Educational program and research activities
The main purpose of the PhD Programme in Experimental Medicine and Therapy is to provide the proper cultural, technological and operative upgrading to young students graduated in biomedical disciplines (Medicine and Surgery, Pharmacy, Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Technology, Biotechnologies, Dentistry, Biological Sciences) necessary for their formation as researchers qualified in the following fields:
- Molecular Pathology
- Experimental and Clinical Oncology
- Physiology and Pathophysiology of the Cardiovascular System
- Metabolic Pathophysiology
- Pathophysiology of the Odontostomatological System
- Experimental Pharmacology and Therapy
The research topics pertaining to the aforementioned fields are all referable to the National Research Plan of the Italian Government and to the Horizon 2020 Programme for Research and Innovation.
To achieve the given targets and to characterize and suitably integrate the scientific research activity promoted by the PhD programme, the strategy adopted is to support:
- topics of common interest for all the involved scientific areas;
- knowledge and practice of advanced and complex technologies;
- individual and group addressing to the prominent topics of the scientific area in which the PhD School teachers and tutors work, and to the relative professional perspectives.
The MTS/EMT and the other educational infrastructures selected by the Steering Committee (see Educational activities) offer biomedical–specific courses, as for example:
- “Proposal Writing in Biomedical Sciences”,
- “Good Scientific Conduct and Relevant Ethical Issues in Sciences”,
- “Academic Writing in Biomedical Sciences “,
- “Essentials in Biomedical Research Methodology”,
- “Peer reviewing and journal editing for researchers in Biomedical sciences”,
- “How to prepare a job application inside or outside of academia.”
- “Statistic for Biomedical Sciences”,
- “Conflict and change management”,
- “Pathophysiology mechanisms of acute and chronic diseases”
The latter includes:
- inflammation and progression of disease processes;
- oxidative stress and inflammation;
- normal and pathological cell signals involved in cell function, proliferation and death;
- experimental models of protection against multiphasic disease processes promoted by inflammation, infections, toxic and degenerative adverse reactions, altered hormonal responses (tumours, atherosclerosis, myocardial damage, diabetes, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases);
- “molecular signalling” pharmacology and therapy directed to the treatment of solid and hemolymphopoietic tumours, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, degenerative diseases (in connection with pharmaceutical industries).
- molecular imaging of: atherosclerosis, myocardial dysfunction, chronic inflammation of the liver, pancreas, intestine, brain and oral cavity;
- employment of human staminal cells obtained from dental pulp, hemopoietic bone marrow and adipose tissue, and differentiated into myocardial, neuronal, hepatocyte and osteoblastic lineages;
- design, production and experimental assay (in vitro and in vivo) of nanoparticles for the delivering of cell signal modulators and anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-oxidant drugs (in connection with spin off companies, technological platforms and pharmaceutical industries).
The MTS/EMT program organizes several courses and seminars (See Educational Activities). In particular MTS/EMT organizes:
- specific lab seminars addressed to small groups students, or of individual mini-stages, held or coordinated by the PhD teachers respectively;
- international workshops for the PhD or meeting sessions for the PhD program;
- scientific seminars held by Italian and foreign researchers external to the PhD course;
- periodical meetings with operators coming from the two technological Incubators of the University of Turin (for the Biotechnologies and for the Pharmaceutical Chemistry) and of scientific and technological Parks in sharing with Finpiemonte;
- stages in industries and scientific institutes in Piedmont, Italy and foreign Countries.
- capacity to recognize original and promising research topics within the specific disciplines of the PhD program;
- capacity to define methodological instruments suitable for producing and elaborating significant experimental results;
- autonomy in conducting research programs, manufacturing processes, advanced analytical methods and innovative therapies of molecular medicine, operating with critical analysis, cultural orientation and rational initiative;
- capacity to write projects and scientific articles;
- aptitude for collaborating with Italian and foreign colleagues of the same or similar areas.
It is also expected that the PhD student would give a meaningful and original contribution to the knowledge progressively reached by the research groups working within the multidisciplinary field of the PhD programme. This contribution will be assessed in terms of in extenso publications on peer reviewed international Journals.
The experience acquired in the previous PhD cycles will be considered for the management of the cultural, scientific and professional education of the PhD students. The broad outlines of training topics and of research activities have been defined and agreed with the coordinators of the other PhD programs within the PhD School of the University of Turin.
- biomedical–specific courses organized by the MTS/EMT and held by teachers and tutors of the doctorate in collaboration with national and international scientists;
- common teaching courses shared with all other PhD programs of the PhD School of the University of Turin;
- specific teaching courses addressed to the students of the Experimental Medicine and Therapy programme, mainly focused on:
- role of inflammation in the progression of multistep disease processes occurring in humans;
- role of oxidative stress, infections, toxic and degenerative adverse reactions, and altered hormonal responses in the progression of human chronic diseases;
- pharmacology and “molecular” therapy of solid and hemolymphopoietic tumours, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, degenerative diseases;
- ad personam and small-group learning modules about research methodologies;
- one or more research programs which every student has to carry out during the four years of the course, under the constant supervision of a tutor, and, during the first year only, with the mentorship of another PhD student or researcher.
It is desirable that the PhD student would spend a period of study and research by suitable foreign institutions, in order to improve the cultural and technical knowledge needed for his own research program.
All research projects performed within the frame of the PhD program will be defined and included into the competition call so that the candidate will be able to select his project at the time of filling the application form. The admission test will consist of a written and an oral examination, in which the candidates will be asked to propose their own approach to the selected research project. Candidates who have passed the admission test will be assigned to a research group and a formal tutor will be nominated by the coordinator of the PhD program.
Every PhD student will have a Student Portfolio to register her/his attendance to lab seminars, intra- and inter-PhD seminars and courses as well as all educational activities.
At the end of each trimester, every PhD student will have to present to the Tutor a report of her/his activities.
At the end of June of each year, every PhD student must report a summary of the Portfolio to the Coordinator about her/his activities approved by the Tutor, who should confirm the regular involvement of the student into the planned scientific activity. Moreover, the PhD student should send the Abstract of research activity that will be presented during the annual Progress Report.
At the end of each Academic Year (usually in September), an open access Progress Report will be organized, during which the PhD students of the first three years' course will present, in English, a report about their activity, describing the achieved results and the expected ones. In the presence of the Doctorate Board and of foreign researchers, this Progress Report will allow every student to compare her/his work with other colleagues' work. Moreover, the student will have the opportunity to exhibit an updated knowledge of the proper scientific literature, to show the actual capacity to work autonomously and to present her/his results with clarity. This test will be used for admission to the following years, after verification of the candidate’s proper and consistent attendance to the planned educational and scientific activities.
At the end of the fourth year, the PhD student will have to present to the MTS/EMT Board:
- a comprehensive synthesis of his research, in English, structured in rationale, methods, results and discussion.
- a copy of the in extenso publications, abstracts of Congress presentations, book articles and other possible research products;
- certification of attendance to the seminars, workshops and scientific meetings organized by the PhD program and by the PhD School during the four years of course;
- certificates of attendance at Italian and foreign laboratories external to the PhD program and all activities reported in the Portfolio.
On the basis of these documents the MTS/EMT Board will evaluate the admission of every candidate to the final examination. In the case of negative assessment, the PhD student will be allowed to postpone a new thesis defense by one year.
The final thesis will be based on the publications on international scientific Journals, pertinent to the research topics carried out by the student during the four years’ course; the thesis must be prepared according to University of Turin rule.
In addition to the presentation and public defense of the thesis, the evaluation will be based on the actual research products achieved by the PhD student, which should include at least one publication in peer-reviewed and preferably in high ranking journal/top ranking category.
In extenso publications, abstracts of Congress presentations, book articles, patents.