The core curriculum is a one year interdisciplinary program. The two-semester series (IDL 580 and 581) in Fundamentals of Biomedical Science is designed to give students a broad didactic background in the fundamentals essential to advanced research training, ranging from biochemistry and molecular biology to mechanisms of human disease.

In the Fall Semester, Fundamentals is paralleled with Introduction to Research Methods (IDL 577). This course combines an introduction to didactic theory with practical hands-on laboratory experience in protein isolation and separation, blotting techniques, PCR, cDNA cloning, proteomics, and cell culture. In addition, the course addresses regulatory issues pertinent to biomedical research, such as environmental safety, radiation safety, and biosafety, as well as an introduction to laboratory data management and bioethics. Students begin formal discussion of the literature via Literature Reports (IDL 576).  Prior to the end of the semester, students complete one five-week rotation (IDL 594).  

Additionally, laboratory rotations are required in three different laboratories in the Spring Semester, with each rotation lasting five weeks; students enroll for 3 hours (one credit per rotation) Directed Studies (IDL 594) for each rotation. Students may choose any available laboratory, regardless of the mentor's departmental or program affiliation. During each rotation, the student undertakes a small research project. The goal of rotations is to learn about the research in a laboratory, to become acquainted with the techniques used, and for the student and the faculty member to become acquainted with each other. The latter is important, since the final selection of a mentor for graduate research training must occur by mutual agreement between the student and the mentor.

To facilitate selection of laboratories for rotations, students are introduced to the research of individual faculty members through the informal "Meet the Discipline" days organized through the Fall Semester. Students are also encouraged to interview potential mentors during this time. The Director of the Graduate Program and faculty advisors are available for consultation. Students will submit their prioritized choices for rotations to the Graduate Office no later than three weeks prior to the end of the Fall Semester.

The First Year Curriculum

Fall Semester

Formal coursework:
IDL 580 -- Fundamentals of Biomedical Science I (8 credit hours)
IDL 577 -- Introduction to Research Methods (3 credit hours)
IDL 576 -- Literature Reports (1 credit hour)
IDL 594 -- Directed Studies Rotation (1 credit hour)
GIS 501 -- Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit)

Informal requirements:
"Meet the Discipline" days (9 throughout the semester)
Attendance at the weekly College of Medicine Distinguished Scientist Seminar series

Spring Semester

Formal coursework:
IDL 581 -- Fundamentals of Biomedical Science II (8 credit hours)
IDL 594 -- Directed Studies (3 credit hours)
IDL 576 -- Literature Reports (1 credit hour)

Informal requirements:
Attendance at the weekly College of Medicine
Distinguished Scientist Seminar series

Advanced coursework is determined by the discipline or formal program chosen by the student, along with recommendations made by the student's dissertation committee. Information regarding the post-core advanced coursework can be found in each discipline or program's web site: Departments of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Cell Biology and Neuroscience, Microbiology and Immunology, Molecular and Cellular Pharmacology, and Physiology; and in the interdisciplinary Cancer Biology and Lung Biology Programs.

For an overview of the requirements for the Ph.D. in Basic Medical Sciences at the University of South Alabama College of Medicine, view the current Undergraduate and Graduate Bulletin.

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