University of Miami >> Miller School of Medicine >> Office of Graduate Studies >> Graduate Program

The Department of Microbiology and Immunology is a multidisciplinary department encompassing the areas of cellular and molecular immunology, virology, microbial genetics, and pathogenic bacteriology. The department currently consists of 27 primary faculty and 26 secondary faculty and is currently recruiting additional scientists.

The goals of the department's graduate program are to provide each student with the opportunity to acquire the theoretical background and conceptual framework with the technical research skills necessary to attain a Ph.D. During the first year of study a broad educational base in all disciplines together with laboratory rotations introduce students to the diverse array of interests in the department. Students then choose one area of concentration for their research. The varied interests of the faculty provide numerous opportunities for student participation and a broad choice in dissertation research.

Active research in immunology includes the areas of cytotoxicity, programmed cell death, cytokine receptor signaling, clinical and experimental bone marrow transplantation, stem cell biology, gene therapy for cancer treatment, antigen recognition, cell differentiation and communication, aging of the immune system, interleukins, genetic control of immunoglobulin production, gene activation, and evolution of the immune response. Research in other areas includes molecular biology of virus-host interaction in both animal and human systems, control and regulation of bacterial pathogenesis, selective tumor chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and therapy of parasitic infections.

Training in the graduate program is comprised of required course work, elected course work, seminars, and research. In addition, students participate in teaching and journal clubs. Students are required to present their experimental work annually to the faculty and their peers at special Work-in-Progress seminars. All students are encouraged to participate in the Eastern Student Research Forum held annually at the University of Miami and organized and staffed by graduate students from all the basic science departments. Each year, internationally recognized scientists visit the department as guests participating in our Special Seminar Series to meet and discuss science with the graduate students. As each of our graduate students progresses in their work they are expected to attend national meetings to present their ongoing research.

The University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has a centralized admissions point that allows students to explore multiple research areas of interest before deciding on a specific program to complete their dissertation work. All students are admitted through the Program in Biomedical Sciences (PIBS) for the PhD programs in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Microbiology & Immunology, Molecular Cell & Developmental Biology, Molecular & Cellular Pharmacology, Neuroscience, Physiology & Biophysics, and Human Genetics & Genomics. The PIBS Admissions Committee will review applications as they are received. We encourage all applicants to submit their application by December 15th.

Individuals are accepted into the graduate program with the ultimate goal of developing a creative and critically thorough research scientist. Such development is encouraged through the studentís performance of experimental protocols intended to address critical questions rooted in scientifically important areas of research.

Such an objective requires an intense level of commitment on the part of the faculty and student concerning both time and effort - a commitment which may be fully appreciated only upon completion of the Ph.D. degree. Students accepted into the program are expected to demonstrate proficiency in formal courses, a written comprehensive examination, and a dissertation proposal examination before being admitted to Ph.D. candidacy. Candidates are expected to show increasing comprehension in their chosen discipline and to develop independent research. Qualities of successful candidates include: independence, problem solving abilities, patience, persistence, and the ability to learn from oneís mistakes.
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