Biomedical Sciences, PhD

Parent Entity: 
Science and Mathematics, College of
Program Type: 
Degree Type: 
Doctor of Philosophy

Program Description:

This interdisciplinary program leads to the Doctor of Philosophy degree in biomedical sciences. It recognizes the interrelatedness of the various traditional disciplines and seeks to educate scientists who are qualified to develop this potential. Classroom and laboratory instruction stresses experiences that span a broad spectrum of knowledge.

The program provides an integrated background in biological, physical, chemical, and computational disciplines in addition to in-depth training in a specific area of biomedical research. Graduates are expected to be sufficiently flexible to participate in solving a broad range of complex biomedical problems.

The primary aim of the program is to prepare students for a research career. In-depth study is possible in a number of areas.

Admissions Requirements:

Entrance Requirements

Applicants should have:

  1. A baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution
  2. An undergraduate grade point average of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  3. One year of mathematics, including introductory calculus
  4. One year of physics
  5. One year of biology
  6. Two years of chemistry, including organic chemistry
  7. A minimum TOEFL score of 600 paper/100 internet/7.0 IELTS (international students)
  8. Acceptable scores on the general GRE test

Prospective students must submit one official transcript from each institution attended. Under special circumstances, deficiencies in prerequisites may be waived or corrective measures arranged by action of the Admissions Committee. All application material should be submitted by March 1.


The program is a cooperative effort between the College of Science and Mathematics and the Boonshoft School of Medicine.

The program faculty at Wright State reside in a number of departments including biochemistry and molecular biology; biological sciences; chemistry; community medicine; computer science and engineering; biomedical, industrial, and human factors engineering; family medicine; mathematics and statistics; medicine; neuroscience, cell biology, and physiology; pathology; pediatrics; pharmacology and toxicology; psychiatry; psychology; and surgery. In addition, the 70 plus faculty members who participate in the program include scientists from affiliated institutions including the Tri-Service Toxicology Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the Kettering/Scott Magnetic Resonance Laboratory, and the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Dayton.

Research/Areas of Expertise:

Areas of Concentration

Faculty research interests represent a broad spectrum of the biomedical sciences and are concentrated in the areas of specialization described in subsequent sections. Within each area of concentration, and across areas, there are extensive interactions and collaborations that enhance the interdisciplinary approaches and training opportunities available to students in the advanced curriculum and dissertation phases of the program. In the advanced curriculum, course requirements will be tailored to fit the needs of individual students according to their area of interest. Through this series of lecture, laboratory, seminar, and independent study experiences, students will be trained to draw on a multidisciplinary background to attack current problems in the biomedical sciences.

Some of the most important aspects of biomedical research today concern the elucidation of the regulatory mechanisms of cellular and
molecular processes and the genetic factors that determine the structural and functional differences between cells. These important areas
are central to the teaching and research activities of faculty and students.

Neuroscience and Physiology

This Area of Concentration comprises two areas of research strengths that are grouped to take advantage of an innovative synergy. Research and training in neurobiology is intensifying at Wright State University, just as it is in the international scientific community. Laboratories are actively investigating wide-ranging topics in cellular (e.g., synaptic and circuit formation and function) and behavioral neurobiology (e.g., stress endocrinology), using cutting-edge technology from molecular biology, imaging, and electrophysiology. Studies have important relevance to advances in neurodegeneration, activity dependence of synapses, plasticity and development of spinal cord, etc. The scientific environment for neurobiology on campus is further strengthened by the Wright State University and Premier Health Partners Neuroscience Institute, which organizes research and training resources and sponsors scholarly events. Physiology is synonymous with function, and at Wright State University, there is formidable strength in studying function in a wide variety of cell types, including blood cells, muscle cells, and epithelial cells. A common theme in these studies is a focus on mechanisms in the cell membrane that exchanges ions, nutrients, and water. Sophisticated cell and molecular technologies are applied in studies that have important consequences for understanding illnesses such as Cystic Fibrosis, bowel disease, and myopathy. An immediate synergy occurs between neurobiology and physiology as a result of the fact that ion channels and transporters are fundamental to the function of all cell types, and play a fundamental role in the excitability of neurons.

Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology

Opportunities for research training in the Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology Area of Concentration extend across the molecular, cellular, intercellular, and organismal levels of biology. During the course of study, students in this area can choose to become part of a

wide range of laboratory projects, including investigations into the mechanisms of inherited disease, infection and immunity, signal transduction, and evolution. The spectrum of experimental approaches includes in vitro systems, bacterial, fungal, animal, and human cell culture, whole animal models, and population studies.

Students in this area have the chance to experience research first hand, using the most modern tools and techniques in molecular and cell biology from experts in these fields. Among the many techniques applied to these experimental systems are DNA cloning and sequencing, genetic manipulation of bacterial, insect, and animal cells and their viruses, protein mutagenesis and expression, high resolution light and fluorescence microscopy, flow cytometry, mass spectroscopy, bioinformatics, and proteomics.

Whether it is in the characterization of a novel signaling protein controlling tumorigenesis, or the discovery of new pathways regulating apoptotic cell death, the hallmark of the BMS Program study is an emphasis on interpersonal learning, exemplified by close studentfaculty interactions and peer exchange. Laboratory studies are supplemented by informal and formal seminars, journal clubs, laboratory meetings, travel to national meetings and student-mentor discussions. Students with a degree concentration in Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology are equipped for careers in academia, clinical research and testing, or industry in areas including molecular biology, cell biology, immunology, pharmacology, and ecology.

Structural and Quantitative Biology

Concentration in Structural and Quantitative Biology represents the best of traditional research training in areas such as biochemistry, biophysics, molecular biology, computer science, engineering, and physiology, interfaced with the emerging disciplines at the forefront of the biomedical sciences, such as computational and theoretical biology, cellular dynamics and engineering, structural biology, and biomedical imaging. Departments as diverse as chemistry, anatomy, physiology and neuroscience, biochemistry and molecular biology, pharmacology and toxicology, computer science, and biomedical engineering are represented in this area of concentration, but the members of this area share the common interest of understanding their research interest in first, a quantitative manner and, second, at the structural level. Students in this area can be exposed to such state-of the art research environments as high field magnetic resonance and metabolomics, intracellular and extracellular cell signaling pathways and their relationships to cellular function, computer modeling of macromolecular structure and metabolic pathways within cells, designing and constructing of biomimetic sensor systems, threedimensional imaging of organs and tissues using x-rays, ultrasound and computation tomography, and computer analysis of large genomic and medical databases for disease prediction or proteomic profiling. Research laboratories in this concentration feature small groups and close faculty-student mentoring in diverse environments which include the traditional university setting, free-standing research institutes, and hospital-based clinical settings. Students who choose Structural and Quantitative Biology as an area of concentration will gain credentials and the competitiveness for future employment in industry, academia, or medical centers.

Integrative Biology and Toxicology

A degree in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Integrative Biology and Toxicology would provide an individual with scientific skills that are related to understanding and investigating integrated biological systems. This Area of Concentration prepares individuals for research careers in medical, academic, and industrial environments. The uniqueness of this concentration is its emphasis on the mammalian organism as a whole or one specific organ system as an integrated part of the whole organism. The cardiovascular system, with its endocrine and neural control, is an exciting and fruitful area for the understanding of human disease and treatment. Population-based epidemiology studies dramatically increase our understanding of human growth, development, and body composition. Studies of defense against biological and chemical threats, as well as chemical toxicology, prepare individuals for relevant and significant contributions in Integrative Biology and Toxicology is the ticket for entry into a fulfilling and lifelong scientific career.

Education Research

A degree in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in Education Research would provide an individual with pedagogical grounding for faculty positions in academia that require teaching and enhance the research mission for qualified faculty, notably in the College of Science and Mathematics.  This Area of Concnetration prepares individuals for rewarding careers in the growing field of biomedical science education.  Training in the Education Research track is designed to provide high quality instruction and research opportunities that graduates students who are well versed in biomedical educational research.

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