Department of Biomedical Sciences

Robert J. Visalli, PhD

I am Dr. Robert Visalli, associate professor of virology and chair of the department of biomedical sciences at Mercer University School of Medicine (MUSM).  Welcome to the home page of the newly formed Department of Biomedical Sciences at MUSM.  The Division of Basic Medical Sciences on the Macon Campus and the Department of Biomedical Sciences on the Savannah Campus have recently been merged into a single department of biomedical sciences, and we are excited at the possibility of greater collaboration between campuses in our teaching, research and service endeavors.

A strong clinically oriented, case-centered basic sciences curriculum emphasizing active learning of basic sciences in the context of its application, and occurring primarily in small groups of 6-9 students and facilitated by a faculty member (basic scientist / clinicians) has been a unique feature of the M.D. program here at MUSM since the school was founded in 1982.  The Year 1 and 2 M.D curriculum has undergone significant revision recently with greater emphasis on integration of basic medical sciences with medical ethics, professionalism, and health systems science, and detailed information on the revised curriculum can be found here.   The overall purpose of the Year 1 and Year 2 curriculum is to enable a strong background in topics foundational for Years 3 and 4 of the curriculum and for the subsequent study and practice of medicine.  Foundational elements are found in biomedical sciences, and also include fundamentals of clinical medicine, health systems science, evidence-based medicine, humanism, medical humanities, and medical ethics.Mentor Responsibilities

In terms of pedagogy,  in the new Year 1 and 2 curriculum, there also are large-group interactive sessions in addition to small group case based learning sessions.  Some of the large-group interactive sessions use a team-based learning format.  Nearly all faculty members in the department participate in the M.D. curriculum as facilitators of case-based learning in small groups, resource faculty in their areas of expertise, as evaluators of student learning, and as advisors for students.  

I strongly encourage you to learn more about the research interests, current research, and accomplishments of faculty in our department, and to contact us if you have any questions.  The Department of Biomedical Sciences is revitalizing research by recruiting additional faculty with major interests in scholarly activity,  and by increasing collaboration between basic science and clinical faculty.  Since 2012, the Division of Basic Medical Sciences on the Macon Campus has been offering a a one-year, non-thesis Master of Science in Preclinical Sciences program.  The two main goals of this program are to prepare graduates for careers in science teaching, academic laboratory research, publishing or policy-making, and to enhance the scientific knowledge of graduates who desire to pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences, a medical degree through either a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) program, or other degrees in healthcare, such as in Pharmacy, Physician Assistant, or Dentistry.  For more information about this program including applying, please visit this link.

The Masters in Biomedical Sciences Program (MS-BMS) is a research-intensive, thesis-based graduate program designed to prepare students for employment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries; healthcare; teaching; and for further postgraduate studies at the doctoral level in medicine (M.D, D.O), dental medicine (DMD), or in basic and applied/translational research (PhD).  Students in this program will work closely with research mentors in the department of Biomedical Sciences in the Macon Campus or the Savannah Campus.  For more information about this program including applying, please visit this link.