Welcome to the NEW PhD Program in Pathology and Translational Pathobiology!
Research in medical school pathology departments provide a unique opportunity for translating research findings from animal models to human patients due to the proximity of clinical collaborators and the availability of biological specimens for research. In 2020, the National Institute of Health awarded over $700 million in research grants for Pathology research, the sixth highest ranking for any department.
Although Pathology is generally viewed as a medical discipline, individuals with PhDs in Pathology utilize a background in cell and molecular biology coupled with advanced training in disease processes to make critical advancements in the diagnosis and treatment of human disease. Therefore, the increasing focus of biomedical research on translational research programs with implications in the treatment of human disease makes PhD training in Pathology highly valuable to the research community. Students who receive life science PhDs show 53% higher lifetime earnings compared to students who earn a Bachelor’s degree alone (Lu 2014). The job market for highly skilled individuals with molecular pathology experience extends into a wide variety of sectors, such as academic, biotech, government, and public health. Our curriculum couples training in cell and molecular biology, animal models, histology, advanced pathology, and student-specific electives to create a unique training environment centered upon the in-depth understanding of human disease. Enhanced interactions with clinicians (clinical lab rotation, seminars, grand rounds, and journal clubs) will better prepare these students for the current research focus on translational research at the national level and within the biotech sector.
Faculty within the Department of Pathology and Translational Pathobiology utilize advanced research methods to characterize the biochemical, genetic, and cellular mechanisms underlying human disease in cell culture models and animal model systems. Access to a wide variety of human samples from our clinical collaborators allows us to validate these findings in the context of human disease and assess the utility of the identified targets in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.
The ultimate goal of the new doctoral program in Pathology and Translational Pathobiology will be to develop graduates capable of elucidating the mechanisms and origins of human disease at the molecular and/or organismal level. Additionally, the Doctoral Program will provide students the opportunity to translate mechanistic insights gained at the bench to clinically relevant applications. The program involves interdisciplinary and mentor-guided training in molecular and cellular biology, disease pathogenesis, animal models of disease, and translational biomedical research. Doctoral training includes extensive biomedical research training, coursework relevant to the student’s research interests, and the development of soft skills, such as grant writing, networking, and public speaking, that play a critical role in the student’s career development. In addition to the required coursework, all Pathology and Translational Pathobiology doctoral students will gain a basic understanding of clinical lab functions through a week-long rotation through the clinical laboratories in their first summer of doctoral training. These interactions with clinical colleagues, further solidified by participation and presentation within Pathology Grand Rounds, will help students identify mechanisms to improve the translational aspects of their research.
Doctoral students receive stipends and financial help to allow them to devote all their energy and time to their research and graduate training. Therefore, students may not seek outside employment, even part-time. All doctoral students in good standing in Pathology and Translational Pathobiology will receive an annual stipend of $28,000. Stipends are available from a variety of sources. First year stipends will be provided by either the School of Graduate Studies or by the faculty member supporting the doctoral student as a direct recruit. Faculty members who accept the responsibilities of having graduate students enter their laboratory and serving as the student's Advisor are expected to make every effort to obtain financial support for the student. Faculty members directing research grants will be expected to provide support for students working on the funded project. This support should match the present level of Graduate Student Stipends and cannot exceed the maximum stipend level set by the Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and the Department Head. Students may also attain stipend support through intramural or extramural fellowships or the T32 training program, and application for these fellowships is a requirement of doctoral training in Pathology and Translational Pathobiology. Students who receive fellowship support are provided an additional $2,000 in stipend support (total $30,000).
The School of Graduate Studies is dedicated to developing a culture that fosters the recruitment, nurturing, and retention of a diverse student body that reflects our larger community. Thus, students of all racial and ethnic backgrounds are encouraged to apply to our program. Admission requirements include a baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university with a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4 point scale. GRE scores are not required. Previous research experience is preferred but not required. International applicants must provide acceptable scores on the TOEFL or IELTS exams. Interested students can apply to the program through GRADCas using the link below.
As interdisciplinary training will be key to future clinical and research pathology careers, our graduate program will utilize a common first year curriculum coupled with advanced pathology courses and electives tailored to the student’s research interest. Students in the Pathology and Translational Pathobiology graduate program will gain a thorough understanding of disease processes and advanced training in cell and animal models of disease. This research emphasis on human-relevant disease processes and models will better enable the transition of research from the bench to bedside. Students will also participate in journal clubs and seminars to enhance their biomedical research knowledge.