Microbiology and Immunology today is a dynamic and exciting collection of disciplines. UNC Microbiology and Immunology students receive training in forefront areas of prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular and cellular biology, molecular genetics, pathogenesis, bacteriology, virology and immunology, as well as in broad multi-disciplinary areas such as host-pathogen interactions, macromolecular structure, the nature of protein/protein and protein/nucleic acid interactions, and mechanisms that control gene expression.
Students are required to take Six (6) courses, including two seminar/tutorial courses. These courses may be taken in either the first or second year, but no more than 2 didactic or seminar courses may be taken in a single semester.
Courses may be taken throughout the school of medicine and the Biology and Chemistry department. Faculty and peer advisors will work with you to tailor your course selections to meet your individual interests.
Written Exam:Our departmental exam format is a research proposal patterned in the format of an NIH grant proposal. Specific guidelines will be discussed in detail when the students meet as a group with the Prelim Exam Advisor during the Spring semester. A specific list of DO's and DON'Ts will be distributed at that time. The exam is understood to be an expression of each student's independent ability to formulate an experimental approach and adequately express it on paper. The exam is scheduled once each year -- it immediately follows the end of the second semester with 6 weeks given to complete the document.
Committee Meetings and Oral Examination: Students should take the oral prelim exam as soon as possible but not later than 3 months after notification of passing the written exam. The oral component of the prelim exam will be an extension of the written exam, i.e., on the same topic as the research proposal. Through appropriate questioning by the faculty, the student is expected to be able to further demonstrate his/her:
breadth and depth of knowledge of basic biology and biochemistry
ability to analyze problems
ability to be conversant in several disciplines in microbiology and immunology
Also, BY THE END OF YOUR THIRD YEAR, you should have developed a dissertation research project. The proposed dissertation project must be approved by your dissertation research committee. Ideally, the committee will approve the topic during the third year. However, committee approval of the topic may sometimes be deferred until the fourth year, depending on the progress of your research. According to Graduate School rules the dissertation committee must consist of at least five persons: the dissertation advisor and at least 4 members of the Graduate faculty. Our department requires that four members of the dissertation committee be faculty (primary or joint appointees) in our department. You will present to the committee members a written prospectus of the dissertation research problem and methodology, at least one week in advance of the committee meeting. You will then defend (orally) the dissertation research proposal to the committee. The committee determines the soundness of the problem and its feasibility. When your topic is approved, the Graduate School must be notified in writing that the dissertation project has been approved and that you are advised to proceed. You must meet at least once every year with your dissertation committee to review your progress on your dissertation research project. This meeting is usually held in conjunction with the annual Student Seminar.
TA Requirement: Students must TA a once in their second year and once in their third year for a departmentally approved course.
Seminar Requirements: ALL students are expected to:
· Attend the Thursday Departmental seminars.
· Attend the Tuesday Student seminars.
· Participate in annual discussions on scientific ethics.
Each year, students in the 3rd, 4th, and subsequent years present a seminar. A list of available dates will be sent out to eligible students in the Spring and students will sign up for the time slot in the next year when they wish to present their seminar. These are meant to be formal presentations (45-50 minute duration), using slides in which the student describes the goals and progress of his or her dissertation research.
Publication Requirement: Before graduation, students must have carried out sufficient research for at least two first-author publications in high-quality refereed journals, either published or submitted for publication.