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MUSC Bulletin | College of Graduate Studies

Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology Training Program

Section Contents
Admission | Program of Study | Completion of a Program of Study | Qualifying Examination | Faculty Research Interests | Required Core Course Descriptions | Advanced Courses in the MCBP Program Listed By Division

The goal of the Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology (MCBP) Training Program is to produce basic researchers who are qualified to pursue investigative careers and to become leaders in fundamental cellular and molecular biology. One of the major themes pf the program is the utilization of state of the art molecular approaches to obtain a better understanding of the disease process in man. The program offers opportunities for study and investigative work in many phases of cellular and molecular biology. Members of the faculty are engaged in a variety of interdisciplinary projects which include clinical applications as well as basic studies. The granting of the Ph.D. degree is based on evidence of general proficiency and of distinctive attainments in the field of cellular and molecular biology and pathobiology, particularly upon the demonstrated ability to carry on independent and original investigation.

The Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology training program includes over 140 faculty members who participate in one or more of seven inter-departmental doctoral research training tracks or divisions representing areas of significant interest in the basic biomedical and clinical sciences. The MCBP Divisions or program tracks of study are:

Cancer Biology - The Cancer Biology Division, an interdisciplinary program leading to a Ph.D. degree, was established in 2001 to provide students with training in diverse areas of cancer biology research. Cancer is a multi-step disease resulting from a series of genetic and epigenetic changes that abrogate normal cellular controls. The goal of the program is to develop within each student the approach to scientific thought founded upon basic molecular biology relevant to cancer needed for original research as an independent investigator in cancer biology.

The Cancer Biology Program is composed of MUSC faculty whose interests include basic studies in molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, cell biology and immunology and translational research focused on problems of immediate clinical applicability. The Cancer Biology curriculum provides an overview of cancer biology and allows students the opportunity to pursue research under faculty mentors who conduct research relevant to understanding the molecular or cellular basis of any aspect of the cause, characteristics and treatment of cancer. Students are encouraged to use the resources and expertise of several laboratories during the development of their cancer-related dissertation projects, providing an enhanced experience that increases the expertise and competitiveness of our graduates. Successful students complete a publishable research project under a faculty mentor and present the research as a thesis.

Cardiovascular Biology - The Cardiovascular Biology Division is made up of over thirty faculty members from basic science and clinical departments with the goal of training students for careers as independent investigators studying the molecular and cellular aspects of cardiovascular physiology and disease. One of the medical triumphs of the latter half of the twentieth century is the remarkable advancement that has been made in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Despite these advances, cardiovascular disease still remains the most common fatal and disabling disorder in the United States. Over the last two decades we have made tremendous progress in our understanding of the molecular aspects of biology. Now we have the opportunity to use these new and powerful molecular tools to explore complex biological systems, such as the heart.

The research focus of the Cardiovascular Biology Division is to find bold new approaches to aid our understanding, diagnosis and treatment of heart disease. Some areas of research interests in this program include gene regulation in heart development, differentiation and disease, regulation of cardiovascular function and metabolism, regulation of muscle contraction and protein turnover, and signal tranduction pathways in development and disease.

The Cardiovascular Biology Division is one of the divisions of the Molecular and Cellular Biology Program. Students who have satisfactorily completed the First Year Curriculum are qualified to enter the program. During their second and third year, students will complete at least 12 semester hours of advanced course work including Integrative Biology of the Cardiovascular System (MCBP-728) and the Molecular Basis of Cardiovascular Disease (MCBP-739), as well as other electives. These cover topics such as signal transduction, gene expression, genetic engineering and gene therapy, and genetics and development of the cardiovascular system. In addition, students will participate in the cardiovascular journal club.

Cell Regulation - Cell regulation refers to the process by which extracellular substances produce an intracellular response.  This is a normal event by which hormones, neurotransmitters and other substances regulate cell function. In addition to these endogenous agents, many drugs and environmental compounds use these same mechanisms to produce their most important effects.  Many research opportunities related to cell signaling mechanisms, including both basic signaling processes themselves and aberrant signaling mechanisms related to disease states, exist within this program.  Indeed, many of the most recent breakthroughs in drug development stem from basic studies on signaling molecules.

Genetics & Development - The Division of Genetics and Development offers training and research in the field of genetics and developmental biology, which utilizes a variety of animal models to assess gene functions in embryonic development.  Modern developmental genetics has become the central organizing field in all traditional disciplines in biology, such as cell biology, molecular biology, anatomy, evolution, and ecology.  It has also contributed greatly to more practical fields such as medicine, environmental science and agriculture.  The model systems studied by the faculty members include Drosophila (fruit fly) for oogenesis and vascular system development, zebrafish for environmental impact on embryogenesis, Xenopus (frog) for neurogenesis, chick for the formation of cardiovascular system, mice for a variety of organogenesis such as limb and follicle development, hematopoiesis, heart formation and mammary development, and human familial diseases for genetic linkage studies.  In addition to transgenic and knockout technology, a variety of cell culture systems, including those for human stem cells, are utilized in the research.

Marine Biomedicine & Environmental Sciences (MBES) - The MBES track provides training for the Ph.D. degree in numerous aspects of marine molecular biosciences that relate to environmental and human health.  Key to the program is the active collaboration of our other on-site partner institutions, National Ocean Service (NOAA), Grice Marine Lab (College of Charleston), Marine Resources Research Institute (SC Department of Natural Resources), and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. These institutions and MBES occupy a 90-acre campus at Ft. Johnson, site of the beginning of the Civil War. Together these institutions provide a rich collection of varied research mentors and training opportunities for MBES students in federal, state and academic institutions.  In addition to separate laboratories on the same campus, these partner institutions occupy space in the newly-constructed Hollings Marine Laboratory, an 80,000 sq. ft. facility dedicated to molecular biology and structural chemistry of the marine environment.

The purpose of the MBES curriculum is to combine a solid background in molecular and cellular biology with flexible, individually-tailored programs in which students use cutting-edge molecular skills to solve environmentally relevant questions including those affecting human health. Thus students are prepared for future leadership roles in marine environmental and health-related sciences. Areas of focus within MBES include marine genomics, eco-toxicology, proteomics, bioinformatics, environmental carcinogenesis, marine natural products chemistry, marine biotoxins, marine mammal immunology, and structural biology (x-ray crystallography and nuclear magnetic resonance). Examples of current student doctoral research include microbial degradation of crude oil, nickel and tricholoethylene, functional genomic approaches to environmental stress and infection in shrimp, identification of antibiotic peptides in shrimp and oysters, molecular mechanisms of disease resistance in dolphins, molecular mechanisms of stingray adaptation to changing external salinity, molecular mechanisms of heavy metal detoxification in oysters and detoxification of the pesticide, atrazine, in phytoplankton.

The curriculum for first-year students involves comprehensive and integrated studies of biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology with journal clubs, seminars, and workshops. The second year consists of specialized courses in which the principles of the first year are applied to focus topics such as Marine Genomics, Proteomics, Bioinformatics, Biogeochemistry, Pollution Microbiology, Marine Natural Products Chemistry, and Molecular Immunity in Marine Animals.

More detail on the MBES program can be found at

Cardiovascular Imaging - The newly established Cardiovascular Imaging division offers training and coursework leading to the Ph.D.  The coursework is diverse, emphasizing a combination of basic science and advanced imaging modalities and techniques.  The research programs are challenging and contemporary, covering a browad range of interests and thoroughly training the candidates in cardiovascular imaging skills.  The program broadly revolves around image acquisition and post-processing methods for clinical and preclinical cardiovascular imaging.  For clinical studies, computed tomography, magnetic resonance, nuclear medicine, echocardiography, and invasive cardiovascular imaging for the assessment of acquired and congenital cardiovascular disease will be utilized.  For translational research applications, MUSC has available state-of-the-art small animal imaging facilities, including micro-CT, micro-PET, optical imaging, and high field-strength MRI, as well as a wide array of in vitro modalities for assessing biology on a cellular level.

The MCBP student in the structural biology track will obtain a solid foundation in macromolecular structure, biophysical methods, proteomics, and bioinformatics. Specific methods for structure elucidation include X-ray crystallography, nuclear magnetic resonance, and mass spectrometry. Macromolecular structure/function relationships as they relate to disease processes and therapies will also be studied.

Applicants should have a superior undergraduate academic record, with a GPA of at least 3.2. A strong basic science background is required, with emphasis in biological and physical sciences. Applicants normally are expected to have training in organic chemistry, calculus, advanced biology, and physics. Scores on the aptitude portion of the GRE should be above the 70th percentile. Strong letters of recommendation from academic sources are expected. A personal interview is recommended.

Program of Study
During the early stages of a student’s program, academic guidance will be provided by the coordinator of graduate studies and the Graduate Training Committee. When a dissertation topic is selected, the student will choose an advisor, pick one of the MCBP Divisions, and form an Advisory Committee comprised of at least four other members of the program faculty. The Advisory Committee will provide guidance and monitor progress during the remainder of the student’s Ph.D. program.

Completion of a Program of Study
After completion of the first year curriculum, predoctoral students are expected to continue to obtain a broad background in the basic sciences by taking at least 12 units of advanced courses. During the second year students will choose one of the MCBP research tracks or Divisions. Six of the advance course units will come from courses offered from that Division. The remaining units may be chosen from a wide variety of available graduate electives in the other MCBP divisions or in any of the basic science departments. The student’s Advisory Committee must approve the course of study. Students are also required to take MCBP 724 (2 units), Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology each semester until the semester they defend their dissertation. On Mondays, students give formal seminar presentations and on Thursdays, outstanding national and international visiting scientists from different fields present their work. The MCBP advanced courses are listed on the MCBP website (

Qualifying Examination
The qualifying examination is in two parts. Part I is a written, open-book exam to be taken after the student’s second year of graduate study. The objective of the exam is to test the student’s ability to research the literature on particular subjects. Part II is an oral exam designed to test the student’s knowledge of areas of advanced study, to reveal his/her ability to think, and to assess the maturity of his/her thought process as a scientific investigator. This latter exam shall be based on the student’s plan of research. The oral exam will be taken within six months after successful completion of the written qualifying exam.

A plan of research, admission to candidacy, teaching experience, presentation of research seminar, dissertation, and final examination requirements are the same as previously cited for other Ph.D. programs.

Cancer Biology Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Cardiovascular Biology Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Cell Regulation Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Genetics and Development Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences Faculty and Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Structural Biology Faculty Research Interests
Faculty research interests can be found on the web at or by using the myGrants search tool at

Required Core Course Descriptions
Students are required to take at least 12 units of advanced course work beyond the common first year curriculum. Students can take any course offered in any of the MCBP Divisions. Students are recommended to take two (three unit) courses in their chosen MCBP division and any two (three unit) courses outside of their Division. Selection of courses should be made with your mentor and with the approval of your graduate committee. Students may also take courses offered by any of the other departments in the graduate program at MUSC. In addition students in the MCBP Program are required to register for MCBP-724 Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology every semester from their second year to the date of their Final Defense.

MCBP-724. Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology. Thursday MCBP Seminar Series. The Thursday 4:00 pm MCBP External Seminar Series invites leading scientists from the United States and foreign countries to present their work to both students and faculty in the MCBP Program. These seminars are on a broad range of topics representing each of the six divisions within the MCBP Program. Importantly, students have the opportunity to meet informally with the speakers over lunch.  1 s.h.  Fall/Spring 

Advanced Courses in the MCBP Program Listed by Division
Most courses are offered every other year. Please note that some courses are offered in multiple divisions.

Cancer Biology and Cell Regulation Divisions
MCBP-725G. Special Topics. Class will meet once a week for 3 hours and will discuss the week's topic and any questions from the precious weeks lecture and reading.  No specific textbook will be used.  Reading material for each lecture will be provided from various sources. Section 1: 3 cr. hr., Spring,  Section 2: 3 cr. hr., spring, D.

MCBP-725D. Topics in Cancer Research. Two presentation formats will be used for the course.  Initially, a faculty member will introduce and direct all students in the discussion of selected literature concerning a single topic. Subsequent topics will be presented by individual students in Journal Club style. Each student will have two opportunities to present selected topics during the course and will be active discussants when other students present. Topics to be covered include:

Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes
Cell Migration
Cell Proliferation and Cycle Control                
Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressor Genes
Tumor Invasion
Cell Adhesion                  
Cell Migration
Signal Transduction and Growth Regulation
Molecular Profiling
Translation Applications                          
Transgenic and Knockout Models

Prerequisites:  None.  Fall Offering. 3 s.h. (Pass/Fail) 

MBIM 782. Tumor Immunology & Immunotherapy. 3 s.h. Spring.

PCOL-725. Advanced topics in Cell Signaling. The vast majority of human diseases  involve defects in cellular communication and therapeutic intervention often targets molecules involved in cell signaling. This course will dissect signaling cascades and their alterations in disease states addressing cutting edge issues. The course will be offered each Fall with the theme rotating among three broad topics: Cell Signaling in the Cardiovascular System, Cell Signaling in Cancer, Cell Signaling in the Nervous System. Specific diseases under these broader categories will be selected by faculty or students and then each disease will be dissected by one of the course participants (oral/written) to understand how signaling events are affected, how signaling dysfunction contributes to the onset or progression of the disease and how signaling events might be targeted in a therapeutic attack on the disease. The course is intended for advanced graduate and postgraduate students and will be coordinated with the Cell-Signaling Seminar Series (organized through the Department of Pharmacology) held each Fall, thus allowing seminar speakers to participate in the course. 3 s.h. Fall.

Cardovascular Biology Division
MCBP-728. Integrative Biology of the Cardiovascular System. This course is designed to build on the Receptors and Signaling and Systems Biology units of the first year curriculum for Ph.D. students to provide the students with an in depth understanding of the structure, function and integration of the cardiovascular system at the human and whole animal levels and the assessment of cardiovascular function in whole animal models including transgenic animals. Current concepts of the cell and molecular biology bases of cardiovascular function, dysfunction and responsiveness to therapeutic interventions will be explored. Course faculty include investigators from Adult Cardiology, Adult Endocrinology, Cell Biology and Anatomy, Pharmacology, Physiology and Neuroscience and Surgery. Relevant material will be addressed through a combination of lectures, discussion of papers from the literature and problem solving exercises (open book). 3 s.h. Offered in Fall Semester of alternate years.

MCBP-739. The Molecular Basis of Cardiovascular Disease. The course is designed to highlight the advances in cardiovascular science and medicine, which will soon form the foundation for novel diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches to treating heart disease.  Over the past decade a growing number of genes, receptors, channels and signaling factors have been shown to play a role in cardiovascular disorders. The course will examine the new approaches and technology that are being utilized to identify the molecular mechanism that these factors play in cardiovascular function and disease.  We will discuss the power of utilizing molecular genetics to unravel heart diseases. We will also look at advances in our understanding of cardiovascular development, and electrophysiology.  We will also discuss how new breakthroughs in tissue engineering may allow for the replacement of diseased myocardium.  The course will also include sections on vascular biology and atherogenesis.  This Course will be taught every other year in the spring.  3 s.h. Offered in Fall Semester of alternate years. 

Genetics and Development Division
MCBP-743. Cellular Signaling Development. This course is designed to build on the Regulation of Gene Expression, Biomembranes, Receptors and Signaling and Systems Biology units of the first year curriculum for Ph.D and complement ongoing Department-specific seminars and journal clubs. Cellular Signaling during development will provide the students with an indepth look at ongoing research in the field of developmental biology with a strong focus on the signaling networks that control these important processes.  It will allow for a broad scope of understanding of the techniques, theories and practices involved in the delineation of cellular signaling in complex systems. 3 cr. hr., spring

MCBP 762. Developmental Biology. This course will provide a current multidisciplinary view of the processes governing embryonic development. It will consist of four major sections: (1) the morphological and molecular events underlying organ formation in multiple model organisms (fly, fish, frog, bird, mouse, and human); (2) gene regulation of developmental processes, including axis formation, embryonic patterning and cell lineage determination; (3) cell biology of the embryo, including a discussion of stem cells, cell migration, apoptosis, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions; and (4) an in-depth examination of selected organ systems (brain, cardiovascular system, and limb). The course is intended for graduate students. This Course will be taught every other year in the fall. 3 s.h.  Spring.

Marine Biomedicine & Environmental Science Division
MCBP-725H. Coral Biology: The Complex Role of Microorganisms in Coral Health and Disease.
This course is directed towards students interested in coral ecosystems, as well as molecular approaches to assessing microbial diversity and function. Students will gain direct experience writing an NSF-style proposal as a research team targeting NSF's Microbial Interactions and Processes initiative. 3 s.h. Summer.  P.

MCBP-731. Biogeochemistry of the Oceans. This course will focus on global and biogeochemical cycles in the oceans (carbon being one of enormous significance) and on the behavior and transport of natural and anthropogenic compounds, including persistent organic pollutants (POPs), in the oceans.  A specific focus will be on the role of microorganisms in geochemical cycles and transformation of organic/inorganic pollutants in ocean systems.  Since there is also a significant policy component to ocean biogeochemistry (i.e., storage of carbon dioxide in the oceans as an example), these issues will also be addressed, bringing in the necessary expertise from regional, state and federal agencies.  The course will focus on discussions and presentations of articles from the primary literature, student-coordinated debates, science-driven short writings (1 page) based on high profile policy issues, and a short (5 page) term paper.  The final exam will consist of a formal oral presentation of the term paper topic (all faculty and students in the Marine Biomedicine & Environmental Sciences program will be invited to attend).  As necessary, faculty from the five Ft. Johnson institutions (MUSC, NOS, NIST, SC DNR, CofC) will be recruited to contribute to lectures and discussions.  No formal text will be required. 3 s.h.  Fall.  P.

MCBP-733. Biomolecular Structure & Function. The underlying aim of this course is to emphasize the value of structural information as a tool for understanding the function of biological systems.  Because precision in structure is an important factor in most (if not all) biomolecular processes, the skills gained in this course can be applied in any chosen field of biology.  As well as principles of macromolecular structure, the course will cover several techniques used to obtain high-resolution structure, such as X-ray crystallography and NMR. Some landmark studies in structural biology will be described, including the structure of DNA and of the ribosome. 2 s.h.  Spring. 

MCBP-734. Immunology of Marine Organisms. The emphasis of this course will be to build on the mammalian immune system foundation taught in the First Year Curriculum by presenting examples of immune systems from marine organisms that illustrate two themes.  The first theme will be the evolution of immunity. Marine invertebrates possess only innate immune mechanisms, and present an outstanding opportunity to demonstrate the importance of this system. It will be emphasized that all vertebrates, despite their sophisticated T and B cell-based adaptive immune systems, still require the essential services of innate immunity for survival in the face of infectious disease.  The second theme will be the impact of the aquatic environment on the nature of infectious disease and immune function. The students will be challenged to consider and answer the following questions?  Does the aquatic environment produce quite different types of infectious disease challenge?  If so, what unique immune defense mechanisms have evolved in aquatic organisms to combat the infectious disease challenges related to this environment? 2 s.h. Spring.

MCBP-735. Marine Natural Products Chemistry. This course will include chromatography, chemical biosynthesis, total synthesis, structural analysis, isolation and culturing.  Course Outline will include Introduction to MNP; Search, Isolation, and Culturing; Chromatography; Structural analysis; Chemical synthesis/Biosynthesis, and Conclusions. 3 s.h. Spring.

MCBP-737. Marine Ecogenomics. This course provides an overview of contemporary functional genomics applied to economically and ecologically important marine species. Emphasis is placed on Crustacea, specifically shrimp, as this group of invertebrates is the focus of a multidisciplinary and multi-institutional research and graduate training program through Marine Biomedicine and Environmental Sciences.  The course is divided into 3 major areas reflecting the academic disciplines brought to bear on this highly integrative field: genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. 3 s.h. Spring.

MCBP-738. Cellular Defense Against Foreign Chemicals. This course will provide an understanding of the role of intestinal and other epithelial cells as the body’s barriers against foreign chemicals. This includes how transporters in the cell membranes are handling cytotoxins and carcinogens, but also drugs and dietary chemicals.  This also includes how xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes within the cells are capable of inactivating such chemicals.  These enzymes can, however, also result in bioactivation and binding to proteins and DNA, triggering cytotoxic and carcinogenic actions. The balance between all of these processes determines whether adverse reactions to chemicals will occur. These processes also limit the availability of novel therapeutic drugs, a challenge that can be overcome in various ways. The course will cover the impact of these processes on cultured cells as well as the whole organism, including mammalian, particularly human, as well as marine organisms. 3 s.h.  Offered in Fall Semester of alternate years.

MCBP-741. Organ Systems Toxicology. This course will provide an overview of the toxic effects of drugs and xenobiotics on the function of individual organ systems. The pathological changes for each organ system will be reviewed and the specific cellular targets of the chemicals and the overall mechanisms of action will be presented and discussed. 3 s.h. Offered in Spring Semester of alternate years. 

MCBP-745. Topics In Craniofacial Biology.

Current and emerging topics in craniofacial biology will be presented and discussed in a Journal Club style format. Initially, a faculty member will introduce and direct all students in the discussion of literature concerning oral-related research topics. Subsequently, students will present topics using faculty-approved papers from top-tiered journals. Students will be expected to participate in active class discussion with other graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty.

1 s.h.

MCBP-746. Environment, Oceans & Humans.  This course introduces students to some of the topical issues in marine and environmental Sciences as they relate to Human Health. The course shows the application of cell and molecular biology and epidemiology approaches to environmentally relevant questions that ultimately impact human health. These topics are put into context of the reports of the International Panel on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and the latest Bali summit. In addition students will participate in learning how results from research in environmental cell and molecular science are synthesized with economics and law to form public policy. The role of federal and SC state government agencies in these processes will be presented through the appropriate representatives of these agencies on the Ft. Johnson campus. This is a course that includes students reading scientific papers, lay communications, and books in conjunction with active class participation through discussions on topical issues. 3 s.h., spring

MCBP-747. Craniofacial Biology Seminar Series. In this series, students give a seminar based on their own research to their fellow students, advisory committee, faculty and post-doctoral fellows in the College of Dental Medicine. This is a great opportunity for the students to present their work in an informal setting and to receive constructive feedback on his/her studies from a large audience with different scientific backgrounds. Each graduate student will give at least one seminar yearly. Lectures will be supplemented with local as well as invited external speakers, whose research focus is on craniofacial biology. 1 s.h.

MCBP-770. Special Projects in Marine Biomedicine. Marine Biomedicine faculty will mentor a limited number of students in research and applied fields of endeavor. Emphasis is placed on interdisciplinary integration of topics germane to marine environmental science and human health. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. 1-3 s.h.

MCBP-780. Vision & Ocular Diseases.
Current and emerging topics in vision and ocular diseases will be presented and discussed in a journal club-style format.  Students will present topics related to vision and ocular diseases using faculty-approved articles from peer-reviewed journals, and will be expected to actively participate in the discussion with other students, post doctoral fellows, and faculty members.  Some presentation will be made by visiting and MUSC faculty members. 1.0 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MCBP-782. Cardio Biology Journal Club.
The Cardiovascular Biology Journal Club course is designed to highlight the advances in cardiovascular science and medicine that will soon form the foundation for novel diagnostic, prognostic and therapeutic approaches to treating heart disease. Publications will be presented by the students weekly, which address current concepts of the cell and molecular biology bases of cardiovascular function, dysfunction and responsiveness to therapeutic interventions. Students, postdoctoral fellows and faculty who will take part in the weekly discussion include investigators from adult cardiology, adult Endocrinology, Cell Biology and Anatomy, Pharmacolgy, and Surgery. 1.0 s.h. Fall/Spring.

MCBP-801. MCBP of Mineralized Tissues. This course will cover the biologic principles and cellular/molecular processes of mineralized tissue development, composition and regulation in health and disease.  The objectives of this course are: 1) To further understanding of the biologic principles of mineralized tissue development, composition and regulation in health and disease.  2) To develop the ability to read and critique literature in the mineralized tissue field that pertains to craniofacial biology.  3) To achieve a high level of expertise in at least one topic area of mineralized tissues via presentation for education and peer review.

MCBP-802. Advanced Oral Microbiology & Immunology. This course will teach microbiological and immunological concepts through in-depth study of infectious diseases.  Emphasis will be placed on the major bacterial, fungal, and viral infections affecting the oral cavity and associated craniofacial structures.  Course topics will focus on the pathogen, the host response to the pathogen during the normal and disease state, and strategies used to prevent or treat these diseases. Students will also be introduced to topics such as biofilm formation, quorum sensing, and the oral-systemic disease connection.  Classes will include lecture and primary literature analysis.  Student performance will be assessed by small group discussion, presentation of assigned paper(s), and exams.

BMTRY-789. Principles of Computing & Algorithms for Bioinformatics. This course is designed as a series of weekly challenges where landmark theoretical advances in the modeling of biological molecules are identified as algorithms.  A typical challenge would be presenting the Needleman-Wunch global alignment procedure and challenge the attendants to write computer code that would implement it.  The bioinformatics theory textbook for this course is Biological Sequence Analysis, Probabilistic Models of Proteins and Nucleic Acids, by R. Durbin et al. 1998, Cambridge Univ Press. 3 s.h.  Spring. 

PCOL-722. Introduction to Spectroscopic Methods. This is an introductory course in spectroscopy that exposes students to the theory, instrumentation and applications of various spectroscopic methods including absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, and NMR spectroscopy.  Demonstrations of each technique are provided; emphasis is placed on applications to biomolecular analysis.  Students will obtain a conceptual understanding and hands on experience in techniques used in environmental analyses. 3 s.h.  Fall. 

Structural Biology Division
PCOL-722. Introduction to Spectroscopic Methods. This is an introductory course in spectroscopy and exposes the student to the theory, instrumentation and applications of various spectroscopic methods. Techniques to be examined include absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Demonstrations of each technique will be presented. Particular emphasis will be placed on the application of these techniques to biomolecular analysis. This course is directed toward students who will need to use spectro-scopic methods in their dissertation research. 3 s.h. Fall.

MCBP-733. Biomolecular Structure & Function. The underlying aim of this course is to emphasize the value of structural information as a tool for understanding the function of biological systems.  Because precision in structure is an important factor in most (if not all) biomolecular processes, the skills gained in this course can be applied in any chosen field of biology.  As well as principles of macromolecular structure, the course will cover several techniques used to obtain high-resolution structure, such as X-ray crystallography and NMR. It will also discuss aspects of molecular evolution relating to structure.  Finally, some landmark studies in structural biology will be described, including the structure of DNA and of the ribosome. 3 s.h.  Spring.

Cell Biology and Anatomy Course Descriptions
The number of semester hours is designated by s.h.

CELL-601G. Core Gross Anatomy. A comprehensive, basic study of human anatomy. With the exception of certain special and minute portions of the body (temporal bone and eyeball), the entire body is dissected and studied on a regional plan. 9 s.h. Fall/Summer.

CELL-615G. Cell, Tissue, and Organ Biology. This course presents the microscopic structure of cells, tissues, and organs along with function and a presentation of the structural basis for cell growth and multiplication. Emphasis is placed on the intimate relationship of structure to function at all levels of organization, i.e., from macromolecular to organ. The goals of the course are to enable students (1) to learn normal microscopic subcellular, cellular, tissue, and organ structure, (2) to become aware of the intimate relationship between microscopic structure and function, (3) to learn the fundamental concepts of morphological design for function, (4) to become able to “read” and correctly interpret image information in a micrograph or microscopic slide of a cell, tissue, or organ sample, and (5) to form mental images of arrangements and patterns in normal cells, tissues, and organs in order to perceive disruption of this normalcy due to disease. Didactic material is presented in lectures and through text reading assignments. The presentation of images for the practical aspects of learning structure is done in a laboratory setting in which a large library of microscopic structures stored on videodisc are made accessible through bar code technology which facilitates interactive learning. After subcellular, cellular, and tissue structure function are learned with the aid of videodisc stored images, the light microscope is used to examine the microscopic structure of organs in conventional slides. To further facilitate learning, computer-linked videodisc workstations are employed to enable library searches of images on videodisc for interactive reviews and group discussions. Small group discussion format is employed in each laboratory session in which one teacher meets with 16 students to assist the fitting of the course detail into major concepts and principles of structure-function design. Prerequisite: enrollment in graduate degree program. 8 s.h. Spring.

CELL-621G. Dental Gross Anatomy and Neuroanatomy. Emphasizes normal human gross anatomy. All regions of the body are dissected except the perineum and lower extremity. Special emphasis is given to the head, neck, and thorax. The material is presented in a number of ways: by regional dissection, by study of normal radiograms, by lectures, by outside readings, and by textbook assignments. 9 s.h. Summer.

CELL-662G. Dental Histology and Embryology. Develops knowledge of (a) the structure and function of cell organelles and the histological features of the organization of cells into the four fundamental tissues, (b) the microanatomy of the integument, oral cavity, and all organs of the body, and (c) the development of the embryo from fertilization through the formation of organ systems. Special emphasis is given to the oral cavity, the special histology and development of the tooth, and the development of the head and neck. This course is primarily intended for dental students, although it is suitable for graduate students and certain health related professions students who have a college-equivalent education. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. 8.5 s.h. Fall.

CELL-760. Cell Biology Seminar. Seminars in which oral presentations upon a topic are given by the graduate students enrolled. This is offered twice per year, and the faculty member in charge as well as the general topic vary. The student is evaluated primarily on his/her class presentation; the evaluation is based on organization, accuracy, and thoroughness of presentation. 1 s.h. All.

CELL-762. Topics in Developmental Biology. Introduces primary literature from areas of current research in developmental biology. Topics to be covered include the origin of cell lineages, control of cell differentiation, gene regulation of embryonic patterning, cell-cell and cell-matrix interactions, and programmed cell death. This course is intended for graduate students. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. 2 s.h. Spring.

CELL-764. Topics in Cell Biology. Specific subdisciplines in cell biology are reviewed in-depth. The current literature in the field is read and carefully critiqued by the students and presented by them for discussion. Possible alternatives in interpretation of data are offered, as well as the design of experiments which would help to clarify the research problem. 1-4 s.h. Spring.

CELL-770. Special Projects in Cell Biology. Individual Cell Biology and Anatomy staff members guide limited numbers of students in the pursuit of new knowledge. Intended for those students desiring research experience in the topics of current interest in anatomy, but open to those who would pursue relevant and realistic projects of their own design. Prerequisite: permission of instructor. 1-9 s.h. All.

Last Published with Edits:December 9, 2013 3:33 PM
Last Comprehensive Review: Fall 2012

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