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Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and Professional Studies Biomedical Core Curriculum

The core curriculum is a comprehensive interdisciplinary program of study for all first year research intensive MS and PhD degree students in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Programs. The goal of the core curriculum is to provide a broad foundation in biomedical sciences and serve as a framework for advanced study in more specialized areas. The core curriculum courses include: Core Concepts in Biochemistry and Cell Biology; Biostatistics; Responsible Conduct of Research; and the LEAP – Professional Development Series.

Classes will involve a series of interactive, interdisciplinary small group discussions on selected topics preceded by lecture-based resource sessions to facilitate discussion.

Fall Semester – Core Concepts in Biochemistry and Cell Biology

During the fall semester, the Core Concepts in Biochemistry and Cell Biology course will cover topics in biochemistry and cell biology including introduction to proteins, from RNA to DNA, from mRNA to proteins and beyond, cellular trafficking and communication, cellular structure, metabolism and a final section of the course will focus on topics like cell death, senescence, stem cells and immunology.

This course serves as the foundation of every graduate student in the Division of Biomedical Science programs. We will introduce important biochemical and cell biology topics, including an introduction into DNA and chromosomes, how DNA is transcribed into RNA, how mRNA is processed into proteins, how proteins have different structures, functions and interactions, and how proteins are trafficking between intracellular compartments. We will introduce recombinant DNA techniques (cloning), transgenics and gene targeting. Next, we will cover several aspects of cell biology, including the cytoskeleton, mechanisms of cell signaling and communication, and ion channels. Cellular metabolism (carbohydrates, lipids, and nitrogen-containing molecules) will be introduced next, followed by several topics of cell biology: replication, ageing, stem cells and the immune system.

View fall semester lecture topics


During the spring semester, the Cells to Systems course will cover topics in cell biology, cell signaling, cell cycle and integrated systems. Several topics are integrated into more than one lecture, but in each case, the material is approached from a different perspective.

View spring semester lecture topics

Conference sessions will be held throughout the year to provide an opportunity to integrate lecture material and to apply knowledge to solve problems, generate hypotheses, design experiments and interpret experimental data.

The final section of the spring course will focus on the integration of molecular and cellular biological functions in the intact organism. The primary emphasis will be on how a given biological system or process functions through the integration of events at the molecular, cellular and systems levels.

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