Classroom activities and the Plan of Study of the Molecular Immunology & Microbiology (MIM) discipline of the IBMS Graduate Program are designed to prepare Ph.D. students for their subsequent research endeavors and the creation of a research dissertation. Conventional didactic lecture formats are used in some classes, while interactive problem-solving strategies are used in certain conference discussion settings. We ask our students to consider the principles of immunology as it relates to host defense against microbial infections and to the development of vaccines that enhance those defenses, to the developmental and genetic processes that lead to effective healthy immunity, and to instances when defective immunity results in autoimmune diseases, allergy and cancer.
Our students also participate in many enrichment activities that include weekly seminars, journal clubs, an annual retreat, travel to national and international conferences and numerous social activities. Overall, the MIM discipline provides graduate students with a comprehensive interdisciplinary foundation in biomedical sciences that is essential to excel in our 21st century world of translational science, with a focus on the immune system and infectious diseases, and that will propel graduates into future careers in biomedical research and education.
Important training experiences and opportunities offered to MIM discipline students that go beyond the formal course work:
- Seminars by outstanding invited speakers. Nationally and internationally acclaimed experts in the fields of immunity, autoimmunity, microbiology, cancer immunobiology and molecular genetics present weekly seminars. Students have opportunities to interact one-on-one with these exceptional scientists.
- A community of scholars. Graduate students look forward to the annual Department of MIMG Spring Retreat, “Bugs, Antibodies and Lymphocytes Under the Texas Sky”, an event that provides our undergraduate students, master students, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows an opportunity to participate in an exciting exchange of ideas by presenting posters and oral presentations. In addition, the students get to meet with a group of extraordinary, nationally renowned scientists invited to present their latest breakthroughs.
- The San Antonio Vaccine Development Conference. “Infection, Immunity and Vaccines” serves as a Fall Retreat. This conference, focusing on vaccine development and strategies, brings together the pre-doctoral and post-doctoral trainees and faculty from local universities and research institutions in the surrounding San Antonio area. In addition, distinguished experts from around the country are invited to give formal lectures of their work.
- Travel awards. Students who wish to attend national conferences can compete for monetary awards for travel.
- Mentoring opportunities. Our graduate students have the opportunity to foster the development of their mentoring skills by participating in the training of the exceptionally talented students in our MIMG Undergraduate Research Program and our MS program in Immunology & Infection.
The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences has partnered with the Long School of Medicine and the School of Dentistry to create highly successful training programs for the next generation of clinician/scientists wishing to conduct rigorous, hypothesis-driven laboratory or population-based research into some of the most vexing biomedical problems we face. For more information, visit the South Texas Medical Scientist Training Program (M.D./Ph.D.) or the D.D.S./Ph.D. program.