Biomedical Sciences

http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/resoff/graduate-education/

Degrees Offered

  • Master of Science
  • Doctor of Philosophy

Lisa M. Salati, Ph.D., Program Director and Assistant Vice President for Graduate Education at the WVU Health Sciences Center; lsalati@hsc.wvu.edu

Andrew R. Flinn, Assistant Director for Graduate Education; arflinn@hsc.wvu.edu

The Masters of Science (M.S.) in the Biomedical Sciences is designed to assist in the selection of a career path, albeit industry, teaching, or a professional program, and/or for the transition to a biomedical Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) program.  The M.S. degree has a thesis and non-thesis option, the latter with additional elective coursework that should align with career goals.  Completion of the M.S. degree is realized when the student successfully presents the research results to faculty of the student’s graduate thesis committee. Typically, two to three years are required to realize this goal.

A Ph.D. in the Biomedical Sciences at West Virginia University offers you the unique opportunity to explore multiple disciplines and areas of research in the biomedical sciences but to also fast track into a dissertation laboratory and a graduate program within one semester.  Earning the Ph.D. will be through one of the 7 degree granting programs in the Biomedical Sciences: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cancer Cell Biology, Cellular and Integrative Physiology, Exercise Physiology, Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis, Neuroscience, and Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences.  They share a common admission’s process and a common core curriculum in the first semester. You will rotate through 3 laboratories during the fall semester with the potential to select a dissertation adviser by the end of the semester. 

Doctoral study in these graduate programs allows the development of research and critical thinking skills as well as preparation in career development to prepare you for entry into a myriad of careers in research, teaching, industry, government, and other positions that require specialized training at the graduate level.

As an incoming student, you will:

  • start your graduate studies with an orientation that will prepare you to successfully transition into graduate studies, and allow you to interact with an orientation adviser, faculty investigators, and current students;
  • have the opportunity to match with a faculty mentor, or thesis or dissertation adviser through laboratory rotations during the first semester;
  • take a course in scientific writing during the summer of Year 2;
  • have the opportunity to participate in seminar series, workshops, and career-development sessions.

All applications are accepted electronically and must be submitted electronically via the official WVU Graduate Education application: https://app.applyyourself.com/AYApplicantLogin/fl_ApplicantConnectLogin.asp?id=wvugrad.

Applications are reviewed from November through March by a Common Admissions Committee comprised of the graduate directors or faculty representatives of our seven Ph.D. graduate training programs and a senior graduate student representing the Graduate Student Organization.  The Assistant Vice President for Graduate Education and the Assistant Director of HSC Graduate Education are ex officio members.

All students interested in one of the 7 Biomedical Ph.D. programs must apply through a common admissions portal.  Choice of a specific graduate program occurs during the first year of graduate study after selection of an adviser for your dissertation research and choosing one of the degree granting programs. Applications to both the Ph.D. and M.S. programs include a Personal Statement, transcripts from all Colleges or Universities attended, GRE scores, and 3 letters of recommendation.  Applicants must arrange to have official copies of transcripts and tests scores sent directly to the WVU Office of Graduate Admissions and Recruitment, PO Box 6510, Morgantown, WV 26506-6510.

Additional Information:

To review the programs and application process, please visit:

For Ph.D. applicants:  http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/resoff/graduate-education/phd-programs/biomedical-sciences/prospective-students/

For M.S. applicants:  http://www.hsc.wvu.edu/resoff/graduate-education/ms-programs/biomedical-sciences/

Qualified M.S. applicants are invited, along with Ph.D. applicants, to an all-expense paid, 2.5 day visit/interview to the campus.  Students with excellent credentials and who can clearly describe their past research and demonstrate passion for research at the interview are seriously considered for acceptance.  Decisions of acceptance are made on a rolling basis, and all decisions made by the Admissions Committee are final.  For maximum admissions consideration, we recommend that you apply as early as possible.

Master of Science

Major Requirements

BMS 700Scientific Integrity1
BMS 706Cellular Methods1
BMS 715Molecular Genetics3
BMS 720Scientific Writing2
Program- specific elective 3
Journal Clubs 3
BMS 791AADTP:Short Lab Experience 2
BMS 793ASPTP:Fndtn-Cntmp Biomd Rsrch 24
BMS 793BSPTP: Fndtn-Cntmp Biomd Rsrch 24
Select either the thesis or non-thesis option:18
Thesis Option
Elective (3 hours)
Research (15 hours)
Research
Thesis Proposal
Thesis Defense
Non-Thesis Option
Electives (12 hours)
Research (6 hours)
Research
Total Hours41

Seminars and Research Forum

It is recommended that students attend a weekly seminar in their chosen research area during each semester enrolled in the program.

Journal Club

Students are required to enroll in three Journal Clubs during their M.S. studies. The course involves the presentation and discussion of current research papers and will help acquaint students with the variety of methods used in scientific research.

Masters Research

Students will conduct research with a thesis mentor during time in the program. Students register for research credits each semester, and their performance is graded by their thesis mentor.

Thesis Proposal

The thesis proposal is completed in the beginning of the second year of study.

Thesis Defense

The final examination for the M.S. degree consists of orally defending a written thesis in private to the thesis committee – a prior public presentation is encouraged.  Satisfactory performance in the oral defense will result in recommendation for granting of the M.S. degree.

Suggested Plan of Study

Thesis Option

First Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
BMS 7001BMS 7153BMS 7973
BMS 7061Program Specific Elective 3 
BMS 791A2Journal Club 1 
BMS 793A4BMS 7971 
BMS 793B4  
 12 8 3
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
Elective3Journal Club 1BMS 7202
Journal Club1BMS 7976BMS 7971
BMS 7974  
Thesis proposal    
 8 7 3
Total credit hours: 41

Non Thesis Option

First Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
BMS 7001BMS 7153BMS 7973
BMS 7061Program-specific elective 3 
BMS 791A4Elective 3 
BMS 793A4Journal Club 1 
BMS 793B2  
 12 10 3
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
Elective 3Elective 3BMS 7202
Elective 3Journal Club1BMS 7971
Journal Club 1BMS 7971 
BMS 7971  
 8 5 3
Total credit hours: 41

NOTE:  The graduate curriculum is finalized with a plan of study once the mentor and laboratory have been selected in the first year.  The plan of study is developed by the graduate committee in consultation with the student.  The courses listed above include the required and elective coursework necessary for the student to finalize his/her plan of study.

Major Learning Goals

Master of Science (M.S.) in the Biomedical Sciences

This program is designed to assist in the selection of a career path, albeit industry, teaching, or a professional program, and/or for the transition to a biomedical Ph.D. program. The first-year curriculum imparts a fundamental understanding of the functional components of a cell and the basis for regulation of cellular processes and organ systems. After selecting a mentor, students take additional courses that align with their research interests.

Students will:

  • Integrate molecular, cellular, and integrative systems concepts
  • Critically interpret the current scientific literature
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills
  • Design and interpret experiments to test molecular, cellular, and integrative systems mechanisms
  • Demonstrate technical skills in conducting scientific experimentation
  • Articulate, verbally and in writing, their understanding of concepts during scientific discussions
  • Discuss relevant scientific ethical issues presented as case studies  
  • Engage with fellow students and faculty and demonstrate teamwork

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in one of the 7 biomedical Ph.D. programs

Students in the first semester of year one in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs take a common core curriculum that covers topics important to all biomedical sciences graduate programs.  In addition, they begin training in the responsible conduct of research, and they conduct three short lab experiences to assist in the selection of a faculty mentor for dissertation research.  The intended outcomes the first year in graduate school are to match with a faculty investigator who will guide the student to completion of dissertation research, and to successfully transfer into one of the Ph.D. degree-granting biomedical sciences programs.

Students will:

  • Integrate molecular, cellular, and integrative systems concepts
  • Critically interpret the current scientific literature
  • Develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills

Demonstrate technical skills in conducting scientific experimentation

  • Articulate, verbally and in writing, the understanding of concepts during scientific discussions
  • Discuss relevant scientific ethical issues presented as case studies
  • Apply responsible research practices to the conduct of their experiments
  • Engage with fellow students and faculty and demonstrate teamwork

Courses

BMS 694. Seminar. 1-6 Hours.

Special seminars arranged for advanced graduate students.

BMS 695. Independent Study. 1-6 Hours.

Faculty-supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

BMS 700. Scientific Integrity. 1 Hour.

A course in scientific ethics that is led by individual faculty and incorporates small and large group discussions of ethical issues in science presented as case studies.

BMS 705. Cell Structure and Metabolism. 1-4 Hours.

This course emphasizes general principles of cell biology, membrane structure and transport, and signaling, proliferation, death and structure of cells and incorporates a literature-based journal club.

BMS 706. Cellular Methods. 1 Hour.

A lecture-based survey of research techniques used in contemporary studies of cells, ranging from the imaging of cells and tissues by microscopy and fluorescence techniques to the purification and characterization of protein structure and function.

BMS 710. Fundamentals of Integrated Systems. 1-4 Hours.

This course emphasizes four areas of integrated biology - endocrinology, neurobiology, immunology and microbial pathogenesis, with an overview of pharmacology and incorporates a literature-based journal club.

BMS 715. Molecular Genetics. 1-3 Hours.

This course emphasizes general principles of molecular biology (the progression of information from the gene to the production of the active protein or the active RNA) and incorporates a literature-based journal club.

BMS 720. Scientific Writing. 2 Hours.

This course introduces students to scientific writing and requires them to write a journal article and a pre-doctoral grant proposal, based on the format used by NIH.

BMS 730. Cancer Cell Biology. 2-3 Hours.

This course emphasizes the cellular signals that direct tumor growth and invasive potential and explores how these same signals can be targeted for intervention to block tumor progression.

BMS 732. Introduction to Physiological Systems and Disease. 3 Hours.

This course provides students with an introduction to cellular and molecular physiology. It enables students to investigate normal and pathologic pathways and examine common diseases and injuries that alter organ systems. Students considering any research path directed toward human health and disease will find that this course provides a foundation in the study of human form and function.

BMS 734. Cell Signaling Metabolism. 3 Hours.

This course emphasizes the pathways involved in energy metabolism in living cells and introduces hormonal and nutritional signal transduction systems that control metabolic pathways.

BMS 736. Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis. 3 Hours.

PR: BMS 710. An expansion of the concepts and mechanisms of basic immunology and microbial pathogenesis previously introduced in "Fundamentals of Integrated Systems" BMS 710.

BMS 738. Muscle Structure and Function. 2-3 Hours.

This course examines in-depth the concepts in muscle structure and function with emphasis on normal physiology and applications to overload/exercise and disuse or aging.

BMS 740. Neuroscience 2. 2-3 Hours.

This course provides a background in neuroscience, emphasizing cellular neurobiology, neurochemistry, learning and memory, sensory systems, neural development, autonomic nervous system, neuroendocrinology, and consciousness.

BMS 791A-C. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. Investigation in advanced topics that are not covered in regularly scheduled courses.

BMS 793A-E. Foundations and Theory of CTS. 1-6 Hours.

BMS 794A. CTS Journal Club. 1-6 Hours.

Special seminars arranged for advanced graduate students.

BMS 795. Independent Study. 1-9 Hours.

Faculty supervised study of topics not available through regular course offerings.

BMS 796. Graduate Seminar. 1 Hour.

PR: Consent. Each graduate student will present at least one seminar to the assembled faculty and graduate student body of his or her program.

BMS 797. Research. 1-15 Hours.

PR: Consent. Research activities leading to thesis, problem report, research paper or equivalent scholarly project, or a dissertation. (Grading may be S/U.).

BMS 799. Graduate Colloquium. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. For graduate student not seeking coursework credit but who wish to meet residency requirements, use the University's facilities, and participate in its academic and cultural programs. Note: Graduate students who are not actively involved in coursework or research are entitled, through enrollment in their department's Graduate Colloquium, to consult with graduate faculty, participate in both formal and informal academic activities sponsored by their program, and retain all of the rights and privileges of duly enrolled students. Colloquium credit may not be counted against credit requirements for graduation. Registration of one credit hour of graduate colloquium satisfies the University requirement of registration in the semester in which graduation occurs.


Faculty

Assistant VP for Graduate Education

  • Lisa M. Salati - Ph.D.

Assistant Director for Graduate Studies

  • Andrew R. Flinn - Ph.D.

Director M.D./Ph.D. Program

  • David P. Siderovski - Ph.D.

Staff Assistant

  • Penny Phillips
    M.D./Ph.D. Scholars Program