Curriculum

The Program in Biomedical Imaging (BIO) trains students to work on a broad spectrum of biomedical and biological problems using common tools available for in vivo imaging, with the main emphasis on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). In their research, our faculty addresses issues of anatomical structure and physiological function in a variety of diseases, from neurological and neurodegenerative disorders to cardiopulmonary disease, as well as pre-clinical animal models of development and disease. Because of the wide range of research topics covered in BIO, each student takes a highly individual set of courses, tailored to their own specific area(s) of interest.

Coursework: The first goal of our training program is to provide the students with a firm foundation in MRI, the common tool used by our faculty. Recognizing that students in the BIO program come from many different undergraduate programs and backgrounds, we cover the required background material necessary in two one-semester courses: “Fundamentals of Magnetic Resonance Imaging” provides a non-mathematical introduction to the principles and main areas of application of MRI and magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). “Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging” introduces the mathematical concepts underlying MRI, and provides a solid foundation for students in the BIO program who will use MRI in their thesis research. In addition to these specialized courses in MRI, all students are expected to develop an understanding and competence in modern biological concepts and methods by taking at least the first part (and preferably both) of the two-semester course “Foundations in Cell and Molecular Biology”, and by selecting elective courses from a broad set of options at the NYU School of Medicine and at the Washington Square campus. These courses are supplemented with a regular journal club and seminar series to discuss important new results from the literature as well as ongoing research in Biomedical Imaging at NYU.

Research rotations: Students are introduced to laboratory research by completing three or four 12-week research rotations during the first year. These rotations offer an opportunity to gain research experience and sample opportunities for thesis research; students are therefore encouraged to choose diverse projects employing a variety of methodologies, including MRI.

Mentoring: Supervision and guidance are provided to students in several ways during their tenure in the program. During the first year, each student is assigned a Faculty Mentor, who is independent from research rotation advisors. This faculty mentor should be used as a resource in choosing courses, in providing objective advice about laboratories for research rotations, and more generally in making the adjustment to graduate school. In addition, the Program Directors meet regularly with each student to review their progress. Once a laboratory is chosen for thesis research, an Advisory Committee is selected in consultation with the thesis advisor and Program Directors. This committee is composed of the thesis advisor and at least two additional faculty members with relevant scientific interests are selected. At least one faculty member from BIO should be included on the committee. The advisory committee initially assembles to administer the preliminary exam. Thereafter, this committee meets yearly to supervise the progress of the thesis research and its members replace the first year faculty mentor in providing advice and support throughout the period of thesis research.