VCU Bulletins

Clinical and Translational Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D)

Teraya Donaldson, Ph.D.
CCTR Graduate Education Program Coordinator
cctred@vcu.edu
(804) 828-6671

Admission requirements summary

Clinical and Translational Sciences, Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Degree:

Ph.D.
Semester(s)
of entry:

Fall
Deadline
dates:

Applications received by Jan 10 receive priority
Test
requirements:

PBSG concentration only: GRE; TOEFL if relevant

The doctoral program in clinical and translational sciences offers a general curriculum, a specialized interdisciplinary psychiatric, behavioral and statistical genetics concentration and a cancer and molecular medicine concentration outlined below.

Students who pursue the doctoral program in clinical and translational sciences will be grounded in a relative substantive area and be prepared to integrate data from multiple disciplines, have strong communication and computational skills and be sufficiently flexible to easily move among different projects and research venues.

The curriculum provides a strong grounding in fundamental concepts while emphasizing aspects of research design and technology that are broadly applicable across disciplines in industrial, government and academic settings. A series of elective courses will then provide an advanced base of knowledge focused on a student’s areas of interest.

In order to earn the Ph.D., students must complete a minimum of 54 credit hours: 32 core and elective courses, as well as 22 in directed and dissertation research that provide a sound foundation in clinical and translational research principles. Students will also participate in seminar and workshop experiences that place them in the midst of the research process from the theoretically based hypothesis generation through grant writing, study conduction, and, ultimately, data analysis and manuscript preparation. This program also includes a rigorous interdisciplinary research component comprised of directed research and dissertation hours.

Student learning outcomes

  1. Understand, integrate and apply relevant biomedical biobehavioral concepts and theoretical frameworks to research
  2. Comprehend, select and apply the appropriate study design to address specific health issues
  3. Critically review the scientific literature by applying sound research knowledge and principles to the review
  4. Apply data collection processes, information technology to create, maintain, and secure databases and other information
  5. Apply ethical principles to study design, data collection and dissemination
  6. Devise an analysis plan (statistical methodology) and analyze data using methods appropriate for the study design and type of data to be obtained
  7. Identify, interpret and implement relevant laws, regulations and policies related to specific studies and/or programs
  8. Plan, incorporate and use appropriate methods for the dissemination and adoption of clinical research findings
  9. Manage as a clinical translational research team leader, including the fiscal, personnel, facilities, regulatory assets and scientific integrity of a funded clinical research program
  10. Use knowledge and skills related to leadership, team building, negotiation, conflict resolution, group process and principles of ethical decision-making to manage a research team and build transdisciplinary collaboration
  11. Identify and coordinate institutional resources needed to carry out theoretically based and scientifically sound high-quality funded research
  12. Effectively communicate specialist-to-specialist
  13. Effectively communicate specialist knowledge to non-specialists and lay people

A typical program of study will include:

Core

 

 
BIOS 571 Clinical Trials
3
CCTR 520 Fundamentals of Research Regulation
2
CCTR 550 Foundations of Clinical and Translational Research: The Intersection of Theory and Application
3
CCTR 690 Research Seminar in Clinical and Translational Sciences
3
CCTR 801, 802, 803 Research Practicum I, II, III
(1 credit each)
3
CCTR 810 Foundations of Translational Research
2
CCTR 815 The NIH Proposal Challenge
2
CCTR 897 Directed Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences
2
OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity
1
Statistics, clinical trial or translational experimental design courses
(chosen with approval of Research Advisory Committee)
3
 
24
Electives
8
(chosen with approval of Research Advisory Committee)
 
Research
22
CCTR 897 Directed Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences (typically 2-4 credit hours)
 
CCTR 898 Dissertation Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences (typically 18-20 credit hours)
 

Total

______
54

Psychiatric, behavioral and statistical genetics concentration

Target audience for PBSG concentration: Emerging researchers with research interests matching focus areas of Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics

The doctoral degree in clinical and translational sciences with the psychiatric, behavioral statistical genetics concentration was designed by faculty at the Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics. This interdisciplinary institute brings together faculty with a wide range of scientific backgrounds ranging from statistical and molecular genetics to epidemiology, psychology and psychiatry, all with the joint focus of understanding how genetic and environmental factors impact the development of psychiatric and substance use disorders and related behavioral outcomes.

Faculty members work across twin and family studies, gene identification projects and genetically informative longitudinal, community-based samples. Faculty also are involved in statistical methods development for these projects. Students in the PBSG concentration obtain interdisciplinary training with course work in human genetics, psychology/psychiatry, biostatistics and epidemiology. Students can tailor their training and research experience to their particular career goals by selecting electives in their focused area of interest.

All students are expected to be actively engaged in research throughout the duration of their Ph.D. Students are generally admitted under a mentorship model, meaning that they will begin research under the supervision of a faculty adviser to whom their research interests most closely align. Other didactic experiences include the weekly seminar series (both at the VIPBG and in external departments) as well as participation in workshops and scientific meetings of relevance to the student’s research area.

A typical program of study will include:

BIOS/STAT 543 Statistical Methods I
3
BIOS/STAT 544 Statistical Methods II
3
CCTR 690 Research Seminar in Clinical and Translational Sciences (concentration-specific section)
1
CCTR 815 The NIH Proposal Challenge or PSYC 700 Grant Writing
2 or 3
CCTR 897 Directed Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences
variable
CCTR 898 Dissertation Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences
variable
EPID 571 Principles of Epidemiology
3
HGEN 501/BIOL 530 Human Genetics
3
HGEN 502 Advanced Human Genetics
3
HGEN 603 Mathematical and Statistical Genetics
3
HGEN 620 Principles of Human Behavioral Genetics
3
OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity
1
PSYC 616 Psychopathology
3
PSYC 691 Special Topics (research methods)
1-3
Electives
variable

Cancer and molecular medicine concentration

Target audience for CCM concentration: Doctoral and dual-degree (M.D./Ph.D.) students interested in developing molecular approaches to the treatment of cancer and other diseases

The doctoral degree in clinical and translational sciences with the cancer and molecular medicine concentration is designed to train students in the research skills required to perform translational research in cancer and molecular medicine. Students will carry out translational research projects, which will use bench-to-animal, and/or bench-to-bedside experimental models. To facilitate the bridging of the bench and clinical sciences, students have both a research and a clinical mentor. Students take core courses and seminars in translational science and electives in their area of research interest. Students in this program will require a background and the necessary vocabulary to communicate with both scientists and clinicians, and the research skills to be able to bridge bench science and clinical science. The marriage of cancer and molecular medicine blends established cancer biology with an emerging field, molecular medicine. CMM would serve as an educational program for Ph.D. students encompassing the research objectives of the VCU Massey Cancer Center, the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine and the CCTR.

Impact on CMM students:
Students who complete the program should achieve the following core competencies:

  1. Ability to critically review the scientific literature to design research projects aimed at relevant translational research questions
  2. Ability to develop hypothesis-based research projects that bridge the gap between the bench and the bedside, through the application of cellular and molecular approaches to treatment modalities
  3. Ability to demonstrate the research skills to perform laboratory-based or epidemiology research that is translational in nature
  4. Ability to analyze and critically evaluate translational research data using methods appropriate for the area being studied
  5. Understanding of the ethical and legal issues surrounding study design in translational research
  6. Skills to communicate with others in the clinical and basic science interface in order to build interdisciplinary collaborations

Curriculum/courses for CMM students: CMM Ph.D. students will take a minimum of 54 credits, including research and other courses. The CMM concentration will have a special section of CCTR 690, the seminar course, featuring a selection of seminars focusing on cancer and molecular medicine, chosen from the seminar series currently supported by the VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine, Massey Cancer Center, CCTR and the departments in the School of Medicine.

BIOS 543 Statistical Methods
3
BIOS 571 Clinical Trials
3
CCTR 520 Fundamentals of Research Regulation
2
CCTR 550 Foundations of Clinical and Translational Research: The Intersection of Theory and Application
3
CCTR 690 Research Seminar in Clinical and Translational Sciences
8
CCTR 801 Research Practicum I
1
CCTR 802 Research Practicum II
1
CCTR 897 Directed Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences
variable
CCTR 898 Dissertation Research in Clinical and Translational Sciences
variable
IBMS 680 Proposal Preparation
1
OVPR 601 Scientific Integrity
1
PHIS 691 Special Topics in Physiology (science and disease)
1
Electives
12

 

 

Comments/feedback about this site   |   Bulletin (catalog) archives/printer-friendly bulletins   |   About these bulletins

Virginia Commonwealth University
Richmond, Virginia
Contact us: bulletin@vcu.edu

Last update: 10/9/2014

Created by VCU University Relations