PhD in Applied Biotechnologies and Traslational Medicine
PhD course descriptions and main objectives
The PhD program includes three distinct areas which have in common a marked focus on translational research applied to medicine. With respect to Biology of Reproduction and Development, the main research areas include differentiation processes underlying male and female gametogenesis, mechanisms of stem cell differentiation and the early phases of embryogenesis. PhD students will have the opportunity to learn most relevant in vivo research models (transgenic mice, knock-out experiments etc.) methods of cellular biology (in vitro cultures), as well as the main techniques used in morphology, biochemistry and molecular biology applied to the field. As concerning the clinical area, the students will learn monitoring the main developmental phases of the embryo through tridimensional ultrasound approaches, doppler ultrasound and the study of vascular colorimetric index. Fetal movements and the production of amniotic liquid will be monitored as a means to measure fetal growth and the evolution of fetal organs as well as the behavior of the fetus allowing to evaluate neurologic maturation.
The area of Biopathology and Innovative Therapies in Hematology focuses on recent advances in biomarkers applied to diagnostics in human pathology, genetics and hematology. The course includes learning of advanced techniques used to identify biomarkers characterizing the main hematologic diseases (including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloproliferative syndromes) as well as solid tumors and constitutional genetic diseases. These include mutational screening, phenotypic expression studies, flow cytometry, NGS and techniques used both at diagnosis and for the identification of minimal residual disease. These approaches also allow the identification of molecules and pathways altered in the above diseases that may represent therapeutic targets for tailored treatments. As concern the clinical area, the focus is on most advanced therapeutic strategies including stem cell transplant, immunotherapy, small molecule inhibitors and research related to experimental clinical trials with particular emphasis on translational studies associated to these trials.
The area of Diagnostic Imaging focuses on the study of advances in the field of techniques in terms of morphology and functional aspects with special interest in the cerebral district. Research in this area aims to provide insights for modern applications and developments of interventional radiology. This represents one of the most rapidly evolving fields in medicine, with important impact on treatment of several disease of intravascular and extravascular nature, either benign or malignant. The area of advanced treatment strategies in pelvic surgery includes new techniques in mini-invasive surgery applied to treatment of diseases of female genital apparatus and those of the urinary and colorectal districts. In this context, innovative approaches include endoscopic surgery focused on diagnostics and treatment of several pelvic diseases as well robotic/laparoscopic surgery. Finally, as concerning the locomotor apparatus, students will have the opportunity to deal with multimodal analysis of skeletal and muscle tissues integrating clinical, biological and imaging information. Research focuses on the identification of innovative diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in osteoarticular diseases (osteoarthrosis, osteoporosis).
Several of the themes studied in this PhD course apply to other fields of medicine and biology. Therefore, methodologies and research skills that will be acquired may facilitate the subsequent involvement of PhD in various clinical and applied research areas.