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.
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.
The core curriculum consists of the following courses:
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.
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.
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.