Medical Microbiology and Immunology

Curriculum Overview


Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Sciences: 
Medical Microbiology and Immunology Track
Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology
Z. Kevin Pan, Ph.D.,  Chair
Z. Kevin Pan, Ph.D.,  Co-Track Director
Jason Huntley, Ph.D.,  Co-Track Director
 

The Medical Microbiology and Immunology (MMI; formerly Infection, Immunity and Transplantation) training program at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences on the Health Science Campus offers PhD, MD/PhD, and MSBS degrees through the Biomedical Science interdisciplinary degree program.  The average time to graduation for MMI PhD students is 4.7 years (6 years maximum).  The average time to graduation for MMI MSBS students is 2.3 years (3 years maximum).  MMI students are strongly encouraged to join laboratories of MMI primary faculty.  Other faculty in the College of Medicine and Life Sciences may have joint appointments in MMIM or may serve on graduate advisory committees.  After joining a laboratory, a graduate advisory committee is jointly chosen by the student and advisor to promote academic progress toward completion of the graduate degree.  The MMI Department occupies recently-renovated space and maintains state-of-the-art equipment (e.g. confocal microscopy, flow cytometry) to answer complex microbiology and immunology questions, including studies on host-pathogen interactions and immune-mediated diseases.

MMI program faculty train MSBS and PhD students in cutting-edge techniques to investigate microorganisms that cause human disease, the complex immune system that protects humans from infections and diseases, as well as immune regulatory mechanisms to avoid organ/tissue transplant rejection.  MMI students receive one-on-one mentoring, are encouraged to work with their advisor to apply for pre-doctoral fellowships, and publish first-author research reports in peer-reviewed scientific journals.  To encourage and increase the number of student publications, any MSBS or PhD MMI student who publishes a first-author research manuscript before their defense will receive the MMI Research Scholar Award (formal certificate and $250 bonus).

Ph.D.: Medical Microbiology and Immunology

The primary goal of the Ph.D. program in Medical Microbiology and Immunology is to train students for independent careers in bacteriology, virology, and immunology research and/or teaching. MMIM PhD students enroll in a 1st year core curriculum that provides a comprehensive overview of biochemistry/protein biology, molecular and cellular biology, molecular basis of diseases, research methodology, ethics, and statistical analyses.  PhD students complete three laboratory rotations during their 1st year and join a MMIM laboratory during the spring semester of their 1st year.  In the 2nd year and beyond, MMIM PhD students take advanced and elective courses, including advanced immunology, advanced microbiology, current topics in MMIM (journal club and departmental seminar series), and dissertation research.  Other training activities include formal research presentations at annual Medical Microbiology and Immunology Departmental retreats, Council for Biomedical Graduate Student research forums, and presentations at regional, national, and international conferences.  All PhD students in good academic standing (GPA > 3.0) may be supported by a tuition scholarship and stipend during their academic training.  This financial assistance does not require the student to be a Teaching Assistant for undergraduates, thus enabling the student to concentrate on his/her graduate research.  Teaching experiences can be arranged if a student desires this training as well.  All PhD students are required to the complete a written dissertation and defend his/her research project at a final oral defense before the degree will be conferred.


Year 1:  PhD Students

(Note: “Current Problems and Research Approaches” abbreviated as ‘CPRA’ below) 

Fall Semester    (All are required) 
Course                           Course Name Credit Hours
N/A                                 Introduction to Biomedical Research 0
BMSP6330 CPRA in Proteins 2
BMSP6340 CPRA in Genes and Genomes 2
BMSP6360 CPRA in Cell Membranes 2
BMSP6380 Methods in Biomedical Sciences 2
BMSP6390

Mentored Research  (Two 5-week lab rotations)

1
  Fall Total ………………………………………………………  9
 
 
 
Spring Semester    (All are required) 
Course                           Course Name Credit Hours
BMSP6470 System Pathophysiology 4
BMSP6350 CPRA in Cell Biology and Signaling 3
BMSP6390 Mentored Research  (One or two 5-week lab rotation) 1
MMIM6030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
  Spring Total ………………………………………………………  9
 
All students must pass MMIM ‘100 Question Exam’ by May 31st of their 1st year
 
Summer Semester    (All are required) 
Course      Course Name Credit Hours
BMSP7320 Statistical Methods I 3
INDI6020 "On Being a Scientist" 1
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 0-3
BMSP6390 Mentored Research (If additional 5-week rotation necessary) 0-1
 Summer Total    ……………………………………………………… 6
 
Year 2:  PhD Students
 
Fall Semester    (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM8020 Advanced Immunology 1
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 7
 Fall Total ……………………………………………………… 9
 
All Ph.D. students must pass Qualifying Exam by the end of fall semester (December) of their 2nd year
 
Spring Semester    (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM8040 Advanced Microbiology 1
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research 7
Spring Total  ……………………………………………………… 9
 
Summer Semester    (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research 6
Summer Total  ……………………………………………………… 6
 
Year 3 and above:  PhD Students
 
Fall Semester    (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research 8
Fall Total  ……………………………………………………… 9
 
 
Spring Semester   (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research 8
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
  Spring Total  ……………………………………………………… 9
 
Summer Semester    (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research 6
Summer Total  ……………………………………………………… 6
 

Notes about MMIM PhD Program:

All PhD students must pass their Qualifying Exam by the end of the Fall semester (December) of the 2nd year.  Prior to completing the exam, students should conduct dissertation research by registering for either Independent Study in Microbiology (graded; MICB8890) or Independent Study in MMI (Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory; MMIM8890).  After passing the Qualifying Exam, students should conduct their research by registering for Dissertation Research (MMIM9990).

The minimum number of credits required for a PhD is 90, with a minimum of 25 credits of didactic coursework (letter grade), and a minimum of 30 credits of dissertation research.  The rest of the credits are approved electives and research in the Medical Microbiology and Immunology track.

All MMIM PhD students are required to register for Current Topics in MMIM (MMIM8030) during all fall and spring semesters while they are enrolled as a student.  Students are exempted from registering for Current Topics in MMIM during the last semester of their graduate studies but only after their graduate advisory committee approves that they may begin writing their dissertation (must be written on committee meeting report; see details below).

All MMIM PhD students are required to hold two (2) graduate advisory committee meetings per year.  Committee meetings should be scheduled when all committee members can be present.  At the end of the committee meeting, committee members should agree on goals/research priorities for the next ~6 months.  Goals/research priorities should be recorded on the bottom of the MMI Graduate Student Advisory Committee Meeting Report and a copy of the Report should be provided to the MMI Track Director after each meeting.

Beginning in fall 2020, MMIM PhD students will be required to submit a first-author research manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal before that student’s graduate advisory committee will grant permission for the student to begin writing their dissertation.  The Ph.D. student’s research advisor/mentor must provide the graduate advisory committee with a copy of manuscript submission confirmation email, including the journal manuscript number.

 

Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS): Medical Microbiology and Immunology Track

The primary goal of the Masters of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBS) training program in Medical Microbiology and Immunology is to train students in the basic techniques of bacteriology, virology, and/or immunology research and to demonstrate the ability to analyze/interpret data for a future career in academics, industry, government research, or other biomedical science fields.  MSBS students are expected to complete a 1st year core curriculum, rotate in two laboratories, and join a laboratory by January/February of their 1st year.  Elective courses may be taken during the 2nd year but MMI faculty encourage MSBS students to focus on their research projects and graduate in a timely manner.  MMI MSBS students typically complete their degree requirements in 2-3 years.

 
Year 1:  MSBS Students:
(Note: “Current Problems and Research Approaches” abbreviated as ‘CPRA’ below)
 
Fall Semester    (All are required) 
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
N/A Introduction to Biomedical Research  0
BMSP6330 CPRA in Proteins 2
BMSP6340 CPRA in Genes and Genomes 2
BMSP6360 CPRA in Cell Membranes 2
BMSP6380 Methods in Biomedical Sciences 2
BMSP6390 Mentored Research  (Two 5-week lab rotations). One additional 5-week lab rotation may be performed if necessary. 1
Fall Total ………………………………………………………  9
 
Spring Semester    (all are required) 
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
BMSP6470 System Pathophysiology 4
BMSP6350 CPRA in Cell Biology and Signaling 3
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 1
MMIM6030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
  Spring Total  ……………………………………………………… 9
 
All students must pass MMIM ‘100 Question Exam’ by May 31st of their 1st year
 
Summer Semester   (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
BMSP7320 Statistical Methods I 3
INDI6020 "On Being a Scientist" 1
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 0-3
Summer Total  ……………………………………………………… 6
 
All MSBS students must pass Qualifying Exam by the end of summer semester (August) of their 1st year
 
Year 2:  MSBS Students
 
Fall Semester
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM6030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
MMIM6990 Thesis Research 7-8*
MMIM6020 Advanced Immunology  (optional but strongly encouraged for immunology students) 0-1
Fall Total  ……………………………………………………… 9*
*Adjust Thesis Research credits based on enrollment in Advanced Immunology (Total: 9).
Spring Semester
Course  Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM6030 Current Topics in MMIM 1
MMIM6990 Thesis Research 7-8*
MMIM6040 Advanced Microbiology  (optional but strongly encouraged for microbiology students) 0-1
  Spring Total  ……………………………………………………… 9*
 *Adjust Thesis Research credits based on enrollment in Advanced Microbiology (Total: 9)
Summer Semester   (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM6990 Thesis Research 6
Summer Total  ……………………………………………………… 6
 
Year 3 (If necessary):  MSBS Students
Fall/Spring Terms (9 credits each), Summer (6 credits)
 
Year  (All are required)
Course Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM6990 Thesis Research 8 Fall and Spring, 6 Summer
MMIM6030 Current Topics in MMIM 1 Fall and Spring
  Total  ……………………………………………………… 9 Fall and Spring, 6 Summer
 

The minimum number of credits required for MSBS is 40, with a minimum of 20 credits of didactic coursework (letter grade), and a minimum of 10 credits of thesis research.  The rest of the credits are approved electives and research in the Medical Microbiology and Immunology track.

Notes about MMIM MSBS Program:

All MMI MSBS students must pass their Qualifying Exam by the end of summer (August) of their 1st year.  Prior to completing the Qualifying Exam, MSBS students should conduct thesis research by registering for Research in MMI (MMIM6890).  After passing the Qualifying Exam, MSBS students should conduct their research by registering for Thesis Research (MMIM6990).

The minimum number of credits required for a MSBS is 40, including a minimum of 10 credit hours of thesis research for the MSBS degree.

All MMIM MSBS students are required to register for Current Topics in MMIM (MMIM6030) during all fall and spring semesters while they are enrolled as a student.  MSBS students are exempted from registering for Current Topics in MMIM during the last semester of their graduate studies but only after their graduate advisory committee approves that they may begin writing their thesis (must be written on committee meeting report; see details below).

All MMIM PhD students are required to hold two (2) graduate advisory committee meetings per year.  Committee meetings should be scheduled when all committee members can be present.  At the end of the committee meeting, committee members should agree on goals/research priorities for the next ~6 months.  Goals/research priorities should be recorded on the bottom of the MMI Graduate Student Advisory Committee Meeting Report and a copy of the Report should be provided to the MMI Track Director after each meeting.

MMI MSBS students are required to write and defend a research thesis before the MSBS degree will be conferred.  

M.D./Ph.D.: Medical Microbiology and Immunology

The mission of the MD/PhD Program at the University of Toledo College of Medicine and Life Sciences (UTCOMLS) is to provide outstanding training that integrates clinical medicine, biomedical science, compassionate care, and professionalism to enable students to succeed as independent physician-scientists with the skills, creativity, and vision to shape the future of health care. Our goal is to provide rigorous training in a supportive environment for students who will become the next generation of leaders in academic medicine or a variety of alternative career paths.  The standard structure of the M.D./Ph.D. program begins with approximately 18 months devoted to medical school and completion of the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) Step 1 exam. During the summer break between M1 and M2, students will participate in two research rotations to help determine their research mentor (Ph.D. portion of the program).  After completion of the M2 academic year, students join a lab to begin focused research and graduate coursework.  After completing the Ph.D., dual degree students return to medical school as M3 students and begin clinical rotations, followed by completion of medical school.  MMIM M.D./Ph.D. students take advanced and elective courses, including advanced immunology, advanced microbiology, current topics in MMIM (journal club and departmental seminar series), and dissertation research.  Other training activities include formal research presentations at annual Medical Microbiology and Immunology Departmental retreats, Council for Biomedical Graduate Student research forums, and presentations at regional, national, and international conferences.  All M.D./Ph.D. students are required to the complete a written dissertation and defend his/her research project at a final oral defense before the Ph.D. degree will be conferred.

MMI M.D./Ph.D. Required Courses:
• INDI 6020 On Being a Scientist  (offered all semesters)
• BMSP 8380 Methods in Biomedical Science
• BMSP 7320 Statistical Methods
• INDI 745 MD/PhD Clinical Elective (must be taken all semesters of the Ph.D. portion)
• MMIM 8030  Current Topics in MMI  (must be taken all semesters of the Ph.D. portion)
• MMIM 6890 Research in MMI (must be taken all semesters before passing the PhD qualifying exam) or MMIM9990 Dissertation Research (must be taken all semesters after passing the PhD qualifying exam)

Year 1:  MD/Ph.D. Students:

Summer immediately after M1; 1st summer in Lab:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
BMSP7320 Statistical Methods  3
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 3
SummerTotal ………………………………………………………  6
Fall:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
INDI 745 MD/PhD Clinical Elective  2
BMSP 8380 Methods in Biomedical Research  2
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMI  1
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 3
MMIM8020 Advanced Immunology 1
Fall Total ………………………………………………………  9
Spring:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
INDI745 MD/PhD Clinical Elective  2
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMI  1
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 5
MMIM8040 Advanced Microbiology 1
Spring Total ………………………………………………………  9
Summer:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM6890 Research in MMI  5
INDI6020 On Being a Scientist  1
Summer Total ………………………………………………………   6

Year 2: MD/Ph.D. Students:

Fall:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMI  1
MMIM6890 Research in MMI 8
Fall Total ………………………………………………………  9

All MD/PhD students must pass Qualifying Exam by the end of the fall semester of their 2nd year of the Ph.D. portion

Spring:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM8030 Current Topics in MMI  1
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research 8
Spring Total ……………………………………………………… 

9

Summer:
Course
Course Name Credit Hours
MMIM9990 Dissertation Research  6
Summer Total ………………………………………………………  6

M.D./Ph.D. Year 3 and above:

(same as Ph.D.)

 

To earn the Ph.D. degree, all students (Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D.) are required to take 90 course credits. Of this, at least 25 credits need to be didactic coursework (letter grade) and at least 30 credits must be dissertation research (which can only be taken after completion of the Ph.D. qualifying exam). The remainder of the 90 credits can be filled with electives and "Research in Your Track" courses. M.D./Ph.D. students will be allowed to apply up to 26 credits from their medical school courses toward their Ph.D. degree, of which only 20 credits may be applied toward the minimum requirement of 25 didactic (carrying a letter grade) graduate course credits.

 

Last Updated: 3/11/21