Course Descriptions
Year 1 Courses

Year 2 Courses  

Sample Schedules

Course Descriptions

Year 1 Courses

Human Anatomy  COURSE LINK: Human Anatomy

Course Director: John Cooke, PhD

The faculty members bring their expertise into the classroom as teachers of gross anatomy, neuroanatomy, histology, cell biology and human genetics, including molecular, cellular, developmental and genetic concepts. They provide students with the opportunity to directly observe the normal structure of the human body at the gross and untrastructural levels and relate it to function. Faculty members introduce first-year students to clinical problem solving in which students use their understanding of cell, tissue and organ structure-function relationships to begin interpreting the signs, symptoms and course of selected human diseases and injuries.

Cell Biology/Histology  COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Director: John Cooke, PhD 
Block leaders: Roger Craig, PhD, Krista Johnansen, MD, John Cooke, PhD, Harvey Florman, PhD

The course is designed to provide a basic understanding of the structural organization of cells, tissues and organ systems at the microscopic level. It emphasizes the dynamic relationships between structure and function. Students directly observe micro-anatomical structure in the laboratory, and begin using their knowledge of normal structure and function in clinical problem solving. An important goal of the Histology/Cell Biology course is to help students acquire the knowledge and skills that they will need for their subsequent study of pathophysiology.

 Physiology COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Director:   Julie Jonassen, PhD 

Physiology is broadly defined as the functional mechanisms that underlie life. The faculty members draw upon their rich research expertise to relate the molecular and cellular underpinnings of human organ and whole body functions to first-year medical students. By means of lectures and small group problem-solving sessions, the normal functions and integrative nature of the human body are explored. This exploration is used as an introduction to clinical problem solving as students begin to acquire the skills of interpreting the signs, symptoms and course of the dysfunction characteristic of human disease.

Mind, Brain, and Behavior I  COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Director: Susan Billings-Gagliardi, PhD

Mind, Brain and Behavior 1 is first course in a longitudinal neuroscience curriculum. The goal of this first-year component is to help students understand the known relationships between (1) the structure and function of the nervous system and (2) the various behaviors that it generates (reflex, cognitive, and emotional). The emphasis is on knowledge and skills that have current or anticipated clinical utility. Topics include the organization of major CNS motor and sensory systems as well as systems serving emotion, memory, and intellect, principles underlying structure-function relationships at both the cellular and system level, and functional/clinical consequences of damage or disconnection in these systems. Students apply their knowledge to solve clinical problems in which the primary task is to localize the lesion. Information about stroke and its prevention is interwoven with basic neuroscience.

Medical Biochemistry  COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Dirctor: William Royer, PhD 

The first-year Medical Biochemistry course is designed to incorporate the fundamental aspects of biochemistry in a series of lectures, a website, clinical correlations, medical vignettes, problem-solving sessions and problem-based cases. It is the product of intensive efforts by the faculty to provide an integrative and coordinated presentation of the subject matter in biochemistry. The objective of the course is to promote student's expertise in being able to understand chemical and cellular mechanisms underlying normal and disease processes. In order to achieve these goals a large body of factual material must be presented and learned as a framework for understanding problems in human health. The modes of problem solving used for investigation of the molecular basis of disease states are emphasized whenever possible.

Physician, Patient & Society I COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Director: David Hatem, MD

The Physician, Patient and Society Course in Year 1 (PPS I) allows students the opportunity to begin to:

  • Understand the concept of patient-centered care, developing knowledge and skills for effective communication, problem solving, physical examination, and humane and ethical care of people.
  • Understand the importance of the social context of patient care, developing knowledge and skills in epidemiology, delivery of health services, and the concept of community health.
  • Reflect on their medical school experiences and their personal development as physicians, in order to address their own needs and patient needs.
  • Integrate their learning experiences in medical school, appreciating how basic science, social science, and clinical science interact to serve as the comprehensive basis of clinical medicine.

Human Genetics  COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Director: Jeanne Lawrence, PhD

The goal of this course is to introduce you to basic concepts on a molecular, cytogenetic, and clinical level.

  • We will begin with an introduction to the biochemistry of nucleic acids including DNA replication and repair, transcription and protein synthesis. This will lay the foundation for understanding how mutations result in disease processes. Emphasis will be placed on the molecular nature of specific genetic disorders.
  • Classic Mendelian inheritance as well as newly described complex forms of inheritance will be presented. Problem solving will include clinical as well as molecular data. We will also begin to explore the impact of genetic disease on the family and society.
  • We hope to provide a framework, which allows you to integrate the basic concepts of this fast growing and highly technical field. Understanding the basic concepts of this fast growing highly technical field. Understanding the implications of current research (i.e. the Human Genome Project, including diagnostic, prenatal, pre-symptomatic testing, genetic screening and ultimately gene therapy will be imperative for all physicians of the 21st century.

First Block of Microbiology II (Basic Bacteriology)  COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Coordinator: Anthony Poteete, PhD 

One of four blocks which constitute the Microbiology course, Bacteriology is presented in the first year; the other three-Virology, Pathogenic Organisms, and Infectious Disease-are presented in the second year (see the Microbiology description). Bacteriology acquaints students with the basic biology of bacteria, with particular emphasis on cellular processes and structures which are (1) determinants of pathogenicity, (2) characteristics used for detection and identification, or (3) targets of antimicrobial chemotherapy. Laboratory exercises introduce students to standard microbiological techniques, and provide direct illustrations of key principles.

Nutrition  COURSE LINK: Human Biology-Histology/Cell Biology

Course Director: Leslie Soyka, MD 

The nutrition course emphasizes the importance of nutritional assessment and counseling throughout the lifespan as a key feature of medical care. The course is divided into two blocks, a core series of lectures and case discussions in the fall semester and a series of topics, which are integrated into the subject matter of the physiology course in the spring. The goals of the course are to enable the student to recognize the core principles of biochemistry and physiology, which are essential to nutrition, and to introduce the student to nutritional assessment and counseling, common nutritional issues such as obesity, and special nutritional needs at various stages of life.