Department of Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Student


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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Student Handbook
Angela J. Glading, Ph.D. Director, Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology Program
(585) 273-5750 [email protected]
Lori White Graduate Program Coordinator
(585) 275-1613 [email protected]
January 2021

TABLE OF CONTENTS Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Student Handbook
Preface ............................................................................................................................................ 3
Program Objective.......................................................................................................................... 3
Program Administration ............................................................................................................. 3-4
Doctoral Programs in Pharmacology and Physiology .............................................................. 4-19
A. Year 1 ............................................................................................................................ 4 a. Coursework .......................................................................................................... 4-6 b. Laboratory Rotations ........................................................................................... 6-7 c. Faculty Review of Student Performance ............................................................. 7-8 d. First-year Examination ............................................................................................ 8
B. Year 2 ....................................................................................................................... 8-11 a. Thesis Advisor ......................................................................................................... 9 b. Thesis Advisory Committee ............................................................................... 9-10 c. Seminar ................................................................................................................. 10 d. Teaching (TA) Requirement ............................................................................. 10-11 e. Qualifying Examination Preparation..................................................................... 11
C. Year 3 ..................................................................................................................... 11-14 a. The Qualifying Examination ............................................................................. 11-14 b. Seminar ................................................................................................................. 14
D. The Remaining Years.............................................................................................. 14-15 a. Annual Assessment ............................................................................................... 14 b. Additional Requirements ...................................................................................... 15
E. Dissertation Preparation and Defense .................................................................. 15-17 a. Overview of the Thesis Defense Process: Important Due Dates ..................... 15-16 b. Nomination of Defense Chair ............................................................................... 16 c. Registration for Defense .................................................................................. 16-17 d. Final Oral Examination .......................................................................................... 17 e. After Your Defense................................................................................................ 17
F. General Policies...................................................................................................... 18-19 a. Advisor's Responsibilities...................................................................................... 18 b. Student's Responsibilities ..................................................................................... 18 c. Regulations............................................................................................................ 18 d. Right of Petition .................................................................................................... 18 e. Vacations/Holidays ............................................................................................... 18
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f. Supplies and photocopying................................................................................... 19 g. Telephones............................................................................................................ 19 Program for Master’s Degrees in Pharmacology or Physiology ............................................ 20-21 A. General Requirements ...................................................................................................... 20 B. Plan A ................................................................................................................................ 20 C. Plan B ........................................................................................................................... 20-21 M.D./Ph.D. Combined Degree Program ................................................................................. 22-23 A. Course Requirements ....................................................................................................... 22 B. Qualifying Examination ..................................................................................................... 22 C. Teaching Requirement...................................................................................................... 23 Ph.D. Degree Program for Post-M.D. Students in the TAPS Program........................................ 23
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Preface This handbook summarizes the policies of the graduate program in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. The general policies for graduate study at the University of Rochester are contained in the Official Bulletin of Graduate Studies, https://www.rochester.edu/GradBulletin/, and in the Student Handbook of the School of Medicine and Dentistry, http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/education/graduate/traineehandbook. Since policies continually evolve to respond to changing needs of the graduate program and our students, it is imperative that students and faculty advisors verify important decisions with the Program Director.
Program Objective The objective of the graduate programs in pharmacology and physiology at the University of Rochester is to provide a state-of-the-art learning environment in which students explore the molecular and cellular mechanisms that enable organisms to detect and respond to signaling molecules and pharmacologic agents. We aim to train scientists in molecular and integrative pharmacology and physiology and prepare them for successful careers in independent research and teaching. Each student will acquire the range of technical, analytical, and critical skills required to successfully pursue a research career in academia or in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry. The program offers Ph.D. degrees in both pharmacology and physiology and includes courses in basic and advanced biomedical sciences, pharmacology, and physiology; original laboratory research; and the preparation and defense of a doctoral thesis. The Ph.D. degree is awarded upon completion of scholarly work and research described in a publishable dissertation. Our department and program websites are listed below.
http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/pharmacology-physiology/index.cfm http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/education/graduate/phd/pharmacology-andphysiology/
Program Administration The graduate program in pharmacology and physiology is administered by the Program Director, the Graduate Studies Committee, and the faculty of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. The review and acceptance of applicants into the program and the review of students enrolled in the program is the responsibility of the Graduate Studies Committee. The Pharmacology and Physiology faculty will participate in major policy decisions concerning the graduate program.
The Graduate Committee of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology consists of the Program Director and typically four to five other faculty members who hold either primary or secondary appointments in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. This committee is responsible for administering the Ph.D. programs, setting program
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requirements and policies, and monitoring student progress. The Graduate Committee reviews and approves students’ thesis advisory committees. The committee also considers petitions for graduate course transfers, graduate course selection, and exemptions to requirements and policies.
Doctoral Programs in Pharmacology and Physiology
A. Year 1: Students are admitted into the CMPP program on a provisional basis for the first year. After successful completion of the first year of study- which includes required coursework, laboratory rotations (including written and oral reports), and selection of a thesis advisor, students formally enter the graduate studies program of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology. During the first year, students will be advised directly by the CMPP Program Director.
a. Coursework: Students must complete at least 32 credit hours of coursework. This total includes 25 credit hours of required courses and at least 7 credit hours of electives. The following courses, or acceptable equivalents as determined by the Graduate Studies Committee, are required of all Ph.D. candidates:
i. Required courses*: IND 431 Foundations in Modern Biology I (5 credit hours, fall course) IND 432 Foundations in Modern Biology II (5 credit hours, spring course) PHP 403 Human Cell Physiology (4 credit hours, fall course) PHP 404 Principles of Pharmacology (4 credit hours, spring course) PHP 405 Effective Scientific Communication (2 credit hours, spring course) IND 420 Mastering Scientific Information (0 credit hours, fall course) IND 501 Ethics in Research (1 credit hour, fall course) PHP 502 Seminar (1 credit hour/semester, fall/spring course, total of 4 credits required)
ii. Recommended Elective courses (7 credit hours, total): IND 447/PHP 447 Signal Transduction (4 credit hours, spring course) IND 426 Science Communication for Diverse Audiences (2 credit hours, fall course) PHP 550 Ion Channels and Disease (2 credit hours, spring course) MBI 473 Immunology (3 credit hours, fall course) NSC 525 Biology of Neurological Diseases (3 credit hours, spring course) BST 463 Introduction to Biostatistics (4 credit hours, fall course) PTH 507 Cancer Biology (3 credit hours, spring course)
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PTH 509 Pathways to Human Disease I (4 credit hours, fall course) PTH 510 Pathways to Human Disease II (4 credit hours, spring course) PTH 571 Molecular Basis of Disease (3 credit hours, fall course) CVS 401 Cardiovascular Biology and Disease (3 credit hours, fall course)
*All required courses, except PHP 405, are typically taken in the first year; requests to take these courses after the first year require approval of the Graduate Studies Committee.
Attendance at all Department of Pharmacology and Physiology seminars and lectures is required until the requirements for the Ph.D. are completed. Each student is also required to formally enroll in PHP 502 each semester through their years of graduate study; however, a total of 4 credits are required. Each student must present a seminar in this series at least 4 times prior to graduation. Seminar topics may consist of research areas in pharmacology and physiology, and dissertation progress reports. Topics will be chosen by the course director or by the student with approval of the course director. Students are encouraged to attend research seminars of local and visiting scientists hosted by other departments. In addition, students are strongly encouraged to join one of several journal clubs run by faculty within the department.
Selection of appropriate elective courses that complement the student’s research area should be done in conjunction with the student’s thesis advisor in consultation with their thesis committee. Elective courses can be taken at any time during the student’s period of study, though most students prefer to complete all course requirements within the first two years. Students may request to take elective courses that are not on the recommended list, however this requires approval of the Graduate Studies Committee. Requests for approval should be made prior to the semester in which the course is held.
iii. Assessment: All required courses, with the exception of PHP 405 and 502, and IND 501, must be taken on the A/E system; Rotations, PHP 405, 502 and IND 501 are taken on the S/E system. Minimum passing grades for courses and research carrying credit are C or S. Students who receive a grade of C in any two courses will be terminated from the program. Those students with a GPA less than 3.0 at the end of the academic year or those who have received a grade of ‘C’ in any course will be put on academic probation and may be dropped from the program. Alternatively, the student may be permitted to undergo a first-year examination (discussed in detail below).
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A/E SYSTEM

A

Excellent

A-

B+

B

Good

B-

C

Poor

E

Failure

I

Incomplete

IE Incomplete and Failure

W Withdrawn

N

No report

S/E SYSTEM

S

Satisfactory

E

Failure

I

Incomplete

IE Incomplete and Failure

W Withdrawn

N No report

b. Laboratory Rotations: All first-year students must successfully complete at least three laboratory rotations before formally entering the program in Pharmacology or Physiology. Under most cases, these rotations will have been completed during the student’s first year of study. These laboratory rotations provide an opportunity to gain a broader perspective of the sciences of pharmacology and physiology and at the same time, allow the student to become familiar with the diverse investigative activities being pursued within the University of Rochester Medical Center. Typically, faculty who are interested in having students rotate in their laboratory present brief overviews of their research projects at the beginning of the fall semester to highlight ongoing studies. However, students must contact faculty directly to determine whether the faculty member is accepting students. The duration of each rotation is 11 weeks, and students are expected to spend at least 10-12 hours per week in the lab.

i. Rotation Assessment: The Program Director will meet with students at the beginning of their first academic year to discuss faculty expectations of student performance during the rotation period. To obtain a satisfactory grade for a rotation, a student must participate in the activities of the lab (such as journal clubs and lab meetings), complete experimental activities agreed upon, and be able to demonstrate proper documentation, analysis, and presentation of acquired data. Rotations will be assessed through a combination of evaluations and written and oral reports.

1. At the end of each rotation, both the student and mentor will each complete a written evaluation. Forms for these evaluations can be found here: http://www.urmc.rochester.edu/education/graduate/home/forms.cf
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m The mentor is expected to discuss their written evaluation with the student and submit following the instructions on the bottom of the form. Student evaluations of their rotation mentors are kept confidential. Both student and mentor evaluations are assigned due dates by the Graduate Education office (GEPA). Failure to submit these evaluations on time may result in a grade of ‘incomplete’. Though the faculty evaluation is submitted by the rotation advisor, it is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the program and graduate education office receive the evaluation on time. 2. In addition, the student must complete three written reports on their rotation experiences. These reports should be at least two pages, single spaced, with < 1 inch margins. The reports should describe the research problem encountered during the rotation, and include the following subsections: background, significance/rationale, approach, future directions, and references. Figures should be included as appropriate; however, figures and references are not included in page requirement. The two-page reports should be completed with the input of the rotation advisor, and each report submitted to the CMPP Program Director and Year 1 Program Coordinator within 1 week of the end of the rotation. The overall evaluation of these three writing exercises will be considered one part of each student’s end of first year evaluation. 3. First-year students will also present a 30-minute talk on a selected rotation at the end of the spring semester as part of the student colloquium.
c. Faculty Review of Student Performance: At the conclusion of the academic year, the Graduate Studies Committee meets to discuss the academic performance of first-year students. Coursework grades, laboratory rotation evaluations, and written reports are used to assess student performance. Students are expected to have an overall GPA of at least 3.0, and rotation evaluations of “meets expectations” or “exceeds expectations” (scale = Exceeds Expectations/ Meets Expectations/Needs Improvement/Unacceptable) for lab rotation performance. Those students with a GPA less than 3.0, those who receive an “unacceptable” on their rotation evaluation, and/or those who have received a grade of ‘C’ in any course may be dropped from the program. Alternatively, the student may be permitted to undergo a first-year examination (discussed in detail below). Students must receive a grade of “Pass” on this exam to remain in the program. At the conclusion of the first academic year, a summary of student performance and recommendations of the Graduate Studies Committee are presented to the Department Faculty by the Program Director.
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Students who have successfully completed their first year of studies receive a letter from the Program Director indicating admittance into the Doctoral Program in Pharmacology and Physiology. The Program Director meets individually with those students who did not meet the performance criteria in order to convey performance deficiencies and concerns of the faculty and discuss remediation.
d. First-year Examination: The purpose of the exam is to evaluate a student's critical thinking skills in both written and oral formats, in order to identify those students who appear capable of completing all requirements for the doctoral program.
The subject of the first-year exam is a recent article from the literature. The Program Director will select three faculty members from the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology to serve on the exam committee. These faculty will then submit recent articles that align with the background and interests of the student to the Program Director, who will pass the list on to the student. The student will then have 3 days to select one paper on which to execute the exam. After selecting a paper, the student will be given 14 days to prepare a report. Reports are to be no more than 15 double spaced pages, 12 pt font (or an alternative legible format of equivalent length), with 1 inch margins. Figures and legends should be embedded within the text. The report should begin with an executive summary. The report must include a critical evaluation of the paper. The critical analysis should address: 1) the significance of the study in the context of human health, 2) the findings of previous studies that address similar questions, 3) the quality of the work, data, and/or model(s), and 4) the strength of the conclusions. Note that a student does not need find things ‘wrong’ with the paper. Students will have at least three days after turning in the report before the oral exam. The student should prepare an approximately 20 minute oral presentation on the paper and their report. The paper is used as a starting point for questioning, but the student’s understanding of fundamental pharmacology/physiology principles and biology will be tested during the oral portion of the exam. The student will meet with the Program Director prior to the oral exam to explain the expectations for passing the exam to the student. Students are not allowed to retake this exam. Failure results in termination from the program. Students who pass the examination receive verbal feedback on their performance immediately after the exam.
B. Year 2: Students formally enter the graduate studies program of the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology following completion of their first-year of study in one of the first-year program areas. Students must designate a thesis advisor and Ph.D. track (Pharmacology or Physiology). The selection of a thesis advisor requires approval by the
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Department of Pharmacology and Physiology Graduate Student