Interdisciplinary PhD in Medical Sciences


Our Ph.D. program in Medical Sciences provides advanced training with the goal of preparing students for research-based careers. Areas of in-depth study are driven by faculty research and encompass clinically related fields such as diabetes mellitus, obesity, immunology and infectious disease, oncology and other chronic health conditions.

The programmatic emphasis is on the pathogenesis of disease, biomarkers that can aid in diagnosis and treatment, evidence-based practice, and the underlying mechanisms of chronic illness.


Our students have access to state-of-the-art labs in the College of Health Sciences, as well as other labs and facilities in affiliated programs at the University of Delaware, the Delaware Biotechnology Institute and the Delaware Health Sciences Alliance.

They gain valuable research experience through involvement in federally funded research projects and interaction with a variety of interdisciplinary research groups.


Our researchers are faculty from across the university who have training and interest in the broad field of medical sciences. Check out the Faculty Research Interests page.

New knowledge on health, aging and chronic disease is continuously being generated and disseminated. Examples of current faculty research include the following:

  • Development of new vaccines against bioterrorism organisms
  • Assessment of biomarkers for complications of diabetes mellitus
  • Interventions to improve function and physical activity in neurologically compromised adults
  • The relationship between diet and chronic diseases
  • Improved methods for non-invasive cardiovascular assessment
  • Neural control of circulation, particularly during perturbations such as acute exercise
  • Preventing and/or reducing adult obesity
  • Influence of diet, environment, and psychosocial issues on brain function and behavior
  • Mapping the connection between immunity and cancer
  • Accuracy of blood pressure measurement procedures and devices
  • Epidemiologic analysis of the social determinants of health

Along with in-depth, laboratory-based immersion, we provide our students with high-quality classroom-based instruction through a core curriculum, electives and seminars.


The Ph.D. in Medical Sciences requires a minimum of 47 credits including 9 credits of dissertation. The program is designed to be completed in four to five years. The 47 required credits are specified in the student’s plan of study and normally include the following requirements:

  • Medical Physiology (3 credits)
  • Cellular and Molecular Immunology (4 credits)
  • Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Data Analysis and Interpretation (3 credits)
  • Research (12 credits)
  • Seminar (4 credits)
  • Dissertation (9 credits)
  • Electives (6 credits)


An applicant must have an advisor before being admitted. Review the research focus for each faculty member affiliated with this program, and then indicate in your Personal Statement why you think this advisor would be the best for your proposed studies.

Faculty Affiliated with the PhD in Medical Sciences Program:
Raelene Maser: Assessment of biomarkers for complications of diabetes mellitus

Michelle Parent: Development of new vaccines against bioterrorism organisms

Arun Kumar: Nanotechnology in health and disease; tissue engineering

Huey-Jen Lin: Epigenetics and tumor microenvironments

Esther Biswas-Fiss: Analysis of functional consequences of genetic variation

Kathleen Schell: Accuracy of blood pressure measurement procedures and devices

Kathleen Brewer-Smyth: Dietary and environmental influences on brain and behavior

Ingrid Pretzer-Aboff: Independent functioning of neuro-compromised adults

Marie Kuczmarski: Relationship between obesity and chronic disease

Jillian Trabulsi: Nutrition and growth in healthy children and in children with chronic disease

Sheau Ching Chai: Foods preventing chronic diseases/condition; Nutritional lifestyle interventions

Shelley Provost-Craig: Interests include physical activity and health outcomes for healthy and diseased populations.

William Rose: Control of blood pressure and flow; mathematical modeling of circulation

Christopher Modlesky: Exercise, nutrition and bone/muscle/adipose development

William Farquhar: Cardiovascular physiology; Exercise physiology

Kathleen Matt, Dean: Development of new biomarkers for health and chronic disease

Thomas Buckley: Concussions/Mild traumatic brain injury

David Tulsky: Center on Assessment and Outcomes Research

View the current Student Handbook. Begin the application process today!

To receive more information check out the UD Graduate Office site.