Molecular and Cellular Basis of Disease Training Program

Training Objectives

The goal of the MCBDTP is to train PhD and MD/PhD scientists who will advance research in experimental Pathology and the molecular and cellular basis of disease. The MCBDTP provides a PhD training program that includes the many facets of experimental pathology, including inflammation, receptor signaling, tissue injury and healing, necrosis, apoptosis, cell growth control, neoplasia, biomaterials biocompatibility, neuropathology (including prion disorders, Alzheimers disease and other topics), aging, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The program includes basic scientific research, translational research and applications to clinical settings. The Pathology Department and other participating departments provide a rich confluence of basic science and clinical activities and resources, enriching the training of PhD students as they engage in both basic science and translational research in Pathology. To accomplish these training goals, the MCBDTP has been developed as a track within the Pathology PhD Program.

Overview of the MCBDTP

Training for the PhD degree in the MCBDTP includes course work, research rotations, formal and informal seminars, a Thesis Proposal/Qualifying Examination, and research experience resulting in scholarly publications and a PhD dissertation. The MCBDTP includes the core curriculum of the Pathology Graduate Program and track-specific electives. Core components of the Pathology PhD curriculum include the BSTP curriculum coursework in cell and molecular biology (CBIO 453 CBIO 455), a minimum of three research rotations and two Pathology core courses (PATH 510 Basic Pathophysiologic Mechanisms and PATH 416 Fundamental Immunology). The third Pathology core course (PATH 520 Basic Cancer Biology & Interface with Clinical Oncology) is optional for MCBDTP students. MCBDTP students take at least two MCBDTP Track Electives (see Section XIV: List of Courses) and other elective courses to meet the PhD requirements (Section II: Pathology PhD Program). Elective courses should be selected in consideration of the research emphasis of the individual student and may include a wide range of courses offered by the Department of Pathology or other basic science graduate departments. The student and his/her Thesis Mentor may use the flexibility of the program to design a customized curriculum to address the specific research interests of the student. A student's course selections must be approved by his/her Thesis Mentor, and a Planned Program of Study (see Forms section) must be completed to insure adequate planning for coursework and other curriculum components. This plan must be reviewed and approved by the MCBDTP Track Thesis Committee Representative (Clive Hamlin), and then submitted to the Pathology Graduate Program Coordinator (Christine Kehoe). The MCBDTP Track Thesis Committee Representative will be an ex officio member of all Thesis Committees for MCBDTP students and will insure consistency in advising and adherence to guidelines.

Training Faculty

MCBDTP trainers are indicated in the list of Pathology Graduate Program Faculty Trainers (Section III: Faculty Trainers). MCBDTP trainers are faculty at Case Western Reserve University; many also hold appointments at Case-affiliated institutions, including University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Metro Health Medical Center and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center.

Research Facilities

Trainers and research laboratories are located in the Department of Pathology and multiple other departments at Case School of Medicine and its affiliated institutions, University Hospitals Case Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (including the Lerner Research Institute), MetroHealth Medical Center and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center. At Case, the Wolstein Research Building and Institute of Pathology house offices and research facilities of the Department of Pathology.

Sample Curriculum


Seminars and Journal Clubs

MCBDTP students take the PATH 511 and PATH 512 Experimental Pathology Seminar courses. These courses include two components, the Pathology Graduate Student Seminar Series, where students report on research progress, and research seminars. For the research seminar component, MCBDTP students are expected to attend the weekly Pathology Department Seminar Series, which features speakers from Case and other universities (see description of seminar requirements in Section II: Pathology PhD Program). Students must attend the seminar components of PATH 511 and PATH 512 even in semesters when they are not registered for the course. Students should also attend other relevant seminars. Finally, students present their dissertation research in a Departmental Thesis Seminar.

Administrative Structure

As a track within the Pathology Graduate Program, the MCBDTP is represented on the Pathology Graduate Program Committee by a representative who also serves as the Chair of the MCBDTP Steering Committee. The Pathology Graduate Program Committee handles issues common to all tracks (student admissions, mentor approval, final stages of academic review and other issues related to the general structure of the program). The MCBDTP Steering Committee is charged with all activities specific to the MCBDTP (curriculum development, including courses, seminar and journal clubs, advising of prospective students and students in the MCBDTP, recruiting efforts, faculty development and other issues). The two committees work together in many areas with joint efforts coordinated by the MCBDTP Chair who serves on the Pathology Graduate Program Committee. The MCBDTP Steering Committee composition and function may be dictated by the chair of the committee. For example, a subset of the committee members may meet to deal with issues focused on their roles in the committee.

MCBDTP Steering Committee

Member Role
James Anderson Chair
Nick Ziats Curriculum Representative
Mark Jackson Director, Pathology Seminar Series
Clive Hamlin Track Thesis Committee Representative