PhD Course

Translational Specialistic Medicine “G.B. Morgagni”

Thematic area Medical and Biomedical Sciences
Duration 3 years
Language Italian
PhD Programme Coordinator Annalisa Angelini

The PhD Course in Translational Specialistic Medicine “G.B. Morgagni” aims to train Research Doctors in translational biomedicine with emphasis in specialistic curricula.

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The PhD Course in Translational Specialist Medicine “G.B. Morgagni” provides for each PhD student a personalized training plan for the acquisition of the skills necessary for carrying out research activity in the disciplines that make up the five specialistic curricula in the field of biomedicine: Cardiovascular Sciences, Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences, Clinical and Translational Neurosciences, Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Thoracic and Pulmonary Sciences.

The research interest in neuromuscular, metabolic, cardiovascular, pulmonary diseases, transplant immunology and biostatistics and clinical epidemiology unites the five curricula with translational aims. Through a multidisciplinary approach to biomedical sciences, skills in epidemiology, biostatistics, genetics, biology, immunology and molecular pathology, regenerative medicine, pathophysiology, diagnostics and therapy are integrated. The methodology and translational interest are shared by the five curricula.

The training objectives include three learning phases: 1. an initial cycle of training and general culture, including notions and methodologies of transversal interest to the various curricula; 2. In-depth technological, methodological, basic and clinical sciences specific to one's educational and research objective, integrated by participation in specialist courses including seminars, conferences and meetings of the five curricula. 3. Acquisition of a research methodology through the inclusion of doctoral students in the research groups of the departments involved. This activity will culminate in the development of the thesis. Educational objectives for each curriculum:

  • Cardiovascular Sciences: Experimental and Applied Molecular Cardiology. Genetics. Cell biology of the heart. Cardiovascular pathophysiology. Cardiovascular pathology. Congenital heart disease. Heart surgery. Angiology. Vascular surgery. Anthropology. History of Medicine. Heart transplantation.
  • Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences: Analysis of circulating endothelial stem/progenitor cells: technical and biological aspects. The role of glycation in the chronic complications of diabetes. The role of non-invasive blood glucose monitoring in the diabetic patient.
  • Clinical and Translational Neurosciences: New methods and developments in neurogenetics; neurochemistry of the central and peripheral nervous system; neuromuscular diseases; mitochondrial and metabolic diseases; biological psychiatry; mood disorders; neuro-otology; neurological rehabilitation; experimental neurosurgery. Respiratory function in neuromuscular pathologies.
  • Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology: Statistics; medical statistics; general and clinical epidemiology. Big data and omics.
  • Thoracic and Pulmonary Sciences: Pulmonary physiopathology. Obstructive, interstitial and oncological lung diseases. Study of the pathogenetic, anatomical-pathological and immunological mechanisms of lung diseases. Thoracic surgery. Thoracic transplantation.

The research doctorate represents the third level in the training course currently in force at university level and aims to train the future managerial class in research on the Italian and international scene.
In particular, doctorates will find their ideal location in both Italian and foreign universities, representing a prerequisite for access to the roles of researcher and associate and full professor in the scientific disciplinary areas that form part of our doctoral course and grouped in the various curricula: Cardiovascular Sciences, Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences, Clinical and Translational Neurosciences, Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology, Thoracic and Pulmonary Sciences.
The first occupational step can also be articulated as a research fellow or research grant holder.
As an alternative to the university outlet for doctorates with a clinical profile, the natural collocation will be the National Health System, the research institutes (IRCCS) and the higher institute of health.
For doctorates especially belonging to the disciplinary scientific areas relating to the basic sciences, the employment and professional openings can be located in the CNR centers, but also in the university and CNR fields as graduate technician positions.
All doctorates will be able to access the private sector in companies in the pharmaceutical area, as well as national and international agencies for the management of funds for biomedical research.

Our Ph. precision.
The training profiles are addressed to Green issues, in this case in the 'Health' area of specialization in the SNSI research and innovation areas in the 'Health' thematic area and in the 'Health Technologies' intervention, as well as in the national strategy ' Health, Nutrition, Quality of Life', in particular in the B3 trajectory 'Regenerative, predictive and personalized medicine'. Particular attention will be directed to guarantee the horizontal principles of the PNRR in the training course, such as environmental sustainability; Sustainable Development; equal opportunities and non-discrimination; accessibility for disabled people.
Basic research with the use of cell cultures and animal models is of fundamental importance for new predictive and personalized diagnostic and therapeutic hypotheses for the purposes of a more effective treatment of human health, but also for the conservation of biodiversity and therefore for a more sustainable, approach according to the principles of "Open science" and "FAIR Data". The valorisation of research results will be promoted and the protection of intellectual property guaranteed, by ensuring open access to the public to research results and related data (e.g. publications of original scientific research results, raw data and metadata, sources, digital graphic and image representations and scientific multimedia materials) in the shortest time and with the fewest possible limitations.
Actions favoring the interdisciplinarity of research, joining international networks and intersectoriality will be promoted, with particular attention to the digital transition of public administrations, contributing to the redesign and simplification of organizational models, as well as to the selection and adoption processes of technologies and enabling digital solutions, in order to ensure greater effectiveness, efficiency and cost-effectiveness of public action

Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology
The curriculum focuses on applying and developing innovative statistical and mathematical methods for analyzing complex bio-medical phenomena. Development of new methods for solving novel problems, including data mining and predictive modeling for clinical outcomes, disease diagnosis, and for improving public health. Population and environmental epidemiology are part of the core activities of the students. Concerning COVID-19 and other emerging epidemics, Ph.D. students will work on developing models for forecasting epidemic behavior and burden to the healthcare system and developing survey models to estimate the impact and effectiveness of restrictive measures on the population.

Clinical and Translational Neurosciences
Clinical Neurobiology and Neurogenetics. The study of pathogenetic mutations: genotype-phenotype correlations. Neuromuscular diseases. Identification and characterization of outcome measures in neuromuscular diseases. Molecular basis of clinical heterogeneity in dystrophinopathies towards a translation to clinical practice. Molecular basis of CNS involvement in dystrophinopathies. Use of murine models of DMD to study the mechanisms leading to fibrofatty replacement and to verify the effects of amine oxidases inhibitors on inflammation and fibrosis. Neurodegenerative diseases. Development of novel biomarkers in motor neuron diseases. Deep phenotyping of patients with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Neurotoxic complications of chemotherapy in patients with cancer. Peripheral nervous system diseases, immune-mediated neuropathies,nerve ultrasound, chemotherapy-induced neuropathies, peripheral neuropathy in hematological diseases. Amyloidosis, both AL and hereditary. Neurophysiopathology. Otorhinolaryngology: Etiology of hearing loss, prevention and recovery of sensorineural tissue. Improvement of cochlear implant and hearing aids. Nanotechnology and drug delivery systems applied in ear therapies. Development of biological and artificial scaffolds through regenerative medicine and tissue engineering approaches. The study of vestibulogy associated malfunctions and disorders. Audiology.

Cardiovascular Science
Experimental and applied molecular Cardiology. Cardiomyopathies. Genetics of heredo-familial cardiomyopathies and myocarditis. Sudden death in the young and in the athletes. Regenerative medicine. Heart transplantation. Cardiovascular physiopathology. Interventional cardiology, arrhythmology, Congenital heart diseases. In vivo Cardiovascular imaging, Cardiovascular pathology. Correlation between cardiac imaging and pathology. The use of anatomic-pathological research techniques in cardiovascular diseases. Cardiovascular surgery. Mechanical ventricular assistance, artificial heart. Valve prosthesis and tissue engineering. Angiology: Biology and physiopathology of the arterial wall. Vascular and experimental surgery. Medical anthropology, clinical anthropometry. Paleopathology and anthropological museology. Evaluation of COVID19 pandemia on cardiovascular diseases: 1) the impact of COVID19 pandemia on epidemiology of acute coronary syndromes, arrhythmias and sudden death, 2) role of COVID19 infection on myocardial. Nanotechnology and drug delivery systems for mRNA and microRNA for heart failure. Development of biological and artificial scaffolds through regenerative medicine and tissue engineering approaches.

Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences
This curriculum deals with clinical research in the field of endocrine and metabolic diseases: insulin resistance, gut hormones, the gut-vascular barrier; effects of hormones on intermediate metabolism; the links between aging/senescence and hormonal control of metabolism; diabetes pathophysiology and therapy; effects of kidney-pancreas transplant and isolated pancreas islets on intermediate metabolism and on diabetic complications; regenerative medicine in diabetes. Experimental methodologies include: genomics, transcriptomics, proteomic, cell biology, cell culture, tissue analysis, animal models of disease, in vivo and in vitro glycoxidation mechanisms. Clinical research includes: case-series, case-control studies, large epidemiological studies, no-profit randomized controlled trials.
The research program will address all endocrine diseases, with a special focus on diabetes and other metabolic disorders (e.g. obesity and dyslipidemia) with primary interest in: translational medicine with research approaches that range from in vitro and in silico analyses; biomedical research on animal models; to clinical applications of novel therapies and diagnostic procedures. A new line of research has been developed in 2020 to evaluate the impact of diabetes on SARS-Cov-2 infection and COVID-19 outcomes and, on the other side, whether COVID-19 affects long-term outcomes of diabetes. The research will favour the interaction between basic science methods and clinical disciplines, particularly on the pathophysiology and chronic complications of diabetes, as well as on the hormonal control of intermediate metabolism. Collaborations and exchanges will be fostered with experts in the field of cardiovascular sciences, to advance the research on the mechanisms of vascular complications of diabetes and the metabolic syndrome and to study the vascular consequences of insulin resistance and other endocrine diseases. Pancreatic islets transplantation.

Thoracich and Pulmonary Sciences
This curriculum deals with research in lung diseases: pathogenesis of obstructive and interstitial lung diseases; immunological (innate and adaptive) mechanisms involved in lung diseases; relationship between structural or molecular features and clinical or functional characteristics for a better prognostic stratification of patients; morphological, molecular and genetic analysis in different type of neoplastic disorders; establishment of tumor xenografts in immunodeficient murine experimental model; ex-vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) in lung transplantation; surgical reconstruction techniques of chest wall, trachea and bronchi. In the last year an ongoing research line has emerged dedicated to COVID 19.
The major areas of research interest are:
Pathogenesis of obstructive lung diseases (asthma, chronic obstructive lung disease-COPD and cystic fibrosis) and interstitial lung diseases (pneumoconiosis, sarcoidosis and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis). Study of the immunological (innate and adaptive) mechanisms involved in these diseases by structural and molecular analysis of lung biopsies (bronchial, transbronchial and surgical), bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) and explanted lungs using advanced technologies such as digestion and laser or manual dissection of lung tissue, immunohistochemistry, cytofluorimetry, next-generation sequencing, multiplex real-time polymerase chain reaction and cell cultures.

Relationship between structural or molecular features and clinical or functional characteristics for a better prognostic stratification of patients. Morphological, molecular and genetic analysis in different type of neoplastic disorders (lung cancer, thymoma and mesothelioma) in order to predict prognosis and response to checkpoint inhibitors. Establishment of tumour xenografts in immunodeficient murine experimental model.
Ex-vivo lung perfusion (EVLP) in lung transplantation and study of the physiological process that occur in the organ during normothermic perfusion to improve the pulmonary graft quality. Surgical reconstruction techniques of chest wall, trachea and bronchi resected for inflammatory, infectious or neoplastic processes.
Multidisciplinary cooperation (pulmonologists, thoracic surgeons, pathologists and radiologists) for a more accurate interpretation of data.
In the last year an ongoing research line has emerged dedicated to COVID 19, focussed particularly on: lung pathology, long term consequences of the disease, interaction with chronic lung diseases.


  • Biostatistics and Clinical Epidemiology
  • Clinical and Translational Neurosciences
  • Cardiovascular Science
  • Endocrine and Metabolic Sciences
  • Thoracich and Pulmonary Sciences
  • Nursing and Health Sciences