Admission to the program is granted on a competitive basis and is achieved through the procedures described below.
Right after the deadline a pre-selection will take place. The pre-selection is based on the information included in the application form and in the reference letters submitted. Candidates with excellent academic records, previous research experience related to the main topics of the program and experience abroad are preferred. Candidates with the best scores are shortlisted and invited for the examination in Milan.
It consists of:
- a multiple-choice test including 60 questions: 20 questions will mainly cover general biology, 20 will be logical reasoning questions and 20 questions will be related to the specific subject of the chosen program (see the topics below)
The following are the main areas covered in the multiple-choice test. Any book that covers them can be used as reference.
- General Biology:
- Biochemistry: Macromolecules: proteins and nucleic acids, structure and function
- Molecular and cellular biology: The prokaryotic cell (general); The eukaryotic cell: biological membranes and organelles, the nucleus, cellular communication; General information on DNA duplication; RNA and transcription; Translation: genetic code and protein synthesis; Cell division (mitosis and meiosis).
- Genetics: Inheritance (gene definition, allele, character, genotype and phenotype); Mendel's laws; Spontaneous and induced mutations; Gene, chromosomal and genomic mutations; Gene interactions and epistasis; Pleiotropy; Lethal genes.
Alphanumeric series; problem solving; logical reasoning.
- Molecular Oncology & Human Genetics
The molecular basis of cancer; Oncogenic RNA and DNA viruses; Proto-oncogenes and oncogenes; Tumor suppressor genes; DNA repair genes; Angiogenesis; Neoplastic progression; Invasivity and metastasis; The neoplastic phenotype; Genetic predisposition; Growth - Differentiation - Cell death; Genomic instability; Morphological and metabolic characteristics of cancer cells; Genetics and cancer; Characteristics of human chromosomes (sex chromosomes, karyotype, polyploidy, monosomies, trisomies, aneuploidies, structural variations of chromosomes); Formal human genetics; Mendel's laws; Pedigrees; Types of inheritance with related diseases.
- Computational Biology
Common bioinformatics tools and databases; Statistics (descriptive statistics, distributions, hypothesis testing, multiple testing correction); Sequencing technologies; Cancer genomics (population genetics, driver gene detection); Network biology (types and properties of relations between molecules).
- Medical Humanities
Experimental psychology and cognitive science with associated sub-topics: cognition and information processing, perception, memory, learning, attention, emotion, language, communication, reasoning, judgement and decision-making; metacognition and moral judgment; prevention and behavioral change; basic concepts of: methodology for social sciences, science and scientific research, research design in psychology and social sciences, psychological assessment and research ethics.
- General Biology:
- an oral exam aimed to evaluate the scientific background of the candidates, as well as their motivation to succeed in a demanding program.
The examination will be only held in Milan. No examination centers in other countries or Skype examination are foreseen.
Personal interviews with the group leaders that offer a position are foreseen after the oral examination.