After completing rotations, students will choose thesis advisors that have funding, space, and appropriate training experience and expertise for supervising a Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine. Students will also be asked to identify a secondary advisor who has complimentary expertise for the student’s thesis research. As the Molecular and Translational Medicine program emphasizes translational research it is anticipated that either the primary or secondary advisor will contribute clinical expertise to the project.
GPMTM students should assemble and meet with a Thesis Committee shortly after completion of the Tier 2 Qualifying Examination. This should be done in consultation with their Thesis Advisor and Program Director. The Thesis Committee must be chaired by a member of the GPMTM. The thesis committee needs to also include the Thesis Advisor and three other faculty members, at least one of whom should be from outside the DOM, for a total of five (5) committee members. The committee must be comprised of at least two MD and at least two PhD members. Committee members should be qualified to assist the student with his/her thesis and examine him/her at its completion. Faculty from other institutions who are particularly qualified to review the research can serve on a Thesis Committee, but must apply to the Division of Graduate Medical Studies for a special service faculty appointment. The Committee roster should be submitted to the GPMTM office for approval.
The student should convene a Thesis Committee meeting no more than 1 month after successfull completion of the Tier 2 Qualifying Examination. It is the student’s responsibility to schedule his/her committee meetings. No less than one week prior to the first meeting, the student is expected to provide the Committee with a research plan that should follow the standard grant format with an abstract, specific aims, background and rationale for the plan, preliminary data and proposed experiments and methods to be used in the research. For the first meeting, this document may be incomplete and subject to change, but should be a well-written outline of the proposed research. For subsequent meetings, the student should provide a written update no less than one week prior to the meeting that highlights any modifications in the specific aims or research plan and summarizes with figures and/or text important data and results obtained since the previous meeting.
Committee meetings may be planned to follow Sectional or Departmental research presentations by the student. If this cannot be carried out, the student will present to the Committee (about 30 min), and this will be followed by discussion (30-60 minutes). At the conclusion of each meeting, the Committee will meet in the students’ absence for a discussion of progress and concerns. After each committee meeting, it will be the responsibility of the committee chair to prepare a short written report summarizing the committee’s evaluation of the student’s research direction and progress, and stating the timeframe for the next committee meeting. This summary is to be sent to the GPMTM office, which will forward it to the other Committee members and to the student.
As the thesis project progresses, the student, with the assistance of the Thesis Advisor, will form an outline of what constitutes an adequate body of original research that is suitable for a written Dissertation. When this is approved by the Thesis Committee, the student will notify the GPMTM office and may begin to prepare the written thesis. An abstract of the dissertation needs to be approved and submitted at least three weeks before the scheduled defense. Once the thesis has been written, the student is required to present a formal departmental seminar followed by an oral defense of the thesis. The written thesis should be delivered to the committee members at least two weeks before the scheduled date of the oral defense. Each student is required to provide the Department with a final copy of his/her thesis before the Department will sign off on the necessary paperwork in order for the student to complete his/her degree requirements. The Department will have the thesis reproduced and bound and provide copies for the student, the advisor, and the Departmental library.