Skip to main content

Lab Rotations

Student with pipette in lab

Along with coursework, First Year IMV Program Ph.D. students perform a series of 3 laboratory rotations with IMV Program faculty during the academic year to help choose a mentor for their dissertation research. A fourth rotation in summer is possible, if necessary. The purpose of the lab rotation is to experience the types of research performed in the faculty member’s laboratory and to determine whether the student and the faculty member are able to interact effectively.

A list of faculty with laboratory positions currently available for new graduate students is provided to each student, and a series of events is planned to allow students to become more familiar with the research efforts of faculty. Both primary and secondary members of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology serve as potential lab rotation advisors for the IMV Program. This broadens the possible choices of rotation mentor to include scientists from both the basic and clinical departments.

The dates for the four rotation periods are:

  • October 1 - December 15
  • January 1 - March 15
  • March 16 – May 31
  • July 1 - August 31

View our current IMV students and their rotation mentors.

Rotation Report

A rotation report is due at the end of each rotation period. The primary purposes of the report are to help the student think more clearly about their rotation project as it relates to the overall field of interest, and to develop their scientific writing skills. The report is written by the student, in consultation with the faculty member, in the format of a scientific paper (Introduction, Materials and Methods, Results and Discussion, with Figures, Tables and complete references). An e-copy of the report is submitted to the IMV Program Director, who sends it to a faculty member for review and feedback. Both the student and the rotation advisor receive the comments of the reviewer, and the student is encouraged to discuss the comments with the reviewer.

Selecting a Laboratory

After the completion of the rotation periods, the student meets with the selected rotation mentors to determine whether they will enter a particular laboratory. Admission of the student to the laboratory is dependent on:

  1. the ability of the faculty member to support the student’s research
  2. adequate space in the laboratory to accommodate the student
  3. a commitment on the part of the faculty member to guide the student’s dissertation research to completion of the Ph.D.

Moving from the IMV Program to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology

During the first year, the IMV Graduate Program Director serves as advisor for the new students. Once the student has entered a faculty member’s laboratory to do their dissertation research, they move from the supervision of the IMV Graduate Program Director to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. The IMV Program, with faculty from multiple departments and disciplines, serves as a mechanism to foster scientific interaction. However, by state law, the Department of Microbiology and Immunology serves as the degree granting entity for the University. Upon entering the dissertation advisor’s laboratory, the faculty member and the student’s dissertation committee assume the primary responsibility for guiding the student through the Ph.D. program.