Basic and Applied Immunology
Molecular Medicine
Milano, Vita-Salute San Raffaele-San Raffaele Institute
Course Coordinator & Office of Graduate Studies
Students' Office
Thematic Areas
This course is one of the six tracks offered by the International Graduate School of Molecular Medicine of the San Raffaele University of Milano. This section of the program covers both basic immunology and areas of relevant clinical-pathological interest, ranging from immuno-hemathology (lymphoid neoplasms), to transplantation immunology (both solid organ and bone marrow transplantation), congenital immunodeficiencies, immunopathogenesis of infectious diseases (including HIV, HBV, HCV, TB, etc.), vaccinology and cancer immunology and immunotherapy. The program is based on a network of national and international research institutes that participate in the training and are available to host students for their entire thesis project. The Program is designed to prepare students for careers in basic research, clinical diagnosis, industrial research, and teaching. The program is truly interdisciplinary, providing graduates with a solid background in cellular, molecular, and medical immunology. As such, the program aims at enrolling not only biology and biotechnology graduates, but also young medical doctors who want to complement their clinical training with an opportunity to gain skills in methodological as well as technological and cultural aspects of experimental research.
Selection & Admission
Ideal candidates are young graduates with an excellent education track, a strong commitment to develop as independent investigators and good English knowledge. Prior publications, with a demonstrated active involvement in the study, are highly appreciated. Admission to the Program is a two-tier process. Candidates submit a complete CV, a short description of their research activities, a statement describing their broad research interests and two reference letters by academic referees. Top ranking applicants are invited for interviews at San Raffaele University in Milano to assess their motivation and commitment for scientific research as well as their general knowledge of the most relevant issues in the field. Admitted students are assigned to a participating lab taking into account their individual preferences and the specific areas of interest of the participating scientists in order to obtain the best possible match between the candidate and the participating investigators.
Students' Monitoring
Progress in the thesis work is carefully monitored to ensure a productive scientific and professional outcome by the end of the Program. Besides the direct (primary) supervisor, each student needs to identify a second supervisor, who should have a broad expertise in the area to be investigated by the student, but should not be a collaborator of the direct supervisor (no ongoing collaborations, personal relationships or co-authorships during he past 3 years). The second supervisor should independently assess progress in the thesis work at least once a year. Each year the student must submit a progress report to both supervisors, whose approval is required for continuing registration. Two group session of reports are typically organized each year to which all students and supervisors as well as the scientific community are invited to actively attend. In these sessions, oral presentation by the enrolled PhD students are given as formal seminar followed by an open discussion.
Training & Education
Students will be provided the opportunity to tailor programs specifically to individual needs and the flexibility to pursue training in their own particular area of interest. Residential courses dealing with broad topics in the thematic areas of the program are organized by all participating investigators on a rotational basis. The courses should be held within one week of timeframe and contain formal lectures by staff members and invited guests, as well as interactive tutorial activities in the form of round table discussions, journal clubs, etc. In addition, coursework includes the refinement of such general skills as are required of all scientists, namely: critical evaluation and presentation of current scientific literature, the reading and writing of technical material, problem solving, experimental design, and ethics.
Doctoral Thesis
The Program culmination is the submission of a written doctoral thesis, which is evaluated by a Commission nominated by the Chancellor of the University and including three academic experts in the field of candidate, one of the San Raffaele University (internal member) and two of other Universities. A high quality publication of the experimental work carried out during the Program in form of at least one manuscript officially submitted to a qualified peer-reviewed scientific journal featuring the candidate as first author is required prior to the discussion of the doctoral thesis. A successful thesis defense is also required to obtain the title of PhD in Molecular Medicine by our University. The PhD dissertation includes both a public presentation by the candidate followed by a public discussion and by a private discussion of the candidate with the examiners. If modifications are requested, the conferment of the title is postponed pending submission of a revised doctoral thesis.
Students entering the program will be granted a three year institutional fellowship, either provided by the Ministry of Education and Research or, whenever available, by any of the participating institutions. Up to two years of extensions of the fellowship are foreseen in case the project cannot be completed within the standard three-year period. Such fellowship extension will be provided by the host laboratory. The gross yearly amount of the fellowships provided to the students for this program is 18,000 Euros. An additional yearly allowance of ca. 2,250 Euros is provided for the period eventually spent abroad by the students during the completion of the thesis work.
Students are encouraged to visit the students office to gather information about agreements and availability for rental apartments and rooms. Short term accommodation is provided in two residential buildings owned by the University while long-term accommodation is currently not granted by the University.