Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis

https://medicine.hsc.wvu.edu/micro/students/graduate-program-phd/

jbarnett@hsc.wvu.edu

Degrees Offered

  • Doctor of Philosophy
  • Joint Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy

Educational Objectives

The Doctor of Philosophy degree in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis will prepare students from diverse backgrounds to serve as professionals that are knowledgeable about the immune system of humans and other mammals, how the immune system functions, and the consequences of its malfunction on the health of the host.  Knowledge of the immune system will be fully integrated with an excellent understanding of the diversity of microorganisms that cause disease in humans and other mammals and mechanisms of disease pathogenesis.  Graduates will possess the laboratory skills and knowledge needed to assess the functional status of the immune system and to assess the mechanism used by microbial agents to cause disease in mammals.   Graduates will be qualified to pursue several professional career paths in private industry, state and federal government, and academic institutions.

The doctoral program in Immunology and Microbial Pathogenesis emphasizes extensive laboratory research in microbiology, immunology, microbial pathogenesis, and/or cell biology, i.e. the major purpose of graduate education in the program is research training. The basic philosophy of the program is that students acquire a strong foundation in the basic concepts of immunology and microbial pathogenesis and have flexibility in choosing advanced coursework in their specific areas of interest.  Each student will complete an original, in-depth research investigation. Its learner-centered curriculum integrates both classroom and hands-on research experiences to produce students capable of designing and doing independent research and teaching.

Completion of the Ph.D. degree is realized when the student successfully presents the research results to faculty of the graduate dissertation committee and program/department. Typically, four to five years are required to realize this goal.

Faculty members and students explore diverse areas of inquiry related to the medical implications of microbes and the human body’s response to them.

Current Research Areas

  • Immunology
  • Effects of man-made pesticides and herbicides on the immune system
  • Effects of heavy metals on the immune system
  • Biochemistry of inflammatory cytokines
  • Immune response in bacterial and viral diseases
  • Regulation of signal transduction in immune responses
  • Molecular aspects of cell signaling as it relates to cancer chemotherapy and cell growth
  • Peptide and DNA vaccines for contraception
  • Microbiology
  • Physiology of pathogenic microbes
  • Microbial genetics
  • Mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis
  • Chemotaxis and motility
  • Interactions between microbes and their hosts
  • Molecular mimicry and structure-function relationship of bacterial virulence factors
  • Microbial biofilms

Doctor of Philosophy

Major Requirements

BMS 700Scientific Integrity1
BMS 706Cellular Methods1
BMS 720Scientific Writing2
Journal Club7
Immunology and Microbiology Journal Club
MICB 790Teaching Practicum2
BMS 791A ADTP:Short Lab Experience2
BMS 793ASPTP:Fndtn-Cntmp Biomd Rsrch 14
BMS 793BSPTP:Fndtn-Cntmp Biomd Rsrch 24
Graduate Seminar 8
Graduate Seminar
Research43
Research
Two Advanced Courses6-8
Biomedical Science Modules- select two courses from the following: 7
Molecular Genetics
Muscle Structure and Function
MICB 784
Special Problems
Drugs: Bench to Market
Qualifying Exam
Dissertation Proposal
Dissertation Defense
Total Hours87-89

Seminars and Research Forum

Students are required to register for MICB 796 each semester of residence and are required to present at least one seminar during each school calendar year (Fall – Spring semesters).

Journal Club

Students are required to enroll in Journal Club each semester. 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.

Doctoral Research

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

Qualifying and Dissertation Proposal/Ph.D. Candidacy

The written qualifying exam is given at the end of the first year of study. The dissertation proposal is completed in the third year of study. Admission to Ph.D. candidacy occurs following the successful defense of the dissertation proposal.

Dissertation Defense and First-Author Paper Requirement

Students are allowed to defend their dissertation when a minimum of one manuscript with the student as first author, based on dissertation research, is accepted in a peer-reviewed journal. The final examination for the Ph.D. degree consists of orally defending a written dissertation in a public seminar and then in private to the dissertation committee.  Satisfactory performance in the oral defense will result in recommendation for granting of the PhD.

Suggested Plan of Study

First Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
BMS 7001Biomedical Science Modules7MICB 7973
BMS 7061MICB 7851Qualifying Examination  
BMS 791A2MICB 7961 
BMS 793A4  
BMS 793B4  
 12 9 3
Second Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
Advanced Course3Advanced Course3BMS 7202
MICB 7851MICB 7851MICB 7971
MICB 7901MICB 7901 
MICB 7961MICB 7961 
MICB 7973MICB 7973 
 9 9 3
Third Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
MICB 7851MICB 7851MICB 7973
MICB 7961MICB 7961 
MICB 7977MICB 7977 
 Dissertation Proposal   
 9 9 3
Fourth Year
FallHoursSpringHoursSummerHours
MICB 7851MICB 7851MICB 7973
MICB 7961MICB 7961 
MICB 7977MICB 7977 
 9 9 3
Total credit hours: 87

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. When the student enters the laboratory of his/her doctoral dissertation mentor repetitive enrollments in research, seminars, and colloquia are typical and will determine total hours necessary for degree completion.

Major Learning Goals

immunology and microbial pathogenesis

Students will:

  • Demonstrate a general knowledge of basic concepts of microbiology, microbial pathogenesis, and immunology, and a detailed knowledge of his or her area of research
  • Be familiar with the research literature in microbiology and immunology and in their specific field of study and should have the ability to keep abreast of major developments and to acquire a working background in any area
  • Demonstrate skill in the recognition of meaningful problems and questions for research in Microbiology and Immunology
  • Possess technical skill in laboratory manipulation
  • Demonstrate that oral, written, and visual communication skills have been acquired
  • Demonstrate skill in designing experimental protocols and in conducting productive self-directed research

Courses

MICB 592. Directed Study. 1-6 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

MICB 593. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.

MICB 691A-Z. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

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

MICB 697. 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.).

MICB 698. Thesis or Dissertation. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. This is an optional course for programs that wish to provide formal supervision during the writing of student reports (698), or dissertations (798). Grading is normal.

MICB 699. Graduate Colloquium. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. For graduate students 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 699/799 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. Grading is P/F; colloquium credit may not be counted against credit requirements for masters programs. Registration for one credit of 699/799 graduate colloquium satisfies the University requirement of registration in the semester in which graduation occurs.

MICB 702. Microbiology. 5 Hours.

(For dental students only.) PR: Organic chemistry. Detailed study of pathogenic microorganisms. Emphasis on oral flora.

MICB 720. Cellular Immunobiology. 3 Hours.

This course will study contemporary topics in immunology from a research perspective. The primary focus of this course is to examine the impact of significant research discoveries on shaping current knowledge in immunology and disease. Students are expected to have prior understanding of basic immunology.

MICB 781. Advanced Immunology. 3 Hours.

PR: BMS 710 and BMS 736 or MICB 701 or permission from the instructor. Students participate in a study of contemporary topics using primary literature selected from recent developments in the field of immunology.

MICB 784A-Z. Special Problems in Microbiology. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent.

MICB 785. Immunology and Microbiology Journal Club. 1-2 Hours.

A review of contemporary topics selected from developments in the field during the current year.

MICB 790. Teaching Practicum. 1-3 Hours.

PR: Consent. Supervised practice in college teaching of microbiology. Note: This course is intended to insure that graduate assistants are adequately prepared and supervised when they are given college teaching responsibility. It will also present a mechanism for students not on assistantships to gain teaching experience. (Grading will be P/F.).

MICB 791A-Z. Advanced Topics. 1-6 Hours.

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

MICB 792. Directed Study. 1-6 Hours.

Directed study, reading, and/or research.

MICB 793. Special Topics. 1-6 Hours.

A study of contemporary topics selected from recent developments in the field.

MICB 794. Seminar. 1-6 Hours.

Special seminars arranged for advanced graduate students.

MICB 795. Independent Study. 1-9 Hours.

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

MICB 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.

MICB 797. Research. 1-15 Hours.

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

MICB 798. Thesis or Dissertation. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. This is an optional course for programs that wish to provide formal supervision during the writing of student reports (698), or dissertations (798). Grading is normal.

MICB 799. Graduate Colloquium. 1-6 Hours.

PR: Consent. For graduate students 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 thier department's 699/799 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. Grading is P/F; colloquium credit may not be counted against credit requirements for masters programs. Registration for one credit of 699/799 graduate colloquium satisfies the University requirement of registration in the semester in which graduation occurs.

MICB 801. Immunity, Infection and Disease. 9 Hours.

An integrated approach to the study of infectious disease in humans, with focus on innate and acquired immunity, mechanisms of pathogenesis of infectious microorganisms, transmission, and treatment.


Faculty

Graduate Program Director

  • John Barnett - Ph.D. (University of Louisville)

Professors

  • Nyles Charon - Ph.D. (University of Minnesota)
  • Christopher Cuff - Ph.D. (Temple University)
  • Laura F. Gibson - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Vazhaikkurichi Rajendran - Ph.D. (University of Madras)

Associate professors

  • Tim Eubank - Ph.D. (The Ohio State University)
  • Slawomir Lukomski - Ph.D. (University of Lodz, Poland)
  • Karen Martin - Ph.D. (Duke University)
  • Lisa Robinson - Ph.D. (Cornell University)
  • Cory Robinson - Ph.D. (Miami University of Ohio)
  • Rosana Schafer - Ph.D. (Temple University)
  • James M. Sheil - Ph.D. (University of Kentucky)

Assistant professors

  • Mariette Barbier - Ph.D. (Universitat de les Illes Balears)
  • Kathy Brundage - Ph.D. (University of Pennsylvania)
  • Duaa Dakhallah - Ph.D. (The Ohio State University)
  • F. Heath Damron - Ph.D. (Marshall University)
  • Meenal Elliott - Ph.D. (University of Alabama)
  • Jennifer Franko - Ph.D. (Case Western Reserve University)
  • Ivan Martinez - Ph.D. (University of Pittsburgh)
  • Gordon Meares - Ph.D. (University of Alabama)
  • Edwin Wan - Ph.D. (City University of Hong Kong)
  • Valerie Watson - M.S. (West Virginia University)

Adjunct professors

  • Don Beezhold - Ph.D. (University of Illinois Medical Center)
  • John Noti - Ph.D. (Purdue University)
  • David Weissman - M.D. (Northwestern University)

Adjunct assistant professors

  • Stacey Anderson - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Brett J. Green - Ph.D.(University of Sydney)
  • David Klinke - Ph.D. (Northwestern University)
  • Yong Qian - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)
  • Jenny Roberts - Ph.D. (West Virginia University)