Director of Graduate Studies: Nafees Ahmad nafees @email.arizona.edu
The primary objective of the Medical Microbiology and Immunology (MMI) track, one of five sub-plans of the PSM Applied Biosciences GIDP, is to instruct and prepare students for an occupation in the diverse field of biomedical sciences. The focus in the MMI track is training students to attain a graduate level biomedical education with an emphasis on medical microbiology, immunology, and virology.
The disciplines of microbiology and immunology started centuries ago with the development of the simple microscope (the 1600's). Using this new scientific tool and the seminal work by major microbiologist’s in the 1800’s, led to the vanquishing of the theory of spontaneous generation as the source of disease. The ultimate cause of the disease was shown, using hypothesis-based scientific investigations, to be microorganisms or bacteria, and became known as “The Germ Theory” of disease. These foundations in Medical Microbiology led to queries into how one could prevent disease by vaccination and by the use of antisera (antibody). These studies used antibodies raised against the bacterial toxins in animals. The antitoxin serum led to the use of passive immunization to protect and cure infectious diseases and vaccines against these deadly agents. This work was seminal in the development and futures discoveries in the field of immunology. Major research and discoveries in the areas of medical microbiology and immunology have played a major part in the rapid advances in genomics, bioinformatics, and biotechnology. These technologies have also had a major impact on recent advancements in MMI.
This program is unique in incorporating the MMI-biomedical science training along with the linking and integration of important knowledge from the disciplines of management, business, and law. All students in the PSM program are required to complete an internship, in our case, in the area of MMI. Students do internships with biotechnology companies based in the Tucson-Phoenix corridor, or in academic research laboratories, and obtain invaluable on-the-job training, experience, and knowledge. This real world expertise obtained in the internship is unique and different from classroom learning or taking on-line courses.
This innovative curriculum will give students the ability to take various career paths upon graduation. This could include doing research at “the bench”, to manage a laboratory at a university or in industry. With knowledge gained in business and legal fields, our trained scholars can also become involved in the business side of biomedical science. Graduates from this track will be ready for such diverse professional vocations in the areas of: biotechnology, biomedical research, pharmaceuticals, local or national government, academic institutions, plus positions in immunologic and microbiologic biotechnology companies.
The MMI subplan is working in alliance with the Certificate Program in Microbiology and Immunity (MIGCP) which is housed within the Department of Immunology. Upon admission to the PSM-ABS MMI track, the 15 units completed by the student for the MIGCP certificate may be transferred as fulfillment of the Core Science and Science Electives Modules of the MMI subplan.
Courses recommended for the MMI track clusters are listed in the ABS-PSM Student Handbook. Other classes may be substituted for the classes listed in the attached Table with the agreement of the Director of the Graduate Studies (DGS) and the Advisor and the Committee of the student. Initial selection of the appropriate courses within each cluster and for the study plan in general will be done by agreement between the student and the DGS, based on a draft study plan assembled by the student and submitted to the DGS. This plan should be based on the particular needs and interests of the student, considering the career path the student is pursuing. Fine tuning and other necessary changes of the course plan will be made by the Advisor and the student’s Committee, in agreement with the DGS.
Please find a list of recommended courses for the Medical Microbiology & Immunology track from the ABS-PSM Student Handbook 2017-2018 pages 26-27.