The Bioinformatics in Immunology and Microbiology Bioinformatics (MIB) Program Plan provides students with a focused education in immunology and microbiology, including in laboratory skills and focus on bioinformatics. Our goal is to prepare students for research careers in academia or industry, as educators, or for further graduate and professional programs. Importantly, our program provides extensive hands-on research experience where students will be trained in research laboratories located within the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. Students will complete 38 units that include core coursework, electives, and participation in cutting-edge research, as well as write and defend a thesis.
The primary objective of the MIB Program Plan is to provide students with a broad background in biomedical sciences with an emphasis on microbiology and immunology and focus on bioinformatics. Students in this program will participate in cutting-edge biomedical research with an emphasis on dry bench research using “omics” datasets and other big data. Trainees will attend short intensive courses in Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics as well as required core courses in Microbiology, Immunology, Bioinformatics and Biostatistics. The training will be embedded in “wet” laboratories within the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.
It is anticipated that it will take full-time students two years to complete the degree requirements (38 units) as well as compose and defend a Master’s thesis. Thereafter, they will be awarded the Master of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology with an emphasis in Immunology/Microbiology and Bioinformatics.
Laboratory Research Mini-Rotations:
During the first semester, after the first 10 weeks of study, and with the support of the program director, students will contact 4 to 5 laboratories to set up mini-rotations with 3 laboratories. These laboratory research mini-rotations will be carried out during the second semester of enrollment. Students will perform 5-week rotations in 3 labs over the course of the semester, spending a minimum of 10 hours per week in the lab. Students will learn about the research and gain hands-on experience in bioinformatic data in several laboratories. There is great diversity in research areas available in microbiology (bacterial pathogenesis, viral pathogenesis, bacterial physiology and genetics, and host response), immunology (vaccine development, autoimmune diseases, allergy, lymphocyte development), cancer (immune surveillance, antigen recognition, B and T cell lymphomas), and others. Information about specific research areas and laboratories can be found on the Department of Immunology and Microbiology website. At the end of each mini-rotation, students will be expected to write a paper (5 pages) detailing what they learned in each lab as well as outlining a specific project on which they would continue to work, should they stay in that lab.
Laboratory Research/Thesis work:
Following the rotations, students will choose a lab in which to complete their thesis work beginning in the summer and for the remaining time in the program. Laboratory choice will be determined by mutual agreement between the student and the respective lab leader. This laboratory leader from the Microbiology and Immunology program will also serve as primary thesis advisor. In addition, students will need a secondary advisor from faculty in the Department of Biostatistics, Computational Bioscience program, or other programs that have a primary research focus on bioinformatics. It is anticipated that students will spend at least 20 hours per week working in the lab on a research thesis project. As a requirement for graduation, the project will be documented as a Master’s thesis and defended orally. The final grade for the research engagement will be posted in the graduating semester.