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 laboratories in the College of Health Sciences, as well as other laboratories 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 members from across the University who have training and interest in the broad field of medical sciences.

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

  • 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
  • Gene editing to study disease mechanisms

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 43 credits including 9 credits of dissertation. The program is designed to be completed in four to five years. The 43 required credits are specified in the student’s plan of study and normally include the following requirements:

  • Medical Physiology (4 credits)
  • Biostatistics (3 credits)
  • Research (12 credits)
  • Seminar (4 credits)
  • Dissertation (9 credits)
  • Science electives (9 credits)
  • Writing Research Proposals (2 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.


Medical & Molecular Sciences

Mona Batish: Gene expression regulation and to develop novel diagnostic assays for Ewing’s sarcoma

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

Subhasis (Sam) Biswas :  Applying modern biochemical and molecular techniques to analyze and understand human diseases to pave the way for developing novel therapeutics

Vijay Parashar: Understanding bacterial signal transduction using high-resolution structural biology, biochemistry and molecular genetics.


Melissa Melby How environmental factors result in health outcomes

Biological Sciences

Kenneth van Golen Link between intracellular signalling and metastasis

Eric Kmiec Gene editing to study disease mechanisms

School of Nursing

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

Kathleen Schell: Accuracy of blood pressure measurement procedures and devices

Behavioral Health & Nutrition

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

Marie Kuczmarski: Relationship between obesity and chronic disease

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

Kinesiology & Applied Physiology

Thomas Buckley: Concussions/Mild traumatic brain injury

William Farquhar: Cardiovascular physiology; Exercise physiology

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

Physical Therapy

David Tulsky: Center on Assessment and Outcomes Research

Ph.D. in Medical Sciences Graduate Student Scholars

Edward Marks

My research focus is on the differentiation of human bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells toward the cardiac lineage for transplantation to an adjustable rat model of myocardial infarction, with the goal of preventing scar tissue formation after a heart attack. Mentor – Dr. Arun Kumar, formerly in the Department of Medical & Molecular Sciences, College of Health Sciences.
Nota Bene – In May 2017, Edward Marks was the first graduate of the Ph.D. program in Medical Sciences administered by the Department of MLS.

Sangjucta Barkataki

My project aims to reveal the etiology of cutaneous metastases in breast cancer. Primary focus is on the influence of radiation-induced TGFβ on the development of inflammatory breast cancer’s cutaneous metastases. Mentor – Dr Kenneth Van Golen, Department of Biological Sciences, College of Arts and Sciences

Meera Patel

I am interested in studying specific phenotypic mutations involved in the Nucleotide Binding Domain 2 (NBD2) of the ABCA4 protein causing Stargardt Macular Dystrophy. Mentor – Dr. Esther E. Biswas-Fiss, Department of Medical & Molecular Sciences, College of Health Sciences.

Natalie Rivera

I am interested in Inducing acute myelogenous leukemia by the sequential expression of FLT3 and MLL mutations in hematopoietic progenitors CD34+ cells. Mentor – Dr. Eric Kmiec, Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

Brett Sansbury

I am developing a system for in vitro gene editing that will elucidate the biochemical mechanisms of DNA repair in a controllable environment. Mentor – Dr. Eric Kmiec, Delaware Biotechnology Institute.

Deborah Mukaz

My research focuses on acculturation and diabetes among African migrants, mainly Congolese migrants, to the U.S. For my research, I have analyzed 5 years of the National Health Interview Survey and conducted a series of interviews among Congolese migrants in Minnesota, Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Mentor – Dr. Melissa K. Melby,
Department of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences.



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