PhD Interdisciplinary or Minor Requirements

The objective of training in CMP is to create a stimulating and robust intellectual interdisciplinary environment for predoctoral training embedded in an exciting and challenging basic and clinical translational research. Our curriculum provides interdisciplinary and integrated training in fundamental concepts in modern pathobiology with an emphasis on biochemical, cellular and molecular approaches and rigorous in-depth research training in understanding of the fundamental bases of diseases. Students must fulfill interdisciplinary training requirement by completing either Option A (Minor) or Option B (Interdisciplinary Training Option).

Any student who wishes to complete a minor will have the option to do so. Students must choose to show how their training has been interdisciplinary if they choose not to complete the PhD Minor. At the time the student requests their Preliminary Exam Warrant, they should prepare a summary of his or her effort in interdisciplinary coursework and training and outline their option for completing interdisciplinary training requirement. Interdisciplinary Training Report will have to be submitted to CMP Education Office prior to Preliminary Exam and approved by the students mentoring committee.

Option A: Optional Minor

In addition to the core courses outlined under the major curriculum, students who wish to complete a minor will be expected to complete a minimum of 9 credits from courses numbered 400 or above and pass with a grade of B or better. Students should consult with their mentoring committee for approval of courses.

A suggested distributed minor would consist of advanced courses from the following areas: cell and molecular biology, genetics, immunology, biochemistry, oncology, virology or statistics. These courses should provide the student and their committee with the flexibility to complement a broad range of disease-oriented basic research projects. New, experimental, or special topics courses that offer advanced level training in these areas are acceptable.

CMP students may also choose to pursue a minor external to the department of Pathology. As stated above, the student should first consult and obtain approval from their committee.

Option B: Interdisciplinary Training Option

  1. Encouraging representation of committee members on student thesis committees outside the student’s department.

    CMP strongly encourages representation of committee members on student committees outside from the student’s department. For an example, a student working in an immunology laboratory that develops novel biomarkers for inflammation will work with scientists in neuroscience to validate the role of these biomarkers in neurologic diseases. Journal papers authored by CMP graduate students often are co-authored with interdisciplinary collaborators.

  2. Lecture series that are intended to enhance students’ breadth of training.

    Students are required to participate in the weekly CMP Seminar Series. These seminars provide both a broad and in-depth knowledge into the pathogenesis of diseases. Invited speakers from UW and other institutions present seminars. This interdisciplinary forum provides knowledge in cancer, immunology, regenerative medicine, neuroscience and medical translational research. CMP seminar series takes place every Wednesday from 12:00pm to 1:00pm in the Clinical Sciences Center (CSC), during the fall and spring semesters. All CMP students are required to sign-up and attend this seminar and we encourage full trainer participation. This is a weekly platform for collaboration, interaction and quick program communication.

    Participation in the Resident Journal Club led by Dr. Erik Ranheim. This will provide further training for CMP trainees on experimental design, statistical analysis, and critical reading of the translational research literature. CMP student participation provides both the residents and graduate students increased opportunities for collaborative research while providing a better understanding of the direct translation of research findings into clinical practice.

    Required participation in the Gabriele M. Zu Rhein, M.D. Lectureship in Neuropathology. These lectures are held yearly with the generous donation of Dr Zu Rhein. These lectures focus on neuroscience, neurology, neuronal development and Central Nervous System diseases.

  3. Student Seminar presentations: Students are required to give a minimum of 3 seminars throughout their graduate career. Seminars can be given as part of the Pathology Seminar Series or at a regional, national, or international meeting. Additionally, dissertators are required to give their thesis defense as part of the CMP/Pathology Seminar Series. The following is a list of seminar courses that can be taken for satisfying interdisciplinary training requirements: Biochemistry 907, Advanced Molecular Genetics; Biochemistry 903, Membrane Biochemistry; Botany/Zoology 965, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Bacteriology 901, Microbiology; Genetics 993, Seminar in Genetics; Oncology 901, Seminar.

    Participation in Journal Clubs Students are required to participate in different topic Journal Clubs regularly. Several weekly journal clubs in special topics exist. Generally one paper is presented each week. Some are offered as formal courses; others meet informally. Below is a list of some of the journal clubs that CMP trainers currently participate in:

    • Biotechnology Training Program Student Seminar Series,
    • Cancer Biology Literature Group (every other week)
    • Cardiovascular Research Center Journal Club (Thursdays once a month)
    • Developmental Biology Journal Club (Wednesdays at 12:00pm)
    • Geriatrics Journal Club (Tuesdays at 7:30pm)
    • Glaucoma Research Group
    • Neuroimmunology Journal Club (Fridays at 11:00pm)
    • Immunology Research Group (Thursdays at 12:00pm)
    • MSTP Student Journal Club
    • Neurological Surgery Journal Club (bi-weekly)
    • Ophthalmology & Visual Sciences Research Colloquium (Fridays at 12:00pm)
    • Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Grand Rounds (Fridays at 7:30pm)
    • Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences Retina Group (Tuesdays at 7:00pm)
    • Seminar in Cellular Biology and Cytoskeletal Dynamics
    • Stem Cell Biology Journal Club (Fridays at 12:00pm,)
    • Transcriptional Mechanisms Research Group (monthly)
    • UWCCC Tumor Immunology Journal Club (Tuesdays at 9:00am)
    • Vascular Biology Research Colloquium (monthly)
    • Zebrafish Research Group (last Tuesday of month)


    Required participation in yearly CMP Poster competition. This event is designed to introduce new students to current research conducted by CMP students in laboratories around campus. CMP Students are required to participate in this session with posters demonstrating the general area of their research and available techniques in their laboratories or more specific posters from their meeting presentations. The poster session is two hours long and is set up very informally. There are also snacks, and soda served. CMP poster session ad-hoc review committee awards first/second places for best presentations.