PHD PROGRAM IN MOLECULAR MEDICINE
The objectives of the PhD in Molecular Medicine are:
1. train researchers capable of carrying out bio-medical research projects with technologically advanced operating methods in the field of pathophysiological, diagnostic, prognostic, predictive and preventive medicine and molecular therapy, through an educational program and the implementation of research projects that aim to understand and the transfer to the clinic the genetic/molecular bases of diseases, the use of genetic/molecular tools and procedures for the diagnosis and cure of pathological states;
2. to encourage the exploitation and investment of the entrepreneurial sectors of the emerging biotechnology industry and advanced translational biomedical research.
The Doctoral Program is mainly carried out at University La Sapienza and related clinical facilities (Policlinico Umberto I of Rome, S. Andrea Hospital). However, intense collaboration with other Italian Universities and with various national and international research Institutions is guaranteed by the presence of Teaching Board members external to Sapienza, whose expertise and laboratories are available for the experiences of the PhD students.
The multidisciplinarity of the training project is clearly evidenced by both the composition of the Teaching Board and the variety of educational and project proposals offered to the students. The PhD students, assisted by Board members and/or Supervisors also belonging to the numerous collaborating Institutions, participate in interdisciplinary training events in the following areas: biochemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology, genetics, developmental biology, structural and functional genomics, proteomics, pharmacogenomics, virology, immunology, nanotechnology, bioinformatics, statistics, research bioethics, communication and scientific writing in English.
Scientific discussion between PhD Students and/or with the Supervisors and Tutors are promoted, and the interactions of PhD Students with senior lab members clinicians involved in PhD training, as well as with other Italian and foreign laboratories, are encouraged, for the acquisition of new skills and technologies. The multiplicity of skills made available to the PhD students will therefore facilitate the development of transdisciplinary projects.
PROFESSIONAL TRAINING AND THESIS
PhD students will carry out a research project in a laboratory of their choice among those
belonging to PhD Program or external laboratories involved in collaborative activities, on approval of the Teachers Committee and under the guidance of a supervisor and / or a tutor belonging to the Teachers Committee, who they will ensure adequate technical and cultural training. During this activity, PhD students are invited to present and periodically discuss the results of their work with a committee of researchers belonging to the institute in which they carry out their research project and with representatives of Teachers Committee, with whom they can also verify the progress of their research activity and training. Furthermore, doctoral students discuss scientific articles with tutors and other members of the scientific staff, to develop the ability to analyze, discuss and various research topics.
PhD students are encouraged to participate in courses and Seminars external to the PhD Program (usually advertised on the PhD site) and in national and international scientific meetings in which they can present their data and, above all, compare themselves with the international scientific community.
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) CURRICULUM - MOLECULAR MEDICINE
Genetic diseases of the neuromuscular system. Developmental aberrations associated with DNA damage syndromes. Cancer genetics and epigenetics. Inherited cancer syndromes, identification of genes and genetic variants of cancer susceptibility, development of Polygenic Risk Scores.
Molecular characterization of solid tumors through genomic, transcriptomic and epigenomic analyses. Developmental derangement and carcinogenesis, Notch, Sonic Hedgehog and WNT pathways. Non-coding RNA and cancer. Role of the microenvironment in neoplastic pathology. Virus-driven disease. Virus and cancer. Virus and immunoevasion.
Development of molecular biomarker analysis methodologies. Liquid biopsy in early diagnosis and monitoring of the neoplastic process. Identification of prognostic and predictive biomarkers of response to target therapies.
Drug discovery and drug delivery. Development of RNA and microRNA-based drugs. Development of preclinical disease models: 2D, 3D cultures, organoids. Development of animal models of disease. Use of advanced molecular methodologies and gene editing technologies. Development and application of omics methodologies for the analysis of genes, transcripts and proteins, Single Cell and Spatial transcriptomics and proteomics. Use of bioinformatics for the analysis of genomics, proteomics and protein structure and functionality data.
2) CURRICULUM -MOLECULAR PATHOLOGY AND PHYSIOPATHOLOGY
Molecular aspects of the pathogenetic, diagnostic and therapeutic bases diseases and disease models. Neurodegeneration, Alzheimer's and microtubules. Role of sirtuins in metabolic processes, aging and pathology. Interaction between microbiota metabolites and sirtuins. Space medicine
3) CURRICULUM - ENDOCRINE-METABOLIC PHYSIOPATHOLOGY
Molecular aspects of the pathogenetic, diagnostic and therapeutic bases of diseases emerging from altered transmission of cellular signals (endocrine and metabolic diseases). Molecular basis of insulin signal transmission. Genetics of diabetes mellitus. Genetics of multifactorial diseases with particular reference to metabolic diseases. Genetic susceptibility and immune response. Metabolic and oxidoreductive alterations in cancer.
MAIN FACILITIES AVAILABLE FOR PhD STUDENTS
Guesting Department: Dept. of Molecular Medicine, ANVUR Department of Excellence 2023-2027.
Fully equipped laboratories of Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology; Cell culture laboratories, including BL3 safety level laboratories are available to the PhD students together with the access to the following facilities and instruments:
-Animal facility with "SPF" area equipped with instrumentation for in vivo imaging of small animals
- Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) facility also equipped with a platform for single cell analysis
- Proteomics and metabolomics facility equipped with a high-resolution mass spectrometer and analyzer for the study of metabolic dynamic flows in tumor cells and the immune system
- High-throughput imaging facility equipped with a spectral confocal microscope with super resolution and live imaging system and a system for the quantitative and dynamic analysis of cellular vital parameters
- Flow Cytometry Facility
- Tissue engineering platform for the generation of 3D pseudo-tissues
- Nanodelivery laboratory
- "Systems bioinformatics" and "big data" analysis facility, with skills in protein structural bioinformatics, protein/protein interactions, design and/or optimization of new molecules for potential pharmacological use, biostatistical analyzes and data interpretation generated by high-throughput technologies, application of computational biology methodologies to clinical data in the oncology field and in the study of rare pathologies.
In Vivo Imaging System Lumina Series III, Perkin Elmer; Leica “Angle Two™ Stereotaxic System
Instruments; Thermo Fisher ViiA 7 Real-Time PCR System and Quant Studio 12 K Flex Real Time PCR; Time-lapse live videomicroscopy, Becton-Dickinson; FACSCalibur and FACSAria Cytofluorimeters, BD Rhapsody Single Cell Analysis System; sequencing facility with ThermoFisher Ion Gene Studio S5 System plus (sequencer) + Ion Chef System (robotic/automated system for the preparation of libraries from NGS) + SeqStudio TM Genetic Analyzer, 4 capillaries; NGS Illumina MiniSeq, Agilent Bioanalyzer 2100; Nanostring; Glomax Discover System, Promega, IncuCyte S3 Live-cell, Essen BioScience; BD LSRFortessa Cell Analyzer, C1 Single Cell Auto Prep and QPCR analyzer on nanofluid chip, Biomark HD, Biosense; Seahorse XF extracellular flux analyzer; ZEISS LSM 980 confocal with Airyscan 2; Hypoxic workstation: integrated station for the incubation and manipulation of 2D and 3D cultured cells under controlled oxygen and CO2 concentration conditions.
The Department of Experimental Medicine and the Department of Radiological, Oncological and Anatomical Pathological Sciences, in Sapienza, and all the institutions to which external supervisors belongs (Istituto Superiore di Sanità, IFO-IRE, UOD Diabetologia, Policlinico Umberto I; Ambulatorio di endocrinologia oncologica e andrologia UOC Medicina Specialistica Endocrino-Metabolica dell’AOU Sant’Andrea, etc.) contribute to the availability of laboratory space and other facilities)