PhD Research Tracks

Clinical Sciences PhD Track

The Clinical Sciences PhD Track of the Biomedical Sciences PhD Program was introduced in 2013 to provide opportunities for veterinarians with an interest in conducting research in translational medicine. Students in the program typically focus on naturally occurring disease models of companion animals (cats, dogs, and horses) to study spontaneous rather than experimentally induced models of diseases. These spontaneous models permit the study of how such factors as genetics, age, and environment impact disease development. Since naturally occurring spontaneous animal diseases mimic those occurring in humans, study of these diseases represent a One Health approach to biomedical research. Examples of naturally occurring disease models in companion animals include cancer, heart valve disease, kidney and liver failure, diabetes mellitus and obesity.

The overarching goal of the Clinical Sciences PhD Track is to develop the next generation of clinician scientists. Clinician scientists trained in this program will be prepared to join universities or biomedical research companies and use their clinical and research experience to make important contributions to human and veterinary medicine. Individuals completing clinical residency programs are encouraged to apply and PhD students on this track can combine graduate studies with short periods on clinics. Graduate students work with research teams composed of clinicians and basic scientists from other departments and schools. A DVM degree or equivalent is required for admission to the Clinical Sciences PhD Track.

The program includes research in cardiology, dermatology, endocrinology, gastroenterology, hepatology, infectious disease, nephrology, nutrition, and regenerative medicine. Visit the Department of Clinical Sciences web site for more information about the faculty and their research interests.

Clinical Sciences Faculty Mentors

Leslie Sharkey, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVP

Leslie Sharkey, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVP

Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) PhD Track

The goal of the human-animal interaction (HAI) track within the PhD program is to train students in theory and cutting-edge research techniques related to the empirical assessment of human-animal relationship. Students in the program will work with faculty advisors on a range of topics, including human-wildlife interaction, the health effects of pet ownership, and the efficacy of animal-assisted interventions, situated within a One Health perspective. The program aims to train future HAI scholars who will conduct innovative research elucidating the mutually influential relationships between humans and animals. This track is connected to the M.S. in Animals and Public Policy program. Visit Center for Animals and Public Policy for more information about faculty and their research interests.

HAI Faculty Mentors

Allen Rutberg, Ph.D.

Allen Rutberg, Ph.D.

Infectious Disease PhD Track

The goal of the PhD program's Infectious Disease specialty is to prepare scientists to become future research and academic leaders in the field of infectious diseases. Emphasis is placed on the interactions of pathogenic and opportunistic microogranisms with the normal and immunodeficient host. This specialty provides a multidisciplinary perspective in the investigation of pathogen infections (viral, bacterial, parasitic and ecto-parasitic) covering the entire spectrum from the molecular level to the whole organism. Specific areas of focus can be found in the Department of Infectious Disease and Global Health infectious disease program.

Infectious Disease Faculty Mentors

J. Hellen Amuguni, B.V.M., Ph.D.

J. Hellen Amuguni, B.V.M., Ph.D.

Akram Da'darah, Ph.D.

Akram Da'darah, Ph.D.

Felicia Nutter, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACZM

Felicia Nutter, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACZM

Jonathan Runstadler, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Jonathan Runstadler, D.V.M., Ph.D.

Abhineet Sheoran, B.V.Sc., M.V.Sc., Ph.D.

Abhineet Sheoran, B.V.Sc., M.V.Sc., Ph.D.

Charles Shoemaker, Ph.D.

Charles Shoemaker, Ph.D.

Patrick Skelly, Ph.D.

Patrick Skelly, Ph.D.

Sam Telford III, Sc.D.

Sam Telford III, Sc.D.

Saul Tzipori, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.Sc., FRCVS

Saul Tzipori, D.V.M., Ph.D., D.Sc., FRCVS

Giovanni Widmer, Ph.D.

Giovanni Widmer, Ph.D.

Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology PhD Track

The goal of the PhD program's Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology specialty is to train students to become leaders in the field in preparation for careers in research and academic medicine. The program focuses on the role of reproductive biology and neurobiology in the fields of veterinary and human medicine. Specific training areas emphasize reproduction and early development, pregnancy and lactation, biotechnology and reproduction, reproductive neuroscience, and the reproduction of domestic and endangered animals.

The PhD program offers both breadth and focus to students with interests in the fields of reproductive biology and neuroscience as they pertain to understanding basic biological mechanisms and their potential application to abnormal and disease processes. It also combines developmental and molecular biological technology in basic and applied areas to investigate the physiological control of mammalian reproduction. Specific studies in this program can be found in the Department of Comparative Pathobiology's Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology section.

Neuroscience and Reproductive Biology Faculty Mentors

Elizabeth Byrnes, Ph.D.

Elizabeth Byrnes, Ph.D.

Phyllis Mann, Ph.D.

Phyllis Mann, Ph.D.

Fair Vassoler, Ph.D.

Fair Vassoler, Ph.D.

Pathology PhD Track

Graduate training in comparative pathology and translational medicine leading to a PhD is limited to students with a DVM or currently enrolled in a DVM program. The founding philosophy of One Health in the training of health professionals at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University drives our commitment to maintain a strong comparative pathology and translational research and training program. Because of the geographical proximity to leading biopharmaceutical companies and other universities in Cambridge and Boston, Cummings School leverages the immense intellectual and laboratory resources available to us in our graduate program. The school also emphasizes training in general pathology, molecular pathology, biochemistry, biostatistics, informational pathology, computer technology, and special pathology techniques approved through didactic curriculum courses, seminars, workshops, and research activities within Cummings School.

Pathology Faculty Mentors

Joyce Knoll, V.M.D., Ph.D., DACVP

Joyce Knoll, V.M.D., Ph.D., DACVP