Training in Microbiology/Virology/Parasitology
Infectious diseases resulting from viruses, parasites, prions,
and bacteria are a major cause of human morbidity and mortality.
Some important infectious diseases, including HIV, malaria,
and hepatitis C are becoming more rather than less prevalent.
The threat of emerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism
also calls for increased research in the area of microbiology,
and in fact the NIH is greatly increasing research funding
for work on infectious diseases. The recent outbreak of SARS
and the continued spread of West Nile virus in North America
are but two recent examples of emerging infectious diseases.
By studying human pathogens,
it is also frequently possible to learn much about normal
cell biology, molecular biology, and immunology - infectious
agents have long been used as model systems to study important
If you find the study of infectious diseases interesting,
then you should consider a research career in Microbiology,
Virology or Parasitology. The University of Pennsylvania
has a very collaborative and integrated research program
approximately 60 faculty throughout the campus. We can give
you the best graduate training available in the molecular
and cellular biology of viral and bacterial pathogenesis
and parasitology. Our graduates go on to top postdoctoral
prestigious faculty positions and research positions in biotechnology
and pharmaceutical companies. Apply today, it doesn't
long using the online application form at the Biomedical
Graduate Studies website.
Program of Study
A program leading to the Ph.D. in Microbiology, Virology
or Parasitology is offered at the University of Pennsylvania.
Graduate Studies, which oversees all graduate programs
at the School of Medicine. Most microbiology students apply
the Cell and Molecular
Biology Graduate Group, in which the Microbiology/Virology/Parasitology
(MVP) program constitutes one of the major
'tracks'. Some of our students apply to the Immunology
Graduate Group. Regardless of which graduate group you
join, you will be free to work in any one of a large number
of labs - all of the programs are very flexible. Each graduate
group offers its own specialty courses, and you can change
graduate groups if you find that your research interests
change over time.
current research interests of the faculty in microbiology
and virology encompass a broad range of disciplines including
prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular biology, microbial
genetics and genomics,
virology, viral and microbial pathogenesis and immunology.
Faculty throughout the School of Medicine,
the School of Veterinary Medicine, the School of Dental
the School of Arts and Sciences, Children’s Hospital,
the Fox Chase Cancer Center and the Wistar Institute
In total, there are approximately 60 faculty who have a primary
affiliation with the Microbiology Program. You can learn
the research interests of the faculty by either going to
the Faculty page, which lists
all microbiologists in the program in alphabetical order,
to the Research page, which divides
the faculty into 7 broad research themes: virology, bacteriology, emerging
infectious diseases, immune
genomics and evolution, tumor virology and parasitology.
During the Fall of their first year, our students take a
core Cell Biology Course, as well as the
first year seminar course. In
the Spring,our students take a core course on gene expression,
and most elect to take a newly designed immunology course
that emphasizes innate immunity and the adaptive immune response.
In addition, they take 2 of 3 different half-semester long
courses, one on virology, one on bacteriology and one on
parasitology. By the end of the first year, students have
taken most of their courses. In the second year, popular
courses include a vaccines course, an emerging infectious
disease course, and a half semester-long writing course.
In addition, first year students complete three, 11-week
long lab rotations in which
they explore different areas of research and are introduced
to the research interests of individual faculty members.
At the end of the spring semester, students select a laboratory
for dissertation research and so begin their thesis work
during their first summer in graduate school. An oral preliminary
examination based on a written research proposal
end of the second year. A total of four to five years of
graduate work is generally required to complete the Ph.D.
Combined M.D./Ph.D. and V.M.D./Ph.D. programs are also offered.
Click here for course details.
The MVP program has an extensive series of seminars designed
to not only expose students to the latest and hottest research
in microbiology, but to give students an opportunity to present
their work to a large and diverse audience. We feel that
it is important for students to gain experience in speaking
about their work in public, as this is an important facet
of any job in science. Our
Tuesday Virology series gives a student or postdoc each week
a chance to talk about their work in front of an audience
that averages approximately 90 faculty, students, postdocs
and technicians. This is an invaluable opportunity for our
students to gain experience in talking about their work.
Most students in virology labs present their research at
this seminar series once a year. Similar seminar series are
held for our bacteriology and parasitology students. Our
Wednesday Microbiology seminar series features prominent
scientists from throughout the country and Europe who talk
about their latest work in
virology, bacteriology, parasitology, and immune responses.
As part of this series each semester, we have an Alumni Day
when a former MVP program student or postdoc who is now an
Assistant Professor at another institution returns to campus
to talk about their work, and to meet with current students
over lunch to talk about their careers. In fact, all of our
seminar speakers have lunch with students immediately after
their talks, to discuss their work and career choices. More
information on our various seminars can be found on our Seminars
Certificate Program: Graduate Training in
Given the increasing intersection between basic and clinical
medicine, there is a need for basic scientists who have a
strong understanding of human biology and physiology and
who can effectively interact with clinical scientists to
address medical relevant research problems. BGS' Graduate
Training in Medical Sciences (GTMS) Certificate Program has
been established to meet this need by integrating focused
medical education into the graduate curriculum. Students
enrolled in GTMS undertake specialized coursework and other
activities in addition to the training required by their
graduate group for their PhD. GTMS courses are open to BGS
students who do not formally enroll in GTMS. Additional information
can be found here.
Certificate Program: Public Health Certificate
Objective: To provide supplemental training to highly motivated,
well qualified doctoral candidates who are interested in
public health. This program will prepare students for careers
in academic, industrial, and government institutions by providing
training in population based approaches and applications
for those with expertise in molecular, cellular, and biochemical
sciences. Students will take four courses in public health
in addition to their regular doctoral coursework and will
participate in either a short-term (6 week) public health
research project or independent study with a member of the
MPH faculty for elective credit. It is anticipated that research
questions related to the student's PhD research project will
investigated during this independent study.
The program would be available to students in any BGS graduate
group, but it is expected that students in Immunology and
in Cell and Molecular Biology's tracks in Cell Growth and
Cancer, Gene Therapy and Vaccines, and Microbiology, Virology,
and Parasitology would be particularly interested. Additional
information can be found here.
The University of Pennsylvania is a world class research
institution. It ranks number 2 in total grant funding from
the National Institutes
of Health. The graduate program is University-wide and includes
over 50 faculty members from the Schools of Medicine, Dental
Medicine, and Veterinary Medicine; the Department of Biology
of the School of Arts and Sciences; the Wistar Institute;
the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; and the Research Department
of Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. Most of these institutions
are within easy walking distance of each other and are also
close to other schools and departments of the University,
such as the Chemistry Department and the School of Engineering.
The University maintains a large number of core research
facilities, such as the Bioinformatics Core, the Proteomics
Core, and many others, to aid in all technical aspects of
research. The University's library
journals and has on-line access to hundreds of local and
The Microbiology and Virology Graduate Program includes
approximately 80 full-time Ph.D., M.D./Ph.D. and VM.D./Ph.D.
students from institutions throughout te United States. We
provide a series of Chalk Talks during the first two weeks
short talks about their work. This gives students an opportunity
to hear from many faculty, which helps them decide on their
rotation labs. Lunch or dinner is provided with each Chalk
Talk, and senior students attend to answer questions. A series
of mentoring sessions on career development is offered, as
are many other social and educational programs, including
a student organized monthly happy hour, which is a great
way to meet senior students.
All students accepted into the program are awarded full fellowships
and health insurance. The awards include a grant of funds
to cover University of Pennsylvania tuition and fees, plus
a stipend of $30,500 per year beginning in the Fall of
The University is located in Philadelphia, a historic
gem and a great cultural center currently undergoing dynamic growth. Attractions
include several theaters, a world-famous orchestra, outstanding museums and art
galleries, and professional sports. The University, located only a short distance
from downtown Philadelphia, is in itself a highly developed community, with a
beautiful urban campus and a rich variety of cultural and intellectual attractions,
including the University Museum, the Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts,
and extensive sports facilities.
The University of Pennsylvania is a privately
endowed nonsectarian institution, founded by Benjamin Franklin in 1740. It is
composed of undergraduate schools with 9,900 students and graduate professional
schools enrolling 10,500 students. The professional and graduate schools include
the Schools of Medicine, Dental Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, and Nursing, a
Law School and the Wharton School of Business, all located on the same campus.
Living and Housing
Accommodations for single and married students are available both on
and off campus. On campus, the
University offers apartments and suite living on a twelve-month lease basis in
two modern Graduate Towers. A variety of privately owned rooms and apartments
are also available in proximity to the University. The University is a short commute
from quality living areas in Center City Philadelphia and suburban Philadelphia.
Admission to the Program in Microbiology/Virology/Parasitology
is available to students with excellent undergraduate preparation
in the biological, chemical and physical sciences and mathematics.
Scores on the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations
are required. A non-refundable fee of $70 is required of
all applicants, and the application deadline is December
Students apply to the Biomedical
Graduate Studies Office and must apply electronically.
When you do this, you will be asked to pick your desired
Graduate Program. A list will be provided, and you can
select Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology.
online today! Application information can be found
BGS does not accept mailed applications, but if you
have questions you may email or call:
Biomedical Graduate Studies Office
For more information about the MVP Program specifically,