Unique Program at Pitt School of Medicine

A person in a graduation gown holds out a rolled up certificate tied with a ribbon

A unique program is in the works at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Students in existing doctoral programs at the University of Pittsburgh will be able to obtain additional training in hearing and vision research and methodology with a Certificate in Hearing Vision Sciences (HVS Doctoral Certificate) from the University of Pittsburgh, which has many world-class faculty and trainees investigating hearing and vision sciences.

The idea came about a few years ago when Thanos Tzounopoulos, PhD, Director of the Pittsburgh Hearing Research Center (PHRC) and Endowed Professor and Vice Chair of Research, Department of Otolaryngology started discussing it with the Vice Chair of Research of Ophthalmology at the time, Jeff Gross.

Dr. Tzounopoulos’ idea was to develop a program to train the next generation of hearing and vision researchers both in basic and translational research. “This goal could be accomplished by offering additional coursework and opportunities for collaborative research and mentorship with basic and translational hearing and vision researchers, and we have many outstanding hearing and vision scientists here at Pitt,” he said.

It is estimated that students who complete this certificate will add a maximum of six months to their overall graduate studies, as the requirements will be spread over years two to four of graduate study.

The Departments of Otolaryngology, Ophthalmology, and the Brain Institute will fund up to five students per year for the first five years, and then apply for a training grant to continue support.

Dr. Tzounopoulos is the Executive Director of the program, with John Ash, PhD, E. Ronald Salvitti Professor of Ophthalmology Research, Vice-Chair of Ophthalmology and Director of Research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as Executive Co-Director. Ophthalmology and Otolaryngology Department Chairs Dr. José-Alain Sahel, MD, and Dr. José P. Zevallos, MD, MPH, are on the Executive Committee, along with Peter Strick, PhD, Thomas Detre Professor & Chair of Neurobiology and Scientific Director, University of Pittsburgh Brain Institute. Holly Hill is the Program Administrator.