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Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research

College of Medicine
Study System
Thesis and Courses
Total Credit Hours
42 Cr.Hrs
3-5 Years
Fall & Spring
Sharjah Main Campus
Study Mode
Full Time


The College of Medicine, while consolidating its undergraduate innovative educational programs, initiated post- graduate programs offering Master and Ph.D. degrees in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research. The program started in mid-2016.

An agreement has been signed by His Highness, Sheikh Sultan Bin Muhammad Al Qassimi, with Lubeck University in Germany to support postgraduate training and research in laboratories. An important aspect of the agreement with Lubeck University is to establish joint supervision of the postgraduate programs in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research. An important aspect of the agreement with Lubeck University is to establish a joint supervision of PhD program in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research where the degree is awarded by the two universities (Dual degree).  

Program Objectives
The objectives of the PhD program in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research is to train PhD students to the highest standards of modern education in the field of Molecular Medicine. Graduates of the program should be able to perform independent and high-quality research; they should also be able to present their works with great confidence. Ability to write scientific manuscripts and grant applications in the field of Molecular Medicine is also part of the education process. Emphasis of the program is placed on diseases that affects the local area such as diabetes, cancer, asthma and autoimmune diseases.

Program Structure
The Ph.D. degree is awarded to candidates with the ability to carry out independent research, and submission and defending of a dissertation containing an account of the successful original study of a scientific problem.

PhD program domains
The PhD program will have five major domains:

  • Bioinformatics
  • Cancer Target Therapy
  • Cancer Immunology
  • Cancer Genetics
  • Molecular Basis of Diabetes and Cardiovascular Diseases

Duration and Graduation Requirements

Completion of a minimum of 42 credit hours in 3-4 years; offering the degree will be based on a dissertation and two publications in international peer-reviewed journals.

This includes finishing course material in the first year, at the end of which a student shall sit for the Qualification exam. This is followed by the submission of project proposal, and upon the completion of all the research work, the student shall submit a Dissertation. A final oral defense of the Dissertation will be organized at the University of Sharjah.


Study Plan

The Ph.D. Program consists of seven courses (21 credit hours), and a Ph.D. Dissertation. Students are required to complete three Compulsory courses and one Elective in the first semester (12 credit hours) and two Compulsory and one Elective courses in the second semester (9 credit hours), a total of 21 credits. Students are required to pass the Qualification Exam (0 credit hour) and submit a research Proposal (3 credit hours) before they register for the Dissertation (18 credit hours). The requirements for completion of the Ph.D. degree are an accepted Dissertation and a minimum of two published papers (could be one research article and one peer-reviewed review article, or two research articles published in at least B journals according to SJR ranking).

Course Description

0900801  Immunotherapy of cancer     3

This course aims at providing a comprehensive overview of diverse aspects of tumorigenesis and various therapeutic strategies with emphasis on targeted therapy and precision medicine. We will particularly discuss various perturbations of key cell signaling pathways that lead to programmed cell death resistance and uncontrolled cell growth of cancer cells. These include Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) and downstream signaling. We will also discuss the success and challenges of targeting these pathways for various therapies. In addition, we will discuss the molecular pathology of the commonest solid tumors and the recent advances as well as the limitations of immunotherapeutic approaches in cancer. A particular emphasis will be placed on biomarkers predictive of patients' response and development of resistance to targeted therapies.

0900802  Cytokines and Chemokines    3

This course is intended to provide students an in-depth knowledge regarding soluble mediators known as cytokines and chemokines. The course is intended for students with background in Immunology.  There will be two-hour lecture per week, in addition to presentation every week addressing specific areas such as the genes and proteins involved in immune recognition for the immune response, cell adhesion molecules and their role in regulating cell-cell interaction, migration and homing, intracellular signaling mechanisms, the mechanisms by which the immune system learns "self" from "non-self".  Emphasis will be placed on the roles of cytokines and chemokines in orchestrating various aspects of immune and non-immune responses. A thorough explanation of receptors for cytokines and chemokines, as well as signaling pathways induced by these molecules will be done.

0900803  Advanced techniques in Molecular Biology         3

This course is ideal for PhD students who need to carry out laboratory work but lack the confidence to do so due to a change in career or lack of recent time in the lab. This course is important if the PhD student is about to embark on a PhD with significant practical component but have limited laboratory experience. The course will introduce the student to the essential molecular techniques that span the areas of molecular biology, cellular biochemistry and analytical chemistry.

0900805  Cell- Mediated Cytotoxicity   3

This course is intended to provide students an in-depth knowledge regarding the effects of cytolytic cells such as natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs); tow of the major cytolytic cells responsible for eradicating viral infections and metastatic growth. Emphasis will be placed on the cross-talk among these cells and other immune cells such as T helper cells and T regulatory cells, among other cell types. In addition the differential ability of these cells to recognize MHC class I molecules will be discussed in details. Phenomenon such as immune surveillance, missing-self hypothesis, and cancer microenvironment will be discussed.

0900806  Advanced Molecular Immunology        3

This course is intended to provide students an in-depth knowledge regarding the molecular structures of immune cells. The course is intended for students with background in Immunology.  Emphasis will be directed towards diseases such as Asthma, autoimmune and cancer. This course is an advanced course and students' participations are vital. It is intended to provide the students with forum to understand the literature, interrupt the data and analyze the information. Therefore, only the first four weeks will be devoted to instructors giving lectures, and the rest of the course will be focused on students presenting high impact articles related to advanced molecular immunology, in an orderly fashion. All students will participate in the discussion and they are encouraged to ask questions related to the other students' presentation. 

0900807  Vascular biology     3

Vascular biology is a rapidly evolving area of medical research, with many new and emerging pathophysiological links to a large number of diseases. This course gives an overview on different aspects of vascular biology that helps the PhD students to build their own research ideas. Starting from the basic structure and function of the blood vessels, and the neurohumoral regulation of the circulation, students will recognize the importance of basic research in answering clinical queries. The course also includes important aspects of diseases of the vasculature (e.g. atherosclerosis) as well as angiogenesis and how to target them by medications. The course discusses the vascular consequences/complications of chronic diseases at the molecular level and highlights the therapeutic approaches of such complications.

0900809  Advanced techniques in Molecular Biology II      3

The aim of this course is to use of laboratory techniques in Molecular Biology through a supervised independent research project. The research topic and the special techniques are selected to facilitate development of a doctoral thesis project.


0900810  Qualification Exam                 0

Prerequisite  completion of all compulsory courses  

The qualification exam aims to assess the student knowledge of his/her research discipline, as well as to evaluating the student's ability to think critically, analytically, and creatively in order to solve problems and propose appropriate solutions.

0900811  Proposal                                  3

Prerequisite  0900810  Qualification Exam

The students learn how to plan and execute a research project. Each student should write a proposal that includes a problem statement, study questions and hypotheses, objectives, a literature review, overall methodology, preliminary results, if any, and future work. The students must present their proposal orally.

0900812 Dissertation                             18

Prerequisite  0900811 Proposal

Completing an original independent research project under the supervision of a faculty member is a requirement for the Ph.D. in Molecular Medicine and Translational Research. The dissertation should include a novel research hypothesis, objectives, a critical review of scientific literature, detailed methodology, results, and a thorough discussion. Students must defend their dissertations at the end of the course. This course should result in a minimum of two published papers (could be one research article and one peer-reviewed review article, or two research articles published in at least B journals according to SJR ranking).