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Infectious Diseases, Microbiology and Public Health Sciences

Offered by

Sapienza Università di Roma

Fields of Study

Biological, Geological and Agricultural Sciences, Medical, Pharmaceutical and Veterinary Medical Sciences

Working Languages

Italian, English


Infectious Diseases, Microbiology and Public Health Sciences

Research Areas

The PhD course consists of four curricula: Infectious Diseases, Public Health Sciences and Social Medicine, Microbiology and Parasitology, Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences.


The course has the aim of preparing researchers able to face the study of a complex branch with the assistance of updated technological and knowledge resources. This Ph.D course will be oriented to acquiring knowledge on immune pathogenesis, diagnostics and therapy of infectious diseases. It will be structured on 3 years: the first one directed to scientific training and the following two-year period dedicated to carrying out a research project.

Three different research fields will be available: 1. Antibiotic therapy of infectious diseases; 2. Clinical microbiology and diagnosis of emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases:  The main aim is to form researchers able to act in the field of virology diagnosis and therapy with a modern cultural and technological knowledge. The PhD student should develop knowledge about pathogenic, clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic aspects of viral infections; 3. Immunopathogenesis, virology and vaccines PhD students will expand knowledge on the following fields: a) immunology and virology of HIV infection; b) pathogenesis of coinfections of HIV with tuberculosis, HCV hepatitis or malaria; c) experimental therapies for HIV infection. Researches will be started on pathogenesis and vaccines for AIDS, on coinfection of HIV with tuberculosis, HCV epatiti and malaria.


1. Health sciences provides an answer to the great need of expert researchers in health promotion and in health policies. Many specialists look at this curriculum for its specific orientation in tropical public health that encouraged the application of a large number of foreign students. The curriculum is articulated in the following historical areas: planning and evaluation of public health intervention; environmental health; tropical public health; and microbiology for public health.

The doctorate is designed to prepare experts in the methodology of scientific research able to detect, measure and evaluate the effects of physical, chemical and biological hazards concerning environment and human health through modern detection and monitoring systems, both in terms of quality and quantity. The formation is particularly addressed to the ability of a critical selection and application of new analytical technologies through a monitoring system based on biological systems as well as through the study of pathogenic effects on the environment here as biosphere, and on human populations that are part of it.

2. Social and Forensic Medicine: Social medicine spans over the fields of social care and security, disease control and prevention and health promotion. The aim of doctorate course is to give methodological and scientific tools towards communitarian health and social medicine needs. Various methodologies of epidemiological research of main social diseases are promoted by means of different curriculum pertaining to health service and social security: 1) health planning; 2) regional health service; 3) ethical and legal problems; 4) welfare system in Italy and Institutes (INPS, INAIL); 5) public and private insurance; 6) moral and social implications in interventions on the environment, clinical trials and genetic research and their relation with ethics, law and biology; 7) new trends in health politics and economy; 8) traditional medicine; 9) palliative cures; 10) mental health; 11) social phenomena relevant to medicine and emerging social issues.

Long-term objective of the PhD is to contribute to the formation of researchers who can work independently and authoritatively in the public and private institutions on research themes concerning industrial and environmental hygiene to a level equal with colleagues in other countries in the EU. A key aspect, particularly stressed in the scientific formation of the students, is the development of capacity to collect, organize, and especially to interpret scientific data not only in order to bring to the scientific community new knowledge and greater certainties on the role of environmental health risks, but also with the intent to provide concrete realistic and socially acceptable advice, for the protection of public health.


1. Microbiology and Parasitology aims to provide a deep knowledge of the organisms that cause bacterial and viral infectious diseases and parasitic diseases together with awareness on molecular mechanisms of microbiological and parasitological pathogenesis. The curriculum investigates diagnostic, epidemiological and pathogenic aspects such as: 1) recognition by the parasite of the host; 2) subversion of the host cell metabolism and parasitic protection mechanisms; 3) host-parasite interaction as a drug target; inefficacy of drugs with a selective toxicity against parasites as the cause of new resistant genotypes and problems related to opportunistic infections that stimulated the research of new drugs and new pharmacological approaches; 4) immunological studies on host-parasite interaction; 5) taxonomy studies' contribution to diagnostic, prevention and therapy.

The curriculum is articulated in the following areas: A) host-parasite relationship, taxonomy and diagnosis; B) genetic-molecular analysis of virulence factors; C) emergence of new bacterial and viral organisms; D) molecular basis of antibiotic resistance, new antibiotics, and new approaches to vaccines production.

2. Pharmaceutical Microbiology: The main goal of this curriculum is to train PhD doctors with an advanced and wide knowledge, effective abilities and project-management capacities in the following fields: 1) research and development of new drugs with antimicrobial activity (antibacterial, antiviral and antimycotic); 2) individuation and analysis of mechanisms involved in drug resistance stimulation and development of new strategies to fight the phenomenon in vitro and in vivo; 3) research of new molecular targets for the development of antibacterial, antiviral and antimycotic drugs and for the individuation of molecules able to interact with them. Therefore, the study will particularly focus on the molecules currently employed to treat viral, bacterial and fungic pathologies and to the analysis of their action mechanisms. The students will be able to acquire the ability to evaluate the reasons of successful or unsuccessful clinic employment of different molecules. They will deepen the study of innovative research trends for the development of more effective therapeutic molecules classes. Moreover, they will focus on the physiological and biological aspects in microorganisms' cause of infectious diseases, essential to give to the students basic cognitive tools for carrying on research and development of original therapeutic strategies.

3. Microbial Biotechnology: The aim of this curriculum is focused on different microbial lifestyles such as their ability to aggregate, adhere to abiotic or cell surfaces, form biofilms and penetrate into the host cells. Infections, related to microorganisms able to multiply and colonize host in the above mentioned lifestyle, play a crucial role in human health because they are able to successfully counteract host defense mechanisms as well as to be resistant to classical antibiotic therapies. The design and discovery of innovative methods as biosensors to enumerate microorganisms in different lifestyle is a fundamental requisite in studying, controlling and/or counteracting these infections. The novel methods can be also applied in quality control of materials to be used in vivo as biomaterials for protesis or catheters and nanoparticles for drug delivery. This curriculum will provide knowledge to PhD doctors to discover and develop novel biotechnological products to be industrially synthesized and produced. For this purpose, the requirements and methodologies to fill a patent on innovative drugs or new diagnostic procedures will be described.


The doctoral program offers a wide range training in the specific field spanning from forensic laboratory research in the specific field morphology, and the classic themes such as those proposed by the doctrinal system of medicine which is composed of a homogeneous consequential interpretation - with the methodological steps that good interpenetrate one another by prediction to prevention, from personalization to active participation. Ethics, deontology, and law are ready to face a similar conceptual shift operation with no more ill - centric but more broad approach so as to reach even to cover the fields of behavioral interest. The main objective of this curriculum is to enable young doctoral students to acquire a working methodology paid to the relationship between science and the law and, more pragmatically, between scientific knowledge and procedural dynamics that recently has become increasingly becoming complex. The Forensic Medicine, therefore , interprets the phenomenon especially in terms of etiology and needs to apply a method to explain deductively and with the scientific view that the uniformity required, the law employs the interpretation medico - legal and processes, along with other parameters, for demonstration of proof of causation, unequivocally characterize so the diversity of substance and that there should exist between the biological assessment and evaluation of legal and jurisprudential, not related to each other according to rigorous numerical paradigms, but according anchors of an intellectual nature.

The professionals formed as part of this curriculum will therefore be not only independent, competent and knowledgeable scientists but also skilled professionals. The addresses of the curriculum will indeed be characterized by an interdisciplinary approach in order to provide PhD students with the scientific foundation for putting them not only in the field of academic research, but also in other sectors of the labor market , eg . as part of the advice to the Judicial Authority, in which increasingly specialized skills are required for medico-legal purposes. Cultural content and experimental activities of the PhD have been identified in order to train qualified researchers for institutions aimed at basic and applied biomedical research, as well as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

PhD Full

Starting date:Nov 01, 2017
Duration:36 months

PhD Sandwich

Starting date: from Nov 01, 2017
Duration: from 3 to 12 months


Starting date: from Nov 01, 2017
Duration: from 3 to 12 months

Master research

Starting date: from Nov 01, 2017
Duration: from 3 to 6 months


Academic contact

Martina Vizzani

Institutional contact

Martina Vizzani