A PhD Programme in Translational Medicine
The Department of Molecular Medicine is one of the largest Departments of the University of Pavia but this notwithstanding in April 2015 only 5.8% of the PhD students funded by the University and 3.6% of the total number of PhD students registered with Pavia, including the ones in receipt of external PhD awards were pursuing their PhD course in the Department.
The low percentage of PhD students active in the Department combined, the current lack of a PhD Programme in Molecular/Translational Medicine and the fact that this is one of the most actively and rapidly expanding areas of medical research prompted the Department to take action and, as an interim step, the Department funded two PhD studentships in 2016/17 through the existing PhD Proramme in Experimental Medicine.
In January 2017 the Department put forward a proposal for a new PhD programme in Translational Medicine. The proposal builds on the unprecedented progress that has taken place over the last four decades in the field of biological and medical sciences and that have laid the foundations for an understanding of the fundamental processes that cause disease.
The programme is directed to graduates in Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Engineering who wish to undertake research in Molecular Medicine and to graduates in Medicine who wish to pursue a career as clinical scientists. The faculty of this graduate programme includes a large number of departmental staff, two clinical scientists from the Department of Internal Medicine, a group of researchers based at national or international research Institutes located in Italy (CNR and RiMED) and a number of outstanding scientists working at foreign Universities and Research Institutes.
The programme will offer projects in the areas of genomics, proteomics, biomarkers, protein structure and engineering and new biologics (antibodies and enzymes) and the scope of the studies proposed studies include rare genetic diseases, infectious diseases, diseases of tissue / organ / system (blood, muscle / skeletal, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular) and cancer. A ‘further research area of great regenerative medicine and in particular: (i) the use of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) as a tool for studying disease mechanisms and screening new drugs and, (ii) the development of molecules that promote the regeneration of organs and tissues from resident stem/progenitor cells present in adult tissues.
To ensure that the PhD programme in Translational Medicine will attract top class candidates from all over the world, the Department is able to offer: (i) a strong list of project supervisors, (ii ) well equipped laboratories that offer access to deep sequencing of DNA, mass spectrometry, high resolution microscopy, incubators and fermenters for the ‘expression of heterologous proteins, advanced chromatography systems and instrumentation for physico-chemical analysis of molecular interactions.
The course also provides: (i) direct support and collaboration with two of the University Projects (Cancer Research Center and Center for Health Technologies), (ii) access to the beam of light dedicated to the research of the National Center of Oncology Hadrontherapy (CNAO) (iii) access to major European research stations: synchrotron in Grenoble, Oxford and Hamburg (ESRF, Diamond and Petra), (iv) an extensive international network of laboratories run by foreign members of the teachers that allows students to access laboratories top level in Europe and the USA: the Universities of Cambridge, Oxford, Zurich, Amsterdam, Harvard, Tufts, Yale and Utah, the Medical Research Council Laboratory (Cambridge, UK), the Institute Pasteur (Paris) and Karolinska Institute (Stockholm ), the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (Boston) and the Institute of Health Sciences and Technology of Harvard/MIT (Cambridge, US).
Finally, the new Progamme aims to build a truly international research envirnoment and will take the necessary steps (in order to ensure that strong candidates from outside Italy have every opportunity for gaining access. Measures will include advertsing the programme, written and oral examinations in English and the possibility of sitting the written paper outside Pavia at defined locations in North Amnerica (New York) and the Far East (Bejing).
The official call for applications will be published early in June 2017 with a dead line for application in July and admission tests in September. Prospective students are encouraged to study the web pages containing details of the Admission Procedures and the List of Projects 2017/18.