Molecular medicine

  • Duration: 3 years
  • Admission: academic qualifications and interview
  • Coordinator: prof. Francesco Di Virgilio
  • Head office: Università di Ferrara
  • Department: Scienze Mediche
  • Study abroad: not compulsory
  • Educational purpose: the Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine and Pharmacology is based on the integration of teaching and research experiences of faculty active in the field of the study of genetic lesions, molecular pathogenesis, pharmacology and clinic. Faculty research interests include both bench-to-bedside approaches and basic science research.
    The proposed PhD program will support the development of translational medicine, contributing significantly to forward preventive medicine, diagnostic and therapeutic applications to human diseases with a close contact between pre-clinical and clinical disciplines. Clinical topics are centered on haematological cancers, genetic diseases, internal and specialist diseases. Thanks to the experience of teachers and the opportunity to attend internships abroad the PhD program will foster the study of advanced technologies in relation to:
    - Experimental models for understanding the role of transcription factors, receptors, hormones, microRNAs
    - Cell interactions and tumor microenvironment, inflammation, immune response, blood coagulation system
    - Histology, genetic lesions and diagnostic and therapeutic applications
    - Genetics and molecular interactions in hematology, internal and specialized medicine
    - New drug targets
    - Activity of new compounds and markers of drug response
    - Neuro-pharmacology
    - Biological agents / scaffold and cell homing
    - Experimental approaches in regenerative medicine
    - Prevention
    - Experimental approaches in immunotherapy
  • Curriculum: no
  • Educational plan: the ultimate goal of PhD course in Molecular Medicine and Pharmacology is to provide outstanding skills in the biomedical and pharmacological research and prepare students for careers in basic research, clinical diagnosis, industrial research, and teaching. The educational program of this doctoral pays special attention towards two areas of science, Molecular Medicine and Pharmacology, whose integration is essential for the development of innovative strategies for the care and maintenance of human health. The composition of the teaching staff provides expertise in hematology, oncology, rheumatology, the experimental clinic, pharmacology, genetic diseases, molecular and cell biology, immunology, odontostomatology, neuroscience, and inflammatory response.
    Teaching and experimental activities will be planned according to an interdepartmental and interdisciplinary program covering the various medical-biological areas. Each student is assigned a supervisor (or tutor) with whom a specific scientific training will be planned.
    The PhD program aims to provide: 1. basic pathophysiological knowledge related to human health, knowledge of molecular and cell biology, pharmacological and pharmacogenetic knowledge, tools for the identification of molecular targets for the development of new therapeutic strategies and the development of new biological drugs; 2. specific skills to address experimental problems and clinical issues in the study of degenerative diseases, cancer, neurological, psychiatric and inflammatory diseases, and in the study of regenerative medicine; 3. tools for writing scientific reports and research programs, and for effective science communication in different contexts.
    In particular, the training course is structured so that in the three-year PhD student accumulate a certain number of credits (CFU) of which 15 required in the first year. The credits can be acquired through training (see details of training activity) relate to the frequency of English language courses, basic and specific scientific courses, a series of seminars, conferences and educational activities that can be activated explicitly for the PhD (eg "Summer school ").
    To ensure a certain degree of flexibility to the training of PhD students, the acquisition of credits is not organized according to a strict annual schedule of lectures and seminars: each PhD student can choose courses of lectures and seminars to follow according to the specific research program. The program of lectures and seminars is mainly held by members of the teaching staff, experts from prestigious national and international institutions or companies in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
    The scientific training is based on experimental work carried out in the laboratories of the Departments under the supervision of a tutor. The research areas involved include many aspects of the most advanced basic research in molecular medicine and pharmacology, and modern clinical and applied research.
    The research is supplemented by a training period abroad (3-18 months) or in Italy at universities and public and private research centers.
    PhD students are constantly monitored throughout the following assessment:
    1. the ongoing testing of knowledge, self-learning, the methodology gained and the experimental results obtained by constant evaluating by the Tutor and collaborators working within the research group.
    2. a written report, as well as an oral presentation, summarizing the student’s progress in thesis work, any scientific publications and communications at national and international conferences, is due at the end of each year. The essay should be endorsed by the Tutor and approved by the Academic Board.
    3. a meeting with an ad hoc on-site Thesis Committee of staff members, who are appointed to help students in their path towards the obtainment of their PhD, is also compulsory and scheduled on an annual basis.
    The final draft of the thesis is followed by the Tutor and approved by the faculty and external supervisors.
  • Research topics
    1. Oncohaematology
    2. Development and analysis of new drug targets
    3. Analysis of the regulation of gene expression and study of genetic lesions
    4. Regenerative medicine, transplants and implants
    5. Pharmacogenetics