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Doctor of Philosophy in Biomedical Research (Ph.D.)

Biomedical Research - Ph.D. Overview 

Students in the Biomedical Research Ph.D. program will take an interdisciplinary approach to, and develop a broad basis in, biomedical research. As part of the interdisciplinary approach, Ph.D. students in the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine (MU JCESOM) graduate program will cross departmental boundaries and conduct research with a faculty mentor in one of the following research clusters - Cell Biology Research Cluster, Obesity and Related Diseases Cluster, Neurobiology and Addiction Research Cluster, Toxicology and Environment Health Research Cluster, Cardiovascular Disease Research Cluster - see areas below..

Areas of Research
Obesity Related Disorders  Pulmonary Disease 
Epithelial Transport  Addiction Neurobiology 
Regulation of Intestinal Sodium, Glucose, Amino Acid Absorption  Diabetes 
Intestinal Inflammation  Hypertension 
Intestinal Microbiome   Bone Growth Abnormalities 
Toxicology   Lipid Homeostasis 
Breast Cancer  Neurosciences 
Cardiovascular Disorders  Cell Biology 
Endometriosis

Centers of research interest include 


Contact Us

Submit form below with any questions you have about the program.

Minimum Admission Requirements 

  • Baccalaureate degree from an accredited college or university. 
  • Minimum 3.0 GPA overall with a 3.0 for combined science and math courses is recommended.
    • Under certain circumstances, the minimum GPA requirement may be waived on a case-by-case basis. 
  • Completion of all prerequisite coursework with a grade "C" or better.
  • Completion of extensive undergraduate research or summer research.  
  • No entrance exam is required, however
    • GRE scores may be submitted to strengthen your application. 

Prerequisite Coursework 

  • Two semesters of general biology and associated laboratories.
  • Two semesters of general chemistry and associated laboratories.
  • Two semesters of organic chemistry and associated laboratories.
  • Two semesters of physics and associated laboratories.
  • One semester of biochemistry or molecular biology

Application Process 

  • Submit the Biomedical Research Ph.D. application and supporting documents on BioMedCas Applicant Portal
    • When creating BioMedCas account, select 2022-2023 cycle  
  • Supporting Documents required: 
    • Official Transcripts 
    • Written Statement 
      • Your statement should address your educational and career goals, and why you should be admitted to the Biomedical Research Ph.D. program. 
    • Three Letters of Recommendation 
      • Letters of recommendation from STEM-related Professors preferred.  
      • Recommendation requests can be found under "Supporting Information" of BioMedCas application. 
    • Resume or CV
    • International Students, will need to submit proof of English Proficiency. Visit https://www.marshall.edu/admissions/graduate-proof-of-english-proficiency/ to learn more.
  • Pay $83 application fee on BioMedCas Applicant Portal. 
  • Deadline to apply for International Students is March 15th. 

Apply NOW!

Financial Assistance and Grant Opportunities 

  • Accepted Biomedical Research Ph.D. students receive tuition remission, an annual stipend of $28,500, and health insurance.  
    • MU JCESOM Biomedical Research Ph.D. program does not require its students to teach within the classroom to qualify for stipend funding; this allows students to focus on the requirements of their research.
      • Opportunities for classroom instruction are available, however, and instruction in public speaking is a core element of the program. 
    • Students also have access to Marshall University’s Student Health Clinic
      • Students are required to pay a small amount in fees per term. For more information about these fees, please email mubiomed@marshall.edu.
  • As a part of the educational process, students are expected to apply for grants.
    • Examples of some of the fellowships and local grants that Biomedical Research Ph.D. students have received are on our Student Funding Opportunities page.

Research Rotations

When entering the Biomedical Research Ph.D. program, students are required to complete rotations through a minimum of three different laboratories, each rotation consisting of at least 120 hours. These rotations help students build rapport with faculty and students, decide on their preferred area of research, and learn new research techniques. Students have the opportunity to rotate among labs within the following clusters:

Duration of Program

Students are expected to complete the requirements of the Biomedical Research Ph.D. degree within five years. Students who possess a Master of Science (M.S) in Biomedical Research or the equivalent when admitted typically require three to four years to complete the Ph.D. degree.

Students in the Biomedical Research Ph.D. program complete the core courses below. After the first year, students will then begin taking courses in their desired research cluster.

Students select an advisory committee no later than the end of the first year of graduate education. The committee usually consists of at least five faculty members with appropriate expertise. Also, students MUST successfully complete additional courses as determined by their advisory committee. Please consult the advisory committee to learn more about their respective requirements. 

Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
BMR 785 Introduction to Research   3
BMR 882 Research  30-90
BSC 640 Cell Biology and Biotechnology 3
BMR 617 Techniques in Biomedical Statistics  3
BMR 644  Research Conduct 1
PHS 667 Experimental Approach to Physiology 4
BMR 660 Communication Skills I  1
BMR 661 Communication Skills II 1
BMR 680 Seminar  Minimum of 6 
Other  Cluster and Committee Requirements  6-15
Total Credit Hours: 66-126

Qualifying Exam 

  • Written - Syllabus suggested by the Ph.D. Committee Members. 
  • Oral Steps 
    • Students must first complete written exam. 
    • A written grant in the style of an NIH Pre-doctoral grant proposal format must be submitted on either the student’s research project or another topic.
    • The grant must be submitted within two months of completion of the written exam.
    • The Oral examination is a defense of the grant application.

Other requirements include attending one or more national scientific meetings to present the results of their research, two first-author research papers, and one other paper. 

Required Research Cluster Courses 
Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
PHS 666 Physiology of the Cell  3
BMR 664 Obesity and Related Diseases Colloquium (x3) 3

Students are required to select a minimum of 5 credit hours of courses from the list below (including one course from List A and three credit hours from List B).

Required Research Cluster Courses 
Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
List A 
BMR 651 Cancer Biology  4
PHS 666 Physiology of the Cell 3
List B 
BMR 676 Cell Biology Research Cluster Journal Club  1
BMS 652 Cancer Biology Colloquium  1
BMR 631 Neuroscience and Developmental Biology Literature Review  1
ACB 640 Current Topics in Cellular Biology  1
MCB 622 Current Topics in Molecular Biology 1

Required Research Cluster Courses 
Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
PHS 666 Physiology of the Cell 3
BMS 665 CDRC Colloquium (x3) 3

Required Research Cluster Courses 
Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
BMS 650 Neurobiology of Drug Addiction 3
BMR 631 Neuroscience and Developmental Biology Literature Review (x3) 3
Required Research Cluster Courses 
Course Number Course Name Credit Hours
PMC 650 Toxicology  3
PMC 655 Toxicology Reviews (x3) 3

Jakob Adkins

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Marshall University
adkins1332@marshall.edu

Julia Cardot

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Marshall University
mingh@marshall.edu

Olivia Coulter

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: University of Arkansas
coulter31@marshall.edu

Ashley Cox

Mentor: Monica Valentovic, Ph.D.
Project Name: Examining the effects of the e-cigaratte flavoring cinnamaldehyde in kidney proximal tube (HK2) cells.
Undergraduate Institution: Marshall University 
saunders29@live.marshall.edu

Kayla DeSchepper

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Marshall University
deschepper@marshall.edu

Sarah Evans

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Marshall University
evans327@live.marshall.edu

Jimmy Hart 

Mentor: TBD 
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Wright State University
hart120@marshall.edu

Maafi Islam   

Mentor: Uma Sundaram, M.D.
Project Name:  Molecular Mechanisms of Altered Regulation of Apical Sodium-Dependent Bile Acid Transporter (ASBT) in Different Models of Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)
Undergraduate Institution: Primeasia University, Bangladesh
islam8@live.marshall.edu

Michael Leonardo

Mentor: TBD 
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: University of Maine
leonardo@marshall.edu

Nathan Olszewski 

Mentor: TBD 
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: University of Pittsburgh
olszewski2@marshall.edu

Harshal Sawant

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Savitribai Phule Pune University
sawantha@marshall.edu

Cecilia Sierra-Bakhshi   

Mentor: Lydia Bogomolnaya, Ph.D. 
Project Name: Pathogenesis of Gram-Negative Bacterial Infection in a Diabetic Host
Undergraduate Institution: North Carolina A&T State University  
sierra3@live.marshall.edu

Samuel Tetteh-Quarshie 

Mentor: TBD 
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Manchester University tettehquarsh@marshall.edu

Eliane Tsopmegha   

Mentor: Uma Sundaram, M.D.
Project Name: Glutamine transporter and its regulation in inflammation and obesity
Undergraduate Institution: Caldwell College
tsopmegha@live.marshall.edu

Parvathy Vijayamohana Das

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: Kerala University
vijayamohana@marshall.edu

Christopher Walker  

Mentor: Louise Risher, Ph.D.
Project Name: Investigating the role of astrocytes in the development of addiction and how acute and chronic binge ethanol exposure influences astrocyte function.
Undergraduate Institution: University of Pikeville
walker583@live.marshall.edu

Daron Weekley

Mentor: TBD
Project Name: TBD
Undergraduate Institution: West Liberty University
weekley49marshall.edu

Vivian Wellington

Mentor: Uma Sundaram, M.D.
Project Name: Unique regulation of glucose absorption in the normal and chronically inflamed mammalian small intestine
Undergraduate Institution: University of Ghana
wellington3@live.marshall.edu

Cassaundra White

Mentor: Maria Serrat, Ph.D.
Project Name: The role of the IGF-1 signaling axis in obesity-induced linear growth acceleration.
Undergraduate Institution: Chaminade University of Honolulu
song27@live.marshall.edu

Ph.D. Alumni from 2005 to 2010
Name Hometown Current Job
Ryan Morrison, '06 Huntington, WV Internal Medicine, Charleston, WV 
Marcus Terneus, '06 Huntington, WV Project Leader R&D, Boehringer Ingelheim Biberach an der Riß, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
Sean Thatcher, '07 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor, Temple University, Harrisburg, PA 
Jason Black, '07 Crown City, Ohio Professor of Anatomy and Physiology, Mountwest Community and Technical College, Huntington, WV
Aaron Holley, '08 Milton, WV N/a
Zina-Ann Cardozo, '08 Huntington, WV N/a
Eun Kim, '09 Huntington, WV N/a
Kari Wilson, '09 Ashland, KY N/a
Fredrick Damron, '09 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Director of Vaccine Development Center, West Virginia University 
Kan Huang, '09 Glen Oaks, NY N/a
Dawn Turner, '09 Barboursville, WV Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Charleston, Charleston, WV 
Nicholas Adkins, '09 Huntington, WV N/a
Rabaa Al-Rousan, '09 Charleston, WV N/a
Amy Nash, '09 Indianapolis, IN N/a
Sandeep Joshi, '10 Rockville, MD National Cancer Institute, University of Maryland
Lauren Waugh, '10 Huntington, WV Associate Professor of Forensic Science, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 
Jennifer Napper, '10 Portsmouth, OH Assistant Professor, Shawnee State University
Melinda Varney, '10 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor, Marshall University School of Pharmacy

Ph.D. Alumni from 2011 to 2015
Name Hometown Current Job
Jasjeet Bhullar, '11 Elkridge, MD N/a
Yue Huang, '11 Huntington, WV Mount Sinair School of Medicine - New York
Sunil Kakarla, '11 N/a Veterinarian in North Carolina
Anjaiah Katta, '11 N/a Veterinarian in Tennessee
Juliana Akinsete, '11 Proctorville, OH N/a
Linda Eastham, '12 Crown City, OH Progenesis Technologies, LLC in Huntington, West Virginia
Siva Nalabotu, '12 N/a Senior Regulatory Advisor - Product Safety Assessment, Elanco, Indianapolis, IN
James Brown, '12 Huntington, WV Hospital Pharmacist, VA Medical Center, Huntington, WV
Madhukar Kolli, '12 Huntington, WV Associate Veterinarian
Aileen Marcelo, '12 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Mountwest Community and Technical College, Huntington, WV 
Anne Silvis, '12 Hurricane, WV Research Assistant Professor for Marshall's Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Johannes Fahrmann, '13 Davis, CA McCombs Institute for Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer, MD Anderson Cancer Center
Thomas Withers, '13 Huntington, WV Principal Research Scientist at Progenesis Technologies, LLC.
Jacqueline Fannin, '14 Paintsville, KY N/a
Benjamin Owen, '14 West Paducah, KY Morehouse School of Medicine
Meagan Valentine, '14 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, Mountwest Community and Technical College, Huntington, WV 
Mary Wolf, '14 Sumter, NC Vaccine Development Post-Doctoral Fellow, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV 
Nandini Manne, '14 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor of Public Health, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 
Miranda Carper, '14 Marietta, OH Post Doc at UNC-Chapel Hill
Sarah Daron-Mathis, '15 Huntington, WV Post Doc at Vanderbilt University
Rounak Nande, '15 Annadale, VA Scientist II, Genocea Biosciences Inc., Cambridge, MA

Ph.D. Alumni from 2016-Present
Name Hometown Current Job
Justin Tomblin, '16 Huntington, WV Technical Support Specialist, Novogene Corporation 
Christopher Racine, '16 Huntington, WV Producer Symmetry Financial Group
Kristeena Ray-Wright, '17 Huntington, WV Senior Process Engineer, Pfizer, Raleigh, NC 
Adam Fischer, '17 Linn, WV N/a
Rachel Murphy, '17 Okenos, MI Clinical Trial Specialist, PRA Health Science, Kansas City, KS 
Sean Piwarski, '18 Huntington, WV Post Doc at Duke
Mani Maheshwari, '18 Farmington Hills, MI Post Doc - Henry Ford Health System
Holly Racine, '18 Huntington, WV Assistant Professor, West Liberty University, West Liberty, WV 
Taha Ahmad, '19 Huntington, WV U.S. government Secret Service Agency 
Deborah Amos, '19 Parkersburg, WV Professor, Ohio Valley University
Molly Butts, '19 Huntington, WV Post Doc, Marshall University
Jamie Friedman, '19 Durham, NC Scientist II, Bioagilytix, Raleigh, NC
Niraj Nepal, '19 Huntington, WV Post Doc, Marshall University, Huntington, WV 
Jacaline Parkman, '19 Huntington, WV Scientist II, Bioagilytix, Raleigh, NC
Dakota Ward, '19 N/a Scientist I, Bioagilytix, Raleigh, NC 
Roy Al Ahmar '20 Huntington, WV Post Doc at Marshall University 
Laura Kutz '20 Huntington, WV  Post Doc at Marshall University 
Caroline Hunter, '20 N/a TBD
Lexie Blalock, '20 N/a National Children's Hospital, Columbus, OH

Ph.D. Alumni from 2021-Present
Name Hometown Current Job
Nick Bacon '21 Internal Medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, St. Louis, MO 
Sarah Brunty '21 Laboratory Manager for Dr. Price Dickson at Marshall University, Huntington, WV
Sarah Stevens '21 Instructor at Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA
Shreya Mukherji '21 Scientist Group Leader at Eurofins PSS Insourcing Solution, Cambridge, MA 
Adam Belcher '21 Post Doctoral Research Fellow at Marshall University School of Pharmacy, Huntington, WV
Christian Harris '22 Post Doctoral Research Fellow at North Carolina Central University, Durham, NC
Skylar Cooper '22 Medical School at Marshall's Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine
Errin Brooks '22 Residency at West Virginia University School of Medicine Division of General Surgery, Morgantown, WV
Jeremiah Matson '22 Residency at University of Utah Health Internal Medicine/Research, Salt Lake City, UT

For best chance of admission, have application verified through BioMedCas by June 15th.  

Leadership 

Umapathy Sundaram, MD

Vice Dean, Office of Research & Graduate Education 
Phone: (304) 691-1841
sundaramu@marshall.edu

Richard Egleton, PhD

Assistant DeanOffice of Research and Graduate Education 
Phone: (304) 696-3523
egleton@marshall.edu

Marlenea Brand, MPA 

Administrative Director of Graduate Studies 
Phone: (304) 696-7399
brandm@marshall.edu