Graduate Training in Experimental Pathology
It takes approximately five years to obtain a doctoral degree in Experimental Pathology. The primary activities that engage students during Years 1-5 are outlined below:
Year 1. In the first term, students begin core courses (Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Molecular Biology and Genetics) offered as part of the Basic Biomedical Science Curriculum (BBSC). The BBSC is a contemporary, integrated, multidisciplinary curriculum that provides a strong basic training in biomedical sciences prior to specialized Program-specific course of study. In Year 1 (terms II and III), students begin Program-specific course of study and complete laboratory rotations. Students are fully supported by the GSBS in Year 1.
Year 2. Students complete Program course of study and complete both written and oral qualifying examination components according to guidelines created by the Student Evaluation and Advisory Committee (SEAC). Upon passing the qualifying examination, students begin developing their dissertation projects in order to advance to doctoral candidacy during the first term of the third year. Second year students also participate in the weekly Experimental Pathology Work in Progress (PATH 6115) and are required to give an introductory seminar (30 minutes) on their current research in order to complete course requirements. These seminars are attended and evaluated by faculty, students, and post-doctoral trainees who provide constructive suggestions to help the trainee improve their research and presentation skills. EPGP students are also expected to attend other seminars including Frontiers of Infectious Diseases (PATH 6245).
Year 3. Students are heavily involved in their research and other activities including research in progress presentations. In the first term, students must divide their time between laboratory research and drafting a dissertation proposal that they will defend orally in order to formally advance to doctoral candidacy by the end of the second term (June 1). Primary direction and day-to-day advice are obtained from the mentor.
Year 4. Students are heavily involved in their laboratory research and other activities including research in progress presentations. Semiannual meetings with the supervisory committee to update research progress are mandatory and final revisions of the dissertation project are vetted through the supervisory committee. Students typically present their work at regional, national, and international scientific meetings and consider the final stages of research leading to their dissertation defense.
Year 5. In the first term, students are completing final laboratory experiments, writing and submitting scientific manuscripts for peer-reviewed publication, and begin drafting their dissertation. They attend local, national, and international scientific meetings to present research findings. The doctoral studies culminate on dissertation defense day when the trainee orally presents and defends their research in public and private forums. If the supervisory committee is satisfied and all requirements have been met, the dissertation is approved and the student is awarded the Ph.D. degree.
The Department of Pathology Annual Research Day has been held annually since 1995 and provides an opportunity for all departmental faculty, doctoral students, and postdoctoral fellows to meet and present their latest research at a poster session forum. Other activities include Researcher of the Year award and presentation during lunch, monetary awards for best poster presentations (sponsored by faculty and the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases), and the Graduate Student Organization recognition of faculty for Excellence in Teaching and Mentoring. In 2012, there were 66 poster presentations by all trainees and Researcher of the Year was Dr. Xue-Jie Yu who presented “My Research Journey from Rickettsia to Bunyavirus”.