The PhD in Molecular Life Sciences (DMLS) program contributes to Khalifa University’s desire to become a center of excellence in science, engineering, and medicine within the region and beyond. The program supports the University’s alignment with the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 plan through the provision of internationally excellent education and student experience in science, resulting in highly skilled science professionals capable of transferring state-of-the-art technologies in priority sectors of industry, business and government
The program aims to offer comprehensive theoretical and practical knowledge of Molecular Life Sciences to students interested in pursuing careers in life sciences or medicine-related fields. It will graduate students who are critical thinkers with the ability to use their scientific knowledge to solve problems in life sciences and to communicate them effectively to various stakeholders.
Upon completion of the program, students will be able to:
Research Methods in Science (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing
This course provides sound knowledge and understanding of research methodology and project management skills and their application to science research and project development. Topics covered include aspects of PhD research, critical literature review, citations and references, technical writing, presentation skills, software and experimental methods, modeling and simulation methods, reliability and validity of results, analysis and interpretation of results, project management, and Professional issues in research.
Advanced Techniques in Molecular Life Sciences (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Undergraduate course in any related branches of biology or molecular life sciences and enrollment in a PhD graduate program
This course is designed to teach students advanced techniques in molecular life sciences, in addition to some fundamental knowledge that is required to perform experiments in Life Sciences. Necessary experimental skillset for the students to be able to perform, analyze, and interpret scientific experiments. The course will teach students the utility of a set of advanced experimental methods in molecular life sciences in a problem-oriented manner.
Recent Advances in Protein Biochemistry (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing and enrollment in the PhD program
This course aims to introduce students to advances in contemporary protein biochemistry. Starting with an overview of protein biochemistry, it will proceed to cover large-scale proteomics and how it can be applied to elucidate physiological phenomena and discover protein biomarkers. This will include protein profiling of complex mixtures of proteins, sample collection, protein and peptide separation techniques, mass spectrometry analysis, 3D structure prediction as well as data evaluation. Students will attend seminars from instructors describing topics selected from the current literature, including their research fields. By the end of the course, students will have developed an ability to search available library databases and systematically review and critically evaluate methodologies and approaches within the field of protein biochemistry. To this end, students are expected to select a research topic related to their thesis topic, write a review article, prepare and present (both written and orally) the review article, and assess review articles presented by their peers.
Recent Advances in Cell Signaling and Cancer Biology (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing and enrollment in the PhD program.
The course aims to address the recent advances in the knowledge of cell signaling in the context of cancer as well as in the anti-cancer approaches and challenges. This includes the major aspects of cell and molecular biology of cancer, such as proliferation/metabolism, cell cycle/DNA repair/apoptosis, angiogenesis, tumor immunology, and anti-cancer approaches and challenges.
Recent Advances in Biotechnology (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Undergraduate course in any related branches of biology or biotechnology and enrollment in a PhD graduate program.
This course is devised to touch upon the latest developments in the form of new discoveries, inventions, and innovations vis-à-vis biotechnological intervention in important fields related to health science, genetic engineering, biomedicine, microbial technology, food technology, environmental sciences, and agriculture, to name a few. As teaching material, the course will include the latest papers published in the areas that constitute molecular life sciences with a strong focus on biotechnology and applied biotechnology. Course assessments will be based on instructor-given quizzes and peer assessment of student presentations on a critical review of the latest research in the field.
Recent Advances in Virology (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Undergraduate course in microbiology or virology and enrollment in a PhD graduate program
The course is aimed at students who want to further develop their existing advanced knowledge in virology and enhance their understanding of cutting-edge research currently taking place in this discipline. The course will be organized to cover novel findings in different aspects of the viral life cycle: infection, host cell interactions, immune evasion, genome replication, and new virus production. It will cover a range of viruses that are important to human health, such as influenza, herpes viruses, adenoviruses, HIV, human papillomaviruses, hepatitis viruses, ebola, rabies, and coronaviruses. The first six weeks will be taught by the course instructor, followed by nine weeks, where students will present and discuss assigned research papers in classes that are facilitated by the instructor. Course assessments will be based on instructor and peer assessments of student presentations and a short research proposal.
Recent Advances in Endocrinology (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Enrollment in a PhD graduate program + previous courses in Physiology and Cell Biology
This course covers advanced topics in Endocrinology relevant to basic and translational research. The course includes twelve weeks of lectures by the instructors, followed by three weeks of discussions. It is divided into four modules: neuro- and behavioral endocrinology, reproductive endocrinology, endocrinology and metabolism, and oncocrinology. The modules, which last three weeks each, cover endocrine system physiology, disease pathogenesis, as well as molecular targets for diagnosis and treatment. Students will lead a journal club-style seminar as the final part of the course. Each student must present a research article on a topic related to the lecture material. Students will present data, critically assess the experimental approach, and propose future directions.
Recent Advances in Clinical Microbiology (3 hrs Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 3 Credits)
Prerequisite: Graduate standing and enrollment in the PhD program
This course delivers a critical awareness of current problems and/or insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of medical microbiology. This course introduces clinically important bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi focusing on recent developments in the classification, pathogenicity, and identification of these organisms. Microbial infections of humans will be explored in depth in terms of clinical presentation, laboratory diagnosis, molecular aspects of microbiology, immunity, antimicrobial therapy, and infection control issues. Students will attend seminars from instructors describing topics selected from the current literature, including their research fields. By the end of the course, students will have developed an ability to search available library databases and systematically review and critically evaluate methodologies and approaches within the field of clinical microbiology. To this end, students are expected to select a research topic related to their thesis topic, write a review article, prepare and present (both written and orally) the review article and assess review articles presented by their peers.
Graduate Seminar I (3 hrs Lecture – 1 Credit)
Prerequisites: Undergraduate course in Biology (any stream) + Graduate standing
This course provides students with essential communication tools, showing how to identify the details needed for a presentation depending on the audience, and using the appropriate language and visual aids to develop skills for public presentations. The course is focused on seminar presentations, although other communication formats, such as social media, will also be introduced. By attending and critically analyzing seminars given by faculty, visiting scholars and fellow graduate students, students will develop the ability to recognise effective scientific communication. Through practicing preparing and delivering presentations and receiving feedback on their performance, students will develop the ability to deliver high quality presentations describing their research topics and related areas.
Graduate Seminar II (1 Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 1 Credit)
Prerequisite: BIOL 795, enrollment in a PhD program, and minimum of 9 credit hours of graduate research work
This course builds on skills learned in BIOL 795 and enhances students’ skills in scientific communication. Through another series of seminars given by faculty, visiting scholars, and fellow graduate students, students will further broaden their knowledge and skill at recognizing effective scientific communication. By practicing preparing and delivering presentations of varying lengths and styles, and receiving feedback on their performance, students will develop the ability to deliver their thesis seminar presentations describing their research topics to fellow students and faculty members.
Graduate Seminar III (1 hr Lecture, 0 Laboratory – 1 Credit)
Prerequisite: Passing the SCIE 796 PhD Research Proposal Examination course
In this course, PhD candidates must present a public seminar on their thesis topic as part of the PhD program requirements before the semester in which they expect to graduate. The seminar is not an oral examination of the student’s thesis. The seminar must be attended by at least the main advisor and one of the co-advisors. In addition to presenting a seminar, a PhD student must attend a minimum of 5 seminars on research topics given by faculty, visiting scholars and fellow PhD students. The student must submit a brief report about each seminar that he/she attends.