Director's Message

Virology and Gene Therapy Ph.D. track program director, Michael A. Barry, Ph.D.

Welcome to the Virology and Gene Therapy (VGT) Ph.D. track at Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. Our mission is to provide the highest quality research and education in the multidisciplinary fields of virology and gene therapy.

Scientists, physicians and students are working together to address important questions in fundamental virology as well as more translational applications using viruses as tools for gene delivery or oncolysis. VGT core and elective curricula provide education and training critical to understanding and advancing these two major principles.

Additionally, VGT students are fully funded by Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, so they enjoy the freedom to select any mentor in VGT and to focus on science. We welcome your interest and hope that you find this website helpful in understanding our program.

Why choose the Virology and Gene Therapy track?

Our track is uniquely designed among other graduate school programs in that we focus on two research topics:

  • Basic virology
  • Translational virology

Education and research in virology are essential to understanding key scientific principles in biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics, as well as viral pathogenesis, host-viral interactions, and combating emerging pathogens.

Viruses also provide unique platforms for ex vivo and in vivo therapies. They show great promise for:

  • Gene therapy
  • Genome editing
  • Cell therapy
  • CAR-T cell engineering
  • iPS and stem cell technologies
  • Immunotherapy
  • Immune checkpoint targeting
  • Gene-based vaccines
  • Cancer vaccines
  • Oncolytic virotherapy

Considering the rapidly expanding knowledge and technologies of genetics, genomics, bioinformatics and big data, we believe that gene therapy will play a more central role in future life sciences.

Excellent education and research environment

Approximately 20 members of the research faculty participate as VGT faculty and thesis advisers. Their areas of research cover all aspects of virology and gene therapy as described above, with many research projects funded by the National Institutes of Health and research foundations.

Moreover, our program is orchestrated along with other research and clinical programs at Mayo Clinic, a leading medical institution. These include the Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, Center for Regenerative Medicine and Center for Individualized Medicine, which facilitate rapid bench-to-bedside translation as well as easy access to clinical samples.

Funding fully supported by Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, not thesis advisers

Another unique benefit of the VGT track is that, as with the other tracks within the Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. Program, all tuition and stipend costs are fully covered by the graduate school. This allows free selection of a thesis adviser, irrespective of the funding situation of any particular lab.

Additionally, VGT-participating labs are based at the Mayo Clinic campus in Rochester, Minnesota, which is a safe, midsize town that offers students an outstanding living environment and is routinely voted among the best places to live in the U.S.

Apply for the Virology and Gene Therapy track!

Consider VGT for your graduate education. You will receive cutting-edge research training from leading scientists and physicians at Mayo Clinic.

  1. Michael A. Barry, Ph.D.
    1. Virology and Gene Therapy Program Director
    2. Professor of Medicine
April 10, 2018