Microbiology and Immunology

[Fields of Study]

Click here to visit the Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology's website!

Rance Berg, Ph.D., Graduate Advisor
Research and Education Building  (RES-416E)
Phone:  817-735-2121
Email:   Rance.Berg@unthsc.edu

Graduate Faculty: Allen; Alizadeh; Berg; He; Hodge; Jones; Mathew, P.; Mathew, S.; Mummert; Simecka; Su; Vishwanatha 

Infectious diseases have a major impact on health around the world. New infectious agents have emerged, and diseases caused by known pathogens have reestablished themselves. Many of these infections result in life-threatening diseases. To complicate matters, many of these infectious agents have developed resistance to antibiotics routinely used in treatments. Thus, prevention and treatment of these infections are of tremendous importance. The development of new antibiotics and vaccines is dependent on an in-depth understanding of the mechanisms of disease caused by these organisms and their basic biology.

Immunology is the study of the defense mechanisms of the host against infectious diseases, cancers and other diseases. By inducing immune responses, as in the case of vaccines, infection and disease can be prevented. Enhancement of appropriate immune responses can also result in the destruction of cancer cells. Research in immunology has a tremendous potential in developing new treatments to prevent or recover from cancer and infectious disease.

Faculty maintain active and productive research programs with special emphasis on infectious disease, microbiology, cancer, and immunology. Research interests of the faculty include regulation of eukaryotic gene expression; T cell and NK cell biology; host response to respiratory infections; molecular immunology; tumor immunology; vaccine development; regulation and function of cytokines; and molecular diagnostics for emerging vector borne pathogens. Faculty programs are funded by extramural sources including the National Institutes of Health, the American Osteopathic Association, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Advanced Research Program, and the Cancer Research Foundation of North Texas.

Students may enter the program with a variety of academic backgrounds, providing that they have fulfilled prerequisite courses. The graduate training program involves basic courses in immunology and microbiology, molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, and pharmacology, as well as advanced courses in selected topics. Students participate in seminars and discussion of current research and receive extensive training in techniques of contemporary microbiology, molecular biology and immunology. Students perform original, publishable research and present their research findings at national scientific meetings. In addition, students present their research at the annual UNTHSC Research Appreciation Day (RAD) and during the weekly departmental Works in Progress (WIPs). About two years are required to complete the Master of Science degree. Approximately five years are required to complete the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

Graduates with advanced degrees find employment in higher education, industry and government agencies.

Degree Plans

The following are typical degree plans for students in the Microbiology and Immunology discipline. It is advantageous to the student to begin graduate studies in the Fall semester. This degree plan may vary depending upon availabilitiy of course offerings in a given semester and each student's progress toward thesis and dissertation research.

M.S. Degree Plan for Microbiology and Immunology

Year 1: Fall

BMSC 6301 Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry 4 SCH
BMSC 6302 Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology 4 SCH
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research Programs 2 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotations 1 SCH
BMSC 5160 Biomedical Ethics 1 SCH


12 SCH



Year 1: Spring

BMSC 6303 Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology 3 SCH
BMSC 6304 Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology 2 SCH
BMSC 6305 Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology & Microbiology 3 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotations 2 SCH

MOLB 5140

Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH


12 SCH



Year 1: Summer

BMSC 5400 Biostatistics for BMSC 4 SCH
BMSC 5998 Individual Research for M.S. Students 2 SCH


6 SCH



Year 2: Fall

BMSC 5310 Scientific Communications 3 SCH
BMSC 5998 Individual Research for M.S. Students 5-6 SCH

Elective Course 2-3 SCH

Journal Club Courses 1 SCH

Research Proposal 0 SCH


12 SCH



Year 2: Spring

 BMSC 5395 Thesis 6-7 SCH

Elective Course 2-3 SCH


9 SCH



TOTAL
51 SCH

Ph.D. Degree Plan for Microbiology & Immunology

Year1: Fall

BMSC 6301 Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry 4 SCH
BMSC 6302 Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology 4 SCH
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research Programs 2 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotations 1 SCH
BMSC 5160 Biomedical Ethics 1 SCH


12 SCH



Year 1: Spring

BMSC 6303 Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology 3 SCH
BMSC 6304 Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology 2 SCH
BMSC 6305 Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology & Microbiology 3 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotations 2 SCH
MOLB 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH


12 SCH



Year 1: Summer

BMSC 5400 Biostatistics for BMSC  4 SCH
BMSC 6998 Individual Research  2 SCH


6 SCH



Year 2: Fall

BMSC 5310 Scientific Communications  3 SCH
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 5-6 SCH

Elective Course 2-3 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH


12 SCH



Year 2: Spring

BMSC 6998 Individual Research 8-9 SCH

Elective Course 2-3 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH

Qualifying Exam 0 SCH


12 SCH



Year 2: Summer

BMSC 6998 Individual Research 3 SCH
BMSC 6310  Grant Writing 3 SCH


6 SCH



Year 3: Fall

MOLB 5140 Seminar in Current Topics 1 SCH
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 4-5 SCH

Elective Course 2-3 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH

Research Proposal 0 SCH


9 SCH*



Year 3: Spring

BMSC 6998 Individual Research 5-6 SCH

Elective Course 2-3 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH


9 SCH*



Year 3: Summer

BMSC 6998 Individual Research 6 SCH


6 SCH



Year 4: Fall

BMSC 6998 Individual Research 8 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH


9 SCH*



Year 4: Spring

BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 8 SCH

Journal Club Course 1 SCH


9 SCH*



Year 4: Summer

BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 6 SCH


6 SCH



TOTAL
108 SCH

 *Students entering prior to Fall 2011 may take a reduced load of 6 SCH after advancing to candidacy.

Credit may be given under some instances associated with student transfer from an equivalent program, but is subject to approval from the Dean.

*Advanced Course (4-6 SCH)

MOLB 6201 Immune Responses Against Pathogenic Microorganisms: Offered every other fall (even years) 2 SCH
MOLB 6202 Advanced Molecular Biology: Techniques and Principles: Offered every other fall (odd years) 2 SCH
MOLB 6250 Molecular and Cell Biology of Cancer: Offered every spring 2 SCH
MOLB 6350 Clinical Immunology: Offered every spring 3 SCH

** Journal Clubs

MOLB 5120 Current Topic in Immunology
MOLB 5160 Current Topics in Cancer Biology
MOLB 5210 Signal Transduction

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination ensures that the doctoral student has mastered information needed to succeed as a Ph.D. in the fields of Microbiology and Immunology.  A list of key topics compiled by the Microbiology and Immunology faculty will be distributed to the student prior to the qualifying examination.  The student is expected to become knowledgeable in each of the topics through their previous course work, reading of textbooks and scientific literature, and discussion with faculty members.

The qualifying examination is administered by a committee comprised of members of the Microbiology and Immunology graduate faculty and the student's university member.  The qualifying examination will be administered in the fall or spring of year 2.  Two attempts to successfully pass the qualifying examination are allowed.  Failure of the student to pass the qualifying examination are allowed. Failure of the student to pass the qualifying examination results in dismissal of the student from the doctoral program.  A doctoral student who does not pass may be allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain signatures from the examination committee chair, graduate advisor, university member, and department chairman upon completion of the exam.  The appropriate form may be obtained from the Graduate School website.

Grant Writing (BMSC 6310)

Successful completion of Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) requires the preparation and oral defense of an original NIH-style grant proposal.  BMSC 6310 should typically be registered for during the spring or summer of the student's second year.

The graduate advisor will serve as the examination coordinator and select an examination committee consisting of five graduate faculty.  One of the faculty will serve as the committee chair. The student's major professor may not serve as a committee member. The student's university member will oversee the entire examination process.  The graduate advisor will instruct the student on the regulations of the course.

The student should submit a report that presents the hypothesis, experimental strategy and specific aims for the proposal to the examination committee by mid-semester.  The proposal must consist of the student's original ideas and is expected to significantly extend scientific knowledge in the chosen research area if the proposed experiments were conducted.  The student may write his/her grant on their current or proposed dissertation research.  The committee must approve this summary of the research proposal.

The student must prepare a detailed written report of the research proposal in NIH R21 format after the summary has been approved.  The final proposal will be prepared and presented to the committee at least two weeks prior to the oral defense.  The grant proposal and presentation will be evaluated on the basis of originality, experimental design, and data interpretation as well as the ability of the student to synthesize and communicate this information, both written and orally.

If the proposal and defense are satisfactory, the committee will recommend that the student be advanced to candidacy.  Two attempts to successfully complete Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) will be allowed. Failure to pass Grant Writing (BMSC 6310) will result in dismissal from the doctoral program.  In this case, a student may be allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree.   

Contacts in Situations of Uncertainty or Emergency 

Graduate Program in Microbiology and Immunology, Department of Molecular Biology & Immunology,

Main Office Phone: 817-735-2414, Office: RES-402, 416

Graduate Advisor:

Rance Berg, Ph.D.

Office:     RES-416E

Lab:        RES-424, 426

Phone:    (817) 735-2121

Email:     Rance.Berg@unthsc.edu

Graduate Secretary:

Jacklyn Crisp

Office:     RES-416M

Phone:    (817) 735-2131

Email:     Jacklyn.Crisp@unthsc.edu

Click here for pdf of the Microbiology and Immunology Student Handbook 2012-2013

Click here to visit the Department of Molecular Biology and Immunology's website! 

This page last updated 10th Apr 2013