The early phase of training emphasizes diagnostic microbiology, during which time trainees are expected to master a core of tests in diagnostic bacteriology, virology and immunology. This is most concentrated in year one of the program and with continued, albeit reduced, responsibility for diagnostic service during subsequent years of the program. For example, trainees should expect to devote approximately 36 weeks to diagnostic microbiology during the first year of the program; this progressively decreases to approximately 18 and 9 weeks during years two and three, respectively.
While residency training is designed to provide broad coverage of all aspects of diagnostic microbiology, the program is custom-tailored to accommodate individual trainee's interest in virology, bacteriology, or immunology. This is accomplished by rotational assignments in each of these applied microbiology sections, with more concentrated exposure in section(s) of the trainee's choice. This experience includes close interaction and communication with the faculty microbiologists, technicians and clients. Trainees are expected to become competent in a wide variety of microbiological techniques, interpretation of results, and formulating recommendations for follow-up investigations of cases of special interest.
Limited, informal teaching responsibilities are included as part of the residency experience. These consist of case discussions with students in the professional veterinary medical curriculum or undergraduate microbiology students in a laboratory setting.
Initial stipendiary and tuition support for trainees is derived from user fees generated from the Colorado State University Diagnostic Laboratory, with the direct intent the resulting training will enhance the laboratory's infectious disease diagnostic capabilities. It is expected that trainees will enhance outreach activities through client communication and investigation of naturally occurring infectious disease problems. As trainees advance to the research training phase of the program, they are encouraged to submit competitive research applications to other sources for support.
While acquiring diagnostic microbiology experience during year one of the program, trainees are also introduced to the variety of infectious disease research programs directed by faculty in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. Through these broad introductions and more in-depth interactions with specific faculty mentors and rotations through research laboratories, trainees become aware of opportunities for research in infectious disease. By the end of year one, trainees select a major professor, research laboratory, and general area of infectious disease for their dissertation research. As the time commitment to diagnostic microbiology residency training progressively decreases with subsequent years in the program, trainees spend an increasing proportion of time devoted to research.
Research training emphasizes contemporary investigations of infectious disease and utilizes the foundation of residency training in applied microbiology to enhance diagnostic capabilities in infectious disease. Research opportunities in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology include internationally recognized programs in arthropod-borne diseases and vector molecular biology, and mycobacterial, retroviral, and parasitic diseases. The quality of the infectious disease research program is evidenced by its designation as a Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence; this designation is part of a university strategic planning process to nurture and support research excellence through recognition and investment in programs that have attained national and international stature.
The trainee and their graduate committee share responsibility for outlining those courses necessary and appropriate for the trainee's program of study. Course work is based on the trainee's academic background, area of dissertation research, and recommendations of the graduate committee. As part of the PhD) degree in microbiology, trainees will complete formal course work in three of the four core subdisciplines: bacteriology, virology, immunology, and molecular genetics. A minimum of 72 semester credits in course work (300 level and above) and research is required to satisfy requirements for the PhD degree.
Preparation for Board Exam
The combined program will qualify trainees to take the certifying examination offered by the American College of Veterinary Microbiologists. To be eligible for this examination, candidates must hold the DVM and PhD degrees. The residency phase of the program provides excellent diagnostic microbiology training, and the PhD provides original research training required for successful completion of this rigorous examination.
Facilities and Resources
Residency training is based in the Colorado State University Diagnostic Laboratory and utilizes clinical material accessioned from private practitioners and the adjacent Veterinary Teaching Hospital. This includes a wide variety of tissues from domestic and nondomestic species for microbiological analyses, including bacteriology, mycology, virology and serology. These facilities are equipped with an array of modern equipment for the diagnosis and treatment of infectious as well as other diseases of animals.
Research training will be under the auspices of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. This department is housed in modern, adjacent, multistory buildings with a total of more than 120,000 square feet of teaching research laboratories, office and classroom space on the main campus of Colorado State University. A broad range of instrumentation is available for teaching and research in the laboratory setting. In addition, the department operates or shares space in several facilities on other parts of the campus. These include the Painter Center for Laboratory Animals, Arthropod Borne Infectious Disease Laboratory, University Electron Microscopy Laboratory, Macromolecular Resources Laboratory, Colorado Bioprocessing Center, Necropsy and Clinical Pathology Laboratories, Histotechnology Laboratory, the Center for Environmental Technology and Toxicology, and a branch of the federal Centers for Disease Control.
The Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology is composed of a total of 54 faculty members who generate in excess of $10 million/year extramurally funded research support. The research program in infectious disease is recognized as a University Program of Research and Scholarly Excellence, part of a university strategic plan to support and nurture research excellence through recognition and investment in programs that have attained national and international stature.
The following documents are required for application to the combined residency/graduate study programs:
- Letter of intent stating career goals.
- Biographical sketch or resume.
- Two copies of original transcripts from all universities previously attended.
- Three letters of reference and completed reviewers evaluation forms from individuals able to evaluate the candidate's abilities relative to advanced training.
- Official report of GRE scores (not more than 5 years old).
- Completed application to the Graduate School using the Graduate School Electronic Application system.
- Please note that positions in the microbiology residency program are only offered every other year and anyone interested in applying should contact us before completing an application.
Application materials may be submitted to:
Ms. Andrea Guillory
Department of Microbiology, Immunology & Pathology
1619 Campus Delivery
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523-1619
Please direct any inquiries about this program to:
Dr. Lora Ballweber;
or e-mail Lora.Ballweber@Colostate.edu.
Thank you for your interest in the graduate programs of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology. See the links below for general information about the graduate program in microbiology, guidelines and course descriptions for our departmental program, and a list of our faculty and their research.