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.

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 Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, Materials Design and Innovation, and Mechanical Engineering, as well as other departments within the Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. To accommodate such diverse interactions, prescribed coursework is kept at a minimum, and it is the advisor's responsibility to arrange with the student an appropriately tailored 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.

Contact Us

Director of Graduate Studies

Kolega, John

John Kolega, Ph.D.

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) 829-2725