Immunology Training Program

Training Objectives

The goal of the ITP is to train PhD and MD/PhD scientists who will advance research in immunology and related fields. The program includes a wide range of immunology-related topics, spanning from basic research in areas such as innate immunity, T cell activation, tolerance, antigen processing and presentation, MHC function, complement, antibody structure and function, and mucosal immunity to research in clinically relevant models of infectious diseases, vaccine development, immunopathology, transplantation and autoimmunity. Participating departments provide a rich confluence of basic science and clinical activities and resources, enriching the training of PhD students as they engage in basic and/or translational research in the field of immunology. To accomplish these training goals, the ITP has been developed as a track within the Pathology PhD Program. The ITP is co-sponsored by the Cleveland Clinical Foundation Department of Inflammation and Immunity, the Tuberculosis Research Unit, the Center for AIDS Research, the CWRU Center for Global Health and Disease, the Division of Infectious Diseases and HIV Medicine, and the Department of Ophthalmology Visual Sciences Research Center.

Overview of the ITP

Training for the PhD degree in the ITP includes course work, research rotations, formal and informal seminars, a dissertation proposal/qualifying examination, research experience resulting in scholarly publications, and a PhD dissertation. The ITP includes the core curriculum of the Pathology PhD Program and a well-developed curriculum focused on immunology. Core components of the Pathology PhD curriculum include the BSTP curriculum coursework in cell and molecular biology (IBMS 453 and IBMS 455), a minimum of three research rotations and three Pathology core courses (PATH 510 Basic Pathophysiologic Mechanisms, PATH 416 Fundamental Immunology, and PATH 465 Advanced Immunology). ITP students take at least one ITP Track Elective and other elective courses to meet the PhD requirements. 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 departments. Additional details can be found in the student handbook (link below).

Pathology Graduate Program Student Handbook (updated Nov 2019)

Sample Curriculum

Training Faculty

ITP trainers are indicated in the list of Pathology Graduate Program Faculty. ITP trainers are faculty at CWRU. Many also hold appointments at CWRU-affiliated institutions, including University Hospitals Cleveland 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 multiple departments at CWRU School of Medicine and its affiliated institutions, University Hospitals of Cleveland (UHC), the Cleveland Clinic Foundation (CCF, including the Lerner Research Institute), Metro Health Medical Center (MHMC) and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center (VAMC). At CWRU, the Wolstein Research Building houses offices and research facilities of the Department of Pathology (which includes a major emphasis on Immunology), the Center for Global Health (with multiple active programs in infectious diseases, especially parasitic diseases) and the Case Comprehensive Cancer Center (including the Center for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine and core facilities for FACS, microarray gene expression studies and many other cutting-edge research methods). The Division of Infectious Diseases is nearby on the CWRU campus and in adjacent facilities at UHCMC; in addition to a wide spectrum of research on Infectious Diseases, it includes several specialized research facilities, including the Center for AIDS research (CFAR), AIDS Clinical Trials Unit (ACTU) and its Special Immunology Unit (SIU), and the Tuberculosis Research Unit (TBRU). The Department of Dermatology and its Skin Diseases Research Center also house immunology-related research, and the Department of Ophthalmology is building a program in ocular immunology. The CCF houses an entire Department of Immunology at its Lerner Research Institute (LRI); these faculty hold appointments in the CWRU Department of Molecular Medicine (based at the LRI) and ITP Trainers hold faculty or trainer appointments in the CWRU Department of Pathology. Other immunology research groups are located in a wide number of other departments at CWRU, CCF, UHCMC, MHMC and VAMC.

Seminar and Journal Clubs

ITP 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. Students also participate in a weekly Immunology Journal Club.

Administrative Structure

As a track within the Pathology Graduate Program, the ITP is represented on the Pathology Graduate Program Committee by a representative who also serves as the Chair of the ITP 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 ITP Steering Committee is charged with all activities specific to the ITP (curriculum development, including courses, seminar and journal clubs, advising of prospective students and students in the ITP, recruiting efforts, faculty development and other issues).

ITP Steering Committee

Member Role
Brian Cobb ITP Director, Track Advisor, Immunology Journal Club, and Curriculum Design
Clifford Harding MSTP Director
Lan Zhou Track Advisor
Teresa Pizarro Track Advisor
Alan Levine Curriculum Design
Clive Hamlin Track Thesis Committee Representative
Robert Fairchild CCF Immunology Representative
Arlene Dent Center for Global Health and Disease Representative
Michael Lederman Center for AIDS Research Representative