Courses and Requirements


First Year Courses - MCB Curriculum 

Required courses are numbered 1-10.

1. MCB 700 Analytical Skills (1) 
Offered: Fall 
Molecular and Cellular Biosciences students will begin their graduate education with this 1-credit course focused on data acquisition and analysis methods. Balancing theory and practice, it will refresh their mathematical skills; describe techniques for isolating and characterizing cells and their macromolecular components; explore methods for manipulating genes and performing high-throughput assays; and introduce bioinformatics approaches. A series of take-home exercises reinforce problem-based learning. MCB 700 will be offered as 10 x 1.5 h. sessions in the two weeks preceding fall term.

2. MCB 701 Molecular and Cellular Biosciences A (6) 
Offered: Fall 
Molecular and Cellular Biosciences students will take a two-semester core course that will cover fundamental principles of the discipline.  The overall goal of the course is to develop the student's understanding of molecular and cellular biosciences in the context of biomedical research as it relates to human disease. 

In the fall semester students will focus on the basic building blocks of the cell, their synthesis, cellular metabolism and intracellular transport.  The semester is broken into five blocks or themes that in order roughly cover; 1) proteins and enzymes; 2) carbohydrates and lipids; 3) DNA and genetics; 4) gene expression, RNA and genomics; and 5) intracellular sorting and the cytoskeleton.   The course is in the format of didactic lectures and meets for 6 hrs per week (four 90 min lectures/week).  Students are evaluated on the performance of 5 written exams given at the end of each block.  Other Tracks may elect to have students take one or more blocks as 1 unit courses to be co-listed under their track.

3. MCB702. Molecular and Cellular Biosciences B (6) 
Offered: Spring 
In the second semester students will focus on cell growth and cell death, cell-cell communication and developmental biology, homeostasis with the environment (endocrinology) followed by an introduction to selected major systems in the body.  The semester is broken into five blocks or themes that in order roughly cover 1) cell cycle, cell death and oncogenes, tumor suppressors; 2) cell-cell communication and stem cells; 3) endocrinology, 4) cardiovascular system, respiratory system and bacteriology; and 5) immunology and virology.   The course is in the format of didactic lectures and meets for 6 hrs per week (four 90 min lectures/week).  Students are evaluated on the performance of 5 written exams given at the end of each block.  Other Tracks may elect to have students take one or more blocks as 1 unit courses to be co-listed under their track. Although not a requirement, it is expected that students are familiar with material covered in MCB 700.

4. MCB 703 (1), 704 (1), 705 (1). Introduction to MCB Research 
Offered: Fall and Spring  
MCB students will gain experience with the planning and execution of research, and the interpretation and presentation of experimental results. To put these principles into practice, they will carry out mentored research projects in the laboratories of three different Molecular and Cellular Biosciences faculty members.

5. GRAD 713 (1), 714 (1). Scientific Professionalism and Integrity 
Offered: Fall and Spring  
The Problem-Based Learning Method (PBL) is used to teach students in small groups to identify discipline-specific and broad professional norms and obligations for the ethical practice of science. Content will include the norms and principles for the responsible conduct of scientific research such as data acquisition, management, sharing and owner­ship, publication practices, and responsible authorship. Emphasis will be placed on learning the tenets of responsible conduct of research, the current regulatory and legal climate, as well as the underlying norms and principles that shaped these concepts. Topics will include the student and advisor relationship, laboratory dynamics, collaborations in science, appropriate handling of data and appropriation of credit, plagiarism, conflicts of interest and financial responsibility. Students will acquire skills to recognize ethical issues in the practice of science, identify role obligations, and develop sound ethical reasoning to address these issues. The courses also include plenary session presentations by experts on topics of professional development, such as preparing manuscripts and grant applications and policies regarding conduct of animal and human subject research.

 6. GRAD 701 (1). Seminars in Professional and Career Development. 
Offered: Fall and Spring 
A monthly seminar course, primarily for first-year graduate students, in which invited speakers give presentations on the training and career development that led them to their current professions. Typically, there are four speakers per semester from a variety of organizations, such as undergraduate colleges, research institutions, biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies, law firms, and scientific journal editorial offices. In addition to the formal presentations, students also have the opportunity to interact with speakers in smaller groups over lunch and in other informal settings. Each student is required to write a short paper at the end of the semester describing a career track, other than the one for which they are currently training, and their plan for becoming a competitive job applicant in that area.

7-9. MCB Electives (2), (2), (2).  
Offered: Fall and Spring 
MCB students will select three program-specific electives from an array of 15 courses.  The MMTS program offers two courses in the spring semester, as described below.  Foundations of Translational Science is required for MMTS students and must be taken either during the MCB year or the following year.

 8. MCB-752. Foundations of Translational Science (2). 
Offered: Spring (mid-Jan - early Mar) 
Builds on the student's basic biochemistry and cell biology knowledge with an intensive examination of the molecular basis of human disease and its' treatment. The course mixes lectures with a case-based approach to take students through the diagnosis, physiology, pathophysiology, and the molecular mechanisms of several diseases. Learning issues are developed by the group, centered upon treatment options, their mechanisms of action, the appropriate design of clinical trials to test new therapies, and the research base for further advances in prevention and treatment. MD and PhD facilitators assist with student-led discussions. Relevant, current literature is examined.

 9.MCB-753. Introduction to Regenerative Medicine (2). 
Offered: Spring (mid-Mar - early May) 
The course will address fundamental principles and progress in regenerative medicine (RM) and tissue engineering (TE) research in recent years. RM integrates the fundamentals of cell and molecular biology, materials science, biomedical engineering, and clinical science. The goal of RM and TE is to develop materials and therapies to repair or replace cells, tissues, and organs damaged by disease, trauma, or congenital conditions. Successful clinical translation of TE/RM therapies requires the expertise of scientists, engineers and clinicians. The main topics discussed during the course will include cell sources and biomaterials for RM and TE, cellular therapies, strategies for gene therapy and animal models, as well as ethical and regulatory issues. In addition the course will consider issues relevant to stem cell biology, biomaterials selection and evaluation of functional tissue formation and healing. Students will be required to prepare and present a research summary of an RM and TE application. 

Second Year Courses - MMTS Curriculum, Statistics, and Electives
Required courses are numbered 10-14.

 10. MMTS 711, 712. Translational Science Seminar Series. (1, 1) 
Offered: Fall and Spring
Faculty and students jointly describe their research in a human disease, first in clinical terms and then to follow the development of the understanding of that disease to the molecular level with an emphasis on translational applications. Presentations introduce students to potential preceptors and experimental strategies used to study human disease. Students present their own research to gain experience and professional skills for seminars and national meeting presentations.

11. STATISTICS. MMTS students must take a course in statistics.  The requirement can be satisfied by taking one of the following three courses:

CPTS 730. Introduction to Statistics. (4) 
Offered: Fall  
Introduction to statistical concepts and basic methodologies that are prevalent in biomedical literature. Includes discussion topics such as: descriptive statistics, probabil­ity, sampling distributions, hypothesis testing, simple linear regression, correlation, one-way analysis of variance, categorical data analysis, survival analysis, sample size and power analysis, and nonparametric methods.

HES 721. Data Analysis and Interpretation. (3)
Offered: Fall
The application of basic statistical techniques in the analy­sis and interpretation of data in scientific research. Topics include descriptive statistics, simple linear and multiple correlation/regression analysis, t-tests, analysis of variance and co-variance, and non-parametric statistics.

IPP 741. Quantitative Methods in Behavioral Science. (2) 
Offered: Fall 
Addresses applied statistical approaches within common behavioral research studies. Focus is on selection of the most appropriate test for research aims and hypotheses as well as computational methods. Specific topics include power analyses, effect sizes, analyses of variance, t tests, correlation, regression, nonparametric tests, chi square, and post hoc testing.

12. MMTS 715/716. Clinical Experience (1, 1,)
Offered: Fall and Spring
Students who choose to enter the MMTS program must take this course in the fall and spring term of the second year. Serves as an introduction to clinical medicine for the PhD student. Each student observes and participates in clinical activities with his/her clinical mentor. Experiences are custom-designed by the clinical mentor for each student. At the end of the semester, students enrolled in the course meet and each student presents a case study, based on his/her personal clinical experience.

13. MMTS 724. Scientific Development and the Business of Science. (3) 
Offered: Spring 
Review of techniques for effective communication of scientific proposals and presentations, both oral and written. For oral presentations, emphasis is on content organization and connecting with the audience. Assignments include the presentation and critical discussion of papers by the students. For written presentations, the emphasis is on grant proposal development, as well as familiarization with the peer-review process. The course consists of lectures on all aspects of grant development (including budgets and protocols and compliance regulations for human and animal research), and student preparation of a grant proposal. An oral exercise includes the discussion of an NIH RO1 proposal in a mock study section format.

14. RESEARCH.  MMTS students must sign up for the MMTS research course each semester, beginning with the Summer of the first year. The number of hours for research varies, depending on the hours taken in other courses, but must be at least 1.  The total number of hours (including coursework and research) must equal at least 6 in the summer term and at least 9 each semester.  

MMTS 791, 792. Research. (1-9) 
Offered: Fall, Spring, and Summer 
Involves closely supervised research in various topics in molecular medicine, with a special emphasis on models of human disease, including research in preparation for the doctoral dissertation. 

ELECTIVES.  MMTS students are encouraged to consult with their advisors and choose elective coursework that complements their area of research during the second year. No specific numbers of hours or courses are required.  Students may choose any graduate level courses in the sciences, including the following MMTS course and electives in the MCB track (see Bulletin). To deepen knowledge in the physiological sciences, selection of blocks in the Integrative Physiology and Pharmacology track course "Systems Physiology and Pharmacology" is especially encouraged.

MMTS 719, 720. Special Topics in Stem Cell Biology. (2) 
Offered: Fall, Spring 
Utilizes directed readings and student presentations of primary literature to introduce students to the field of stem cell biology. Content focuses primarily on human stem cell properties, including pluripotency and its maintenance, the role of chromatin remodeling in fate determination and lineage restriction, self-renewal and differentiation, and the genetic conversion of somatic cells into pluripotent stem cells. The field is expanding rapidly and course content will be modified as needed to incorporate new findings and applications in stem cell biology and translational medicine. A background in the form of undergraduate or graduate courses in and/or developmental biology is strongly recommended.

IPP 702. Systems Physiology and Pharmacology. (1-6)
Offered: Spring 
The second required course for physiology and pharmacology students is composed of five blocks of physiology and pharmacology including blocks on neurophysiology/neuropharmacology (Block 1), cardiovascular physiology/physiology (Block 2), pulmonary/renal systems (Block 3), endocrine physiology/ pharmacology (Block 4) and gastrointestinal and regenerative physiology (Block 5). Each block can be taken for 1 credit.

MMTS 713. Advanced Readings in MMTS (1)
Offered: Summer
This course will allow students to read and discuss literature pertaining to their dissertation research or a specific area of interest in molecular medicine with their advisor. The advisor will choose papers (10/course credit hour) for the student to read and they will meet weekly to discuss the papers. At the end of the course, the student will write a "Current Opinion" -style paper that summarizes the key points of the papers and new insights gained from the literature review. Ideally, this course would be taken in the summers after the first and second years, but will not be limited to this time frame. Prerequisite - Completion of 1st year.

Students are encouraged to participate in a journal club that matches their research interests


COURSES. MMTS students take MMTS 711 and 712 (Translational Science Seminar) and MMTS 791 and 792 (Research) each semester until they file their intent to graduate.  Total hours must be 9 in the fall and spring semesters and 6 in the summer term.

PRELIMINARY EXAMINATION.  MMTS students should take their preliminary examination by September 1st of their third year. Students who enter the program with the MD or DVM degree are to take preliminary exam by September 1st of Year Two.


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Molecular Medicine and Translational Science Graduate Program

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