Admission into the Molecular Medicine PhD program is obtained through application directly to the program. Graduate students complete didactic coursework, independent research, and other doctoral requirements to earn the PhD. First year students complete two to four laboratory rotations among the laboratories of training faculty, and are exposed to trainer research projects during the Frontiers of Molecular Medicine seminars. The first year begins mid-July. Students from all years present their research and received feedback in the student seminar series.
During subsequent years, students will devote the majority of their time to thesis research while attending advanced graduate courses, and seminars. Advanced elective courses may be chosen from any department or program on campus with the approval of the graduate program director and the student’s thesis committee over the first two years. Students must take a total of 36 semester hours of courses and pre-candidacy thesis research, including 24 graded credit hours, and maintain a B average. The qualifying exam comprises preparing and defending a grant application in the NIH format. The topic of the grant is the area of the student’s thesis research. At least one aim of this proposal will consist of a specific translational or clinical aim. All efforts should be made to complete the PhD within five years from the date of matriculation. All students are expected to submit two or more first-authored primary research publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. At least one manuscript must be accepted for publication prior to the thesis defense.
The Molecular Medicine PhD Program offers a track for Cleveland Clinic physician trainees in Graduate Medicine Education accredited programs, who wish to pursue a PhD in laboratory-based research in the Molecular Medicine PhD Program, a program completely housed and administered at the Cleveland Clinic. If you are a Cleveland Clinic physician trainee and would like to learn more about this opportunity, please email email@example.com.
Students begin in July by taking MMED 402 Tools for Research and MMED 410 Introduction to Human Physiology and Disease. The student will follow a progressive curriculum including Cell Biology; Metabolism and Pharmacology; Nucleic Acids, Gene Expression and Gene Regulation; Mammalian Genetics; and Infection and Immunity. In the second summer students take Principles of Clinical and Translational Research. During year 2, students are required to take MMED 521, focusing on molecular mechanisms of human disease, and an independent study mentored MMED 612 Clinical Experience.
The research rotations allow the student to sample areas of research and become familiar with faculty members and their laboratories. The main purpose of these rotations is to aid the student in selecting a laboratory for the thesis work. Students will begin their rotations in July. At least two rotations are highly recommended prior to choosing the thesis advisor.
During or after the second semester of the first year, students select an advisor for their dissertation research. The emphasis of the PhD work is on research, culminating in the completion of an original, independent research thesis.
The Molecular Medicine PhD Program offers a track for Cleveland Clinic physician trainees in Graduate Medicine Education accredited programs, who wish to pursue a PhD in laboratory-based research in the Molecular Medicine PhD Program, a program completely housed and administered at Cleveland Clinic. Applicants should anticipate the program to take at least 18-24 months of full-time commitment with no clinical responsibilities
Current residents in accredited residency programs at Cleveland Clinic or current fellows in a clinical fellowship (non-research fellowship) at Cleveland Clinic who have successfully completed an accredited U.S. residency program or a residency program outside the U.S. with completion of the USMLE/COMLEX examinations or ECFMG certification.
The resident or fellow must have a period of dedicated time to devote to classwork and the laboratory research project. This works well in training programs where dedicated research time is part of the training years. Upon matriculation, the trainee will submit their MD transcripts to program leadership for evaluation. An individualized plan of study is generated for each student based on an evaluation of their MD transcript, typically providing 18 hours of credit toward the Molecular Medicine PhD program upon admission.
An additional 18 hours of coursework will be required. These 18 hours will include 12 hours of graded classroom study with the balance of hours composed of independent study. A research project, conducted under the supervision of a laboratory mentor, will be completed. The final 18 hours of coursework will be given for this research project, which must generate at least one first author paper. The trainee will also be required to pass an oral qualifying exam prior to admission to PhD candidacy, and will attend student seminars with other more traditional students in the MMED program.
If you are a Cleveland Clinic physician trainee and would like to learn more about this opportunity, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Tools for Research (MMED 402)||2|
|Research Rotations (MMED 400)*||0|
|Student Seminar Series (MMED 504)||1|
|Human Physiology and Disease (MMED 410)||4|
|Cell Biology (MMED 415)||2|
|Research Rotations (MMED 400)||0|
|Student Seminar Series (MMED 504)||1|
|Metabolism and Intro to Pharmacology (MMED 412)||2|
|Nucleic Acids, Gene Expression & Regulation (MMED 413)||2|
|Host Defense: Infection & Immunity (MMED 416)||2|
|Mammalian Genetics, Genomics, & Bioinformatics (MMED 414)||2|
|Principles of Clinical and Translational Research (MMED 501)||4|
|Molecular Mechanisms of Human Disease (MMED 521)||3|
|Pre-Candidacy Thesis Research (MMED 601)+||min. 2 (full time)|
|Clinical Experience (MMED 612)||2|
|Pre-Candidacy Thesis Research (MMED 601)||full time|
|Third Year||Fall & Spring Semester Credits|
|Advanced Elective (if necessary)|
|Approved by Thesis Committee**||Varies|
|Dissertation Research** (MMED 701)||Min. 1, more as needed (but 1 is still full time) Need 18 Total|
|Fourth Year & Beyond||Fall & Spring Semester Credits|
|Dissertation Research (MMED 701)||1|
|Total Credits of 701 for Years 3 & beyond:||18|
|Total Credits in Sequence|
|* Starts in July|
|** Credits Vary|
|+ Credits may vary to yield 9 credits per semester|
Research rotations are conducted to expose the student to several laboratory environments, a variety of research problems and numerous laboratory techniques as well as to assist them in the selection of their Research Advisor. Rotations will begin immediately upon enrollment and continue through the second semester of the first year. Usually rotations will last 12 weeks, however if a student decides that he/she is not interested in the assigned laboratory a shorter rotation is appropriate. The student is responsible for arranging each rotation with an approved trainer with the consultation of the Graduate Program Director. To assist in this endeavor, the Graduate Program Director will provide a list of approved trainers who have space, time and money to support a graduate student. During the rotation, students are expected to participate in all lab and departmental activities, e.g., lab meetings and seminars. At the completion of a rotation the student is required to submit a written Rotation Report including an outline of the problem being studied, a description of the experimental approaches, a discussion of the results of performed experiments as well as future directions.
The goal of this course is to provide a thorough and comprehensive review of current laboratory technology essential to research in molecular medicine, focusing on basic underlying principles, important controls and caveats. The students will clone a cytokine during a laboratory component of the course, which will involve designing appropriate primers, obtaining RNA from cytokine-expressing cells, performing RT/PCR, and ligating isolated, characterized fragments into cloning- and expression vectors, followed by transfection into mammalian cells. Additional bench work will include characterizing the cloned product using real time PCR, ELISA, western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry. Seminars on commonly used molecular techniques will be given intermittently by guest lecturers with the relevant expertise. Evaluation will be based on the student's lab techniques, class participation, and contribution to the group learning process.
This course is a combination of a weekly discussion-based Journal Club with selected articles relevant to the core curriculum of the week and the Frontiers in Molecular Medicine Seminar series. The seminars are presented by Molecular Medicine faculty and guest lecturers to introduce first year students to the opportunities and issues in translational and clinical research.
The purpose of this course is to give an introduction to the physiology of the major human organ systems, as well as selected associated pathophysiologies. The course will provide a physiological basis for subsequent study and research in Molecular Medicine. The integration of clinical faculty into the course will emphasize the importance of bringing scientific knowledge to bear on clinical problems, a theme which will be stressed throughout the Molecular Medicine curriculum. The course will also acquaint students with medical terminology.
The course will include a combination of interactive lectures, research presentations, related journal club article, and group projects with presentations. Topics to be covered include: bioenergetics/oxidative phosphorylation, carbohydrate metabolism; lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, amino acid and nucleotide metabolism; integrative regulation of metabolism; and principals of pharmacology.
The course will include a combination of interactive lectures and problem-based learning. Each week will conclude with at least one clinical correlation where the weekly topic is presented in the context of a clinical problem. Topics to be covered include: DNA structure, chromosome structure, replication and repair; RNA synthesis and RNA processing, the organization of eukaryotic genes and the genetic code and translation; and gene regulation.
The course focuses on genetics, genomics, and bioinformatics, and it will include a combination of interactive lectures, problem-based learning and a week-long group project. Topics to be covered include: genetic variation; linkage studies; association studies; complex traits, linkage disequilibrium, the Hap Map, pharmacogenetics; genome-wide expression studies, and mouse models of human disease, and bioinformatics.
The course will include a combination of interactive lectures and problem-based learning. Each week will conclude with at least one clinical correlation where the weekly topic is presented in the context of a clinical problem. Topics to be covered include: cell structure and organelles, prokaryotes/eukaryotes; intracellular compartments and protein sorting; receptors/endocytosis/rafts; the nucleus; cell communication; and mechanics of cell division.
The course will include a reading program, lectures, and weekly problem-based student-led presentations. Weeks 1 and 2 are dedicated to establishing the scope of the field and forming vocabulary. Week 3 and part of Week 4 will cover immune mechanisms. The remainder of the course will deal with clinical aspects of immunobiology. On a regular basis Clinical Correlations, relevant to weekly topics, are integrated into the material. Topics to be covered include: biology and molecular biology of infectious agents; fundamentals of immunology; innate and adaptive responses to infection, immune effector mechanisms; and clinical aspects of immunobiology.
To give an introduction to the ethical, statistical, methodologic and informatics basis of clinical and translational research. Topics will include the history of clinical and translational research, regulatory aspects of human subjects research, clinical trials study design, conflicts of interest, human subjects recruitment, research and publication ethics, technology transfer, biobank construction and utilization, and clinical and research database construction and utilization. In addition, students will be introduced to principles of biostatistics and clinical epidemiology relevant to clinical and translational research and gain expertise in statistical tool using problem based learning sets.
This course is designed as a weekly seminar series that will include presentations by the MMED graduate students. The format will be as follows: seminar talks by students in years 3 and beyond to provide a research update presentations by second year students involving basic science-clinical case translation topics, and short presentations on lab rotation accomplishments by first year students. The primary goals of this series are to gain experience and improve oral presentation skills, to share results and thoughts with peers during research discussions, and to learn to take the lead in developing and asking questions during seminars.
The goal of this course is to integrate medical knowledge into PhD training. This team-taught seminar course focuses on a top down examination of selected human diseases starting with clinical presentations of the manifestations, diagnoses, and treatment of disease. This is followed by study of the pathology, cell biology, and molecular biology of the disease. This information forms the foundation of a final discussion of current treatment strategies and ongoing research to identify new strategies. Three to four separate disease areas will be discussed during each semester, such as diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases. The specific areas of discussion are selected to demonstrate the strength of an integrated team of clinical and basic scientists; and to provide a model for students to follow in future studies in their own area of expertise. Emphasis will be given to the basic scientific observations that formed the basis of successful clinical practice, and how this was utilized by integrated teams of basic and clinical investigators to provide better patient care. Students will prepare for discussions with close reading of the literature. Faculty will present an overview in a discussion format. It is anticipated that each disease area will be presented by an integrated team of clinical and basic scientists. The final weeks of the semester will be devoted to student preparation of a research proposal based upon the information discussed during the course. The specific topic of this proposal will be of the students choosing. Grading will be based both upon preparation for and participation in discussions, and upon the research proposal. Recommended Preparation: Introductory Graduate or Medical School courses in Cell Biology, Molecular Biology, and Physiology.
Research leading toward the Ph.D. dissertation in Molecular Medicine.
Each student will be assigned a Clinical Mentor who will co-advise the student and serve on both the Qualifying Examination Committee and Thesis Committee. The Clinical Mentor will develop an individualized curriculum for the student in consultation with the Thesis Research Mentor and Program Director. The curriculum will be organized around the integrated, multidisciplinary disease groups at the Clinic. The students will attend and actively participate in the regularly scheduled multidisciplinary clinical conference organized by their disease group (most meet for one hour every week or every other week), usually involving a combination of case presentations and research presentations. At the conclusion of the semester the student will make a presentation to the group focused on a relevant translational research problem. The Clinical Mentor will also organize a series of supervised clinical experiences (with a Mentor) to various locations where students will observe clinician interactions with patients to better understand the disease from the patient perspective and to disease-related diagnostic and research laboratories.
Research leading toward the Ph.D. dissertation in Molecular Medicine. Recommended preparation: Advancement to candidacy in MMED. Prereq: Predoctoral research consent or advanced to Ph.D. candidacy milestone.
Admissions statistics and graduation outcomes are posted publicly on the Coalition for the Next Generation Life Science. View more statistics on the Case Western Reserve University website.
Currently, 55 students are enrolled in the program (as of November 2022).
During the program's tenure, 76 PhD degrees have been awarded, with a time to degree of approximately 5.4 years. Post-graduation, our students have entered the following fields:
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