The Medical School:
The Study of Studies
U-M Medical School prepares scientists for a career in medical research
Within the University of Michigan Medical School, researchers-in-training are very much a part of the picture. UMMS runs 13 doctoral programs in many research disciplines. The gateway program through which first-year students are admitted is the Program in Biomedical Sciences, which welcomes about 70 students a year.
The program trains scientists for life in academia and caters to many fields of study, such as pharmaceutical biotechnology, public policy, microbiology, neuroscience, immunology, cell and molecular biology, and more.
“There are almost no limits as long as a student is willing to find an adviser who will mentor his or her training in one of the Ph.D. programs,” says Victor DiRita, Ph.D., professor of Microbiology and Immunology and assistant dean of graduate and post-doctoral studies.
First-year students focus on coursework and carry out research rotations to sample labs and training programs. Second-year students commit to a field, and the focus on lab work begins.
John Moldovan, a former C-130 Air Force navigator, is a first-year PIBS student with an interest in microbiology, immunology and virology.
“Rather than working on basic experiments, I wanted to look at a problem, study the greater ramifications and apply it to medicine or something bigger,” he says. The Livonia native is considering a wide range of careers, from pharmaceuticals to teaching to government.
Mary “MJ” Wilson is in the second year of the doctoral program. The Texas native is doing a unique dual-degree program in microbiology and public health where she will obtain her Ph.D. in microbiology and a master’s degree in epidemiology. She currently has a Department of Homeland Security fellowship and, here at U-M, is working in a lab on biodefense pathogens to understand how these cause disease and whether new methods can be developed to detect them or reduce their threat to humans.“
Now that I’ve passed my preliminary exams and completed the bulk of my course work, I spend most of my time in the lab,” she says, adding that it’s what she really likes. Wilson hopes to work for a government lab when she finishes her degree. —MB
Inside View Editorial Advisory Group
Constance Bridges, Office of the Dean, Medical School
Paula Greeno, Office of the EVPMA
Judy Hallberg, S.P.H.R., UMMS Human Resources
Kelly, UMHS Human Resources
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Steve Raymond, UMHHC Leadership & Staff Development
Karen Schlueter, Livonia Health Center
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Beth Johnson, editor and senior writer
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