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 focuses on research topics such as inflammation, receptor signaling, tissue injury and healing, necrosis, apoptosis, cell growth control, neoplasia, biomaterials biocompatibility, prion disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, aging, diabetes and cardiovascular disease. The scope of the training 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 dissertation proposal/qualifying examination, 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 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 from the Student Handbook, link below) and other elective courses to meet the PhD requirements (Section II: Student Handbook). 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 (PPoS) 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.

Pathology Graduate Program Student Handbook (updated Nov 2019)

Sample Curriculum

Training Faculty

MCBDTP trainers are indicated in the list of Pathology Graduate Program Faculty Trainers (Section III: Student Handbook). MCBDTP trainers are faculty at Case Western Reserve University. 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 the Department of Pathology and other departments at the CWRU School of Medicine and its affiliated institutions (University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center, the Cleveland Clinic Foundation including the Lerner Research Institute, MetroHealth Medical Center and the Louis Stokes VA Medical Center). At CWRU, the Wolstein Research Building and Institute of Pathology house offices and research facilities of the Department of Pathology.

Seminars and Journals 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 CWRU and other universities (see description of seminar requirements in Section II: Student Handbook). 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.

MCBDTP students who are doing research related to neurodegenerative diseases are required to attend the weekly meetings of the Neurodegeneration Journal Club (Xiongwei Zhu, Director) which meets on Fridays at noon. Additionally, these students are required to attend the Neurodegenerative Diseases Retreat which is held every other year.

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
Xiongwei Zhu Chair
Nick Ziats Curriculum Representative
Clive Hamlin Track Thesis Committee Representative