Computational Cell Biology, Anatomy, and Pathology (PhD)

The Department of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences offers a program of course work and research training leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computational Cell Biology, Anatomy and Pathology.

This program prepares students for the frontiers of modern medical research by training them to evaluate, communicate, and create knowledge of biological structure and the role of that structure in the function of cells and organisms, with an emphasis on incorporating computational and engineering methods with clinical medicine and human biology.

Our PhD program in Computational Cell Biology, Anatomy and Pathology aims to produce scientists with knowledge of biological principles at all levels of scale and who are enabled by proficiency in computational imaging methodologies and data analyses.

Research by our faculty employs biological imaging, genetics, and cellular, molecular and biochemical analyses to examine normal and abnormal biological function in a range of organ systems.  Data from these varied approaches can be aligned with computational tools in order to gain novel insights into very complex phenomena and yield new understanding of disease mechanisms.

We offer state-of-the-art instruction in both the biological principles and the quantitative methodologies, with particular strength in microscopy and the analysis of biological form and function.

Online Applications

  • All Ph.D./MA Programs
    Choose from the pulldown list the specific program you want to apply to, for example, Anatomical Sciences MA, or PhD Program in Biomedical Sciences.

Applications to our graduate programs are evaluated on:

  1. Academic background; i.e. college coursework.  A strong basic science background – chemistry, physics, math – is desirable, as is good performance in upper level biology courses.
  2. Personal statement and letters of recommendation. These provide a gauge of interest and commitment, as well as an additional indication of abilities.  Research experience is a major plus because graduate training is very research-oriented, and so can be very different from one's undergraduate classroom experience.  It is very helpful both for the admissions committee and for the applicant to know that an applicant knows what biomedical research is like and has demonstrated some affinity and talent for it.
  3. A personal interview may be requested of an applicant, either in person or by phone or internet, if the admissions committee desires further clarification of a student’s qualifications. An interview also provides applicants with an opportunity to meet with faculty and students and determine whether they find the Department a favorable environment to continue their education.

An official TOEFL score (or the Pearson Test of English Academic is also accepted) is required of all foreign students coming from countries where English is not the official language, and a minimum score of 550 on the paper-based test (PBT), 213 on the computer-based test (CBT), or 79 on the iBT is required.

The Doctoral Degree Program

Our faculty are engaged in research in cell and developmental biology, systems biology and informatics, bioimaging, and neuroscience.

Research projects tend to be highly interdisciplinary, with faculty collaborations in the Canon Stroke & Vascular Research Center, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Departments of Chemistry, Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Science, as well as other departments within the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. To accommodate such diverse interactions, it is the advisor's responsibility to arrange with the student, at the time of entry, a tentative program of study.

The program for each student is developed on an individual basis but, in general, comprises interdisciplinary courses, courses in areas relevant to the student's research, and a substantial thesis prepared under the supervision of a full time department faculty member and committee selected by the student and faculty advisor.

Academic Requirements

The core curriculum consists of the following courses:

  • Graduate Seminar
  • Cell Biology
  • Form, Function and Visualization of Human Gross Anatomy or Quantitative Neuroanatomy
  • Microscopic Anatomy with an Introduction to Computational Methods
  • General Pathology Introduction
  • Microscopic Image Acquisition
  • Biomedical Pattern Analysis and Machine Learning
  • Additional coursework is at the discretion of the student and her/his thesis advisor.

Qualifying Examination

In addition to coursework, a qualifying examination is required of all students in the PhD program. The qualifying exam is intended to prepare a student for carrying out independent research.  It consists of the presentation and defense of a proposal in two phases: a written description of the project in the style of an NIH or NSF grant proposal, and a formal oral presentation of the proposal to the program faculty.  Because designing experiments, effectively describing one’s ideas, and making persuasive arguments in writing and in person represent essential skills for any scientist, preparing for this exam is a key component of graduate training.

Dissertation Research

A written dissertation based on the research shall be submitted to the dissertation committee, at least three weeks before the scheduled defense. After the research defense, the student must submit one unbound copy of the dissertation to the Graduate School and one bound copy to the Department, arranged in the format required by the Graduate School. The departmental copy must be submitted before the Graduate School copies are submitted.

Dissertation Defense

The definitive component of the PhD degree is the dissertation.  Although we have a relatively small faculty, a very diverse range of topics are studied in our department, and students dissertations can focus on any of a wide variety of subjects.  The following is a list of active faculty and their research interests:

Residence Requirement

Minimum 1 year full-time.

Contact Us

Director of Graduate Studies

Kolega, John

John Kolega, PhD

Associate Professor / Graduate Program Director

Department of Pathology & Anatomical Sciences, Jacobs School Room 4258, 955 Main St Buffalo, NY 14203

Phone: (716) 829-3527; Fax: (716) 829-2911

Email: kolega@buffalo.edu

Lannette M. Garcia

Office Assistant 2

Pathology and Anatomical Sciences

955 Main Street, Buffalo, NY 14203-1121 Address 4102C

Phone: (716) 829-5204

Email: lannette@buffalo.edu