Medical, omics and oncological sciences

Updated 38 cycle

Duration: 3 years

Admission: academic qualifications and interview

Coordinator: prof. Paolo Pinton

Head office: Università di Ferrara

Department: Dept. of Medical Sciences.

Web Site: Ph.D.  in Medical, omics and oncological sciences

Study abroad: at least 3 months

Educational purpose:

The Doctoral Program in Medical Omics and Oncological Sciences provides for the acquisition of specific skills in basic and clinical experimental research, in the translational and oncological fields, with the aim of training a new class of young researchers who are able to: (i) identify new molecular mechanisms underlying the pathophysiology of degenerative, genetic, cardiovascular, oncological, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases; (ii) discover possible molecular targets for innovative drugs; (iii) design and engineer molecular probes for the study of cellular biochemical parameters that are indicators of disease; (iv) facilitate the development and transfer of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic strategies from the research laboratory to the patient bedside.

The Ph.D. students will achieve the educational objectives through daily mentoring that will allow the effective transfer of theoretical knowledge and practical expertise essential to enable the development of autonomous research projects. Individual Ph.D. students will be encouraged to maintain a constant update of the scientific literature on the topic of their project. During this training, the young researcher will present the results obtained to his/her tutor on a scheduled basis, an activity that is essential not only to assess the student's preparation and growth, but also to stimulate strong critical and design skills. At the same time, the Ph.D.  student will be asked to present and discuss his or her experimental work in departmental research seminars and at least at one national or international conference. These activities, together with experiences in foreign laboratories identified according to the research activity carried out, will allow the exposure of the Ph.D.  student to a broader scientific world, allowing a significantly expansion of the theoretical and practical knowledge necessary to successfully conclude the research activity.

At the end of the Ph.D. , the student should be able to independently develop his/her own research project, to master the relevant laboratory techniques, moreover the student will have a thorough knowledge of the relevant scientific literature and will be able to maturely evaluate the opportunity to refine and implement the project by collaborating with other research groups, with the final goal of reporting the results obtained in journals of international importance. For some research projects, the Ph.D.  student will also acquire the necessary fundamental skills for conducting experimental in vivo studies on small animals, and for initiating clinical studies.

The central activity of the Ph.D.  program is experimental work, which will be the basis of the Doctoral Thesis.

Curriculum: NO

Educational plan: It is planned to articulate the teaching and experimental activities according to a training program that promotes the acquisition of multidisciplinary and integrated knowledge within the different disciplinary fields of the faculty. This program aims to provide: 1) basic pathophysiological knowledge related to human health, knowledge of molecular and cellular biology, pharmacological knowledge and pharmacogenetics, tools for the identification of molecular targets for the implementation of new therapeutic strategies and the development of new biological drugs; 2) specific skills to tackle basic and clinical experimental problems in the study of degenerative, neoplastic, neurological, psychiatric and chronic inflammatory diseases, and in the study of regenerative medicine in an innovative way, thanks to the possibility of modulating their scientific training according to specific objectives identified in collaboration with each tutor; 3) tools for writing scientific reports and research programs and for effective communication of science in different contexts.

Students will work closely with their tutor and attend lectures, demonstrations and seminars. Lectures and seminars will be conducted by members of the faculty, experts from qualified national and international institutions or biomedical companies.

Each student is expected to participate in the writing and implementation of a research project under the supervision of one or more members of the College of Lecturers. From the first year, students are encouraged to deepen their knowledge by taking classes relevant to their research area. Attendance at lectures, seminars and demonstrations will be indicated by the course tutor depending on the cultural base and interests of the student and the chosen project. The course requires the Ph.D.  student to earn both mandatory and optional course credits (CFUs) in a manner and timeframe dictated by the research activities undertaken and the objectives set. To ensure a certain degree of flexibility to the training of Doctoral students, the acquisition of CFUs is not organized according to a rigid annual schedule of lectures and seminars: each Ph.D.  student can choose the courses of lectures and cycles of seminars to be followed according to the research activities pursued and the objectives identified with the tutor, with the obligation to accumulate at least 15 CFUs for the first year.

The acquisition of complementary skills, such as the advanced use of English language, the competence to present results and to write papers and grants, and the ability to undertake and predict career development, is expected.

The scientific track is based on experimental activity carried out in the areas of the most advanced basic, translational and clinical research in the laboratories of the proposing departments under the supervision of a tutor. The research activity is complemented by training periods in foreign laboratories for a minimum of 3 month and a maximum of 18 months. There is also the possibility of know-how exchange at a biomedical industry.

Research topics:

-           Gene structure and expression, Biomolecular structure;

-           Enzyme catalysis;

-           Metabolism and cellular energy mechanisms;

-           Molecular basis of diseases, with special reference to neoplastic and degenerative diseases;

-           Protein engineering;

-           Modulation of gene expression and development of innovative therapies, Pharmacogenetics;

-           Molecular Virology;

-           Cell and animal models for human diseases and development of therapeutic strategies;

-           Biomedical and diagnostic biotechnology and advanced bioinstrumentation, Plant and agri-food biotechnology;

-           Chronic inflammatory, autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases;

-           Neurobiology and cellular biophysics, Physiology, pathophysiology and clinical integrated functions of the nervous system, Clinical pathophysiology of the endocrine system;

-           Respiratory pathophysiology and biology applied to exercise, Exercise and vascular disease;

-           Tissue repair sciences, Regenerative medicine, transplantation and implants;