Stanford Immunology

Mouse monocyte-derived dendritic cells taking up immune complexes (bright green) and processing them for antigen presentation.  Image by Zinaida Good and Yaron Cami, Engleman Lab.

Mission of the PhD Program in Immunology

The Immunology doctoral program offers instruction and research opportunities leading to a Ph.D. in Immunology. Two tracks are offered:

  1. Track 1: Molecular, Cellular, and Translational Immunology
  2. Track 2: Computational and Systems Immunology

The goal of the Ph.D. Program in Immunology is to develop investigators who have a strong foundation in Immunology and related sciences in order to carry out innovative research. The program features a flexible choice of courses and seminars combined with extensive research training in the laboratories of participating Immunology faculty. Specifically, immunology graduate students:

  1. acquire a fundamental, broad, and comprehensive body of knowledge and skills through an extensive curriculum.
  2. identify important scientific questions, design, and conduct experiments using the most appropriate methods.
  3. read and critically analyze current literature in immunology and other relevant fields.
  4. present research findings and communicate ideas effectively to a variety of audiences.
  5. prepare manuscripts that will be published in leading journals.
  6. learn to teach effectively.  

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:

  1. develop new computational tools that use multiple large-scale publicly available omics datasets to enhance the knowledge of immunology and immunobiology;
  2. 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;
  3. 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.