About Our PhD Program
The PhD Program in Immunology, founded in 1988, is one of fourteen Stanford Biosciences programs. The goal of the PhD Program in Immunology is to provide outstanding training and education for obtaining the PhD degree in Immunology and to develop young investigators who will carry out innovative research in the field. Our 52 students benefit greatly from the long tradition of collaboration among the immunology laboratories, with an emphasis on the application of cutting edge approaches to problems in cellular, molecular, computational, and clinical immunology. Immunology faculty members are leaders in their respective areas of research, and often incorporate bench to bedside approaches. Our PhD core coursework requirements plus strong electives in related disciplines provide an integrated curriculum that spans basic and clinical immunology. Students can choose from either the Molecular, Cellular, and Translational Immunology (MCTI) track or the Computational and Systems Immunology (CSI – founded in 2011) track. Graduate students in immunology actively participate in seminars, journal clubs, and the annual Stanford Immunology Scientific Conference at Asilomar. Students have access to state-of-the-art research facilities in the immunology laboratories, located in various departments in the School of Medicine, the Department of Biological Sciences, and the Palo Alto Veteran's Administration Medical Center.
The MCTI track comprises interdisciplinary research that emphasizes the application of molecular approaches to open questions in cellular and clinical immunology. Graduate students in this track gain an advanced understanding of basic molecular and cellular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cellular signaling concepts and experimental techniques and apply this knowledge to immunology problems. MCTI faculty interests include both bench-to-bedside approaches and basic science research.
The past decade has seen an explosion in the availability of high-throughput datasets spanning information on everything from DNA sequences to RNA transcript abundances, single-cell protein profiles, protein variants and metabolite profiles. These multi-dimensional omics datasets are complex to integrate, visualize and analyze for those not well versed in systems biology and bioinformatics. A new generation of scientists is needed to take advantage of these resources to ask and answer novel important questions in immunology. The CSI track will generate a class of hybrid scientists to identify important problems in immunology and to devise appropriate integrated computational/experimental plans for tackling them.
Students in the CSI track will be able to:
- develop new computational tools that use multiple large-scale publicly available omics datasets to enhance the knowledge of immunology and immunobiology;
- integrate of new computational omics analysis techniques into existing, well-established genomic data analysis pipelines/frameworks to better understand immunology and enable researchers/clinicians to rapidly leverage omics advancements;
- develop new and innovative multi-omic simulation and / or visualization methods that make systems immunology accessible to research scientists with no programming experience, thus bridging the gap between computational data mining and human knowledge to extend insight.