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Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

REQUIREMENTS FOR SPECIALIZATION

All Basic Biomedical Science students must complete the core curriculum as well as advanced topics required by their program. Students in the Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology program must take 3 advanced topics courses (2-4 credits), two of which must be part of the BMP program course curriculum. The third Advanced Topics Course is typically taken in Year 2; however, the student should enroll in a course (regardless of when it is offered) that is most relevant to their graduate research. The plan of coursework is designed to be flexible in order to accommodate each student’s needs and areas of interest.

All students in thesis research are required to give an annual research presentation to the Department in a seminar series that runs from September through May each academic year.

View year by year course sequence for Basic Biomedical Science doctoral students. 

For further guidance on program requirements or expectations, please contact the appropriate program director(s)

Courses

  • Professionalism and Research Conduct (PARC) | BBS 601

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, 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. 

    Course Directors: Anthony Imbalzano, Cynthia Fuhrmann

    Semester Offered: Fall 

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • Preparation for Qualifying Exam | BBS 602

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer 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.

    Course Directors: Jill Zitzewitz, Darryl Conte

    Semester Offered: Fall 

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • Foundations in Biomedical Science | BBS 614

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer Biology, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, 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.

    Course Directors: Jill Zitzewitz, Sean Ryder, Neal Silverman

    Semester Offered: Fall 

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • 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. 

    Course Director: Stephen Miller

    Semester Offered: Fall, odd years

    Last Taught: Fall 2019

  • 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.

    Course Director: Francesca Massi

    Semester Offered: Fall, even years

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • Structural Biology | BBS 717

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

    Structural Biology has revolutionized biology.  The purpose of this course is to provide graduate students with a detailed introduction to approaches for structural determination of macromolecules including protein crystallography, cryo electron microscopy (CryoEM), nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and small angle X-ray scattering (SAXS).  Emphasis will be placed on both structural determination and analysis of dynamics, which can be crucial for macromolecular function.   Normally, each week will include a 90 minute lecture that is supplemented with either a practical laboratory exercise, paper discussion or problem set, whose time and venue will depend upon the activity.

    Course Directors: Brian Kelch

    Semester Offered: Spring, odd years

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • 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 Director: Sean Ryder

    Semester Offered: Spring, even years

    Last Taught: Spring 2020

  • 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 Director: Paul Thompson

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • 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, especially high-throughput sequencing data (RNA-seq, ChIP-seq, DNase-seq, ATAC-seq, Whole genome bisulfite sequencing, etc.), followed by a thorough presentation of an extensive set of statistical learning and machine learning algorithms and their application to analyzing biological data. The course will include 10 lectures each with a homework set, followed by individual or group projects, presented in lieu of the final exam. 

    Course Director: Zhiping Weng

    Semester Offered: Fall, Even Years

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • 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 Directors: Pranoti Mandrekar, Chinmay Trivedi

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • 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 Director: Nick Rhind

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • Tutorial in Biochemistry | BBS 841

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology

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

    Course Director: 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, 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 DirectorFaculty member in whose lab student is working

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every Fall and Spring semester

  • Laboratory Rotation | BBS 851

    Programs: Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology, Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Cancer 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 DirectorFaculty 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, 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 Director: 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, 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.

    MD/PhD Goals: 1) To periodically review progress along thesis research project advised by content experts 2) To provide guidance for establishing a thesis research project consistent with the MD/PhD Program goals

    MD/PhD Curricular Expectations: Two Thesis Research Advisory Committee (TRAC) meeting each academic year as define by the Professionalism Benchmark Checklist

    Course Director: Mary Ellen Lane

    Semester Offered: Fall

    Last Taught: Taught every year

  • Prequalifying Research | BBS 870

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

    Students register for Thesis Research fall term of year three of the program (MD/PhD Students: Fall term of year four in the program), after passing the Qualifying Exam.

    Course Director: 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, Immunology & Microbiology, Interdisciplinary, Neuroscience, Translational Science

    Students register for Graduate Research fall term of year four (MD/PhD Students: Fall term of year five+) in the PhD Program and will continue to register each semester until they complete all remaining requirements.

    Course Director: Student's thesis advisor

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring, Summer

    Last Taught: Taught every semester

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