MD/PhD Courses

Qualifying Exam

The qualifying exam consists of a five-page grant proposal describing the candidate’s thesis plan. There is a 20-minute oral presentation of the proposal followed by a 1-2 hour question and answer session with a 3-person committee chosen by the Program Director.

Core Required Courses

CREDIT HOURS: 6
Offered annually (fall & spring) Taken during first year for MD/PhD and PhD students
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course consists of preparatory reading related to selected diseases or disorders, introductory discussions of the selected disorders led by faculty of the department of molecular medicine, lectures on the disorders by invited outside experts in the diseases and a discussion group meeting of the students with the invited lecturer. The material covers molecular pathophysiology, genetics, biochemistry, molecular basis for standard and experimental therapies, and physiology.

Students will also review, in depth, seminal papers that have transformed clinical medicine.  A particular focus will be on those basic science and clinical papers that have not only significantly impacted diagnosis, treatment or prevention of a specific disease or disorder, but have caused paradigm shifts that cross medical disciplines. Students will select papers in consultation with the faculty, and then present them for analysis of the papers themselves as well as discussion of their impact on medicine.

After completion of the course, the student should have a better understanding of the multiple components of any disease process that impact on the clinical presentation, including function/non-function of organ systems, tissues, cells and subcellular organelles.
There are no prerequisites for this course.

CREDIT HOURS: 3
Offered every summer
Taken at the end of Year 1 for MD/PhD and PhD students.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course introduces model organisms to the student, including yeast, c. elegans, zebra fish, drosophila, mice and man, highlighting the information that can be obtained through the use of each organism and the techniques involved. After completion of the course, the student should be able to identify the model system appropriate to the experimental question being asked.

CREDIT HOURS: 3

COURSE DESCRIPTION:  The bioinformatics course will introduce students to the handling of complex data, network analyses, artificial intelligence, proteomic, epigenetic, metabolomic and transcriptional profiles of single cells.

CREDIT HOURS/CLASS MEETINGS: 3
Offered every two years (spring), next offered spring 2017
COURSE DESCRIPTION: The purpose of this course is to provide young scientists and physician-scientists with clear guidelines for ethical decisions that might and do occur in research.  It covers the historical framework for a need for ethical standards in research, changing concepts in research ethics with time, current regulatory requirements for animal or human research, guidelines for appropriate authorship decisions, peer review, collaborative research, ownership of data and intellectual property, scientific record keeping, conflicts of interest, scientific misconduct, and ethical dilemmas in basic and clinical research. The course is taught by discussion of specific cases and problems and their disposition, using "Scientific Integrity, 3rd Edition" by F.L. Macrina, ASM Press, Washington D.C., 2005, and "On Being A Scientist: A Guide to Responsible Conduct in Research, 3rd Edition, National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, and Institute of Medicine, as guides. After completion, the student should be knowledgeable of regulatory requirements, know current accepted practices, be sensitive to and aware of possible conflicts and ethical dilemmas as they occur, and have a set of guidelines for management of such dilemmas

Elective Courses

CREDIT HOURS: 3
Offered every three years (fall); next offered fall, 2017
COURSE DESCRIPTION:  This course will present an integrated view of the molecular, biochemical and cellular events involved in innate and adaptive immune responses, as well as key concepts in autoimmunity, allergy and hypersensitivity, and immunodeficiency diseases. Lectures in each of the areas noted above will provide an overview of the current status of the field and address key research topics, current research literature, and incorporate active discussion by students culminating in a student-directed debate of topical, unresolved issues in the field of immunology.  

Core lectures will be complemented by interactive debate format sessions as well as lectures from visiting immunologists who will present their cutting-edge research, providing students with an up-to-date understanding of current advances in this rapidly moving field.  Emphasis will be placed upon clinical situations in which immune function is impaired leading to pathology. 

CREDIT HOURS: 3         
Offered every 3 years (spring); next offered spring 2018
COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course covers descriptive statistics, exploratory and graphical methods, probability, probability distributions, sampling methods, estimation, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, sample size and power, linear regression and correlation, design of experiments, data transformations, logistic regression, survival analysis, design of case-control and cohort studies, design of clinical trials, data management and use of large data sets, statistical issues in diagnostic testing and screening, and an introduction to SAS statistical software. Upon completion of the course, students should be able to design studies appropriately, analyze data, work productively with a biostatistician on complex analyses, and assess the appropriate use of statistics in published papers.

CREDIT HOURS: 3
Offered every three years (spring); next offered spring 2016

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This is a graduate-level course that is organized into four units; "#1: Neurons as building blocks", "#2: Neural communication", "#3: Neural networks", and "#4: Sick brains".  Each unit includes 3 lectures that are followed by a debate of current papers. The last unit includes a few invited speakers that present research on brain diseases, currently under way at Northwell Health.

CREDIT HOURS: 3
Offered every three years (fall); next offered fall 2016.
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Topics covered in this course include chromosome and gene structure, concepts and methodologies in genetic analysis, discussion of simple vs. complex traits, use of animal models for genetic analysis, and new paradigms in genetics.
The course combines lectures given by faculty in the department and research seminars by outside speakers with students preparing for the seminars by reading recent papers by the speaker.  Following seminars, students meet with the speaker over lunch to discuss both the seminar and the presenter's recent publications. After completion, students should have a strong framework for understanding the contribution of genetics to functional variations between individuals and groups in susceptibility to and expression of various disorders.
A previous course in genetics is desirable.

CREDIT HOURS: 1 per semester
Offered every semester (fall and spring)
COURSE DESCRIPTION: Students and faculty analyze, in depth, a current highly-significant publication related to translational research.  Papers are selected and presented by students, with discussion by all attending. Students should gain proficiency in critical reading of papers, ability to identify significant research findings and familiarity with the advantages and limitations of the methodology described in the publication.

CREDIT HOURS: 1 per semester
Offered every semester.

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This seminar meets weekly on an ongoing basis.  The purpose of the program is to provide current state-of-the-art knowledge of biomedical research.  Each session consists of a research seminar by an invited scientist who is a recognized expert in his/her respective field, followed by a question and answer period.  Topics vary, with guest speakers invited by faculty in the department of molecular medicine and investigators in the Feinstein Institute. Students attending the seminars should gain solid general knowledge of current advances in these fields, and a thorough understanding in depth of those areas that impact directly or indirectly on their thesis topic.

CREDIT HOURS: 1 per semester
Offered every semester.
COURSE DESCRIPTION:  Each session consists of two presentations of current research, given by faculty in the Department of Molecular Medicine and investigators within The Feinstein Institute for Medical Research, followed by a question and answer period.  Students present their research at least once each year in this format.

Students in this course should have a complete base of information about the various types of research studies being conducted in the medical school and the Feinstein Institute, a better foundation of information about the topics presented, and be able to effectively organize and present their own studies to a scientific audience.