Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

PhD Programs

The PhD Program in Genetics, Genomics & Cancer Biology provides aspiring students with the background, training and experience necessary to launch careers as independent scientific investigators and scholars in the field of molecular genetics of disease, genomics and cancer biology. The Program is designed to take a multidisciplinary approach to the field by providing the student with a strong basic knowledge of genetics, biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology, with additional exposure to other areas of related interest. Additionally, the Program provides sufficient flexibility so that graduating students can pursue research careers in either an academic or industrial setting.

Research laboratories are primarily located in the Bluemle Life Sciences Building. In addition to extensive basic equipment and facilities, the Program provides access to numerous specialized resources. These include facilities for cancer genomics, peptide synthesis and sequencing, cell sorting by flow cytometry, protein purification and characterization, microarray analyses and biomolecular imaging.


The Program is focused on research training, which begins in the first year as rotations in different laboratories, and continues as the student begins potential thesis projects in a chosen mentor's laboratory. The PhD thesis research involves critical thinking and executing ideas in the laboratory through the use of sound scientific methods. Students are guided by their mentors and a selected thesis research committee, which meets on a routine basis throughout the training experience.

In the first year, students complete Foundations in Biomedical Sciences, a course that provides a foundation in Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Genetics and Molecular Biology. They then proceed to basic courses in Genetics, followed by more advanced specialized training. Course work during the first year is enhanced by three laboratory rotations, in which students learn advanced laboratory techniques and the principles of sound experimental methods.

At the end of the first year, the student selects a faculty supervisor for his or her thesis research. During the second year, the student takes specialized courses that focus on different aspects of the genetics of cancer and human diseases, including the molecular genetics of growth control, oncogene activation, tumor suppression, regulation of gene expression, receptor-ligand interactions and signal transduction. Additional credit hours of elective courses are available, and are generally geared to meet the individual needs of students as they move into the specific areas of their thesis research. 

Throughout their experience, students take part in weekly journal clubs and attend regularly scheduled faculty and student seminars in molecular genetics and cancer biology as well as seminars given by invited speakers. Students are also trained and encouraged to present their work at both in-house and outside scientific meetings.

Course requirements are completed by the end of the second year and students spend an average of another two to three years to complete their individual thesis projects.

Typical areas of research include: functional genomics and epigenetics, analysis of the human genome, genetics of cancer susceptibility, genetics of the immune system, molecular genetics of animal models of human disease, molecular genetics of hematopoietic neoplasias and solid tumors, mechanisms of altered growth regulation by oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, transcriptional regulation, chromatin organization and the control of gene expression, translational research, molecular therapeutics and personalized medicine.

Learn more about our curriculum.

Contact Us

Joanne Balitzky, MS
Graduate Programs Coordinator
233 South 10th Street
Bluemle Life Sciences Building (BLSB), Room 910
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 503-6687

Lucia Languino, PhD
Program Director
233 South 10th Street
Bluemle Life Sciences Building (BLSB), Suite 506
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 503-3442