SitemapImpressumDatenschutzerklärungdeutschenglish
MHH Logo

Course Description

Main characteristics of the MD/PhD program

 

The MD/PhD program "Molecular Medicine" at Hannover Medical School recruits students holding a M.Sc. or equivalent degree in medicine, veterinary medicine or natural sciences. Students work independently in a project-oriented training program with an average study period of three years. Our PhD program strives to form a "bridge" between basic sciences and clinics, enabling students to further their abilities in research and teaching. The cohort size is limited to 20 students per year. Detailed information on the content, structure and course of study can be found in the following sections.

 

The MD/PhD program is integrated into the Hannover Biomedical Research School (graduate school) since October 2003.

 

The program was fully accreditated according to European standards as the first PhD program in Germany in December 2003 (credits: ECTS; see Bologna process)! But ECTS certificates are only issued upon request as meanwhile Europe decided that accreditation is not applicable for PhD programs.  

Target Group

 

We are looking for highly qualified  medical and  veterinary doctors and graduates of natural science (such as Biology, Biochemistry, Biotechnology). An above average level of performance is expected from all applicants, and the curriculum vitae should reveal a prominent ability and motivation for scientific work. At least some independent research experience (6-months of bench work) is required, as demonstrated in the description of a former research project.

(application)

Aims of the PhD Program "Molecular Medicine"

 

The curriculum of the PhD program offers students the possibility to develop an in-depth understanding of methods beyond their individual fields of expertise, and to gain important experience in interdisciplinary cooperation. They will learn to develop their communication skills, to ask provoking scientific questions and to organize complex research data. In the course of their scientific work, carried out under proper guidance, they will develop a strong foundation which will enable them to make significant advances in later stages of their career, for instance as head of a junior research group.

Our PhD program also features adequate quality control, providing three-way feedback from the HBRS, students and supervisors. The amalgation of basic research techniques and clinical questions will broaden the knowledge of students with a medical background, and likewise, provide students with a natural science background with the clinical perspective of working in translational research.

 

Degree

 

A PhD degree (alternatively Dr.rer.nat for life scientists) will be awarded after successful completion of the program.

Projects

 

A great variety of projects are available, as most of the departments/labs at MHH and regional institutes in the molecular field are part of our "Molecular Medicine" PhD program.

Students have a free choice of projects once they are selected for the program.

To get an idea of projects, please browse the "students" section.


Course

 

In the first phase of the program, basic Immunology, Virology, Microbiology, Genetics, Cell Biology and Biochemistry are taught in cooperation with other PhD programs in HBRS as well as partner institutes. In addition, medical students will receive an introduction to basic scientific methods such as molecular and cell biological techniques, while students with scientific qualifications will deal extensively with medical research topics. The aim is to achieve approximately the same level of knowledge despite different entry qualifications. This first part of the course is normally completed after 18 months with an intermediate examination.


In the second phase, the main focus lies on clinical/ applied aspects and project-oriented research, leading both to the completion of the thesis and to publication of the obtained results in international journals. In this phase, periods of research necessary for the performance of the research project may be spent in partner institutes both in Germany and abroad.


During the 3-year study period, all students have to attend about 80 hours of project-oriented seminars/courses as well as 60 hours of interdisciplinary seminars/courses. Great emphasis is placed on soft skills such as ‘Presentation techniques', ‘Scientific writing', ‘Research ethics', ‘Gene technology safety', ‘Animal experiments' as well as career perspectives. Excursions to industry also take place regularly.

 



Scientific Exposure


Students present their research projects at an annual retreat and are encouraged to participate in international scientific meetings and conferences.

Two publications as first author in international peer-reviewd journals are desired for the admittance to the PhD final examination. The PhD examination generally takes place at the end of the third year.


Supervision

 

PhD students are individually supervised by experts selected by the PhD Program Committee. Each students has one main supervisor and two co-supervisors from different departments/institutes , forming a thesis advisory group. This group of supervisors continuously monitors the PhD student throughout the program through reports and intermittent feedback. An advisory meeting usually takes place at least once a year, usually before the annual retreat.


Research projects feature a clearly defined topic using suitable methods, with a realistic prospect of success and publication in international peer-reviewed journals. The PhD Commission ensures that students are not laden with menial tasks not related to the PhD. The supervisors will also advise the PhD students on career planning.



The main supervisor provides all facilities necessary for performing the PhD thesis (including lab bench, computers) and are responsible for the financing of the research project and for sponsorship of the PhD student assigned to them during the 3-4 year PhD study period. Students usually receive a stipend or salary of about 1200,- to 1400,- Euro/month. The HBRS committee will supervise the distribution of any extra available funds.


Cooperations

 

The PhD program leverages on longstanding cooperation with the University of Hannover and the School of Veterinary Medicine, with some courses and lecturers are already integrated in the course. In addition, there are various cooperation partners, such as the Helmholtz Institute for Infection Research, HZI, Braunschweig; IPF PharmaCeuticals GmbH (IPF), Hannover; Fraunhofer-Institute of Toxicology and Experimental Medicine, Hannover (ITEM); and the Friedrich Löffler Institute, Mariensee (FLI).


International cooperation partners include several scientists in India (Dr. S. Mahalingam IIT Chennai; Prof. S. Hasnain University of Hyderabad, Prof. Dr. Shahid Jameel ICGEB New Delhi etc.), in Europe (Karolinska Institute Stockholm, University of Dundee, University of Helsinki, Imperial College of London) and numerous international partners in the individual research projects.


Facilities

 

Hannover Medical School has excellent facilities for students from the PhD programs.


Platforms (core units) have been established at MHH and partner institutes to provide up-to-date technologies and support (e. g. gene expression profiling, experimental animal work, confocal microscopy for in vivo imaging, and proteomics).

A huge library with relevant textbooks and journals is available (and about 20 computer working places).

 


The Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS) has its own seminar rooms.


There are four cafeterias and a mensa on campus.


All international students in the PhD program will be accomodated in a students' hostel nearby.

 
 

Orientation weeks

 

At the beginning of October, students are given assistance with all relevant administration (housing, bank, insurance, enrolment). Other highlights include guided tours, excursions, culture shock seminars, a German crash course, and an international party.

Language

 

English is the main language of the program. German courses are offered to our international students (beginners and advanced). And we offer a course on "Scientific English". 


Curriculum

 

In the first 18 months of the course, up to the intermediate examination, participants of the PhD program should acquire a general consolidation of the natural scientific and fundamental principles of biomedical research, so that by the time of the intermediate examination, all participants in the program achieve approximately the same level of theoretical and practical knowledge, despite different qualifications on entry.

 

In the second part of the PhD Program, more emphasis is then placed on the project-specific qualification. Time spend abroad during the PhD Program will be recognized if the curriculum content at the guest university is equivalent to the PhD curriculum and has been certified as such.

 

Note: the detailed Curriculum is displayed elsewhere. Here, you only see a selection of the topics covered!!

 

Since 2004, we have a joint Curriculum in the Hannover Biomedical Research School (HBRS)!!

 

1. Compulsory Activities

 

1.1. Lecture series "Basics in Molecular Medicine"

(3 SWS (Semesterwochenstunden = hours a week) in the first year)

 

List of topics:

  1. Basic properties of biological macromolecules (lipids, membranes, nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates)
  2. Techniques for studying biopolymers (recombinant DNA techniques, spectroscopy etc.)
  3. Protein-protein interactions
  4. Basal genetic mechanisms
  5. Chromosome structure and gene regulation
  6. Flow of genetic information
  7. The cytoskeleton
  8. Microscopic techniques
  9. Membrane transport of small molecules
  10. Receptors and signal transduction
  11. Cell cycle and oncogenesis
  12. Human Gene finding
  13. Medical Genomics
  14. Development of the immune system (stem cells)
  15. Innate immunity
  16. Chemokines
  17. Antigen processing and presentation
  18. Medical microbiology
  19. Virology
  20. Vaccinology
  21. Molecular Epidemiology
  22. Basics in Bioinformatics

With the participation of lecturers from:  

Department:  

Hannover Medical School

Molecular Biology

Max Planck Institute Berlin

Human Genetics

Fraunhofer Institute Hannover

Biochemistry

School of Veterinary Medicine Hannover

Immunology

HZI Braunschweig

Pathology

FLI, Institute of Animal Breeding Mariensee

Cell Biology

Microbiology 

 

Virology

 

1.2. Lecture series "Specific and applied aspects of Molecular Medicine"

(3 SWS in the second year)

With the participation of lecturers from the clinical departments of Hannover Medical School and other partner institutes

 

In the second year, students choose two of the four major foci: Immunology; Infection; Oncology/Differentiation; Genetics/Cell Biology/Biochemistry  

 

Gastroenterology and Hepatology

Virus hepatitis: from molecular biology to therapy

 

Hematology and Oncology

Cytokine-receptor-signal transduction in myeloproliferative diseases

 

Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgery

Modern methods of liver replacement therapy

Cardiovascular tissue engeneering

 

Cardiology

Molecular biology of chronic cardiac insufficiency

Molecular fundamental principles of arteriosclerosis and inflammation

 

Clinical Immunology

Immune response in the example of HIV infection

Fc-mediated mechanisms in autoimmune disease

 

Dermatology

Immunobiology of eczematous skin diseases

 

Immunology

Functional organization of lymphoid organs

 

Gene therapy

Stem cells

regulations of transgenes in somatic cells

embryonic and somatic cloning in mammals

Safety and efficiency in the use of viral vectors for gene therapy

 

Microbiology

Pathogenicity of enterohemorhagic E.coli

The reprogrammed host (Clamydia)

 

Molecular Biology

T-box genes in development and disease

 

Nephrology

Mechanisms of ischemia reperfusion injury

 

Pediatric Hematology and Oncology

Inborn errors of hematopoiesis

Acute childhood leukemias

Modulation of the immune response

 

Pediatric Pneumology

Genetics of cystic fibrosis

 

Pediatric Metabolic Diseases

Cytokine expression and polymorphisms in kidney diseases in children

 

Pathology

Epigenetics of cancer

 

Virology

Virus-associated oncogenesis

 

2. Specific Activities (Optional activities)

 

2.1 Experimental Techniques:

  • Workshops of the "Graduiertenkolleg"
  • Classic and molecular tumor cytogenetics
  • Clinical cytogenetics
  • Quantitative analysis of protein and peptide interactions
  • Immunological methods in cell biology
  • Introduction to molecular pathology
  • Fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) in the diagnosis of hematological diseases
  • Animal experimental methods (introduction)
  • Animal experimental methods (specific courses)

 

2.2 Special Seminars:

  • Molecular biological aspects of hepato- and gastroenterology
  • Molecular genetic diagnosis of hereditary diseases
  • Aspects of molecular medicine
  • Gene expression and growth control
  • Lasers in biology, medicine and environmental research
  • Quantitative biology: biophysical examples from medicine and biology
  • Molecular genetics II
  • Molecular genetics of development

 

2.3 Fundamental principles of statistical methods

 

Biometry, bioinformatics, biostatistics

 

2.4 Communications, Internet 

  • Scientific communications
  • Electronic information and communications in medicine
  • Medical Internet driving license
  • Telemedicine
  • multimedia
  • Scientific English

 

2.5 Radiation protection

 

2.7 Gene technological security

 

2.8 Introduction to ethics

  • Ethical cases in medicine
  • Ethical aspects of gene technology
  • Scientific ethics

 

3. Other Courses

 

3.1 General (Optional courses) 

  • Seminar series of the "Graduiertenkolleg"
  • Seminar series of the SFBs
  • Immunology Colloquium
  • Molecular Biology Colloquium
  • Gastroenterology Colloquium
  • Biochemistry Colloquium
  • Microbiology Colloquium

 

3.2 Within the Departments (compulsory attendance) 

  • Seminars for doctoral students
  • Journal Clubs (These courses are to be held in English)

 

4. Practical Training for PhD Students in the Supervising Department

(Optional courses, not counted)

 

The supervisors will, on request, provide practical training in special methods for a period of several days to several weeks.

 

nach oben

Extracurricular activities

 

A number of extracurricular activities like excursions, visit to Christmas market, cultural events (theatre, concert, circus) and international parties are organized regularly throughout the year.