The Doctor of Philosophy in the Biomedical Sciences program is intended to educate and train the next generation of biomedical researchers. The interdisciplinary program will emphasize specific training in one of two tracts: biomedical materials science or pathology. The plan of study begins with core coursework, followed by a combination of elective coursework and laboratory research, and finishes with mentored research on an independent dissertation project in the laboratory of one of the program faculty. Students will be educated through didactic instruction, laboratory practicums, and involvement in active research projects.
Successful graduates of the program, depending on their track choice, will be expected to possess the necessary skills for careers in academic teaching and scholarly independent research at universities, junior colleges, or undergraduate institutions, industry or government service, in pathology laboratories performing research, directing areas of the clinical pathology laboratory, or overseeing laboratory quality improvement.
The Biomedical Sciences PhD program offers a track in Biomedical Materials Science that gives students a solid background in materials science and biomaterials through a structured course work and a hands-on research project. Graduates will possess the necessary skills for research careers in academia as well as industry. Entering students must have an undergraduate degree in engineering, science, or healthcare.
The education of the student focuses on the fundamental understanding of materials science and the biological principles that govern the response to biomedical materials and devices when implanted in the body. Students are educated through didactic instruction, laboratories, and involvement in active research projects. Areas of research include mechanical design optimization of dental implants; synthesis and modification of polymeric biomaterials; tissue engineering; investigation of cellular biology (obesity, liver diseases); drug delivery systems; three dimensional computer modelling and validation of dental restorations and oral-maxillofacial implants; fatigue, fracture, and failure analysis of implant materials and ceramics; bioactive, antimicrobial, and osseointegrative implant coatings; and others.
Depending on a student’s educational background (biological sciences, engineering), additional didactic instruction is provided. Students are educated in various ways to prepare them as well-rounded researchers. For example, students are trained to be competent in using the multiple biomedical materials analysis techniques available within the department. Students are coached to critically evaluate the published scientific literature and present the results of their own scientific investigations, both orally and in writing, cogently, with appropriate statistical analysis. The graduate program facilitates rotations for the students in research labs that are outside of their mentor’s lab to broaden their exposure to different scientific disciplines. Students are also provided opportunities to participate in various community outreach activities such as K-12 education, community events to demonstrate science related information, and judging at science fairs. All students actively mentor high school, undergraduate, and dental students in their research.
Highly qualified candidates with a bachelor's, MS, or MD degree may be admitted. The program begins with didactic coursework, followed by a combination of elective coursework and laboratory research and finishes with mentored research performing an independent project in the laboratory of one of the program faculty. Students enrolled in the program will be able to develop a broad base of understanding of general and systemic human pathology that fosters the ability to synthesize emergent information with current knowledge. In addition, students will be able to develop an introductory understanding of the clinical practice of pathology in order to gain an appreciation of how basic science and clinically applied pathology research findings contribute to pathology medical practice and patient care. An important and unique opportunity in the program is the opportunity to perform independent research in the area of laboratory medicine health services focused on quality improvement and patient safety.
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