Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology Program Courses

The courses listed below inlcude required courses of the core curriculum, research and milestone courses, as well as program specific advanced topics, seminars, journal clubs and tutorials for specialization in Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology.

  • Professionalism and Research Conduct (PARC) | BBS 601

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, MD/PhD, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This is a required course for all third year Basic Sciences students and all MD/PhD students entering doctoral study but who are not on the CPHR track. The PARC course helps to center our students in areas that are foundational to success in research: responsible data management; management of intellectual property; the ethical use of research subjects; recognizing and resolving conflicts of interest, professionalism in peer review and publishing; engaging mentors; and career exploration and planning. The PARC course comprises faculty-led presentations and small group discussions with case studies and workshop material. An online learning module (CITI training program comprising many case studies) is also included and must be completed before the end of the fall semester. Students required to take the fall PARC course will be block-registered. 

    Coordinator: Anthony Carruthers

    Semester Offered: Fall 

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Communicating Science | BBS 602

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This course seeks to help prospective scientists in the biological and medical sciences communicate their work effectively, in writing, graphics, and oral presentations. The course teaches how to prepare a research paper using words, statistics, and figures; how to present science to a lay audience; how to write a grant proposal; and how to present orally to scientific peers.

    Coordinator: Philip Zamore

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every fall

  • Foundations in Biomedical Science | BBS 614

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Pathway to Graduate Study, Translational Science

    This problem-based course provides learning opportunities through exploration of multidisciplinary areas of contemporary biomedical research, and creates a forum for practice in the skills required for research.

    Coordinator: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Using Animals in Biomedical Research | BBS 701

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Translational Science

    It is to the benefit of both science and animals to have a formal understanding of animal needs and animal use in the research environment. The goal of this course is to provide a sufficient appreciation of laboratory animal biology, care, and use to engender better science and enhanced animal welfare. Topics include controversies surrounding animal use in research; choosing an animal model; the Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee; normative biology of rodent and non-rodent laboratory animals; diseases and other stressors and their effects on research; humane experimental endpoints and pain and its alleviation. There are also two laboratory sessions.

    Coordinator: Jerald Silverman

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Chemical Biology | BBS 715

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    The course focuses on the use of chemical approaches to answer fundamental questions in biology. Topics include post-translational modifications; chemical synthesis and modification of biopolymers; combinatorial chemistry; chemical genetics; rational drug design; ligand-receptor interactions; and the fundamentals of fluorescence. 

    Coordinator: Stephen Miller

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2016

  • Molecular Biophysics | BBS 716

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    The goal of this course is to give students a strong foundation in physical principles that underlie the thermodynamic and mechanistic properties of biological macromolecules and macromolecular complexes. In addition to providing theoretical background, lectures and discussion groups will focus on the application of physical chemical principles in contemporary biomedical research. Topics will include spectroscopic and computational approaches to studying protein and nucleic acid structures, thermodynamics and kinetics of protein folding, the solution behavior of macromolecules and principles that govern molecular recognition.

    Coordinator: Jill Zitzewitz

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Structural Biology | BBS 717

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    In this iteration of Structural Biology, we will be concentrating on protein crystallography, but also introducing small angle x-ray scattering (SAXS) and cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM). Normally, each week will include a 90-minute lecture, on Tuesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in LRB 816 that is supplemented with either a practical laboratory exercise, paper discussion or problem set, whose time and venue will depend upon the activity. The class will end with required participation in the Pymol classes given by Brian Kelch, which will provide students with hands-on experience visualizing protein structures. (The Pymol classes will not fit into the normal lecture schedule.) 

    Coordinator: William Royer

    Semester Offered: Spring, odd years

    Last Taught: Spring 2015

  • Regulatory RNA Biology | BBS 718

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    This advanced topics course will cover current research in the general area of RNA biology. Topics envisioned may include RNA synthesis; modification and processing pathways; RNA structure; RNA transport and subcellular localization; translational regulation; RNAi and microRNAs; RNA decay; RNA aptamers; RNA catalysts; RNA and early evolution; and RNA as a drug and/or drug target. The format of this course will center around group discussion of papers from the primary literature. Grading will be based on student attendance, performance in presentations and participation in group discussions. 

    Course Coordinator: Sean Ryder

    Semester Offered: Fall, odd years

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Cellular Biochemistry | BBS 719

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    Cellular Biochemistry takes an inside-out approach to teaching the molecular biological underpinnings of DNA replication, gene transcription, translation, metabolism, secretion and cell signaling.

    Course Coordinator: Paul Thompson

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: New course spring 2017

  • Human Genetics | BBS 736

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Translational Science

    This course focuses on the human genetic knowledge and concepts that underlie almost every aspect of human health, both in normal function and disease. We will cover chromosomal, single gene, and multifactorial disorders, including quantitative analysis of Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance, human cancer genetics, and recent developments in human genome research. Problem solving will involve clinical, molecular and statistical data. We hope to provide a framework for understanding a fast growing and highly technical field, and an appreciation of how current research impacts many aspects of medicine as well as biomedical research. This course follows the Medical School calendar; check with course coordinator regarding class schedule. 

    Course Coordinator: John Landers

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Advanced Topics in Bioinformatics | BBS 741

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology

    The Advanced Topics in Bioinformatics course covers several important areas of modern bioinformatics and computational biology. The course is aimed not only at students specializing in bioinformatics, but also general biology students who would like to utilize bioinformatics tools in their daily research. The course will begin with an overview of modern sources of bioinformatics data, including high-throughput sequencing and microarrays, followed by a thorough presentation of sequence search and alignment algorithms, and the structure of the eukaryotic genome. Next, we will introduce population genetics—spanning from molecular phylogenetics to natural selection, with an emphasis on analyzing genomic datasets. The biophysical section of the course will include discussions of protein structure and folding, as well as the physical architecture of the genome in vivo, and the relations between sequences and structures for proteins and DNA. The course will include 10 lectures, followed by work on individual or group research projects, presented in lieu of the final exam. 

    Course Coordinator: Zhiping Weng

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2015

  • Molecular Genetics of Bacteria | BBS 773

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Immunology & Microbiology

    The goal of this course is to provide students with the background needed for participation in research involving bacteria. A tutorial format is used with sessions alternating between textbook-based problem solving and the presentation/discussion of papers from current literature. The paper presentation/discussion portion of the course may be taken separately as BBS807, Current Topics in Prokaryotic Genetics. Topics to be covered include: chromosome structure, replication and segregation; mutations and genetic analysis; plasmids; conjugation; transformation; Lytic bacteriophages; Lysogenic bacteriophages; transposition and site-specific recombination; homologous recombination; DNA repair and mutagenesis; global mechanisms regulating gene expression; and strategies for molecular genetic analysis.

    Course Coordinator: Anthony Poteete

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within past two years

  • Molecular Basis of Disease | BBS 786

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Translational Science

    The objective of this course is to introduce GSBS graduate students to approaches used to understand the molecular causes of representative diseases and application of such knowledge toward the design and implementation of rational therapies. The course is divided into five-week sections covering neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, and metabolic diseases. Interspersed among these topics will be guest speakers who will discuss specific aspects of the drug design process and novel approaches to therapy, including gene-, RNA-, and cell-based interventions. Class discussions will also help prepare students to participate effectively in team-oriented translational science. Pairs of students will each write a research proposal addressing a disease mechanism or therapy development of interest and defend the proposal during the last two weeks of class.

    Course Coordinator: Pranoti Mandrekar

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2016

  • Graduate Student Seminar Series | BBS 810

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    This course provides students with the opportunity to develop public speaking skills necessary for scientific presentations. This experience will facilitate both formal and informal presentation of a student’s own research. All Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology students will be registered in this course to satisfy the annual presentation requirement.

    Course Coordinator: William Kobertz

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Fall 2016

  • Tutorial in Biochemistry | BBS 841

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    Individual instruction on selected topics is arranged by student and instructor.

    Course Coordinator: William Kobertz

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within last two years

  • Laboratory Rotation | BBS 850

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Laboratory rotations are defined periods of research experience under the direction of a faculty member. They are intended to familiarize the student with concepts and techniques in several areas of research and to assist the student in evaluating research laboratories and projects that might be developed into a dissertation project. The student will participate in an ongoing research project; gain familiarity with concepts underlying the research; acquire a working knowledge of techniques used in the research; and write a report and present an oral summary of the results of the research. 

    Course Coordinator: Faculty member in whose lab student is working

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Taught every Fall and Spring semester

  • Laboratory Rotation | BBS 851

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Laboratory rotations are defined periods of research experience under the direction of a faculty member. They are intended to familiarize the student with concepts and techniques in several areas of research and to assist the student in evaluating research laboratories and projects that might be developed into a dissertation project. The student will participate in an ongoing research project; gain familiarity with concepts underlying the research; acquire a working knowledge of techniques used in the research; and write a report and present an oral summary of the results of the research. 

    Course Coordinator: Faculty member in whose lab student is working

    Semester Offered: Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every Summer

  • BBS Qualifying Exam | BBS 860

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students are required to register for this course in the fall semester of the academic year in which they are to pass their Qualifying Examination.

    Course Coordinator: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every year 

  • BBS TRAC Meeting | BBS 865

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    All graduate students are required to have at least one Thesis Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) meeting each academic year. After passing their Qualifying Examination and selection of their TRAC, students are required to register for this course each fall semester until their Dissertation Advisory Committee is formed. 

    Course Coordinator: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • Prequalifying Research | BBS 870

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    This course is for students who have selected a program and thesis advisor but who have not yet passed the Qualifying Examination. 

    Course Coordinator: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

  • Thesis Research | BBS 900

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students register for Thesis Research fall term of year three of the program, after passing the Qualifying Exam.

    Course Coordinator: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

  • Graduate Research | BBS 990

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Cell Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students register for Graduate Research fall term of year four in the PhD Program and will continue to register each semester until they complete all remaining requirements.

    Course Coordinator: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

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