB is an innovative program in graduate training that rapidly immerses students into a research environment, then mentors them to become independent scientific practitioners, skilled not only in the art of technical execution but in the creative multidisciplinary thinking required to address important questions in systems biology. Students receive a PhD in Integrative Systems Biology.

Integrative Systems Biology is a field of study that has emerged within the last decades as a unifying discipline that focuses on placing the molecules that comprise living systems within functional and organism contexts. The goal of ISB is to utilize all of our available resources to create a training and research environment to answer challenging questions of fundamental importance in the life and biomedical sciences. The ISB faculty are drawn from cellular, developmental, molecular and systems biologists across the University of Pittsburgh campus and are distributed between four research foci:

  • Cell, Development, and Molecular Biology
  • Quantitative Biology
  • Translational Medicine
  • Genes and Evolution

 

Contact Information

Integrative Systems Biology Program
Graduate Studies Office
524 Scaife Hall
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15261-0001
412-648-8957
Fax: 412-648-1077
E-mail: ISBinfo@medschool.pitt.edu
http://www.isb.pitt.edu

Admission Requirements and Procedures

Students most likely to gain admittance will have a baccalaureate degree from a natural science, physical science, or engineering program, a grade point average of 3.5 (on a scale of 4), combined average GRE scores (Quantitative and Verbal sections) greater than the 80th percentile, and three letters of recommendation. As this is an accelerated program, students should have prior immersive experience in research studies. Scores from a GRE subject test are strongly encouraged, but not required. Applicants who are citizens of countries where English is not the official language (and the Province of Quebec in Canada) are required to submit evidence of English language proficiency by submitting the official results of the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). A minimum TOEFL score of 650 (paper), IELTS score of at least 7.50 or iBT score of at least 114 is required for admission to the Program.

0Additional information and a link to the online application can be found athttp://www.isb.pitt.edu/apply/apply.html

 

Financial Assistance

All full-time students receive a stipend, educational enrichment fund, computing and network service, and individual health insurance (with option to purchase additional family coverage) during their graduate training.

Degree Requirements

PhD Degree

This is an accelerated program that provides the opportunity for students to complete their degrees in approximately 4 years. Students enter the program in the summer or fall sessions, and after performing three rotations identify an advisor and area of research dissertation research project.  Areas of research focus include Cell, Development, and Molecular Biology, Quantitative Biology, Translational Medicine, and Genes and Evolution. Required course work is completed during the first year and a half. During the first half of the second year students take a comprehensive examination that includes the generation of a research proposal ready for submission to national fellowship programs. Students receive career mentoring during the third and fourth years to ensure a seamless transition to the postdoctoral level. Additional information can be found at the following Web site: http://www.isb.pitt.edu/training/training.html.

A minimum of 72 credits beyond the baccalaureate degree is required for the PhD degree. 32 of these credits are completed taking required and elective course work, and 40 of these credits are taken as dissertation research credits upon completing the comprehensive examination and advancing to candidacy. Required course work includes the following:

  • Laboratory Research Rotation (MSISB/ISB 2000 – 3 credits)—taken in the summer of the first year
  • Intro to Bioinformatics Programing - Python (MSISB/ISB 2025 – 3 credits)—taken during the fall term of the first year.
  • Biostatistics (2041 - 3 credits)—taken during the fall term of the first year
  • Approaches in Genomics (2020 -3 credits)-taken in spring of first year
  • Approaches in Imaging (2030-3 credits)-taken in spring of first year
  • Approaches in Model Systems (2035-3 credits)-taken in spring of first year
  • Seminar Series (MSISB/ISB 2050 – 1 credit) - the Seminar and Journal Club is taken every fall and spring term
  • Journal Club (MSISB/ISB 2060 – 1 credit) - the Journal Club is taken every fall and spring term until graduation

Advanced Elective Courses (6 credits total)—a large number of courses are available and are listed on the following Web site:  http://www.isb.pitt.edu/training/training/elective_courses.html. Students are required to may select courses in more than any one of the following disciplines: computational biology, structural biology, molecular genetics, pharmacology, biochemistry, cell biology, and developmental biology.

 

Training Faculty

The ISB training faculty can be found at the following Web site:http://www.isb.pitt.edu/faculty_pages/faculty_page.html

 

Course List

A list of available courses can be found at the following Web site:
http://www.isb.pitt.edu/training/training.html

PhD in Clinical and Translational Science

The University requires the successful fulfillment of a minimum of 72 credits for awarding a PhD in Clinical and Translational Science.  To receive the PhD in Clinical and Translational Science, trainees must complete the Core Curriculum, Advanced “Selectives,” Research Specialization, completion and successful defense of a Comprehensive Examination, completion of the Doctoral Prospectus and defense of the Doctoral. A minimum “B” grade is required in all graduate courses.

Contact Information

Institute for Clinical Research Education 
200 Meyran Ave, Suite 300 
Pittsburgh, PA 15213 
412-586-9632 
Fax: 412-586-9672 
www.icre.pitt.edu/degrees/degrees.html

Admissions

Admissions Criteria

  • Candidates who are U.S. Citizens, non-citizen nationals, or lawfully admitted permanent residents of the U.S., or individual who already holds a J-1, H1-B, or F1 transfer visa.
  • Candidates who possess a high level of interest and potential for the pursuit of innovative clinical and translational research as a major focus of career plan.
  • Candidates with long-term goals of entering a clinical research career.

Along with the candidate’s individual qualifications, preference will be given to the following:

  • Candidates with departments that provide the staff, research support, and facilities to create a high quality environment for the conduct of clinical research during and after the candidates complete their training.
  • Candidates with distinguished personal qualifications of past academic and research efforts, publications, and references.
  • Candidates with departments or program directors assuring that the candidates will be able to engage in 50-75% protected time for at least two years in order to participate in their program.
  • Candidates with an advanced clinical degree (MD, DMD, PharmD, etc.)

Financial Assistance

All students are responsible for their own tuition.

 

Degree Requirements:

 

 

Credit Requirements:

Core Curriculum Courses: Required courses include 19 credits of coursework, including: CLRES 2005 Computer methods for Clinical Research, CLRES 2010 Clinical Research Methods, CLRES 2020 Biostatistics, CLRES 2040 Measurement in Clinical Research, CLRES 2050 Ethics and Regulation of Clinical Research, CLRES 2071 Research Design and Development Seminar, CLRES 2077 Managing your career in CTS, CLRES 2140 Best Practices in Clinical Research, CLRES 2141 Medical Writing and Presentation Skills, and CLRES 2086 Clinical Research Teaching Practicum.

 

Advanced “Selective” Courses: Advanced “Selective” courses focus on advancing methodological or analytic tops that will be most useful to the student’s chosen area of research. At least 6 credits must be in advanced analytic methods (i.e. statistics or epidemiology) and at least 8 credits must be in research methods (i.e. clinical trial design, imaging methodology, or pharmacogenomics).

Research Specialization Courses: Research Specialization courses focus on making the student flexible in selecting training experiences in areas specific to their research area. Research Specialization courses should total 23 credits, and may either be directed research credits (maximum 12 credits) or coursework selected by the student and mentor.

Comprehensive Examination: Individuals pursuing the PhD in Clinical and Translational Science are required to complete a Comprehensive exam. This exam consists of a written examination in the form of an NIH R01-style proposal (including, at a minimum, specific research aims, background and significance, and research methods) and an oral defense of the written portion.

Doctoral Prospectus and Dissertation: Individuals pursuing the PhD in Clinical and Translational Science must complete both a Doctoral Prospectus and successfully complete and defend a Doctoral Dissertation.

  • Dissertation Prospectus Meeting—Individuals must prepare a dissertation proposal for presentation to a doctoral dissertation committee at a formal dissertation overview meeting. At this meeting, the dissertation committee members will provide guidance in shaping the conceptualization and methodology for the individual’s Doctoral Dissertation.

  • Doctoral Dissertation—The proposal, writing, and defense of a culminating research project. The written work must conform to the University of Pittsburgh style manual (www.pitt.edu/~graduate/etd/formatguidelineshtml.html) The Final Oral Defense is a public defense of the Doctoral Dissertation. The entirety of the dissertation committee must be in attendance at the Final Oral Defense.

Training Faculty

A list of the ICRE training faculty can be found http://www.icre.pitt.edu/faculty.html

Course Listings

The ICRE offers a wide variety of courses by professors from a diverse background.  A complete listing can be found http://www.icre.pitt.edu/courses/courses.aspx

 

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