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PhD in Basic and Translational Science

PhD in Basic and Translational Science

The PhD in Basic and Translational Science offers in depth training in the basic science plus courses in translational science. It builds on our previous successes in basic research in the areas of biochemistry, biophysics, cell biology, genetics, microbiology, neurosciences, pharmacology, physiology and toxicity to develop translational research training.

This program prepares students to carry out research that narrows the gap between current basic science knowledge and clinical practice and to carry out basic science research to answer questions generated at the bedside.

Program Goals

  • To produce a new class of investigators rigorously trained in basic science and credentialed in translational research who think broadly and logically about clinical problems;
  • To promote research that bridges the gap between basic science knowledge and clinical practice;
  • To build a team of collaborators that will translate basic science research findings into patient care.

Program Components

Program Components

  • Apply and matriculate into existing doctoral entrance programs: IDP in Biomedical Sciences, Neuroscience, Biophysics Imaging, Pharmacology and Physiology;
  • While in these Entrance Programs, students complete the first year graduate courses and rotate with and chose a mentor in the PhD in Basic and Translational Science Program;
  • Students apply and are accepted into the program at the end of their first year in graduate school;
  • Students are part of the PhD program in their selected Basic Science Department and part of the PhD in Basic and Translational Science Program;
  • Advanced Course Requirements: 6 Credits Department / Advisor and 6 Credits Translational Courses;
  • Throughout the program, students participate in monthly non-credit program seminars;
  • At least one translational dissertation specific aim. Translational aims may include:

  • Basic investigations with the intent of discovery of the pathobiologic basis of human disease and directed towards the invention or improvement of diagnostic, prognostic or therapeutic strategies;
  • Characterization of the biological effects of therapeutics;
  • Biomarker discovery and validation; or
  • Drug, diagnostic tool or medical devise development.

  • Individual Translational and Clinical Training Plan including clinical experiences in years 3-5;
  • Mentoring provided by basic and clinical scientists.
  • Students receive a PhD in Biomedical Sciences which includes their work in a Basic Science discipline and Translation Science.



Graduate Year 1

  • Standard Entrance Graduate Curriculum
  • Choose Dissertation Advisor
  • Apply for PhD in Basic and Translational Science Program

Graduate Year 2

  • Standard and Departmental Graduate Curriculum (6 credits)
  • Qualifying Exam
  • Biostatistics for Basic Sciences (1 credit) or Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Initiate Dissertation Research
  • Select Dissertation Committee including Clinical Science Co-mentor
  • Seminar in Basic and Translational Science

Graduate Year 3

  • Boundaries of Science and Medical Practice
  • Pathophysiology Course (1-3 credits)
  • Translational Science Courses (1-3 credits)
  • Continue Dissertation Research
  • Translational Science Seminar (non-credit)
  • Seminar in Basic and Translational Science

Graduate Year 4

  • Continue Dissertation Research
  • Translational Science Seminar (non-credit)
  • Defend Dissertation
  • Seminar in Basic and Translational Science

Program Courses

Program Courses

Students will satisfy the PhD requirements of their Basic Science Department and those of the Translational Science portion of the program. Twelve advanced credits are required for the program. Six credits of advance coursework to be determined by the Basic Science Department. Six credits of coursework selected from a menu of Clinical Translational Courses. “Boundaries of Science and Medical Practice” is required, as is a Biostatistics course. Within the 12-credit requirement, a pathophysiological component must be present.

Boundaries of Science and Medical Practice

21150 Boundaries of Science and Medical Practice1 Credit
Translational Science will be explored through pre-class readings, class discussion and in class applications. At the end of the course, the students will describe and analyze the use of appropriate clinical and translational research techniques, evidence-based medicine and outcomes research methods; identify gaps between basic science knowledge and clinical practice for specific clinical questions pertinent to their area of research; propose the steps needed to apply basic science knowledge to outline possible experiments that are feasible and compliant with regulatory and ethical issues; and identify significant clinical questions/hypotheses that would benefit from translational research programs.

Biostatistics (at least 1 credit)

IDName / DescriptionCreditsCategory
04200Biostatistics I
This is an introductory course in biostatistical methods for nonbiostatistics majors. Topics include elementary probability, sampling, point and interval estimation and hypothesis testing.
04202Principles of Biostatistics
This course provides an introduction to statistical concepts used in medical research at a non-mathematical level. Topics include introduction to study designs, descriptive statistics, probability, estimation, test of hypothesis, regression and correlation.
18204Introduction to Biostatistics
Describes the use of descriptive and analytical statistics in research studies, with an emphasis on understanding statistical reports and judging the appropriateness of statistical applications reported in the literature. Calculations of statistics are included as a means to understand the appropriate use of statistics.

Pathophysiology Basis of Disease (at least 1 credit)

IDName / DescriptionCreditsCategory
12206Integrated Graduate Neuroscience
This course follows a multidisciplinary approach to current knowledge about the structural and functional properties of the nervous system. The mechanisms of the nervous system are described at the molecular, cellular, and multi-cellular levels. The course includes both lectures and laboratory sessions.
4Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
03251Free Radicals in Biology
Topics to be discussed include: the nature of free radicals; radical initiation, propagation, termination; free radical reactions of biological interest; and the role of free radicals in physiological and pathological processes.
3Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31152Human Development
Normal and abnormal development of the human body is covered in course work that includes development of organ systems as well as experimental embryology and teratology. Graduate students prepare a paper on a selected topic in development.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31153Cell and Tissue Biology
Structural and functional organization of specific cells and subcellular components, tissues, and organs is presented. The student must learn to identify and describe microscopic structures and to understand their functional relationships with other tissues and organs.
4Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31205Integrated Neuroscience
This course utilizes a multidisciplinary approach to present current knowledge about integrated structural and functional properties of the mammalian nervous system. Current knowledge of the mechanisms underlying the maintenance of such neural properties will be described at the molecular, cellular, and multicellular levels. In addition to lectures and laboratory sessions, selective clinical correlations will be presented to highlight known pathological mechanisms underlying certain neuronal disease states and to demonstrate modern diagnostic and therapeutic techniques currently in use in the clinic.
6Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31207Introduction to Neuroscience
This course provides an introduction to the neurosciences. A brief but integrated overview of neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and neurochemistry will be provided. The course consists of both lectures and laboratory exercises.
2Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31210Advanced Clinical Human Anatomy
Prerequisite: 31151.
Detailed study of the developmental aspects and adult structures of the human body, organized regionally. Regional specialization is flexible and according to the needs of the student.
1-3Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31212Developmental and Stem Cell Biology
The offered course provides a detailed introduction to Developmental and Stem Cell Biology. The course uses a lecture-style format supplemented with paper discussions. The intent of the course is to provide a solid academic background in developmental biology to graduate students embarking upon research into cell differentiation and development.
3Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31257Biology of Vision
This lecture/discussion course explores the functional organization and development of the visual system as revealed by the use of a variety of anatomical, cell biological, genetic, physiological and behavioral methods. It is designed for students who wish to gain a basic understanding of the biological basis for vision and to share in the excitement of the latest developments in this field. Topics include: Development of the eye and visual system, fundamental principles of regulated gene expression, the cell biology of the photoreceptors and retina, phototransduction and neural processing in the retina, functional architecture of retina and visual system, the anatomy, physiology and perceptual significance of parallel pathways.
3Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25259Mucosal Immunity
This focused immunology course on the mucosal immune system introduces students to advanced concepts and biomedical research relevant to human health and disease at the mucosal surface.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25260Mucosal Pathogenesis
Mucosal Pathogenesis is an upper-level, one-credit hour Microbiology course that focuses on the interactions of microbial pathogens with cells of the mucosal epithelium. Students gain a detailed and comprehensive understanding of specific infectious microbial pathogens, and the mechanisms utilized by the microorganisms to associate, invade, and/or cause disease at the mucosal surface. Microorganisms to be discussed include those that target the respiratory tract, the gastrointestinal tract and the genital/urinary tract.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25261Bacterial Toxin-Mucosal Cell Interactions
Bacterial Toxin-Mucosal Cell Interactions is a one-credit hour upper-level Microbiology course that addresses the interactions between bacterial toxins and mucosal cells. The goal of this course is to provide students an appreciation of how bacterial toxins that target mucosal cells function as virulence factors and are utilized as vaccines and for clinical therapies. The course format includes formal lectures and paper discussions.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25262Tumor Immunology
This focused immunology course introduces students to advanced concepts and biomedical research relevant to human health and disease.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25263Signaling in the Immune System
This focused immunology course introduces students to advanced concepts and biomedical research relevant to human health and disease.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
05264Developmental Immunology
This focused immunology course introduces students to advanced concepts and biomedical research relevant to human health and disease.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25265Immunological Tolerance
This focused immunology course introduces students to advanced concepts and biomedical research relevant to human health and disease.
Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
25266Clinical Immunology
Prerequisite: 25234
Clinical Immunology is an upper-level, one-credit hour Microbiology course that will provide advanced information and conceptual knowledge regarding the human immune system in health and disease. Specific topics will include primary and secondary immunodeficiencies, autoimmune diseases (systemic autoimmune diseases and autoimmune disease of the skin and gastrointestinal tract), atopic diseases, HLA and bone marrow transplantation. The course will comprise a combination of formal lectures by instructors, and group discussions of scientific papers from the recent literature.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
07202Survey of Pharmacology
Primarily for graduate students who need an introduction to the basic concepts of pharmacology and a working knowledge of the mechanisms of action of major classes of drugs.
3Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
07237Modern Drug Discovery and Development Modern Drug Discovery and Development is an interdisciplinary course with an emphasis on state of the art techniques, concepts and advances in drug discovery and development today. The course will provide an understanding of the fundamental concepts of therapeutic target identification and drug design, high throughput screening, preclinical testing, pharmaceutical optimization, human clinical trials, and drug commercialization.

3Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
08210Endocrine Regulation and Common Disease
Prerequisite: 08202
This course presents current knowledge regarding endocrine regulation. Introduction by instructor, student presentations, and discussion formats will be utilized to develop skills for extraction of information, critical thinking, and oral and written communication of primary endocrine literature. Each session consists of three parts: (a) instructor introduction; (b) presentation of a review article by a student; and (c)presentation of a research article by a student. Each student is expected to study these articles and actively participate in critical evaluation of the paper.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
0821Critical Reading in Respiratory Physiology
This course includes critical reading and communication of primary literature in respiratory physiology. Discussion and student presentation formats will be utilized to develop skills for extraction of information, critical thinking, and oral and written communication of primary respirator physiology literature.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
08253Advanced Renal Physiology
Prerequisite: 08202
This course is an in-depth survey of selected important topics in renal physiology that will be taught at an advanced level appropriate for a senior graduate student. The material in this course will emphasize classical and modern research approaches and techniques, original research papers, and the development of oral presentation skills. The knowledge gained from this course should be sufficient for a doctoral student in physiology.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
08263Cardiovascular Physiology
Prerequisite: 08202
This course will use a guided approach to reading of selected contemporary literature in cardiovascular physiology to explore the relationships between genetic and environmental influences on the development and progression of major cardiovascular diseases including Hypertension, Heart Failure and Metabolic Syndrome. The course will combine didactic lectures with class discussion and will help students develop skills for extraction of information, critical thinking, and oral and written communication of concepts in cardiovascular physiology.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31151Clinical Human Anatomy This course provides students with the opportunity to study aspects of macroscopic human anatomy. Lectures parallel regional dissection in the laboratory. Students are introduced to clinical applications of anatomical knowledge in weekly clinical and radiologic correlation conferences. 6Pathophysiology Basis of Disease
31262Stem Cells in Disease and Development
Prerequisite: 01212 Integrated analysis of the contribution of developmental biology and stem biology to the study of childhood disease and development, is a course for advanced graduate students whose dissertation project focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms underlying childhood disease through the use of stem cell and/or developmental biology. This course uses original literature as platform for discussing novel and High impact advanced made in stem cell and developmental biology. The aim is to encourage critical discussion of recent technical and conceptual advances in the field and to encourage the integration of such finding into the students' own research projects. Student will be graded on the extent and quality of their input into class discussions as well as through a series of short exams.
1Pathophysiology Basis of Disease

Translational Science Electives

IDName / DescriptionCreditsCategory
20100Introduction to Clinical and Translational Research
This course provides an overview of the rationale, process and methodologies of clinical and translational research. The scope of the course is broad and includes basic science discovery, animal studies,drug and device preclinical and clinical development, outcomes research, and epidemiology. The course will utilize case studies that illustrate translational research and will be interactive in format. Instructors will be drawn from both basic science and clinical departments.
1Translational Science
20240Translational Genetics
The primary goal of this course is to teach students how to develop a research program utilizing the molecular genetics toolbox to ask genetic questions in the clinical setting. To this end, students will be provided with background in molecular genetics strategies and study designs as well as an understanding of common genetics questions emanating from the clinic so that they will be better able to make connections between bench and bedside. In addition, they will be challenged to think creatively and through a translational focus during course-long case studies and group projects.
2Translational Science
20242Models of Disease and Drug Discovery
This course covers the concepts involved in developing disease models in the laboratory, and using these model systems to identify candidate drugs that will eventually be developed for therapy in the clinic. Topics covered include current stem cell culture and animal models used to study human diseases, computational screening approaches for designing and identifying small molecules in drug discovery, and the steps involved in taking a drug from the bench to the clinic. Specifically, models for human disease ranging from stem cells to small animal (zebrafish) to large animal (sheep) for biomedical research will be discussed. Course material will cover techniques for drug screening, platforms developed by companies and academics to screen drugs and steps involved in the drug discovery process. It is anticipated that advantages and disadvantages of each model system will be discussed followed by the practical aspects of designing screens for small molecules using these model systems. At the end of the 9 weeks duration of the course, each student is expected to prepare a report that will outline the logical progression of identifying a small molecule against a target of student’s interest, and to make it a commercial drug for clinical use.
1Translational Science
14211Biomedical Technology Standards and Regulations
An overview of standards and regulations that impact on the development, acquisition, and management of healthcare technologies. International technical standards, such as those promulgated by ISO and IEC, are important factors in product design and user acceptance. Consensus technical standards are also reiterated in federal regulations that cover the medical manufacture and distribution of medical devices and indirectly regulates their use, including the practice of medicine in healthcare facilities. In order for their organizations to compete, technology managers need to understand the regulatory paths to U.S. and international markets. Likewise, reimbursement standards and regulations affect medical technologies at all stages of maturation, from prototype development, through testing, marketing, customer use and into obsolescence. This course examines how these standards and regulations affect technology viewed from different perspectives based on what a technology is (e.g. physical device or drug, information and knowledge) and what technology causes in the adopting organizations (e.g. change, new processes).
2Translational Science
20250Fundamentals of Intellectual Property
This course surveys the principles of intellectual property (IP) and how IP is generated and leveraged to promote the development of new drugs, diagnostic tests, and medical devices. Students will examine various ways IP is codified and protected through the use of patents and copyrights. Students will also become familiar with the various agreements that impact on IP rights in the context of clinical and translational research. These agreements include confidentiality agreements, clinical trial and sponsored research agreements, collaborative research and development agreements (CRADAs), consulting agreements, material transfer agreements, and license agreements.
1Translational Science
14212Ethics of Technology Utilization
Ethics applied to the utilization and management of health-care technologies in a patient-care setting, including topics such as beneficence, nonmaleficence, quality-cost, resource allocation and personal-public conflicts, technology diffusion models and controls, clinical research and research integrity, and patient rights and confidentiality.
1Translational Science
14200Survey of Biomedical Engineering Technology
Review of technologies employed in medicine for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of chronic and acute diseases, as well as hospital support. The goal of the course is to familiarize students with the operating principles, economic aspects, and purposes of healthcare technologies in clinical care.
3Translational Science
20261Clinical Trial Design This course is intended to introduce students to clinical trials methodology and to assist those who wish to evaluate and interpret published reports of trials. This course is focused on the design and development phases of the clinical trials, recruitment techniques, data collection and data quality issues, assessment of adverse effects, participant adherence, data monitoring, sample size requirements, techniques of survival analysis, reporting and interpretation of results, and multi-site studies.1Translational Science
20150Introduction to Epidemiology The course provides: 1) an overview of epidemiologic concepts; 2) an introduction to the approaches and techniques that are used to measure and monitor health status in populations; 3) an introduction to study designs to assess disease prevention and intervention; and 4) an introduction to clinical research study designs that elucidate causative factors for disease.2-3Translational Science
How to Apply

How to Apply

Visit: MCW Graduate School Page

Download the following documents, and complete them by August 9, 2019.
38 KBCTSI BTS – Application 2019

37 KBCTSI BTS Program Application – Mentor Support

Application Deadline: August 9, 2019, following the first year of Graduate School

Program of Study
  • 60 Credits
  • 5.5 year average Program
  • Research centered
Contact Us

Contact Us

Sally S. Twining, PhD
Basic Science Professor and PhD Program Director
(414) 955-8431Email
Cheryl A. Hillery, MD
Co-Director, Translational Research
(414) 937-6896Email
James Sebastian, MD
Co-Director, Medical Education
(414) 805-0530Email

NIH Funding Acknowledgment: Important Reminder – Please acknowledge the NIH when publishing papers, patents, projects, and presentations resulting from the use of CTSI resources by including the NIH Funding Acknowledgement.


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