Doctor of Philosophy
For more information about applying to the PhD program, kindly visit the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences website.
The goals of doctoral training with a concentration in EMD are to provide a current theoretical and practical base of epidemiological and microbiological principles, to master research methods, and to apply these skills to investigations of the biology of infectious organisms of public health importance and the epidemiology of the diseases they cause. The approach is multidisciplinary. It includes ecological, clinical, cellular, immunologic and molecular aspects of infectious diseases, their causative agents, vertebrate hosts, and vectors. In addition, opportunities exist for Ph.D. training through interdepartmental programs in which YSPH faculty participate, such as the Microbiology and Immunobiology tracks of the Biomedical and Biological Studies program.
Applicants should have a bachelor's degree with a concentration in any of the biological sciences. Students with degrees in chemistry, physics, engineering or medicine are also encouraged to apply. Preparation in elementary calculus, elementary physics, inorganic and organic chemistry, statistics or advanced mathematics is desired. Complete GRE test scores are required.
Although courses in epidemiology, microbiology and biostatistics are strongly recommended, there is no general required curriculum. A faculty advisor is assigned at the time the student matriculates. Each student plans, with the advice of the faculty advisor and the department representative to the Graduate Studies Executive Committee, a specific program that includes courses, seminars, laboratory rotations, and independent readings all tailored to the individual needs and career goals of the student. The plan is outlined as early as possible in the first semester of graduate study. A program of course work will most often include biostatistics, epidemiology, microbiology, as well as complementary courses offered in the basic biomedical sciences in other departments of the University. All students are required do three semester long laboratory rotations, each with a different principal investigator. After successful completion of the qualifying examination and submitting a prospectus, students are admitted to candidacy for the Ph.D. From this point students work exclusively on their dissertation research, culminating in the presentation of a thesis to the Yale faculty for examination.
Core Competencies PhD
Upon receiving a PhD degree in Public Health, the student will be able to:
- Critically evaluate public health and related literature.
- Discuss and critically evaluate the broad literature of the student’s discipline.
- Review in depth the background and research advances in the student’s specific research area.
- Apply at an advanced level the research methodology of the student’s broader discipline and, in particular, the student’s specific research area.
- Present research to colleagues and professionals on a national and international level at professional meetings.
- Teach a course in the student’s broad discipline.
- Explain the principles of research ethics and apply these principles to specific research projects.
- Design and conduct an advanced, original research project in the student’s discipline.
- Generate data to create publishable manuscripts that represent important contributions to the literature.
PhD Forms for Current Students
Conference Travel Funds
Students in EMD are required to take ten courses for credit. Courses in biostatistics, epidemiology, and microbiology are strongly recommended. The specific course recommendations depends on the background of each student and their stated research interests. An individual program that includes courses, seminars, and research rotations is developed by the student and his/her faculty academic adviser. All students are required to complete three distinct research rotations. These are done in the fall, spring and summer of the first year. At the end of each rotation, the student will be asked to prepare a brief presentation for fellow students and faculty about their research for that term. These research rotations (EMD 670) are graded and account for three of the required ten courses EMD students must take.
- CBIO 602a Molecular Cell Biology
- EMD 548b Remote Sensing: Observing the Earth from Space
- EMD 550b Vector Biology
- EMD 680a Molecular and Cellular Processes of Parasitic Eukaryotes
- EPH 600 Research Ethics
- †MBIO 685b Molecular Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis
- †E&EB 665a Landscape Ecology
- *GENE 705a Molecular Genetics of Prokaryotes
- *GENE 734a Molecular Biology of Animal Viruses
- †IBIO 539b Advanced Immunology Seminar
- †MCDB 530a Biology of the Immune System
- *PATH 650b Cellular and Molecular Biology of Cancer
*These courses are offered in the School of Medicine.
†These courses are offered in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
EMD has adopted an oral and written qualifying examination format. Components of the examination include the following: (1) readings with committee members on selected topics; these readings may require review and integration of course work, laboratory rotations, research seminars, and published literature; and (2) research proposals in two areas, one on the proposed dissertation topic and the other in an area distinct from the proposed dissertation topic. The research topics are selected by the examining committee from the student’s suggestions, and submitted within a prescribed time frame in written form. The examination takes the form of questions from members of the committee based on readings and an oral defense of both research proposals.
Detailed information regarding the EMD program is available from the EMD representative to the Graduate Studies Executive Committee or the coordinator of graduate student affairs.
Laboratory training is required of all students during both the first and second terms of their first year and during the summer between their first and second years. Each term involves a different investigator. These are offered as formal courses, and there will be a brief presentation to the division at the end of each rotation. Each term is graded. Investigators act as tutors and monitor the progress of the work, although students are given a certain amount of independence in their work. Laboratory work is defined broadly, including experiments in the more traditional wet laboratory setting, as well as work in the field and on the computer.
A diversity of research opportunities are available working in the laboratories of Yale faculty associated with the Division of Microbial Diseases (more information).
Current Divisional Research Projects
Some recent and current EMD Ph.D. and M.D./Ph.D. students and their research projects include:
- Generation of immunity following genital HSV-2 infection
- Spatial models for public health intervention of vector-borne diseases
- Understanding the eco-epidemiology of vector borne pathogens using West Nile Virus as a model system.
- The role of the tsetse fly's fat body immune responses in combating African trypanosome infection
- Identification of Polymicrobial and Genetic Factors for Otitis Media Pathogenesis
- Using partially-effective HIV vaccines in South Africa: informing difficult policy decisions through the use of behavioral epidemiology and mathematical modeling
- Elements behind a population-based newborn screening for severe combined immunodeficiency
- Ecological, behavioral & insecticidal resistance determinants of anti-malaria intervention success on Bioko Island and Mainland Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa
- Into the environment of mosquito-borne disease: a spatial analysis of vector distribution using traditional and remotely sensed methods
- Leishmania vector distribution analysis using geographic information systems, remote sensing and population genetics
- Identifying factors required for flavivirus transmission and replication in mosquito cells and tissues
- Environmental correlates of Borrelia burgdorferi population genetic structure and implications for its emergence in eastern North America
- Evaluation of hepatitis B vaccination program among injection drug users
The Department has a training grant supporting pre- and post-doctoral students in the areas of parasitology and vector biology. There are also YSPH fellowships available for predoctoral students. In addition, faculty have grants which are employed for support, training related expenses and stipends.
Recent EMD dissertation topics:
- BUMP: Human Mobility and Social Mixing Patterns
- Modeling Rabies Control
- An immunotherapeutic approach to the treatment of Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis in the Balb/c mouse model
- Borrelia burgdorferi transmission in the Northeastern U.S.
- Prevalance of Community-Acquired MRSA in Live Pigs and their Human Handlers
- Ecological, Behavioral and Insecticidal Resistance Determinants of anti-malaria intervention success on Bioko Island and mainland Equatorial Guinea, Central Africa
- Evaluating Clinical Decision Support for Community Health Workers in Kenya
- From the Bedside to the Bench: Developing an Animal Model of Hookworm-Malaria Co-Infection