Within the MCCA PhD-program the field of allergology is structured according to the three research areas of molecular, cellular and clinical allergology. This allows educating PhD-Students in basic (molecules, cells) and applied fields (organ pathology, clinical practice) of allergology. The goal is to teach PhD-Students the translation of laboratory findings towards clinically relevant research questions and ultimately they should have contact to patients and the disease. Within the group of PhD-Students the aim is to achieve a good balance between students with a basic research and medical background to allow cross-fertilization.

During a conventional thesis in the field of allergology students are at best exposed to very narrow aspects of the complex area of IgE-associated allergies, be it molecules, cells, animal models or clinical aspects. Within MCCA the PhD-Students will be offered a basic layer of courses (Scientific-medical propedeutics), which will introduce them to biomedical research followed by a 3-track core of lectures, seminars and course series, which will give them the opportunity to get in depth training in molecular, cellular and clinical allergology (Tracks I, II, III). The obligation to spend 50% of the time within the track where the project is mainly located and 25% in each of the other two tracks guarantees that each student acquires an in-depth knowledge also within the fields of allergology in which she/he is not working directly. The obligational split of time in the tracks will ensure that the four Koch’ postulates of a disease, i.e. i) the antigen, ii) the transmission iii) the pathomechanism and iv) the therapy are all taught according to the required breadth and depth.

According to the regulations of the Medical University of Vienna extlink the PhD-Students will have to acquire 34 ECTS points (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System) by attending the program. A PhD thesis (i.e., actual laboratory work and writing of the thesis and papers) counts for 146 ECTS points and 34 additional ECTS points must be acquired by means of the teaching program.

Will the students be overwhelmed by the proposed lecture and course program? This will, in fact, not be the case, since PhD-Students will only spend 3 weeks during the first and 2.25 weeks during the second semester in courses. From semester 3 through 6, 1.5 weeks of courses will be obligatory within each semester. Consequently, there will be enough time for the actual laboratory work for writing manuscripts and the PhD-thesis.