The objectives of the PhD in Molecular Medicine are:
1. train researchers capable of carrying out bio-medical research with technologically advanced operating methods in the field described below (in the Study Program), including pathophysiology, diagnostics, prognosis, predictive and preventive medicine and molecular therapy, through the implementation of projects aimed at the understanding and transfer in the clinical setting of the genetic/molecular basis of diseases, to the use of genetic/molecular tools and procedures for the diagnosis and correction of pathological states;
2. to encourage the exploitation and investment of the entrepreneurial sectors of the emerging biotechnology industry and in advanced translational biomedical research.
The PhD Program is carried out at La Sapienza University and related clinical facilities (Policlinico Umberto I in Rome, S. Andrea Hospital).
The entire complex includes a large area of basic research, and general medicine and specialist clinical research hospitals.
PhD students participate in interdisciplinary training events in the following areas: biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, developmental biology, structural and functional genomics, proteomics, pharmacogenomics, virology, immunology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics, statistics, communication and scientific writing in English.
Doctoral students carry out a research project in a laboratory chosen by themselves among those belonging to PhD Program on approval of the Teachers Committee, under the guidance of a supervisor and / or a tutor belonging to the Teachers Committee. During this activity, PhD students are invited to periodically present and discuss the results of their work with a committee of researchers belonging to the institution in which they carry out the thesis and with representatives of the Teachers Committee, with whom they can also verify the progress of their research activity. and training.
In addition, PhD students discuss research articles with tutors and other members of the scientific staff, to develop the ability to analyze and discuss on different research topics.
Students must complete their doctoral work in three years. At the end of this period, the student must submit a written doctoral thesis, which will be subjected to the examination of external reviewers, chosen by a special commission made up of members of the Teachers Committee, among a pool of reviewers recommended by the tutor. The positive evaluation of the external reviewers (eventually gained after revision of the work) is mandatory, before the thesis is officially discussed in a seminar open to the public. The candidate is required to publish at least one scientific paper (or drafting of a manuscript to be published), related to the research carried out during the PhD program.
1) MOLECULAR MEDICINE CURRICULUM
a) Molecular pathology. Microdissection technologies from histological preparations for the molecular investigation of homogeneous cell populations (i.e. Laser Capture Microdissection). Molecular diagnostics for the identification of genetic alterations based on PCR (eg, allelic discrimination, OLA, ARMS-PCR, MLPA, microsatellites analysis, automated DNA sequencing, multigene panel Next Generation Sequencing). Methods for the study of gene expression and transcription (cDNA-microarrays, microRNA-microarrays using Real Time Q-PCR, RNA-seq, Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP), ChIP-on-chip, ChIP-seq).
b) Genotype-phenotype relationship and molecular aspects of the pathogenetic, diagnostic and therapeutic bases of the main morbid forms and in disease models.
c) Gene therapy. Models of gene therapy and genetic engineering of tissues for medical purposes.
d) Epidemiology and multifactorial diseases.
e) Molecular Oncology (molecular foundations of the pathogenetic, diagnostic and therapeutic bases of neoplastic diseases - oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, sporadic and hereditary endocrine, mammary, gastrointestinal neoplasms). Identification and characterization of mutational profiles predictive of response to target therapies. Identification and characterization of circulating tumor cells and circulating tumor DNA.
- Molecular and cellular biology. Technologies for the study of cells, tissues and morphogenetic and differentiative processes. Flow cytometry. Main technologies of recombinant DNA, DNA and RNA analysis, genomic and cDNA cloning, gene editing Including CrispR/Cas9 technology), gene transcription regulation, gene transfection. Study of protein / DNA and protein / protein interactions (two hybrid system).
- Structural and functional genomics (post-genomics). Identification of genomic loci. Gene searching. Automated DNA Sequencing and Next Generation Sequencing Applications. Differential gene expression, DNA-microarrays technology, functional characterization of gene products. Sequence analysis for homologies, structures and functional domains of gene products. Structure / function prediction. Transcriptomics and Chromatin Immunoprecipitation (ChIP). ChIP-on-chip high-throughput analysis. Main technologies of proteomics, metabolomics and bioenergetics.
- Development of transgenic animal models for the study of human pathologies. Development of transgenic animals and conventional and conditional knock-out and knock-in animals (differentiation- and tissue-specific stage). Physiological role of normal gene products. Characterization of the role of mutated genes in the pathogenesis of specific pathologies. Experimental models for therapeutic and preventive strategies.
- Gene transfer. Gene transfer technologies. Development of viral vectors (retroviral vectors, adenoviral vectors, lentiviral vectors).
2) CURRICULUM MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY AND PHYSIOPATHOLOGY
a) Optical and electronic microscopy.
b) Application of "laser micro dissection" technology, associated with the development of biochemical and molecular biology techniques, especially for the study of small biopsies derived from patients.
3) ENDOCRINE-METABOLIC PHYSIOPATHOLOGY CURRICULUM
a) Molecular aspects of the pathogenetic, diagnostic and therapeutic basis of pathologies caused by impaired transmission of cellular signals (endocrine and metabolic pathologies).
b) Molecular basis of insulin signal transmission
c) Genetics of diabetes mellitus
d) Genetics of multifactorial diseases with particular reference to metabolic diseases.
e) Genetic susceptibility and immune response.
CURRENT RESEARCH PROJECTS:
- Molecular/genetic aspects of brain tumors.
- Molecular/genetic aspects of T-lymphocyte leukemia.
- Molecular/genetic aspects of solid tumors.
- Molecular/genetic aspects of haematological tumors
- Molecular/genetic aspects of myocardiopathies.
- Epigenetic regulation (chromatin and microRNA) of normal and neoplastic stem cells.
- Metabolic reprogramming of tumors
- Molecular/genetic aspects of the transduction of neuronal cell development signals and their pathological implications.
- Molecular/genetic aspects of hereditary-familial neoplasms (breast / ovary).
- Molecular/genetic aspects of diabetes mellitus.
- Molecular/genetic aspects of DNA damage defective syndromes
- Characterization of cells and circulating tumor DNA as an aid to diagnosis, definition of prognosis and predictivity of response to target therapies in oncology
Most facilities are located within the Department of Molecular Medicine, which include fully equipped laboratories to perform techniques in Biochemistry and Cell and Molecular Biology; Cell culture laboratories, including BL3 security level laboratories; Bioinformatics and Genomics laboratories, equipped with the latest generation instrumentation, including functional genomics facilities (instrumentation for Sanger Sequencing, NGS, Single cell sequencing), proteomics and metabolomics; Flow cytometry, live cell imaging and confocal microscopy laboratories, including instrumentation for time-lapse microscopy; Animal house, also for breeding of genetically modified mice, with live imaging facilities. The Department of Experimental Medicine and the Department of Radiological, Oncological and Pathological Sciences contribute to the availability of laboratories.