Curriculum Overview

The curriculum of the doctorate program in Biomedical Science and Translational Medicine emphasizes research training and closely mentored instruction within a human disease-focused framework. The program is designed to prepare our students for successful careers by training them as well-rounded scientists with a strong foundation of knowledge in research design, methodology, presentation, and the skills needed to compete for research funding.

During the program, the student will gain:

  • Broad knowledge and understanding of the biological sciences and their relevance to medicine.
  • Creativity in and enthusiasm for, scientific ideas.
  • The ability to think "scientifically” and to negotiate scientific problem solving.
  • The ability to acquire the necessary knowledge which is not included in the Core Curriculum but which is relevant to research projects.
  • The ability to conduct a scientific argument verbally and/or writing with mentor/teachers and peers.
  • Initiative in engaging mentor/teachers, teachers, peers in creating supportive networks to enhance scientific growth.
  • Productive interactions with clinicians working on medical problems relevant to the primary research interest of the student to facilitate translational opportunities.

One of the program's main goals is to provide a contextual understanding of how basic and pre-clinical research relate to treatment and pathophysiology of disease. Courses are taught in small tutorial groups by members of the world-class PhD and MD faculty of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. Throughout the program, students will have both basic science and clinical research mentors. Students will be taught both by clinicians who diagnose and treat the diseases, and by scientists who study their underlying mechanisms. Units will integrate biochemistry, immunology, genetics, and microbiology, underscoring their interrelationships in understanding the mechanisms of human disease.

Students will also be able to present their research in symposia such as the Second Inter-Institution Graduate Student Symposium featuring Graduate Student Research in Basic Science and Translational Medicine.

Year 1

Entering students will be introduced to mentors and laboratories and will select three laboratories in which to rotate. Students will spend time in these laboratories familiarizing themselves with the research and the researchers. Students will also participate in rotations in which they are paired with clinical mentors and observe patient care and clinical research in a variety of clinical settings. At the end of the rotations, the students will select thesis mentors.

During the first year, all students will complete the Core Curriculum and participate in ongoing workshops, seminars, and journal clubs.

Year 2

During the second year, students must successfully complete a Qualifying Examination and participate in ongoing workshops, seminars, and journal clubs.

For the Qualifying Examination, students will select a doctoral committee and prepare a proposal for their dissertation research.

Years 3 to Graduation

This time is spent completing thesis research, writing and defending the student's dissertation.

Students will meet regularly with their doctoral committees, and will participate in ongoing workshops, seminars, and journal clubs.

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