This "gateway" program admits students interested in a broad range of disciplines in biomedical sciences. In the first year, students take one course per quarter and rotate through 3-4 laboratories. At the end of the first year, students take a qualifying exam and then enter a laboratory for thesis research. Students interested in Immunology generally take the introductory course "Integrative Immunology" in fall quarter of the first year.
In subsequent years, students take an Advanced Immunology course focusing on primary literature and critical thinking skills. Graduate students (and postdocs) also participate in the Immunology Journal Club. All immunology students attend the annual "UC Irvine Immunology Fair". This event begins with seminars from distinguished immunology researchers from outside UC Irvine, followed by a poster session featuring the work of UC Irvine students and postdocs. Currently, UC Irvine maintains a NIH-funded training grant that supports several graduate students and is administered by the Institute for Immunology.
The purpose of the Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP) is to train individuals who can understand and contribute to advances in research, and can also apply those advances to the field of medical care. Since our first students entered the program in 1980, the UCI Medical Scientist Training Program has grown and flourished. Today, our students and associated faculty pursue research in fields such as stem cell biology, cancer, immunology, and neurosciences.
This highly competitive program provides one year of focused instruction in biotechnology concepts and laboratory techniques, followed by a second year of independent research in laboratories around campus. Students who choose to work with faculty of the Institute for Immunology may participate in all of the courses, journal clubs and data presentation formats that are available for Ph.D. students. The vast majority of graduates of this program quickly find employment in biopharma.