Precision Immunology Institute

Education/PhD Program

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Icahn School of Medicine is ranked among the very best in the world for academic training and the Precision Immunology Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (PrIISM) is dedicated to establishing a world-class immunology graduate program. The goal of the Immunology Training Area is to provide students interested in immunology with a rigorous and flexible program. Students will be given the individual intellectual and technical skills required to become outstanding scientists in the field of immunology.

Our Multidisciplinary Program

Students benefit from the multidisciplinary nature of our graduate program and take additional credits that could be in any area of interest to them and may include topics in microbiology, cancer, genetics, system biology, and genomic sciences among others. In addition, graduate students will also participate in an Immunology Journal Club, Work in Progress, and Seminar Series. Laboratory rotations and research training allows students to rotate and select any of the multiple laboratories that are currently working in immunology.

Prospective students are encouraged to contact Jeremiah Faith and Adrian Ting, Co-Directors of the Graduate Multidisciplinary Training Area in Immunology, with any questions regarding the Immunology graduate training program. A detailed description of the Precision Immunology Institute at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (PrIISM) graduate program can be obtained here.

 

To apply to our PhD Program, please go to this link and click on "Apply for Admissions" in the top right corner of the page.

For more information about our PhD Program, please contact Jeremiah Faith, PhD, at (212) 824-8953 or by email at jeremiah.faith@mssm.edu, or Adrian T. Ting, PhD, at (212) 659-9410 or by email at adrian.ting@mssm.edu.  

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Based of continual feedback from Immunology students, we have designed our coursework to maximize time spent in the lab, to better take advantage of the numerous opportunities for translational research in our large research hospital, and to bring students up to date on the latest computationally intensive immunology technologies and analysis methods. In the first year, students complete foundational PhD-level courses in biomedical sciences and biostatistics, while pursuing laboratory rotations to find the right PhD mentor. In the second year, immunology students take Fundamentals in Immunology and select advanced immunology intensive short-courses.

Advanced Immunology Intensive Short-Courses: Clinical Focus

Given the Precision Immunology Institute’s expertise in translational immunology, the ready access to patient samples in this major medical center and the abundance of clinical faculty, these courses provide a vehicle for graduate students to build awareness of the possibilities of human research, the major problems in the field, and to relate to the patients that suffer from these conditions. The translational immunology bootcamps offered include Immunodeficiency and the International Course of Immunotherapy. The Immunotherapy course allows students to take a combination of four modules covering 1) mechanisms of action of immunomodulatory agents, 2) cancer immunotherapy, 3) immunotherapy of chronic inflammation, and 4) vaccine development in infectious disease. These changes allow our students to relate what they learn in the classroom, and from the lab bench, to real world clinical situations and to gain an appreciation of the impact of immunology training and identify under-studied clinical problems ripe for basic science research.

Advanced Immunology Intensive Short-Courses: Data Intensive Focus

With the advanced tools of the Human Immune Monitoring Center and the Genomics CoRE, there are numerous ways to generate rich immunology datasets. Developing skills to generate and analyze such large datasets is an essential skill for the future of immunology. “Data Intensive Immune Technology” provides an in-depth look at the latest multi-dimensional immunology data generation and analysis platforms. It is run in a seminar style with students presenting how an assay works, how data are processed, cost per sample, and other details to increase awareness of immune technologies and the hurdles to implementation. The topics included next-generation sequencing, antibody/TCR sequencing, epitope determination by antigen display, single-cell technologies, large-scale functional screens, CRISPR, and lineage tracing.

AAI Advanced Course in Immunology

All PhD students are required to attend the week-long AAI Advanced Course in Immunology during the summer after their second year. This course provides an intensive roundup of their course work and an 'A-Z' review of the current state of immunology, taught by immunology experts from around the world.

Learning to critically evaluate the immunology literature, hearing the latest advances from world leaders, learning presentation skills, and moderator skills are essential scientific training.

Seminar Series

Speakers of international renown are invited and spend one to two days meeting with both faculty and trainees. This is an excellent opportunity for trainees to directly engage some of the major figures in Immunology and to present their work and get direct feedback. Students interact with the guest speaker either at lunch, at an informal mid-afternoon get together or even over dinner. There is also a student organized seminar speaker program whereby a small committee of students nominates potential seminar speakers. Each nomination is discussed and debated amongst the students who then vote on the speaker to invite. This student organized seminar speaker visits in one of our seminar speaker slots but their visit is entirely planned by the students.

Work in Progress Series 

On a weekly basis, we have an institute-wide work in progress series. Here, trainees (graduate students and post-docs, 2 per session) present their latest results in a cohesive fashion and receive feedback from the group at large. This seminar gives trainees an opportunity to gather his/her data from a period of time (usually 6-12 months) and attempt to coordinate results and get a better feel for his/her research direction. Two students serve as the moderator for each Work in Progress seminar to improve moderation skills and trainee interactions.

Journal Club

In the Immunology Journal Club, articles are selected from high quality journals and should reflect current areas of controversy or new paradigms. Questions and comments on the paper from all the students are posted online prior to the journal club, which are then further discussed in a live and interactive session. Given the broad interests of the faculty, these journal clubs are a valuable learning experience for both faculty and trainees.

Computational Immunology Lunch

A combination journal club, work in progress, debating biotech, and discussing algorithms, the computational immunology lunch brings together individuals interested in the latest methods to generate and analyze multiplex data-intensive immunology data.

Mark Aleynick
Mentor: Joshua Brody
Thesis project: Natural Pattern-Recognition-Receptor Agonists as Adjuvants for in situ Vaccination Lymphoma Immunotherapy
Contact: mark.aleynick@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Eziwoma Alibo
Mentor: Brian Brown
Thesis project: Investigating the role of oncogenes and tumor suppressors in colorectal cancer immune phenotype modulation
Contact: eziwoma.alibo@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Joshua Borgerding
Mentors: Jeremiah Faith/Miriam Merad
Thesis project: Assessing the Role of Human Intestinal Microbiota on Melanoma Development, Immune Profile, and Response to Immune Checkpoint Blockade
Contact: joshua.borgerding@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

Andrew Chan
Mentor: Anne Schaefer
Thesis project: Epigenetic Memory of Microglia in Response to Influenza Infection
Contact: andrew.chan@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Steven Chen
Mentor: Miriam Merad
Thesis project: Dissecting the migratory DC signature using a CRISPR/Cas9 KO screen
Contact: steven.chen@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Erin Doyle
Mentor: Andrea Branch
Thesis project: Comprehensive analysis of intrahepatic innate leukocytes in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected patients
Contact: erin.doyle@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Abora Ettela
Mentor: Derek LeRoith
Thesis project: Effect of 25 hydroxycholesterol in the progression of breast cancer
Contact: abora.ettela@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

John Finnigan
Mentor: Nina Bhardwaj
Thesis project: Mutation-derived Tumor Antigens: The Adaptive Immunue Response to Tumors
Contact: john.finnigan@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

John Grout
Mentors: Hélène Salmon/Miriam Merad
Thesis project: Stromal Cell Mapping of Human Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Lesions
Contact: john.grout@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Seihwan Jeong
Mentor: James Ferrara
Thesis project: The role of Reg3g on protecting intestinal stem cells by anti-apoptosis
Contact: seihwan.jeong@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Kevin Jhun
Mentor: Dirk Homann
Thesis project: Complement control of antiviral CD8+ T cell memory
Contact: kevin.jhun@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Leader
Mentor: Miriam Merad
Thesis project: High-dimensional single-cell characterization of early lung adenocarcinoma to identify determinants of anti-tumor immunity
Contact: andrew.leader@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Shelby Marchese
Mentor: Nina Bhardwaj
Thesis project: Investigating the role of dendritic cell subsets in the tumoral setting
Contact: shelby.marchese@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Luciana Muniz
Mentor: Nina Bhardwaj
Thesis project: Matrix Metalloproteinase-2 and Toll-Like Receptors modulating immune responses in the tumor microenvironment
Contact: Luciana.muniz@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Ivan Reyes Torres
Mentor: Miriam Merad
Thesis project: Exploring mechanisms of alveolar macrophage gene regulation in the cancer immune microenvironment
Contact: ivan.reyes-torres@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Cindy Tian
Mentors: Charlie Kim/Miriam Merad Working at Verily (Google company)
Thesis project: Correlation of circulating immune cells to checkpoint inhibition response in NSCLC and melanoma
Contact: ctian@google.com

 

 

 

 

Navpreet Tung
Mentor: Hélène Salmon/Miriam Merad
Thesis project: Contribution of cancer-associated fibroblasts to T cell infiltration in lung adenocarcinoma
Contact: navpreet.tung@icahn.mssm.edu

 

 

 

 

Ranjan Upadhyay
Mentor: Joshua Brody
Thesis project: Developing a screening platform for genetic and small molecule targets for cancer immunotherapy
Contact: ranjan.upadhyay@icahn.mssm.edu