Montana State University
MSU Catalog > Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology

Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology

Veterinary Molecular Biology
P.O. Box 173610
Bozeman, MT 59717
Tel: (406) 994-4705
Fax: (406) 994-4303
vmb@montana.edu

Graduate Coordinator
M.E. Hardy

Department Head
M.T. Quinn

Professors
• A.G. Harmsen; pulmonary immunology
• M.A. Jutila; immunopathology
• M.T. Quinn; pharmacology
• D.W. Pascual; mucosal immunology
• M.W. White; molecular & cellular biology

Associate Professors
• R.A. Bessen; prion diseases
• M.E. Hardy; virology
• E.E. Schmidt; molecular genetics

Assistant Professors
• R.A. Cramer; fungal pathogenesis
• B. Lei; bacteriology
• R.J. Mattix (adjunct); veterinary medicine.
• J.R. Radke; parasitology
• J.M. Voyich-Kane; bacteriology

Degrees Offered

M.S. in Veterinary Molecular Biology
Ph.D. in Veterinary Molecular Biology

The Department of Veterinary Molecular Biology (VMB) uniquely combines expertise in the study of pathogen biology, host defense and cell biology in both small and large animal models of human and animal diseases. Three areas broadly encompass the scope of VMB research:

  • Molecular and genetic studies of animal and pathogen biology.
  • Understanding molecular pathways of communication between pathogen and host.
  • Regulation of host immune responses in human and animal diseases.

Funding of research in the Department of VMB comes from diverse sources such as the National Institutes of Health, US Dept of Agriculture, National Science Foundation and the Montana Agricultural Experimental Station among others. Several large grants were awarded to the department in 2004 including a $10.1 million COBRE grant from the NIH, $10.5 million from NIH to study innate immunity, and a $2 million grant from the Department of Defense for adjuvant discovery.

The Department of VMB sponsors undergraduate programs in Biotechnology and Pre-Veterinary training and Masters and Ph.D. programs that emphasize training in cell biology, genetics, immunology, and infectious diseases. Weekly seminars are offered by the department and the Nelson seminar series brings many accomplished scientists to Montana State University.

Admission

For detailed information, refer to the Admission Policies and Application Requirements sections. The VMB Core Committee will screen all applications and make recommendations to the Graduate Dean for acceptance to the VMB graduate program. Successful applicants are accepted into both the department and the College of Graduate Studies.

In addition to the documents required in the Application Requirements section, the Graduate Core Committee will consider the applicant's research experience and the potential of the applicant to complete an appropriate program of study and an independent research project. The final disposition of each application will also take into account other factors, such as the availability of research positions (stipends).

The Graduate Core Committee, VMB faculty, and the VMB head will decide on the acceptability of all applicants. The Graduate Core Committee will serve as the "advisor" for all students accepted into the program during their first year of study.

Program Requirements

Graduate students in VMB are expected to have a basic understanding of biochemistry, molecular biology, immunology, and microbiology. The Master of Science degree requires a minimum of sixteen (16) course credits and fourteen (14) credits of Master's Thesis research beyond the baccalaureate degree as specified below, and maintain a 3.0 GPA .

1. A maximum of 3 credits of 400-level coursework may be applied to the M.S. degree.

Required 400-level coursework Credits

BCHM 441

Biochemistry
(Required, or satisfactory undergrad equivalent)

3 credits
BCHM 442

Biochemistry
(Required, or satisfactory undergrad equivalent)

3 credits
BIOB 410

Immunology
(Required, or satisfactory undergrad equivalent)

3 credits
STAT 401 Statistics (Elective) 3 credits
BIOB 424 Ethical Science (Required) 3 credits

2. There are 7 credits of required 500-level coursework for the M.S. degree.

Required 500-level coursework Credits

MB 501 Principles and Techniques in Animal Experimentation 3 credits
VTMB 594 Seminar 1 credit
VTMB 501 Adv. Immunology 3 credits
VTMB 505 Gene Expression 3 credits

3. A minimum of 9 credits of elective 500-level coursework is required for the M.S. degree.

Elective Coursework Credits(examples)

BCHM 524 Mass Spectrometry 3 credits
BCHM 543 Proteins 3 credits
BCHM 544 Molecular Biology 3 credits
VTMB 503 Adv.Virology 3 credits
VTMB 591 Microbial Pathogenesis 3 credits

4. A minimum of 14 credits of VTMB 590 (Master’s Thesis) is required for the M.S. degree.

Master’s Thesis Research Credits

VTMB 590 Master’s Thesis 14 credits

Graduate students enrolled for the Ph.D. degree are required to take at least 25 credits of coursework and 35 credits of doctoral Thesis Research credits as specified below, and maintain a 3.0 GPA.

1. 9 credits of 400-level coursework may be applied to the Ph.D. degree.

Required coursework Credits

BCHM 441

Biochemistry
(Required, or satisfactory undergrad equivalent)

3 credits
BCHM 442

Biochemistry
(Required, or satisfactory undergrad equivalent)

3 credits
BIOB 410

Immunology
(Required, or satisfactory undergrad equivalent)

3 credits
STAT 401 Statistics (Elective) 3 credits
BIOB 424 Ethical Science (Required) 3 credits

2. There are 16 credits of required 500-level coursework for the Ph.D. degree.

Required coursework Credits

MB 501 Principles & Tech of Animal Exp 3 credits
VTMB 594 Seminar 1 credits
VTMB 501 Advanced Immunology 3 credits
VTMB 505 Gene Expression 3 credits
VTMB 521 Laboratory Rotation 1 2 credits
VTMB 522 Laboratory Rotation 2 2 credits
VTMB 523 Laboratory Rotation 3 2 credits

3. A minimum of 9 credits of elective 500-level coursework is required for the Ph.D. degree.

Elective Coursework Credits

BCHM 524 Mass Spectrometry 3 credits
BCHM 543 Proteins 3 credits
BCHM 544 Molecular Biology 3 credits
MEDS 523 Molecular Cell Disease 4 credits
VTMB 503 Adv.Virology 3 credits
VTMB 591 Microbial Pathogenesis 3 credits

4.35 credits of VTMB 690 (Doctoral Thesis) is required for the Ph.D. degree.

Doctoral Thesis Research Credits

VTMB 690 Doctoral Thesis 35 credits

Candidates for either the M.S. or Ph.D. degree are required to pass qualifying examinations prepared by the members of their advisory committee. Refer to the For Master's Students and For Doctoral Students sections for further degree requirements.

Research

The research problem will be chosen in consultation with the student's thesis or dissertation advisor. Research areas include molecular biology and immunology, bacteriology, cell biology, parasitology, genetics, biochemistry, ultrastructural cytology, virology, and immunopathology, among others. Specialized equipment and facilities include large and small animal isolation units, a flow cytometery core facility, automated DNA sequencers, proteomics and genomics instrumentation, a microscopy core, numerous analytical equipment, multiple tissue-culture and histopathology laboratories.

Financial Assistance

Normally, all students accepted into the VMB graduate program are offered graduate stipends funded by State sources and research grants obtained by VMB faculty. Teaching assistantships are normally not available. Appointments are made on a 12-month basis. Beginning stipends are supported at a level of $18,000 per year plus tuition, health insurance, and other fees.

See the Graduate Assistantship sections for detailed information on appointment criteria.

 


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