Immunology Graduate Group

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Academics

Program Structure

Courses

*Required Courses - ImmunologyPenn Shield Color
*Laboratory Requirements
*Ethics Training

Preliminary and Qualifying Exams

*First Preliminary Exam
*Second Preliminary Exam

Advancement to Candidacy

*Dissertation Research
*Dissertation Requirements
*Dissertation Defense

Forums for Scientific Exchange
Descriptions of Immunology Courses
Sample Course Outline (PhD)
Sample Course Outline (MD/PhD)

Student Activities

Graduate Group Committees

Administrative Structure

Program Structure

The program structure of the graduate program in Immunology includes formal coursework, informal journal clubs and seminars, interactions with outside senior scientists, and a formal research experience. Successful students will gain

1. a comprehensive knowledge of the immune system and its regulation, and
2. the skills necessary for a career in biomedical science.

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Courses

A. Required Courses in Immunology

All students must demonstrate understanding of course material by (1) completing examinations, (2) writing the appropriate assignments, and (3) achieving a minimum B final course grade in each course. If they do these things, students will remain in Good Standing in the program. The following courses are required for all students:

Year 1

Fall

Immunology 506 – Immune Mechanisms

Immunology 599 – Faculty Research Seminar

Biomedical Studies 600 – Cell Biology and Biochemistry

Immunology 601 – Cellular Immunology

Immunology 699 – Advisory Laboratory Rotation

Spring

Immunology 507 – Immune Functions

Immunology 599 – Faculty Research Seminar

Immunology 699 – 1st Full Laboratory Rotation

Biomedical Studies 555 – Eukaryotic Gene Expression

Summer

Immunology 699 – 2nd Full Laboratory Rotation

Year 2

Fall

Immunology 699 – 2nd Full Laboratory Rotation

Year 3

Fall

Immunology 607 – Grant Writing

B. Laboratory Rotations

All students must complete three twelve-week laboratory rotations. To ensure that students are exposed to different research projects, the IGG requires the students to rotate in three different IGG faculty members’ laboratories. Student will be evaluated and graded on each rotation by the supervising faculty member. The dissertation laboratory is usually chosen from one of these rotation labs, although this is not always required. ALL laboratory assignments must be approved in advance by the IGG Chair. The students’ preliminary exams will be based on the projects they encounter in these laboratory rotations.

C. Ethics Training

Students must understand what is considered ethical behavior in the biomedical research community. Both the BGS Office and the IGG require all students to attend at least one ethics training session per year to remain in good standing in the program. The BGS Office coordinates these sessions and notifies students of dates and times they are offered. The IGG faculty are required to participate in ethics training once every three years to remain in the group.

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Preliminary and Qualifying Exams

Preliminary and/or qualifying exams are tools used to assess the organizational and conceptual abilities of the student in the context of his/her practical experience in the laboratory. The IGG faculty expects that each student will show evidence of his/her knowledge of immunological concepts that is consistent with his/her level in the program. There are two formal exams, both administered by the Student Affairs Committee. Both exams serve as forums for faculty to evaluate the student’s knowledge of immunology, but the exams are different in the depth of expertise required of the student.

A. First Preliminary Exam

Format - This is a half hour presentation in a closed session before the members of the Student Affairs Committee. The Ph.D. students take the First Preliminary Exam after the 2nd Laboratory Rotation, usually at the end of Spring Semester of the 1st year. The M.D./Ph.D. students usually go at the end of the Fall Semester of their 1st year in the Program.

Purpose - The First Preliminary Exam is used to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the individual student at a point in the training process where changes can be made in the course of study to accommodate his/her needs. Most students find the First Preliminary Exam useful in practicing their presentation skills and in preparing for the Second Preliminary Exam.

Content - During the presentation, the student must convey an understanding of the rationale for the 2nd Laboratory Rotation and a plan for future experiments. If data are presented, the student must analyze them critically. The student may not use projection or overhead slides unless there is raw data that cannot be displayed in any other manner. The Student Affairs Committee will ask general concept questions to help them assess the student’s knowledge of Immunology.

Notification - The Student Affairs Committee will send the student an analysis of his/her performance on the exam. There is no pass/fail component to the first prelim.

B. Second Preliminary Exam

Format - The Second Preliminary Exam has three parts: - (1) a short paper, (2) an hour presentation in an open session of the students and faculty of the IGG, and (3) a closed session of questioning by the Student Affairs Committee. The Ph.D. students take the Second Preliminary Exam after the 3nd Laboratory Rotation, in fall of the 2nd year. The M.D./Ph.D. students go in the summer at the end of their 1st year in the program.

Purpose - During the Second Preliminary, or Qualifying Exam, the Student Affairs Committee evaluates the student’s progress and tries to determine if the student is capable of Ph.D. level research. If the student passes the Second Preliminary Exam, the Executive Committee will meet to determine if the student should be advanced to Dissertation Status. No student may be advanced to Dissertation Status without passing this Qualifying exam.

Content - The exam is based on the project undertaken by the student during the 3rd Laboratory Rotation. There are three parts to the exam: (1) A five-page report (not including references) consisting of: A. Background and Rationale; B. Hypothesis; C. Specific Aims (~1.5 pages); D. Summary of the research performed, and the student’s interpretation of those data; and E. Conclusion. The Aims can incorporate sub-Aims addressed during the rotation as well as sub-Aims that follow from the rotation and will be addressed  
in the future. (2) An open 40-50 minute research seminar that all IGG students and faculty are invited to attend (3) A closed oral exam before the Student Affairs Committee.

Evaluation - The student’s written report must be approved by the Rotation Supervisor and submitted to the Student Affairs Committee two weeks before the oral exam. The Committee will review the report before the exam, identify areas of potential weakness, and report problems to the student. The research seminar portion of the exam is open to all faculty and students. During the research seminar the student is expected to demonstrate the ability to: 1) define the research question clearly; 2) defend or, alternatively, suggest alternatives to the experimental approach; 3) interpret preliminary studies and supporting literature; 4) defend ideas criticized by the audience; and 5) answer questions from the audience. The degree of success is meeting these tasks indicates the student’s expertise in the research completed in the laboratory project.

A closed session before the Student Affairs Committee will follow the open session. At this time, the Committee will more thoroughly examine the student’s performance in the rotation and clarify issues raised by the written document and the open session. During this phase of the exam, members of the Committee will ask the student questions to test understanding of the research and general concepts in immunology. The Committee will then excuse the student and ask the Rotation Advisor to assess the performance of the student in the laboratory and his/her aptitude for thesis-level research. The Committee will then excuse the Rotation Advisor and decide if the student’s performance in the Second Phase Exam demonstrates deficiencies in the student’s scientific rigor that might compromise his/her ability to carry out thesis-level research. This recommendation is passed on to the Executive Committee who will then make the final decision regarding advancement to Dissertation Status or dismissal from the Program.

Notification - The student will receive a written report from the Committee. Factors that influence this decision include: 1) performance in coursework; 2) participation in journal clubs and seminars; 3) performance in the first and second level exams; and, 4) evaluations by Rotation Supervisors. Only under very unusual circumstances will a student be allowed to retake the Second Phase Exam

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Advancement to Candidacy

Advancement to candidacy indicates that the student possesses the organizational and conceptual skills necessary for Ph.D. level research, and is judged capable and prepared to begin thesis work. At this time, the responsibility of monitoring the student’s progress shifts from the Student Affairs Committee to the Student’s Thesis Committee.

After the second preliminary examination, the Executive Committee will review the student’s performance in the graduate program. Although the student must possess at least a B average in all coursework, including independent studies and laboratory rotations, the most important aspect of this evaluation is the student’s performance in laboratory work and the Second Preliminary Exam. At this stage, the Executive Committee will recommend to the Graduate Group Chair to (1) advance the student to Dissertation Status or (2) dismiss him/her from the program. In unusual situations, this decision may be deferred until a student takes remedial measures.

A. Dissertation Research

Upon advancement to candidacy, the student must do the following:

1) Select a thesis laboratory and begin a research project in that laboratory within a month.

2) Choose a Thesis Committee within six months. The Advisor will help select four faculty members to serve on the Thesis Committee. Two of the faculty members must be in the IGG. The thesis advisor and members must be approved by the IGG Chair, who will then officially appoint the Thesis Committee. Subsequent changes in membership can only be made with the permission of the Thesis Committee and IGG Chair.

3) Meet with the Thesis Committee and Mentor within 12 months. At this time the committee will select a chairperson, who will document the progress of the student on the Thesis Committee Meeting Evaluation Form. The form must be reviewed by the student and Mentor and then placed in the student’s file within a week of each formal meeting. At each meeting the committee will decide the interval of time until the next meeting. The Thesis Committee Chair will ensure that the committee meets at least once a year; under no circumstances shall it be more than 12 months.

Student Progress - The Thesis Committee is responsible for evaluating the student’s progress toward the degree. If the Committee feels the student’s progress is unsatisfactory, they will notify the Immunology Group Chair. The Chair will call a meeting of the Executive Committee to discuss and determine the appropriate course of action. In extreme situations, the Executive Committee can recommend the student’s dismissal from the Program.

Quality of Research - The Thesis Committee must also evaluate the scientific quality and importance of the student’s work and decide when to grant permission to write the thesis. Formal permission to write the thesis implies that all of the data the student will include in the document has been reviewed by the thesis committee and meets with their approval.

Relevance of Research - The Thesis Committee must also ensure that the body of work accomplished by the student is relevant and important to the scientific community. These criteria can be met if the student has at least two papers published or in press in peer-reviewed scientific journals. If the student has not published two papers, the Thesis Committee will evaluate the work within the proposed thesis and predict if the student can reasonably expect that s/he will publish two papers on the work. At this point, the Chair of the Thesis Committee should notify the IGG Chair in writing that the Committee plans to grant permission to write the thesis. Upon receiving official permission to write, the candidate must complete the thesis within six months. Failure to do so will place the student in unsatisfactory standing, and the Executive Committee will meet to discuss the student’s situation.

B. Dissertation Requirements

The Ph.D. dissertation is a document that describes the body of research accomplished while in the thesis laboratory and, moreover, places this work within the framework of the specific field of study and immunology in general. By its very nature the dissertation is a scholarly and comprehensive discussion of the laboratory work, the literature leading up to and justifying the importance of the research, and a thorough discussion of the interpretation and importance of the findings. The dissertation is not merely the "stapling together" of published and unpublished manuscripts written by the student. The written dissertation demonstrates to the scientific community that the Ph.D. candidate is able to define and execute hypothesis-driven research and able to define its contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge.

The body of the dissertation has four sections.

1) Introduction

This section is a comprehensive review and analysis of all the relevant literature on the thesis topic. This review provides an argument for the relevance and logic of the proposed hypotheses, and allows the student to justify the experimental systems used. The literature review also provides background information and references so that the dissertation can be evaluated and understood by scientists outside of the immediate field.

2) Experimental Work

This section comprises multiple chapters, each associated with experimental results that test independent hypotheses or separate questions. The entirety of the experimental work that is related to each or all of the questions addressed in the thesis laboratory is presented and interpreted in the context of a unified theme or area of study. All data and results presented must be of high quality and capable of withstanding peer review. The candidate can reasonably conclude that work accepted for publication and/or reviewed and previously accepted by their thesis committee meets this standard.

Besides experimental data and results, this section can also include descriptive tables, figures, and photographs that provide clarification and summaries of the experimental studies and models proposed. In all cases it is expected that these summaries and models will be supported by the data actually presented in the body of the thesis.

Finally, each experimental result chapter should be accompanied by a short discussion. This discussion should summarize the results presented in that section or chapter, and does not substitute for the thorough discussion described in the next section.

3) Discussion

This is among the most important sections of the dissertation, although it is often the one receiving the least attention during preparation. The discussion is not just a reiteration of the experimental results. Rather, the discussion is a critical survey of the important findings of the study. In this section, these findings should be interpreted in the context of the underlying theme or hypotheses outlined in the Introduction. Furthermore, the importance of the major findings and their interpretation should be discussed in a comprehensive manner as they relate to the field, both currently and within a historical perspective. In this regard, it is useful to return to the Introduction and explain to the educated scientist, but not necessarily an expert in your field, why your studies are important and how they explain, clarify, or expand upon current controversies or unanswered questions in your field of study.

Finally, and of equal importance, where do these studies fit in the general field of Immunology? This area of the discussion is speculative, but speculation is encouraged as long as it is logical and consistent with the data and the literature. The dissertation is an opportunity to exhibit creativity and ability to express this creativity within the constraints of sound scientific judgment.

4) Literature Cited

This section lists all published and in-press studies referred to in all other sections of the thesis. Although review articles may be cited in some cases, it is usually most appropriate to cite the primary work. References from textbooks are rarely appropriate.

C. Dissertation Defense

The guidelines listed below must be followed precisely and the Chair of the Thesis Committee must notify the IGG Coordinator in writing of each progressive step.

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Forums for Scientific Exchange

We realize that the majority of scientific information and experience is gained not only from one’s work on a project but also through interactions with other scientists. Often critical insights come from the most unexpected directions. Recognizing this fact, the IGG encourages and requires participation in both formal and informal forums that promote interactions with other scientists and the free exchange of ideas.

The 1st and 2nd year students are required to attend the weekly IGG Journal Club and the Immunology Colloquium. More senior students are strongly encouraged to attend, but the Program realizes that in some cases other seminar programs and journal clubs may be more appropriate to their institutional obligations and interests.

ALL students are required to attend the Annual Retreat. In addition, ALL students must give at least one presentation per year, preferably on the progress of his/her dissertation research. This can take the form of a presentation at the Annual Retreat or a presentation at a local or national meeting, or at the Student Chalkboard seminars held throughout the year. Short descriptions of some of these programs are:

Immunology Colloquium

Weekly seminar series with external invited speakers covering diverse Immunological topics. Attendance is mandatory for all students to remain in good standing in the graduate program.

Annual Retreat

The Immunology Graduate Group has an annual weekend Retreat featuring an invited outside speaker and short talks and poster presentations by the Graduate Group trainees. All Immunology Graduate Group students beyond the first year will present each year at the Retreat. Postdoctoral fellows in the laboratories of Graduate Group faculty are also welcome to attend and present posters.

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Descriptions of Immunology Courses

Immunology 506 – Immune Mechanisms
Director: Craig Bassing, Ph.D.
Prerequisites: Permission of Director
Taught: Fall term, M (12pm – 3pm), WF (1pm – 3pm)
Credit: 1 c.u.

This course assumes basic knowledge of the immune system. The course is a team-taught, lecture-based course that utilizes experimental data from the primary literature to examine basic cellular and molecular aspects of the immune system. The course begins with general overviews, moves to more detailed introductions of innate and adaptive immune cells, and then examines the activation and integration of innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. Several sessions focusing on presentation and discussion of primary papers will follow lectures that cover related topics.

Immunology 507 – Immune Responses
Directors: Craig Bassing, Ph.D.
Prerequisites: Immunology 506
Taught: Spring term, TR (1pm – 3pm)
Credit: 1 c.u.

This course assumes basic knowledge of the immune system. The course
is a team taught, lecture-based course that utilizes experimental data from the primary literature to examine basic cellular and molecular aspects of the immune system. The course is an extension of Immunology 506 and focuses on advanced topics in immunology and specific examples of immunological diseases.

Several sessions focusing on presentation and discussion of primary papers will follow lectures that cover related topics.

Immunology 520 – Elective Tutorials in Immunology
Director: Paula Oliver, Ph.D. and Carolina Lopez, Ph.D.
Pre-requisites: A senior undergraduate, graduate or professional school course in Immunology.
Taught: Fall semester, arranged individually by students and faculty.
Credit: 1 c.u.

This tutorial course is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of a specific branch of Immunology. The tutorial can be used to enable students to become more deeply acquainted with the literature related to their thesis projects or to expand on a topic that the student found interesting in one of their basic courses. This course is open as an elective to all BGS students who meet the pre-requisite.

Immunology 599 – Faculty Research Seminar
Directors: Sunny Shin, Ph.D. and Gregory Beatty, M.D., Ph.D.
Prerequisites: Permission of Graduate Group Chair
Taught: Fall and Spring Term, Thursdays (12pm – 1pm)
Credit: 1 c.u. spanning 2 semesters

This is a two-semester course that will expose the student to the ongoing research of the Immunology Graduate Group. The format of the course will be presentations by individual faculty members on their laboratory research.

Immunology 601 - Molecular Immunology
Director: Claudio Giraudo, Ph.D.
Prerequisites:
Taught: Fall Semester, Tuesdays (9am-10 am)
Credit: 0.5 c.u.

This course is offered as a parallel course to introductory cell biology to specifically illustrate cell biological principles as they apply to the immune system. The course meets weekly and covers landmark immunology papers that advance our understanding of the immune system through the cell biology of immune cells. Specific concepts covered over the course of the semester include: imaging, intracellular traffic, molecular motors, quality control, ion chanels, intracellular gradients, cytoskeleton, and organization of signaling. The format includes student presentations linking basic cell biology to the immunological work to be discussed followed by a faculty-directed analysis of a paper with special emphasis on its cell biology. The course ends with a brief paper discussing a cell biological principle as illustrated by immune studies.

Immunology 607 – Advanced Topics in Molecular and Cellular Immunology (Grant Writing and Review)
Director: Andrew Wells, Ph.D.
Prerequisites: Immunology 605 or permission of director
Taught: Fall term, T (10am – 12pm)
Credit: 1 c.u.

The goals of this course are several. First, the basic principles of grant writing are introduced. In this regard, a primary objective of the course is to teach how to describe ideas and experimental objectives in a clear and concise manner within the standard NIH grant format. To accomplish this, students will be required to write an NIH “RO1” type grant proposal based on your current laboratory project.

The second goal is to sharpen oral presentation skills. Accordingly, students will be required to give a presentation describing the scientific background and experimental rationale for their proposals as well as a brief description of their research plans.

Third, we will provide some insights into how grants are processed and reviewed by the NIH. To this end, students will participate in a mock study section in which they will evaluate and score grants written by fellow students. There will also be a presentation from an NIH grants administration staff member, who will provide a description of how grants are assigned to particular institutes and study sections at the NIH and how grant applications are processed after the review process.

Finally, some of the administrative aspects of grant preparation will be addressed, including preparing a budget, routing grants through the system, and other items.

Immunology 609 – Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics
Directors: David Weiner, Ph.D.
Prerequisites: Biology, biochemistry, or immunology courses at the advanced college level.
Taught: Fall term, WR (3:30 pm– 5:30pm)
Credit: 1 c.u.

The goal of the Vaccines course is to expand on the students’ general understanding of the immune system and to focus this understanding towards the application of vaccination. Furthermore the course will give the student a sense of how these principles are applied to vaccine and immune therapeutic development. The course covers basic science as well as the clinical, ethical & political implications of Modern Vaccines.

Initial lectures will review immune mechanisms believed to be responsible for vaccine-induced protection from disease. Subsequent lectures build on this background to explore the science of vaccines for diverse pathogens, including agents of bioterrorism as well as vaccines for cancer. An appreciation for the application of laboratory science to the clinical development of vaccines is provided in the next section of the course along with lectures that focus on the ethical implications of vaccines in different situations. The financial implications of specific vaccines and their impact on the global community are a specific focus of the course.

Immunology 699 – Laboratory Rotation
Directors: Staff
Prerequisite: Permission of Chairman
Taught: All semesters
Credit: 1-3 c.u.

Laboratory research is conducted with approval of the laboratory director. Two different rotations covering usually the spring semester of the first year through the fall semester of the second year are required of Immunology Ph.D. students. Rotations will be defended in preliminary examinations at the end of the spring rotation of the first year (in late May) and at the end of the summer/fall rotation of the second year (in late October and/or early November).

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Sample Course Outline (PhD)

Fall Semester

Spring Semester

Summer

Year 1

IMUN 506

IMUN 599

IMUN 601

BIOM 600

IMUN 699 - Advisory lab rotation

Journal Club

IMUN 507

IMUN 599

BIOM 555

IMUN 699 - 1st full lab rotation

1st prelim exam

Journal Club

IMUN 699 - 2nd full lab rotation

Year 2

IMUN 699 - 2nd full lab rotation (cont.)

Elective Course- IMUN 520 or IMUN 609

2nd prelim exam

Journal Club

Dissertation research

Journal Club

 

Dissertation research (cont.)

Year 3

IMUN 607

Dissertation research (cont.)

Dissertation research (cont.)

Elective Course

Dissertation research (cont.)

 

The Electives taken during Fall, Year 2 and Spring, Year 3 can be chosen from the recommended courses in BMB, CAMB, and INSC (below), but additional courses can be taken as electives beginning in Year 1 with permission of the IGG Chair and Curriculum Committee Chair.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics (BMB) Neuroscience (INSC)

BMB 508 Macromolecular Biophysics (Fall) INSC 587 Neurobiology of Disease (Fall)

BMB 550 Macromolecular Crystallography (Fall)

Cell and Molecular Biology (CAMB)

Genetics

Immunology

Microbiology

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Sample Course Outline (MD/PhD)

YEAR
TERM
MEDICAL SCHOOL COURSE
GRADUATE SCHOOL COURSE
1
Fall

Pre-clinical curriculum-

Modules 1, 3, 6

IMUN 599

TiMM course

1
Spring

Pre-clinical curriculum-

Modules 2, 3, 6

IMUN 599

Seminar or independent study

1
Summer
Lab Rotation # 1
2
Fall

Pre-clinical curriculum-

Modules 2, 3, 6

CSTR course
2
Spring

Clerkships (January-June)-

Modules 4, 6

2
Summer
Boards Step One (~ early August)
Begin Lab Rotation # 2 after boards
3
Fall
IMUN 506, IMUN 599, Elective, Journal Club, Continue Lab Rotation # 2, 1st Preliminary Exam
3
Spring
IMUN 507, IMUN 599, BIOM 555, Journal Club, Research, 2nd Preliminary Exam
3
Summer
Thesis Lab
4
Fall
Clinical Connections
Continue Thesis Lab, Journal Club, IMUN 607
4
Spring
Clinical Connections

Continue Thesis Lab, Journal Club

4
Summer
Clinical Connections
Thesis Lab
5
Year
Continue Thesis Lab (one year +)
6
Fall

(After defense) Clinic Re-entry Prep Late Fall

Clerkships and/or Electives- Modules 4, 5, 6

Continue Thesis

Dissertation Defense

6
Spring
Clerkships and/or electives- (Modules 4, 5, 6)
6
Summer
Clerkships and/or Electives (Modules 4, 5, 6)
7
Fall
Clerkships and/or Electives- (Modules 4, 5, 6); Boards step 2; Dean's Letter Oct. 1
7
Spring

Residency Interviews, Clerkships and/or Electives and/or Research- Modules 4, 5, 6

GRADUATION

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Student Activities

Annual Retreat

All IGG students are required to attend the Annual Retreat each fall. The 3rd year students each present of short seminar of their research, and the other students submit posters for the afternoon poster session.

Journal Club

The student-organized Journal Club meets weekly at a time agreeable to all the current students. At each meeting, a student presents one or two current publications of the seminar speaker scheduled for the next week’s Immunology Colloquium series. This exercise is to help students prepare for the material that will be presented at the seminar.

Visiting Professor Program

Each year, the 3rd year class invites several distinguished scientists to visit the University. The distinguished guest meets with faculty during the day, presents a seminar at the Immunology Colloquium series in the afternoon, and meets with students afterwards for an informal dinner. The dinner provides an opportunity to discuss science in a relaxed environment.

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Graduate Group Committees

Executive Committee

Student Affairs Committee

Career Development Committee

Curriculum Committee

Admissions Committee

Retreat Committee

Fellowships Committee

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Administrative Structure

Chairperson

The Chairperson is an individual responsible for governance of the IGG. The IGG Chair oversees all committees of the IGG and selects Course Directors for all courses. The Chair convenes meetings of the Executive Committee and sets the agenda for these meetings. The Chair sets the agenda and presides over biannual Faculty Meetings.

In addition to these responsibilities, the Chair also:

1. supervises day-to-day operations of the IGG
2. serves on all IGG Committees
3. attends to the funding of all IGG students
4. helps Training Grant principal investigators identify students appropriate for their training programs
5. serves on the Biomedical Graduate Studies Advisory Committee
6. meets with students on a regular basis
7. oversees the Graduate Group Coordinator
8. tracks the progress of the students and maintains the students’ files
9. oversees the Faculty composition of the Program
10. approves rotation and thesis laboratories and assures regular thesis committee meetings
11. gives final approval of the Dissertation
12. prepares the Resource Document for Graduate Group Reviews

The Chair serves a three-year renewable term. In the Spring semester of the third year of a term, the Personnel Committee requests nominations for the Chair and then contacts the nominees to determine if they would agree to serve. Nominations must be of senior level (Associate or Full Professor) individuals from the Standing Faculty of the University. The Chair is expected to be experienced in training Ph.D. level students.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee is an advisory committee to the Chair. It is composed of the IGG Chair and at least five other senior members of the IGG. The membership will represent the concerns of Student Affairs, Curriculum, and Admissions Committees in addition to the primary training grants supporting students in the Program. The Executive Committee’s responsibilities are to maintain integration of the various graduate group programs and to review significant changes in policy, direction, or intent as recommended by other Committees or members prior to final approval by the membership at large. The Executive Committee will decide on the advancement to candidacy for each student in the Program. For this reason, the membership should always broadly represent each aspect of the students’ training program. The Chair of the Executive Committee is always the IGG Chair.

Admissions Committee

The primary duties of the Admissions Committee include:

1. Reviewing applications to the Program
2. Selecting applicants to interview
3. Interviewing students
4. Organizing recruitment efforts
5. Ranking applicants and submitting lists to the BGS Office Admissions Committee approval and ranking

The Chair of the Admissions Committee will sit on the BGS Admissions Committee and represent the IGG. S/he will also be a member of the IGG Executive Committee.

Student Affairs Committee

The Student Affairs Committee reviews the progress of all 1st and 2nd year students. This Committee and administers the First and Second Phase Oral Examinations. The Chair of the Student Affairs Committee sits on the IGG Executive Committee.

Curriculum Committee

The Curriculum Committee reviews the existing curriculum and evaluates how the students’ needs are met by the available courses. Modifications to the existing curriculum are initiated by this Committee and approved by the Executive Committee and then by the membership of the IGG. At least one IGG student will serve on this Committee.

The Chair of this committee prepares the agenda and runs committee meetings, attends BGS Curriculum Committee meetings, and sits on the IGG Executive Committee.

Career Development Committee

The Career Development Committee engages students to ensure that their career needs are being met. With the help of the IGG faculty, this committee will assist students in taking advantage of existing opportunities and devising new ones.

Retreat Committee

The Retreat Committee coordinates the Annual IGG Weekend Retreat. They are responsible for inviting a guest speaker to discuss his/her work. The co-chairs also organize chalk talks and poster presentations given by the Graduate Group students and faculty members.

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