Cell & Developmental Biology
Cellular & Molecular Biology
Genetics and Genomics
Health Infrastructures & Learning Systems
Microbiology & Immunology
Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology
Molecular & Cellular Pathology
Molecular & Integrative Physiology
Fostering a scientifically vibrant program and cutting-edge research
Students take courses in cell and molecular immunology, immunologic methods and transnational immunology, plus a core course in biochemistry, genetics, or cell biology. Electives are selected from a wide range of courses devised to complete the student's preparation for advanced study and research.
Our trainees receive a strong knowledge base in immunology as well as the vital research presentation and writing skills required for their career development. Students emerge from this training experience with a thorough grounding in cellular and molecular immunology and an understanding of how to exploit this knowledge in the study of disease processes. Each student obtains sufficient experience in investigation, and a sufficient record of accomplishment to be considered a strong candidate for postdoctoral research training and support at nationally prominent labs.
After completing coursework, students take the preliminary exam during the second year. The preliminary examination tests the student’s ability to reason analytically and to develop ideas and defend them. The format consists of a written research proposal similar to the NIH research grant format on a topic of their choosing. The written proposal is followed by an oral defense of the research plan. The proposal is expected to be an in-depth presentation of a research plan to investigate a contemporary question in immunology. The student is responsible for identifying the question and devising logical and convincing experimental approaches to address the issue. In the written proposal and the oral defense, the student is expected to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the research problem, as well as to creatively think about the topic and experimental design. Thus, the emphasis is on hypothesis testing and experimental design, as well as general knowledge in the field of immunology.
The Immunology Program has no formal teaching requirement, but will provide access and training to individuals who want a teaching experience.
Expected Length of Program
Usually about four to five years.
The Immunology Program provides an interdisciplinary structure and an inclusive environment through which immunologists in a variety of departments can collaborate to meet educational and training objectives. The Immunology PhD Program fosters interactions among students and faculty in the Program to broaden the students’ appreciation of diverse research opportunities and to encourage interdisciplinary thinking in a highly collaborative atmosphere. Our goal is to continue to provide a firm basis in immunology through individualized training.
Drawing on resources from throughout the University, students first obtain a strong foundation in cellular and molecular immunology, then pursue individual interests in rotations while spanning a broad variety of cutting edge areas.
Our students are also involved in a variety of activities while they are in our program:
Every spring, the Immunology Program sponsors an off-campus retreat where selected research within the program is highlighted. Only graduate students and research fellows present their work.
The Immunology seminar series, held during the Fall and Winter terms, includes formal presentations by speakers from outside the University of Michigan. Students are encouraged to nominate and host external researchers whose work they find thrilling and innovative. Students are given the opportunity to meet with the speakers at a luncheon immediately following the seminar. In addition, highlighted faculty research presentations are given by student-selected GPI faculty.
The GPI plans social events throughout the year, including: mails, Fall Picnic, canoeing/kayaking, movies, sporting events, and a holiday party. We also pair new students with experience peer mentors.
The Immunology program gives a foundation that enables students to pursue a broad range of career choices spanning from academics to industry, and from the theoretical to the translational. Immunology program alumni have gone on to compete successfully in academia, biotechnology and an increasing number of other domains in our advancing technological world.
Learn more about the Department of Immunology.