College of Medicine

2001- 2002 Bulletin Information


Dean of College of Medicine and Vice President for Medical Affairs: Robert A. Kreisberg, M.D.
Senior Associate Dean: Samuel J. Strada, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Studies: Joseph N. Benoit,  Ph.D.

College of Medicine Web Site

The College of Medicine offers a program leading to the Doctor of Philosophy degree. The objective of the program is to provide graduates with training and knowledge in basic human biology with an in-depth knowledge of a basic medical science discipline.

Graduates will receive the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Basic Medical Sciences with academic specialization in one of the following disciplines: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, Physiology. A combined program leading to the awarding of both the Ph.D. and M.D. degree is available to highly qualified applicants.

REQUIREMENTS FOR ADMISSION
The requirements for admission to the Graduate Program for the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Basic Medical Sciences are:

  1. The applicant shall possess by the time of matriculation a baccalaureate degree or the equivalent from an accredited college or university.
  2. Two semesters or three quarters of undergraduate work are recommended in each of the following: physics, general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, English composition, and mathematics (including calculus and statistics).
  3. A grade-point average of at least 3.0 for all undergraduate and graduate work, on a 4.0 scale.
  4. Satisfactory standing at the last educational institution attended.
  5. Satisfactory scores on all standardized achievement examinations. The Graduate Record Examination is required. In addition, foreign applicants must present evidence of competence and fluency in spoken and written English with a TOEFL score of at least 600.

Matriculation is contingent upon review and recommendation by the Admissions Committee of the Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences. After acceptance by the Dean of the Graduate School, the student must maintain satisfactory performance in course work in progress between acceptance and matriculation.

PROCEDURES FOR ADMISSION
Applications are accepted throughout the year. Priority is given to applications received before March 1. Students are usually admitted for the Summer or Fall Semester.

Application forms and information about the Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences should be requested from the Director of the Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences, 251 CSAB, College of Medicine, University of South Alabama, Mobile, Alabama 36688-0002; Telephone: (251) 460-6153; Fax:(251)460-6071;

Email: bmsdirector@jaguar1.usouthal.edu

To be considered for review by the Admissions Committee, an applicant must submit the following:

  1. A completed admissions application form for the Graduate Program in the Basic Medical Sciences.
  2. One complete certified transcript submitted from each college or university attended, with all scholastic records of completed work.
  3. An official report of all scores of standardized achievement examinations (GRE, TOEFL), that have been taken.
  4. Three letters of recommendation from instructors, advisors, or other persons qualified to evaluate the student’s academic performance and potential in graduate school.
  5. There is no application fee, but upon acceptance students must file a graduate school admissions application with the $25.00 processing fee.

All documents for admission review (transcripts, test scores and letters of recommendation) must be official, i.e., mailed from the home institution or testing agency directly to the Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences at the address above, and become the property of the University of South Alabama.

PROGRAM
Required Course Work
Each student will select a department of specialization upon entrance into the program. Recommended curricula vary according to the area of specialization. Each student has the opportunity to complete three laboratory rotations during the first year of graduate study. The purpose of rotation research is to acquaint the students with varied research problems under investigation and aid in the selection of a major professor in their department of specialization.

By the end of the first year, the student should have selected a major professor. The major professor has the primary responsibility for designing a future course of study in consultation with the chair of the department and the student’s advisory committee. The student is required to complete 40 credits of formal course work. The selection of these courses is based on the requirements of the department and the recommendations of the advisory committee. The student will also develop communication skills by presentation of formal lectures and seminars and the completion and approval of a written research proposal.

Dissertation Committee
Typically, by the end of one and a half years of study, the student will consult with their major professor, departmental Chair, and the Director of the Graduate Program to select at least four additional graduate faculty members to serve on the Dissertation Committee. Two of the four shall be selected from the major department and at least two from other Basic Medical Science departments at the University of South Alabama. In special situations, one member may be selected from another institution with the recommendation of the departmental chair and the Director of the Graduate Program and approval of the Dean of the Graduate School. The Dissertation Committee shall be recommended by the departmental Chair and the Director of the Graduate Program, and appointed by the Dean of the Graduate School. The student shall convene the first committee meeting no later than six months following the selection of the Dissertation Committee.

After the selection of potential committee members, each designated member shall signify a willingness to serve by signing a Dissertation Committee petition which is forwarded to the Director’s office for approval and inclusion in the student’s graduate training record.

The purpose and duties of the Dissertation Committee are:

  1. To establish a suitable academic and research training program for each student according to the student’s interests, strengths and weaknesses, and requirements of the discipline.
  2. To counsel the student throughout the academic and research experience on professional development.
  3. To administer and judge a proper defense of the dissertation at the end of a student’s training program.
  4. To assist the student in gaining superior scientific training and to accept responsibility for helping the graduate obtain opportunities for postdoctoral positions.

The student, in consultation with the major professor, shall prepare and submit for approval to the Dissertation Committee a research project description prior to enrolling for Research Dissertation credit. The research description must be submitted no later than the end of one and a half years of study.

The Dissertation Committee shall meet with the student and consider the feasibility, originality, logic, and research approach of the proposed project. After approval of the student’s research project description by the Dissertation Committee, a copy shall be submitted by the student for approval to the Chair of the appropriate department, the Director of the Graduate Program, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

The Dissertation Committee shall meet with the student at six-month intervals to review progress. At each meeting, the student shall make an oral presentation of the progress being made on the project in an orderly and professional manner and discuss any significant problems which have arisen with a view toward gaining constructive criticism from the committee. At the conclusion of each of these reviews, the Dissertation Committee shall meet in executive session to discuss the acceptability of the student’s progress. The major professor shall report the student’s progress to the Director of the Graduate Program on the required form, indicating which Committee members were present.

A student whose progress is found to be unsatisfactory by a majority of the committee members at two such successive meetings shall be placed on probation. If the student’s progress is then found to continue to be unsatisfactory, the Director of the Graduate Program (in consultation with the Dissertation Committee, the Student Evaluation and Promotions Committee, and the departmental Chair in the student’s area of specialization) may take necessary action up to and including a recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School for academic dismissal of the student.

Changes in the composition of an established Dissertation Committee may be initiated by either the chair of the Dissertation Committee or by the student with the consent of the Chair of the Dissertation Committee. Changes in committee composition must be recommended by the Chair of the student’s department and the Director of the Graduate Program, and approved by the Dean of the Graduate School.

Qualifying Examination
The student must complete a Qualifying Examination consisting of written and oral portions prior to the Admission to Candidacy for the Ph.D. degree. The Qualifying Examination is given to assess the student’s knowledge in the area of specialization and to assess the student’s ability to relate this knowledge to a specific research problem. Successful completion is a prerequisite for continuing in the program.

These examinations usually will be given near the end of the second year of study. If the exam is not taken by that time, then the student must obtain approval from their dissertation advisor, department Chair, and Director of Graduate Program to delay the exam. If approval is granted for a delay, then the student will be required to take the exam no later than the end of the third year of study. The oral portion of the Qualifying Examination will be given within 90 days of satisfactory completion of the written examination. A grade (Satisfactory, Unsatisfactory) by a majority vote of the Examining Committee must be reported to the Director of the Graduate Program.

If a student fails either the written or oral Qualifying Examination, the student may petition the Chair of the department to retake the examination a second time within 60 days. Following departmental review of the student’s petition, the Chair of the department shall forward the decision to either grant or deny the petition for reexamination to the Director of the Graduate Program. A student will not be allowed to repeat an examination more than one time.

Candidacy
After satisfactory performance has been recorded on the Qualifying Examination, the student enters the final phase of the program. This final phase is the period during which the candidate develops as an independent researcher. A Formal Research Proposal must be submitted within six months of the student’s successful completion of the Qualifying Examination. The Formal Research Proposal shall include a review of pertinent literature, description of research already completed by the student, the remaining research objectives, and an experimental plan. The research performed by the student culminates in writing their doctoral dissertation. This work must be original, independent, and exhibit scientific merit. The student must write a dissertation acceptable to a majority of the Dissertation Committee and defend the Dissertation before the graduate faculty. The form and style of the dissertation  must conform to standards established by the Graduate School.


ACADEMIC STANDARDS

To remain in good academic standing in the Graduate Program in Basic Medical Sciences, a student must maintain a cumulative grade-point average of 3.0. If the cumulative GPA falls below 3.0, the student will be placed on academic probation. The student must return to good academic standing within two semesters from the time of being placed on probation. When it becomes evident that it is impossible to remove the probationary status, the student will be dismissed from Graduate School. In addition to the aforementioned standards, students accumulating more than 9 semester hours of "C" or 6 semester hours of "D" and/or "F" will automatically be recommended for dismissal by the student Performance and Evaluations Committee (SPEC).

At the request of the Director of the Graduate Program, SPEC will review student progress and could recommend dismissal on the basis of unsatisfactory performance on preliminary/qualifying examinations, unsatisfactory research progress, scientific misconduct or failure to meet other requirements of the PH.D. program in a timely manner. When appropriate, SPEC will meet with the student prior to formulating a recommendation of the Director of the Graduate Program.

STUDENTS APPEALS
Any student wishing to appeal a SPEC recommendation for dismissal must present their case at a meeting of the SPEC which may also be attended by a student advocate (e.g. Department Chair, Program Director or other designated member of the College of Medicine Graduate Faculty). The student advocate can speak on the students behalf during this meeting. Following the appeal hearing, SPEC will render a decision in a closed session. A super-majority vote of committee members present is required. Any recommendation regarding the appeal will be forwarded to the Senior Associate Dean of the College of Medicine. Following administrative review, the Senior Associate Dean will communicate the recommendations to the Dean of the Graduate School. In the event that a student is dissatisfied with the appeals decision rendered by SPEC, he or she can initiate an “administrative appeals procedure” as stipulated in the University Undergraduate/Graduate Bulletin. In the case of administrative appeal, the Senior Associate Dean will serve as the final arbitrator for the College of Medicine.

DEGREE REQUIREMENTS
The following requirements must be completed for the Ph.D. degree in the Basic Medical Sciences: a minimum overall 3.0 grade-point average on all work attempted for credit, a completed dissertation approved by the student’s major professor and a majority of the Dissertation Committee and an open defense of the research presented in the dissertation.

All requirements for the Ph.D. degree should normally be completed within four to five years from the date of matriculation, and must be completed within seven years. A student who has not satisfactorily completed a dissertation in a seven-year period must apply for a defined extension to complete the degree. This request must be approved by the major professor, the Chair of the department, the Director of the Graduate Program, and the Dean of the Graduate School.

If the student does not complete the degree requirements in the defined extension period, the Director of the Graduate Program, with the advice of the Graduate Executive Committee, may recommend to the Dean of the Graduate School appropriate action up to and including dismissal.

M.D./Ph.D. PROGRAM
Students enrolled in the M.D./Ph.D. Program must meet the standards of the College of Medicine for course work and licensure exams required for the M.D. degree. When the student is enrolled full-time in the M.D. Program, decisions regarding academic deficiencies are made by the Student Evaluation and Promotions Committee for the M.D. Program. To meet the requirements for the Ph.D. degree, the student must maintain a 3.0 grade-point average in graduate courses and fulfill all other requirements of the Ph.D. student.

DEPARTMENT OF BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Chair: Nathan Aronson
Professors: Aronson, Funkhouser, Nair, Turrens, Umbreit
Associate Professors: Baliga, Barik, Gaubatz, Honkanen, Lane

DEPARTMENT OF CELL BIOLOGY AND NEUROSCIENCE
Chair: Steven Goodman
Professors: Goodman, Kayes, LeDoux, Wilson
Associate Professors: Aldes, Balczon, Bhatnagar, Chronister, Fields, Gard, Pace, W. Zimmer
Assistant Professors: Critz, Wang

DEPARTMENT OF COMPARATIVE MEDICINE
Chair: Christian Abee
Professor: Abee
Associate Professors: Brady, Williams
Assistant Professor: Gibson

DEPARTMENT OF MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY
Chair: Joseph Coggin, Jr.
Professors: Coggin, Foster, Lausch, Oakes, Winkler, Wood
Associate Professors:Hester, Rohrer
Assistant Professors: Alexeyev, Barsoum, Cao

DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY
Chair: Mark Gillespie
Professors: Ayling, Gillespie, Olson, Scammell, Schaffer, Strada, Thompson
Associate Professors: Chinkers, D. Zimmer, Stevens
Assistant Professors: 
Adjunct Professor: Guarino

DEPARTMENT OF PHYSIOLOGY
Chair: Aubrey Taylor
Professors: Benoit, Cohen, Downey, Parker, Taylor, Townsley
Associate Professor: Ballard

CANCER BIOLOGY
Chair: Susan LeDoux
Advisory Committee: Balczon, Benoit, Honkanen, Lausch, Pace, Umbreit, D. Zimmer

COLLEGE OF MEDICINE COURSE DESCRIPTIONS ARE FOUND AS FOLLOWS:

Basic Medical Sciences Common Courses
Biochemistry (BCH)
Cancer Biology (CB)
Cell Biology & Neuroscience (CBN)
Comparative Medicine (CM)
Microbiology & Immunology (MIC)
Pharmacology (PHA)
Physiology (PHS)


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Last date changed: Monday, July 23, 2001 01:22:48 PM
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