The Doctoral Program (five positions)

Overview

Students are selected after completion of B.A. or B.S. programs or as part of the M.D./Ph.D. program of Icahn School of Medicine. Application is directly to the existing Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program. All students are guided by an advisory committee consisting of at least three faculty members, which monitors the students' research and course progress.

Course requirements

Each student must complete 60 graduate credits for the Ph.D. degree, of which 25 credits will be for their dissertation. We have a core curriculum for trainees majoring in endocrine science which consists of:

  • Biochemistry and molecular biology (Core 1, 90 hours, 6 credits)
  • Biomedical statistics (30 hours, 2 credits)
  • Cell biology (Core 2, 90 hours, 6 credits)
  • Neuroendocrine sciences (45 hours, 3 credits)
  • Molecular Basis of Disease (60 hours, 4 credits)

The Molecular Basis of Disease multidisciplinary training area offers a two-semester sequence of modular overview courses (seven total modules) from which each student must elect a total of five modules. The Endocrine Science Training Program requires its students to take the Molecular Endocrinology module, and a module in Genetic Diseases, unless they have had comparable earlier work. Students will generally elect their remaining modules from Pharmacology, Gene Therapy, Microbial Diseases, or Cancer Biology. The remainder of the required credits of course work consist of appropriate studies tailored to the needs of the individual trainees and selected from a wide variety of offerings in anatomy, biochemistry, pathology, genetics, microbiology, neurobiology, pharmacology and physiology. The clinical endocrinology course (30 hours, 2 credits), is an additional option for the basic science doctoral students but is not a course requirement. The students in the program, therefore, enjoy an interplay between broader, systemic and disease-oriented course work and focused study and research in endocrine science. The Steering Committee has decided that any M.D./Ph.D. students in endocrine science must also complete satisfactorily the course in the molecular basis of endocrine disease despite having taken the clinical sequence.

Length of Training and Review Process

Mount Sinai Graduate Program rules do not stipulate a time course for progression in Ph.D. studies. Doctoral students take an average four and one half years to complete their Ph.D. degree at the present time and progress through three levels of accomplishment. Passage from level 1 to level II requires obtaining a B average in three courses (core 1, core II, and an elective). Students then complete a "second examination" consisting of a cumulative knowledge test and a satisfactory thesis proposal submitted in the form of a grant proposal. The thesis proposal is reviewed by six members of the Graduate School Faculty and one outside reviewer. After completing their second examination students pass to level III and spend full time pursing doctoral research and writing their doctoral dissertation. The review process is per-formed by an Advisory Committee of three Faculty and additional ad hoc members. The Advisory Committee meets twice a year to hear seminars from the graduate students which are designed to help the student and his preceptor advance the research program. The M.D./Ph.D. students usually complete their dissertation during the three years after the pre-clinical medical school courses. Continuity of support by the training grant has been contingent on satisfactory progress. The theses are judged by four members of the Mount Sinai faculty and one outside reviewer from another institution.

Recruitment

Recruitment of doctoral students is in association with the Graduate School using established methods by the School of Medicine. The entire Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences currently has 179 students in the Ph.D. program of which 71 students are in the M.D./Ph.D. program. In the Ph.D. program 50 percent are women and seven are minorities (5 percent). In the MSTP program, 19 are women (24 percent) and 9 are minorities (18 percent). 100 percent of the MSTP students are domestic, whereas 50 percent of the Ph.D. students are from the United States. Our students comprise a highly selected group who have demonstrated solid research skills and high academic achievements as undergraduates from many of the most prestigious universities both in the United States and abroad.

Postdoctoral Program (seven positions)

Overview

The experience of our trainees has been more than simply a funding program but has included a seminar series, journal clubs, laboratory interactions, and the meeting of people with common goals. One of the further advantages of the training grant arrangement is that an organized and coordinated joint recruitment program has been established which we believe has enhanced the quality of our postdoctoral applicants.

Educational Experience

Since the inception of the training program, postdoctoral students have been able to take advantage of the didactic courses in endocrine science designed for our doctoral students. These courses are also open to clinical fellows as well as postdoctoral fellows funded by the training program. In addition, there are many lectures and seminar series conducted by the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Physiology and Biophysics, Neurobiology, Molecular Biology, the Gene Transfer Institute, the Immunobiology Center, and the Department of Medicine, as well as a variety of journal clubs that are available.

Review Process

The Steering Committee has required an annual progress report from each postdoctoral trainee and preceptor. In addition, we have had an annual public research presentation session where all trainees on the program have presented their data in public to the faculty group, it's advisors and usually a large audience of faculty, fellows, and students.

Recruitment

The primary source of postdoctoral fellows is a combination of the unsolicited applications received by individual members of the Faculty in addition to joint announcements made within the Institution and via professional journals. Members of the Faculty participate in the Placement Services of the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society and other appropriate national meetings.