Prospective Students

     Thank you for considering an undergraduate career in Microbiology & Immunology.  You are about to make a decision to join a program that only thirty Universities across the United States offer as an undergraduate area of study.  Because it is often incorporated into an institution's biology program, our unique program allows you to stand out amongst your peers during your application processes.  Our majors make up the many that work in the various healthcare fields providing for our communities.  The following section provides information about the program (Coral Gables Campus) and our department (Miller School of Medicine Campus).  It also includes some information that you may find useful in making your decision to join our discipline.  We look forward to having you as our student, if you require additional assistance please email riwill@miami.edu or d.lopez1@med.miami.edu and we will be happy to provide assistance.

If you are a sophomore standing student and about to enter your Spring semester, it is not to late to make the transition.  Please contact one or both of the emails above.

 

      Quite possibly the jewel of the undergraduate program, the club has grown over the years and has kept the spirit of scientific inquiry.  The club is not only for microbiology majors; it allows people of all disciplines to take part in this organization’s activities.  Serving the university community as well as the local community, the club has been in existence since the late 1980's.  One of its missions is to educate and raise awareness of microbiological developments effecting all of society, this is accomplished through their Microbiology Awareness Week (MAW). MAW takes place during the semester and involves guest lecturers and events on topics of importance in our facinating field.

What is Microbiology?

  •     Microbiology “is a branch of biology dealing especially with microscopic forms of life”. It is a field whose concerns and interests range from the clinical effects of the AIDS virus on the human host to the biochemistry and molecular biology of producing human insulin in simple bacteria or yeast cells.  Efforts are being made to reprogram the human immune system to reject malignant cancer cells.  Microorganisms are being utilized as gene transfer vehicles.  Microbiology and Immunology is concerned with those living organisms which exist in the microscopic or submicroscopic realms.  They include bacteria, viruses, yeast, molds and protozoa that can cause diseases.

What is Immunology?

  •      Immunology is the study of the immune system.  Think of the immune system as a shield that exists within our bodies.  This shield is capable of amazing feats and is constantly being challenged at all times. The strength of this shield plays an important role in how we fair against various microorganisms.  That being said, the immune system plays a vital role in our ability to keep at bay both our resident (bacteria that normally inhabit our bodies) and non-resident flora (bacteria that we may encounter in our every-day routines).  An immune system that is compromised will not be as effective in protecting an individual as would a healthy immune system.

What is the Microbiology & Immunology Department and how does it relate to me?

  •      Consisting of a many faculty based on the Miller school of Medicine, our faculty are immunologists, bacteriologists, virologists and parasitologists.  This fact makes our department multidisciplinary.  Our faculty actively conduct cutting-edge research and many instruct our medical, graduate and undergraduate students.  This allows for your undergraduate career to be relevant to your future aspirations as well as providing you with the best instruction from our knowledgeable lecturers.  One of the advantages of having professors from the medical campus is that they are aware of new developments in their field and are enthusiastic to share that information, with you, the students.

What Should You Expect during your Undergraduate Studies?

  1. You will begin by learning to cultivate, isolate, and identify microorganisms within the laboratory (MIC 301 lab).  This lab instructs you on many techniques and procedures that will be useful to you in any laboratory setting.
  2. You will be exposed to the immune system that we all are born with (Innate Immunity) and later will learn how the body is able to adapt (Adaptive Immunity).
  3. Next, the microorganisms are considered as individual living systems and their biochemical makeup, infectious agents, physiology, genetics, and replication schemes are examined.
  4. Finally, your studies (Special Projects) may focus on how various microorganisms spread within the environment, infect hosts, and produce disease.

What and where is the Cox Science Center?

  •      The Cox Science Center is where the Microbiology & Immunology undergraduate program is located. This building is the hub of your undergraduate career here at the University.  Most of your science courses will be taught in this building including several of ours.  The Microbiology & Immunology laboratory and undergraduate office is housed in this building.  The laboratory is equipped with clinical microscopes as well as other instruments which will provide you with a foundation for your studies.  Additionally, some microscopes can be connected to the student benches allowing for your image to be seen by all of your peers.

Interests [Personal Qualities]:

  1. An inquisitive mind.
  2. A special curiosity about those forms of life usually not seen by others.
  3. An interest in accepting the challenge of studying the smallest of all creatures.
  4. The desire for the hands-on experience of laboratory investigation.
  5. An imaginative mind that wants to pose questions that have not been asked before.
  6. The maturity to accept negative or ambiguous results with the tenacity and resolve to persevere until you finally get it right.
  7. A person can elect to be generalists or a specialist; work alone or as a member of a team; work with the confines of a laboratory or go to where the microbe is found in nature; work with a special orientation, e.g. biochemistry, ecology, genetics, or public health.

Career Opportunities:

Graduate and Professional School Opportunities

Our graduates choose to go to professional schools in:

Medicine (M.D., M.D. Ph.D., M.D. MBA, M.D. MPH, M.D. JD… and D.O.)
Dentistry
Optometry
Pharmacy
Veterinary medicine

Some students decide to change directions entirely and enter:

Law (patent law..)
Business 
Education (private and public, abroad…)
Industry (BioTech, BioPharm, Research and Development, quality control/quality assurance…)

These students tend to combine their scientific knowledge with any of the fields above.

Experiential Opportunities:

  • Increasing opportunities are becoming available for microbiology majors to participate in summer internship programs in research programs in university, governmental and industrial research laboratories. Many students also become involved in summer or part time and volunteer work as research and clinical laboratory technicians. Many also work in laboratories, doctor’s offices and nursing homes to further their clinical interests. It is recommended that students wishing to pursue a career in medicine acquire the following experiences prior to attending medical school:
  • Direct patient interactions (Usually done during the summer months)
  • Research experience (can be done for credit at a certain point to count toward MIC major but can be volunteer until)
  • Extracurricular (particularly leadership experiences)

What is important to get into medical school, graduate school...?

  • GPA, GPA, GPA.  This cannot be stressed enough as professional schools have become very competitive.
  • MCAT, GRE, OAT, DAT, PCAT scores are also very important and you should get the highest score possible.
  • A well rounded undergraduate curriculum: UM's liberal arts degree partnered with our major, will prepare you for anything you plan on doing post-grad.  You will need physician shadowing experiences (hours), clinical experience (hours) which includes patient interactions and research experiences.  Leadership experiences should be taken on gradually i.e. beginning as a member and in the end an executive board member.  For further details about medical school admissions, please setup a file with the Pre-health Office in the Ungar building at the start of your freshman year.  Recommendations from science faculty can be hard to come by so make sure to develop genuine relationships with your instructors and get 'A's in your courses.