University of Rochester PhD Program in Pathology

Program Information

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The PhD Program in Pathology – Cell Biology of Disease trains students to understand the cell biological basis for human disease and leverage those discoveries for better diagnosis and treatment options.  Our program is housed in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine with support from Dr. Bruce Smoller, our chairman, Dr. Helene McMurray, clinical scientist and program director, and Donna Shannon, program coordinator.  Our trainees work with scientists from across the spectrum of clinical and basic science research areas, studying every body system in contexts ranging from pediatric disease to diseases of aging.

Program Highlights

The program is multidisciplinary in nature, drawing on faculty expertise in all aspects of disease biology including:

  • Defining molecular mechanisms underlying human disease
  • Developing model systems, from genetic models to human tissue studies
  • Big data and ‘omic’ sciences (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, lipidomics, metabolomics, and microbiomics)
  • Designing therapeutic interventions using regenerative biology, forward pharmacology, and rational drug design

Students work with any faculty throughout the University of Rochester Medical Center whose research focuses on cell biological mechanisms of pathogenesis.

Our graduates go on to diverse and rewarding careers in academic, medical, industrial, non-profit and governmental settings.

Application Instructions

It is expected that all application materials (with the exception of official score reports) be scanned and uploaded to your online application. Please note that the University of Rochester reserves the right to verify the accuracy of all transcripts and test scores, and to require submission of official documentation at any point in the admissions review process.

  1. Create an online application account
    1. SMD Graduate Admissions Application
    2. SOPHAS application (Public Health Sciences PhD programs only: Epidemiology, Health Services Research and Policy)
  2. Statement of Purpose
  3. Uploaded copy of transcript(s) to online application.
    Please do not mail a hard copy at this time.
  4. 3 Letters of Recommendation
  5. Official  English language test score for applicants whose native language is not English. The following test types are acceptable:TOEFL iBT (SMD school code: 2948, SOPHAS application code: 5688)
    IELTS – Electronic score delivery (select University of Rochester School of Medicine &Dentistry)
    DuoLingo (select University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry)


The following programs require a writing sample: Epidemiology and Health Services Research and Policy. Otherwise, research papers, publications and other original works, as well as resumes and CVs may also be submitted for consideration, but are not required.

It is expected that all application materials (with the exception of official score reports) be scanned and uploaded to your online application. Please do not include secondary school documentation, financial documentation, etc., as these are not utilized during the admissions process.