Università degli Studi di Torino


 Ph.D PROGRAMME IN COMPLEXITY IN POST-GENOMIC BIOLOGY
University of Torino

This Ph.D Programme is for Graduate Students in Biology, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Medicine. Prospective students should have an excellent score in their previous classes, a  strong undergraduate science background, a strong commitment to research and they should  accept the  challenge posed by a  new interdisciplinary science. Indeed the present Programme is specifically  interested in recruiting students with  broad scientific  interests and a taste for collaboration. 

The   Programme   is designed to offer scientific training, research projects and perspectives in the area of post-genomic biology by using combined computational, engineering  and experimental approaches with theoretical modelling,  rooted in theoretical physics and mathematics. The biological interests include cell differentiation and development, cell signalling, cell growth and motility, cancer progression, cancer cell genetics, protein folding, gene-expression. 

Students are expected to choose their thesis in one or more of the following areas and open problems:

  1. How protein networks in cells create  functional modules, such as signal transduction systems; 
  2. How these modules evolve to become appropriately  connected  to and  compartimentalized  from each other; 
  3. Cell movement aimed to form complex and functional biostructures during development;
  4. How cancer cells metastatize:
  5. Optimalization models for  gene therapy;
  6. New methods to quantify molecules into the cells and their spatial behavior; 
  7. Computational genomic approaches directed to understanding   hierarchical relationships in biological organization; 
  8. Mathematical and Statistical mechanical models of gene expression, protein folding and protein-protein interactions;
  9. Mapping of biological problems into theoretical physical models.
Accepted students will receive fellowships that cover tuition and living expenses according to current Italian regulations for Ph.D. students.  Funds for travelling participation to conferences and the like will also be provided through research grants of the participating laboratories.

A first  year of  very extensive and well structured tuition in both biological and physical-mathematical disciplines is foreseen. During this time the students coming from different undergraduate backgrounds will be introduced to a common scientific language and lore.  Then  a  three-four year period  of research work either experimental or theoretical or both will follow.   Research will be pursued  in bilocal collaborations between  the  Institute for Cancer Research and Treatment and  the Department of Theoretical Physics , both established in Torino and part of Torino University.

Upon entry into the Ph.D. Programme the educational and scientific credits of each student, either Italian or foreigner, will be evaluated by the Managing Board of the Programme who will establish the specific curriculum recommended in each case.

By the end of the 1st year of study, students are expected to take a  series of tests  in the basic disciplines covered by the tuition Programme.  The Managing Board will evaluate case by case whether the candidate is suitable for continuation in the Programme up to the final defense of a research thesis.

During the thesis period,  tuition will not be stopped but will rather continue through the attendance of specialized seminars, minicourses, workshops or conferences for a typical amount of 50-70 hours per year. 

Thesis work is expected to be an original research project that contributes to developing knowledge in post genomic biology .
Chairperson of the dissertation jury  is expected to be a Member of the Ph.D. Managing Board  and chosen among the staff of either the  Insitute for Cancer Research and Treatment or the Department of Theoretical Physics.  The jury will also include external experts in the research field of the thesis. A written project proposal will be presented to the Board for approval.  Approved  students  will  complete their thesis project under the guidance of the thesis advisor to be finally evaluated by the dissertation jury.

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