The first year is spent taking courses (two to three each semester) and performing three laboratory rotations. Students supplement core courses in molecular and cellular immunology with additional courses selected from the wide range available in cell and developmental biology, molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular medicine. Required courses in the Immunology Track include Biology of the Immune System, Advanced Immunology, Advanced Seminar in Immunology (2 semesters), Introduction to Research, and Ethics in Research. This list includes intensive introductory and advanced courses covering almost all aspects of the immune system and seminar courses that focus on special topics in immunology and emphasize the methods and logic of research, how to read and critically evaluate the literature, and how to write a research proposal.
A great deal of effort is made to encourage interaction between students, faculty, and postdoctoral scientists. In addition to numerous lab and journal club meetings, the Department of Immunobiology provides a series of excellent forums for the dissemination of ideas and data. A weekly "Research in Progress" seminar series allows graduate students and postdoctoral scientists to present their latest data to the entire department. A weekly seminar series brings immunologists from around the world to present their research to the department. Finally, the Department of Immunobiology holds a yearly retreat, which provides an exceptional opportunity for the communication of ideas and results and the development of a sense of community among members.