General information & Training offer

The DOCTORATE in GENETICS, ONCOLOGY and CLINICAL MEDICINE (GenOMeC) at the University of Siena trains students to carry out research in Medical Genetics, Oncological Genetics, and Oncological Surgery over a three years program. The aim of this Doctoral School is to train researchers that will be able to plan and develop competitive research proposals. After the Doctoral School, they may follow an academic career in an Italian or a foreign University or may work in research-oriented public or private institutions.

The main aim of medical research is to define the molecular basis of diseases and to translate scientific knowledge in concrete applications for diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases.

The PhD student will acquire theoretical and practical knowledge on the latest molecular techniques such as “array-CGH”, “next-generation sequencing” and “genetic reprogramming” that allows obtaining iPS (induced Pluripotent Stem cells) from adult human fibroblasts and to differentiate them into neurons or other cellular types (educational training in Medical Genetics). Specific educational training focused on pharmacogenomics is aimed at the identification of personalized therapy for each individual (educational training in Pharmacogenetics and clinical pharmacology). Particular attention will be given to the molecular basis and therapeutic strategies of cancer. The PhD student will be able to: i) carry out clinical-epidemiological-observational studies of thoracic and intestinal cancers (educational training in Surgical oncology), of melanomas and onco-haematopoiesis (educational training in Hematological oncology and dermatological oncology); ii) choose the appropriate molecular methods to identify new targets for the design of targeted therapies and new diagnostic, prognostic and predictive markers for therapy response (educational training in Oncological Genetics). One educational training focused on Clinical Immunology, will train researchers capable of developing research projects concerning rare diseases including immune idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, emphysema-alpha-1-antitrypsin deficit and rare autoimmune and autoinflammatory rheumatic diseases. This educational training will also train researches with pre-clinical and clinical expertise to develop new targeted therapeutic agents and new strategies for cancer immunotherapy.

Students will be attending only one of the above mentioned courses, at the end of which they will obtain the PhD title in Oncology and Genetics.

Starting from the first year, students will develop their own research, under the direction of a supervisor chosen among the Faculty Board of the Doctoral School.

Laboratory spaces available for students are located at 1st floor 3rd block (Laboratory of Medical Genetics with 20 workstations) and at ground floor educational block (Laboratory of Biomedical Technologies and Experimental Oncology with 18 workstations) of Policlinico S Maria alle Scotte, Viale Bracci 2, Siena and inside Toscana Life Sciences (TLS) Foundation, via Torre Fiorentina 1 (ITT Core Research Laboratory, Signal Transduction Unit). Detailed laboratory description

PhD students will spend from 70% to 90% of their time in a laboratory using the current techniques of molecular genetics and cell biology. Students, with MD degree, can use about 20% of their time in the clinical activity being in contact with patients for whom research project will be designed. The remaining 10% of the time will be devoted to lessons and seminars held by Faculty Board or foreign professors (see “seminars” link for those already held). Students are encouraged to undertake periods of research in foreign academic institutions, as long as it helps them make progress in their research; for this purpose, they will receive financial support from the University of Siena (see below).

Every year, students present the state of their research in a public seminar. Based on this seminar and on reaching at least 60 credits, it is decided on the admission to the following year. Credits can be obtained as follows:

  • Annual Presentation at PhD day (Presentation max 5; Content max 5; Questions +/- 1; Final test max 4)

  • Publication on international journal (20 credits if first author, 15 credits if co-author)

  • Participation at congresses with abstract presentation (8 credits for international congress, 5 credits for national congress)

  • Participation at congresses with oral presentation (15 credits for international congress, 10 credits for national congress)

  • Participation to progress reports and GenOMeC seminars (10 credits)

  • National stages (1 credit/week)

  • International stages (2 credits/week)

  • Patent (5 credits)

  • Collaboration to teaching activity (max 4 credits for each course for which the PhD student is appointed "collaboratore alla didattica") .

The PhD is awarded after discussion of an original scientific work. This must be written in English.

Further information

All internal decisions about the doctorate are taken by the Faculty Board (Collegio dei Docenti), whose coordinator is Prof. Francesca Ariani.

Queries on matters under the competence of the "Collegio Docenti" and requests for further information can be addressed to