HPI Program

The Training Program in Pathogenesis and Host Pathogen Interactions (HPI) is a NIH funded interdepartmental graduate program which currently involves the participation of 11 faculty from multiple disciplines within the Boston University Medical Campus. Students are admitted to the HPI training program through the Department of Microbiology where they follow a specifically designed program. The program of study includes a literature-based curriculum, prominent guest speakers, and spirited journal clubs as well as extensive hands-on laboratory training. Small class size and extensive interaction between the various faculty in the basic and clinical sciences allows our students to become familiar with a number of research themes, and our collegial atmosphere and integrative approach to training provides a highly supportive environment for students.

Curriculum

The curriculum is designed to give students in depth training in the molecular biology of pathogens and the host response to infection.

Required courses:

  • Concepts in Virology
  • Concepts in Bacterial Evolution and Genetics
  • FIBS, Module I: Protein Structure, Catalysis, and Interactions
  • FIBS, Module II: Structure and Function of the Genome
  • FIBS, Module III: Architecture and Dynamics of the Cell
  • FIBS Module IV: Mechanisms of Cell Communication
  • Microbial Pathogenesis
  • Microbiology seminars
  • Microbiology research
  • Responsible Conduct in Research

In addition, students choose from the following:

  • Virology
  • Comprehensive Immunology
  • Immunological Basis of Disease

Students may also choose from elective courses offered by other departments and programs on the Medical Campus and Charles River Campus, which will allow them to gain a strong background in genetics, cell biology and molecular biology, as well as areas important for their particular interests.

Note: MD-Ph.D. students should consult with the Director of Graduate Studies for course exemptions.

Microbiology Research

Students undertake 3 rotations of 12 weeks in length prior to selecting a research group to join for their thesis project. Students may choose any of the HPI faculty, irrespective of departmental affiliation, for their research training. Particular areas of expertise within the HPI research community include:

  1. Bacterial gene regulation
  2. Bacterial-host cell interactions, including toxin entry
  3. Viral-host cell interactions
  4. HIV transcription and replication
  5. Molecular biology of negative strand RNA viruses
  6. Host defense and immune responses
  7. Vaccine development

Financial Support

All trainees receive full stipend, tuition and health insurance from institutional sources and from faculty research grants; the most competitive students are supported by NIH training grants. Funding is also available for travel to scientific meetings.  The average time to completion of all degree requirements is 5 1/2 years.

Location

Boston University is a major research university, with over $500 million in research grants, including significant support from the National Institutes of Health. The HPI training program is located on the Boston University Medical Campus and is administered through the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. HPI faculty and students work in newly renovated reearch labs and have immediate access to state-of-the-art core facilities. Boston Univeristy Medical Campus and Charles River Campus are both located within the city of Boston (three miles apart) and are connected with a frequent shuttle service. The Medical Campus is in the heart of Boston’s South End, and we are therefore only minutes from the cultural, culinary and celebrated historical attractions of Boston. Boston is located less than 2 hours from Cape Cod and the islands, and only 2 to 4 hours away from the New England Ski Areas.

Contacts

Program Director: John R. Murphy, Ph.D.

Department of Microbiology Director of Graduate Studies: Gregory A. Viglianti, Ph.D.

Application information and forms are available through the Division of Graduate Medical Sciences. Any further inquires can be addressed to the Program.

 
Primary teaching affiliate
of BU School of Medicine