The main learning output of the BioHC Master Thesis is the students’ ability to work on a joint research programs, which need a genuine interdisciplinary and translational approach. Rather than dissecting complex disease processes and studying the individual parts of living systems, the BioHC Master Thesis focuses on understanding complete systems and the underlying interactions of the different forces that make up that system. The Research Project allows the student, to develop integrated system-wide approaches, including clinics, environment, omics and high-throughput techniques, combined with mathematical modeling and simulation, which hold great potential for: (i) understanding the biological complexity of human-aggressors-drugs-environment interactions, and (ii) translating it into predictive, preventive and personalized medicine.
The opportunity, for the student to apply concepts, methodologies and tools from Systems medicine and Bioengineering, in a mentored Research Project, is the most critical component of the BioHC Master programme. It is anticipated that the thesis will be relevant to the student’s track and will address a question of importance in the student’s field. Students are expected to design a research project, write a formal research protocol, perform the study described in it, and prepare a comprehensive scholarly scientific paper reporting the results. To achieve their research project, students are required to write a scientific paper with an international dimension under guidance of their research supervisors, and to give a presentation about the research performed. The scientific paper must be approved by the director and be suitable for submission to an international, scientific journal. The thesis must be accepted by the student’s thesis committee, consisting of his or her advisor and two members of the Scientific Committee of the BioHC programme. After approval of the dissertation, in June, the students must undergo a scientific communication in a special session of the BioHC Summer School.
Students are expected to design a Research Project, to write a formal research protocol, to perform the study described in it, and to prepare a comprehensive scholarly scientific paper reporting the results. Optionally, part of the Research Project can be conducted at another institute or company outside Partner Universities, but in this case, it is always under supervision of a Partner University staff member. Some students will be introduced to another student coming from a complementary track, to develop an original Joint Research Work, under the co-supervision of two staff members of the participating research and teaching groups of the BioHC Consortium. The iterative application of different approaches, promises to transform the student’s understanding of medical questions, and yield wide-ranging applications in medicine, health engineering, and drug development.