The University of Pittsburgh is organized into 15 schools with graduate education governed centrally by the Provost, but administered at the level of individual schools by Deans. The Office of Graduate Studies in the School of Medicine reports to Dean Arthur S. Levine, who is also the Senior Vice-Chancellor for Health Sciences. Graduate training programs in the School of Medicine are organized along programmatic rather than departmental lines. As a consequence of this arrangement, graduate students conduct research under faculty mentors in virtually every one of the school's 28 departments.
Several of our programs also cross school boundaries to permit collaborative training efforts with colleagues throughout the Health Sciences, in the Schools of Arts & Sciences and Engineering, and at neighboring Carnegie-Mellon University. By exploring the detailed descriptions of programs that can be accessed through this website, you will find lists of training faculty for each program and summaries of their research interests. This is the key to finding the right program for you - the one that matches your scientific interests.
Before you begin, please note that graduate research opportunities in our training programs span the gamut from fundamental mechanistic problems in biology to clinical translation.
Rich and Diverse Research Enviroment
We are very fortunate to work in such a rich research environment that provides so many options for students. The challenge for entering students is to think deeply about their goals and interests and then make decisions that will help them navigate successfully to achieve their goals. Because choices between research areas are not always obvious and the correct answers are different for each student, we pay careful attention to advising and mentoring in all of our graduate programs and to the unique needs of each student.
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center(UPMC) makes our training environment special. UPMC is one of the largest and best integrated hospital and health care networks in the United States. The Medical School's clinical faculty practice medicine primarily through this network and it provides an astonishing array of clinical settings, patient populations and clinical research resources. Because of the strong partnership between the School of Medicine and UPMC, graduate students have access to clinical research programs that are simply not available in other medical school environments and certainly not in programs outside of medical schools. The partnership between the medical school and UPMC has led to the establishment of many research centers and institutes that bring together basic scientists, clinical scientists, physicians, graduate students and physicians-in-training. A few important examples of such environments include:
Founded in 2001, the McGowan Institute brings together students and faculty from our PhD programs in Bioengineering, Neuroscience, Integrative Molecular Biology and Cellular & Molecular Pathology. Research at the Institute focuses on a range of problems including cellular therapies, tissue engineering, biomaterials, medical devices and artificial organs.
Founded in 1984, UPCI brings together students and faculty from our PhD Programs in Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, Cellular & Molecular Pathology, Molecular Pharmacologyand Integrative Molecular Biology. Together they work on problems ranging from the basic control of gene expression, cell cycle regulation and DNA repair to identification of novel therapeutic targets, small molecule drug candidates and viral causes of human cancers. UPCI also serves as the only National Cancer Institute designated comprehensive cancer center in western Pennsylvania.
Founded in 2006, the CVR brings together PhD students and faculty investigating infectious bacterial and viral diseases. These students are working towards PhD's in Immunology, Molecular Virology & Microbiology, and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics.
Magee-Womens Research Institute (MWRI) hosts researchers that focus on reproductive biology, development, women’s and newborn’s health. Basic, translational, and clinical tools are used to investigate processes and diseases that span a woman's entire life cycle—from the formation of germ cells and embryos through childhood and adolescence, reproductive life, pregnancy, menopause and aging. MWRI brings together students and faculty from our PhD programs in Integrative Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology, Pharmacology, Molecular Virology and Microbiology.
Established in 2006, UPDDI brings together faculty and graduate students from the Schools of Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Pharmacy, and Public Health in pursuit of a common goal: to identify small molecules that will ultimately result in drug therapy treatments for orphan and neglected diseases, as well as other diseases.
Founded in 2000, the PIND brings together faculty and students from the PhD programs in Neuroscience, Molecular Pharmacology, and Molecular Biophysics & Structural Biology. They work on problems related to mechanisms of oxidative stress, apoptosis and therapeutics in relation to Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, stroke and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
Established in 2006, the PCPR brings together faculty and students from the PhD programs in Neuroscience and Molecular Pharmacology. Research in the PCPR ranges from the study of ion channels, growth factors and mechanisms of nociceptor sensitization to genome-wide association studies in chronic pain patients and strategies for improved management of postoperative pain.
With support from one of the first NIH Clinical and Translational Science Awards in 2006, the University of Pittsburgh founded its Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI). The CTSI plays the central role in coordinating efforts within our community to foster the translation of biomedical discoveries into improved health care and outcomes. The Institute for Clinical Research Education (ICRE) serves as the research education and career development core for CTSI. It oversees our graduate training programs in Clinical Research, Clinical & Translational Science and Clinical Education, and it interacts closely with the graduate programs in Biomedical Informatics.
The mission of the Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering (CCME) is to apply the principles of cellular and molecular science and engineering to restore tissue and organ functions. Special emphasis is placed on building strong basic science foundations for the treatment of injuries and disease of the musculoskeletal system, and utilizing nanotechnology and mechanobiological principles in combination with bioreactor and biomaterials technologies, including 3-dimensional printing, for functional skeletal tissue engineering and regeneration. The Director of CCME, Dr. Rocky S. Tuan is an established leader in musculoskeletal research, including cartilage development, repair, cell signaling, and matrix biochemistry, and a major contributor to stem cell biology and tissue engineering.The Center for Cellular and Molecular Engineering’s mission is to apply the principles of cellular and molecular science and engineering to restore tissue and organ functions. Special emphasis will be placed on building strong basic science foundations for the treatment of injuries and disease of the musculoskeletal system, and utilizing nanotechnology and mechanobiological principles in combination with bioreactor technology for functional skeletal tissue engineering and regeneration. Dr. Tuan has been a leader in musculoskeletal research, including cartilage development, repair, cell signaling, and matrix biochemistry, and a major contributor to stem cell biology and tissue engineering.