Program Requirements

Trainees must meet all the graduation requirements of their home department in addition to ITiMS requirements.

An ITiMS training program will include:

  • Didactic and practical training in population and laboratory approaches.
  • Instruction in relevant statistics and/or bioinformatics analytic techniques.
  • Instruction in mathematical modeling.

More about Population Sciences

Using basic ecological principles, we study populations of microbes and their dynamics in humans or the environment. Through this study, we determine how different populations combine and interact to form microbial communities — these communities are defined as the species present, and their relative abundance. There are also populations of human hosts or environmental patches, and we use Epidemiology and Ecology to determine how these populations and environments function to control the exchange of microbes in migration and infection. Only by integrating population studies of both microbes and their hosts or environments are we able to ask and answer questions about how microbes interact with each other — and how they function and evolve in their hosts or environments.

More about Laboratory Sciences

We are broadly defining laboratory sciences as studies relying on laboratory experiments to characterize biological specimens and their dynamics. These include traditional laboratory methods for identifying species and characterizing the physiology of an organism, and molecular biologic techniques (the ’omics) that may be applied to clinical or population samples, or samples from animal or in vitro experimental models. Our mentors include faculty using animal and in vitro models of microbial communities, e.g., experimental biofilm systems and animal models, and faculty who are characterizing specimens using genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and metabolomics.

Areas of Focus

Each student’s training program should help them develop expertise in each of the following areas:

  • Modeling simulation and dynamics.
  • Principles of study design.
  • Community ecology or epidemiology or population genetics.
  • Math, statistics, and bioinformatics.
  • Principles of microbiology, molecular biology and genetics.
  • In-depth knowledge of one aspect of microbiology, molecular biology and genetics.
  • Laboratory techniques.

List of courses in these areas.

Trainees should also meet regularly with their co-advisors, and actively participate in the laboratories or research groups of their mentors, as well as in ITiMS activities, such as annual retreats, symposia, journal clubs, joint laboratory meetings, and workshops.

Dissertation Expectations

Most trainees’ dissertation committees will be co-chaired by both ITiMS co-advisors. At a minimum, the chair of the trainee’s dissertation committee will be one of their ITiMS advisors.

To meet program requirements, trainees’ dissertations must include population approaches and mathematical modeling, as well as laboratory approaches.