Description of the 3 year online stem cell biology PhD program at
Panama College of Cell Science.
The Panama College of Cell Science has been operating for 10 years. It began with, and still offers, the only stem cell biology PhD program in the world that can be completed entirely online via distance learning. In addition, it remains one of the very few stem cell biology programs available anywhere.
The program can be completed from any country and does not require any campus visit. In fact, the College has no campus but serves an international student body via course materials being delivered over the internet. Students experience a self-learning format made possible by computer technology. Rather than having instructors that teach, the program has been designed to facilitate distance learning using internet resources and downloadable texts, with instructors serving rather in a mentoring and monitoring role. All staff are qualified doctoral Instructors.
The doctoral program at Panama College of Cell Science begins with some basic science courses. It is important to an understanding of the role of stem cells to know some basic anatomy, molecular biology, and immunology. The rules of immunology play a major role in how and if stem cells can be used in patient therapy. And patient therapy was the focus of the College in 2005 when it was first started and sponsored by the Drake Biomedical Research Institute. At that time it was felt there was way too much emphasis on embryonic stem cells, and little attention being paid to adult stem cells, and that the field could benefit from scientists trained to evaluate techniques and processes relating to the harvesting, handling, expansion, and transplantation of adult stem cells.
Following some introductory basic science courses, the program proceeds to a study of embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, fetal stem cells, and adult stem cells. Current therapies with stem cells being used internationally are reviewed with emphasis on government sponsored and private international stem cell clinics.
Lab oriented courses are included which cover the new growth media, cell expansion methodology, microscopy, and videos demonstrating laboratory techniques.
Finally, the successful student proceeds to complete a dissertation. Some students with access to laboratory equipment or facilities put together a lab based research project; others complete literature reviews in specified subjects.
Some applicants have wondered about the lack of actual laboratory experience. Originally the Panama College of Cell Science proposed to feature a stem cell demonstration project for hands on experience. However, this idea has been dropped as being unfeasible for international students with varying financial resources for travel as well as visa issues. The staff came to the conclusion that most graduates will be trained “on the job”, almost exclusively in techniques and procedures not learned in a graduate program, depending on their eventual arrival in industry, clinical settings, biomedical research labs and facilities, or even in the pharmaceutical industry. Moreover, the majority of our students have Masters degrees in the biomedical sciences, or are already associated with a laboratory environment, and thus have some laboratory experience.
Students are encouraged to seek out training sessions, and various stem cell lab projects which occur from time to time in their home countries. Such hands on lab training is certainly beneficial, and if completed during the student’s study with the College, is added to the official academic record of the student.
Stem cell science is what is called the “new medicine”. It is the most powerful new topic in modern biology and thus makes for an excellent graduate study at the doctoral level. Moreover, the whole new emphasis on patient specific therapy has created a need for scientists at many different levels of biomedicine that can contribute knowledge and critical thinking to solving current problems of manipulating and delivering stem cells in the clinical setting.
The Panama College of Cell Science offers a nice affordable graduate program in stem cell biology, well suited to working adults such as lab technicians, clinicians, clinic administrators, and those interested in academia. The three year program may be just the ticket for many students who want to expand their knowledge of stem cell science, particularly with respect to the clinical uses of adult repair stem cells, but do not have the time or funds needed to complete a program such as that offered for example by the the Stanford University School of Medicine.
If interested applicants will view our curriculum, they will find an exciting, novel, and very interesting biology PhD program. Mention “stem cells” and everyone turns to listen. The graduate program at Panama College of Cell Science will give you the tools to become an expert in this new science. A 3-year totally online PhD program in the new biology- stem cell science….that is what the Panama College of Cell Science offers.
The Panama College of Cell Science….
Innovative Thinking and Innovative Education