Graduate Course Descriptions

The following directory lists the graduate courses which the University expects to offer, although the University in no way guarantees that all such courses will be offered in any given academic year, and reserves the right to alter the list if conditions warrant. Click on the links below for a list of courses in that subject area. You may then click “View Classes” to see scheduled classes for individual courses.

5001. Biochemistry

5.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids, proteins, and nucleic acids, including regulation, and to the structure and function of biological macromolecules. Provides suitable preparation for advanced course work in biochemistry, biophysics, and other areas of molecular biology. Graduate students with considerable laboratory experience may arrange to take only the lecture portion of this course as Biology: MCB 5896 with consent of instructor.

View Classes »

5002. Biochemistry Laboratory

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Theory and application of modern techniques for the separation and characterization of biological macromolecules, including several types of liquid chromatography, liquid scintillation spectrophotometry and SDS polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Each student will carry out individual projects using selected techniques.

View Classes »

5003. Biophysical Chemistry I

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open for credit to students who have passed MCB 3003.

Grading Basis: Graded

An introduction to the physical chemistry of biological molecules and systems. Principal topics include biomolecular thermodynamics, kinetics, transport properties, and biomolecular structure.

View Classes »

5004. Biophysical Chemistry II

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open for credit to students who have passed MCB 3004.

Grading Basis: Graded

The physical chemistry of biological molecules and systems. This course will emphasis a statistical framework for understanding biomolecular phenomena. Principal topics will include electrostatics, intermolecular forces, ligand binding, and protein stability and folding.

View Classes »

5008. Techniques of Biophysical Chemistry

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Theory and applications of biophysical methods for the analysis of the size, shape and interactions of proteins and nucleic acids. Topics include analytical ultracentrifugation, light scattering, X-ray scattering, calorimetry, surface plasmon resonance and single molecule approaches.

View Classes »

5010. Biological Optical Spectroscopy: Practical Applications

2.00 credits

Prerequisites: If student has taken MCB 5038, this course may only be taken if the content is different. (RG5431)

Grading Basis: Graded

Practical applications of spectroscopy in biochemistry and the biological sciences. Topics include fluorescence, circular dichroism and various spectroscopic techniques with particular emphasis on biological macromolecules. Analysis of raw data and interpretation of published results will be used to define the suitability and limits of these techniques.

View Classes »

5012. Foundations of Structural Biochemistry

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Comprehensive introduction to the molecular aspects and dynamics of structural biochemistry. Examination of nucleic acid, protein, and lipid structures including current topics in conformation and folding, enzyme kinetics, nucleic acid stability, ligand/receptor binding, and bioenergetics. Overviews of experimental strategies used to study macromolecular structure and interactions.

View Classes »

5013. Structure and Function of Biological Macromolecules

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Fundamentals of protein structure, and the forces that stabilize structure. Recurrent structural motifs, molecular ancestry/homology, and insights into proteins structure evolution. Protein folding and dynamics. Structure-function correlations, and structural basis of regulation. Techniques used to investigate structure: X-ray diffraction, NMR, TEM, AFM, structure prediction, computational simulations. Advanced topics: chaperones; structural genomics; role of misfolded proteins in disease.

View Classes »

5014. Structure and Dynamics of Macromolecular Machines

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: Open to graduate students in Molecular and Cell Biology, others with permission. Recommended preparation: a course in biochemistry or structural biology.

Grading Basis: Graded

Biochemical and biophysical characteristics of macromolecular assemblies starting at the atomic level and proceeding to the cellular level. Topics include ribosomes, viruses, polymerases, membrane protein assemblies and ion transporters, which will be examined through lecture, discussion, and interactive computational modules.

View Classes »

5015. X-ray Structure Analysis

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

The determination of three-dimensional atomic-level structure by diffraction methods. Small-angle solution scattering. Protein crystallography.

View Classes »

5025. Structure and Function of Biological Membranes

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Overview of cell membrane structure and function based on a foundation of physical and biochemistry principles. Topics include lipid bilayers, vesicles and liposomes, cholesterol, membrane protein structure and function, transport, membrane fusion, receptors, drug/membrane interactions and membranes in cell regulation.

View Classes »

5034. Human Metabolism and Disease

2.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

A thorough analysis of the inter-relationships of metabolic pathways in connection with human health and disease, including inherited metabolic diseases and the role of hormones in metabolic pathways.

View Classes »

5038. Techniques in Structural Biology

2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 8 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

A short course to introduce graduate students and selected undergraduates to modern techniques in structural biology. Each course offering covers a specific technique: NMR, computational and graphical analysis of biomolecules, X-ray crystallography, analytical ultracentrifugation, spectroscopy, calorimetry, and others.

View Classes »

5076. Biomolecular Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy

2.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended preparation: courses in biochemistry, organic chemistry, and physical chemistry

Grading Basis: Graded

Open to undergraduate students with consent of instructor. Advanced treatment of NMR spectroscopy as applied to problems in structural biology, particularly protein structure and dynamics.

View Classes »

5077. Practicum in NMR Spectroscopy

1.00 credits

Prerequisites: Instructor consent required. Recommended Preparation: MCB 5076 or MCB 2000 or MCB 3010.

Grading Basis: Graded

Hands-on training in heteronuclear NMR spectroscopy of biomolecules. Topics include protein folding, protein dynamics, binding of ligands to proteins, and protein structure determination.

View Classes »

5080. Frontiers in Microbiology

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 5 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Current topics in microbiology including research advances, impact of microorganisms on the environment and society, their role in health and disease, and applications of microbiological research in academic, government and industrial settings.

View Classes »

5099. Graduate Seminar in Biochemistry

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 2 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

View Classes »

5200. Cell Biology of the Mammalian Secretory Apparatus

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Critical reading of the primary literature focusing on how eukaryotic cells synehtsize and traffic secretory and membrane proteins. Emphasis on effectiveness of data presentation in papers.

View Classes »

5217. Biosynthesis of Nucleic Acids and Proteins

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Mechanisms of protein and RNA synthesis in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Topics such as RNA processing, gene splicing, and control of protein and RNA synthesis are discussed.

View Classes »

5219. Developmental and Regenerative Biology

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Not open to students who have passed MCB 3219 or 4219. (RG 5417)

Grading Basis: Graded

Principles of animal embryonic development and regeneration with emphasis on the cellular and molecular basis of pattern formation and cell differentiation in a variety of model organisms. Relevance to human development, disease and therapeutic applications will be emphasized.

View Classes »

5240. Virology

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Biological, biochemical, genetic, and physical characteristics of viruses, with an emphasis on molecular and quantitative aspects of virus-cell interactions.

View Classes »

5243. Molecular Analysis of Development

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

An analysis of the mechanisms of morphogenesis and differentiation with special emphasis on molecular aspects.

View Classes »

5250. Techniques in Cellular Analysis

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Prerequisites: Open to graduate students in Molecular and Cell Biology, others with permission. Recommended preparation: a course in cell biology.

Grading Basis: Graded

Examination of methodologies used to address cell biological questions: how they work, how they synergize, their advantages and disadvantages. Topics include detection and measurement of protein activities and interactions, molecular genetic manipulation of gene expression and protein function, determination of cellular localization and in vivo functional assays.

View Classes »

5255. Cellular and Molecular Immunology

2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 8 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Genetic, biochemical, and cellular control of the immune system, addressing such topics as antigen recognition, immune regulation, stress and immunity, apoptosis, and signal transduction.

View Classes »

5280. Advanced Cell Biology

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Integrative approach to the study of eukaryotic cell biology emphasizing structure, function, and dynamics of the cytoskeleton, membrane, and extracellular matrix.

View Classes »

5299. Current Topics in Cell Biology

1.00 - 2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 8 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Discussion of papers from recent literature. Topics include cytoskeletal function, cell motility, gene expression, and signal transduction, with special focus on their relationship to development, the immune system, and cancer.

View Classes »

5426. Genetic Engineering and Functional Genomics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Methods and applications of genetic engineering, including gene manipulation and transfer techniques in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Emphasis on the application of recombinant DNA technology in the elucidation of gene function. Recent technological developments in molecular genetics and the societal issues related to these developments will also be addressed. Students will prepare a grant application or other written assignment.

View Classes »

5427. Laboratory Techniques in Functional Genomics

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 7 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Molecular biological techniques utilized in gene discovery and in the functional characterization of genes in animal development. Taught as a series of short modules, each focusing on a different set of techniques. With a change of content, this course may be repeated for credit.

View Classes »

5428. Theory and Practice of Forensic Identification Methods

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 8 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Advanced consideration of the theory, practice, and analysis of various techniques used in forensic identification strategies. Taught as a series of stand-alone, "executive format" modules with each focused on a different methodology and consisting of hands-on laboratory combined with lectures and data analysis, problem solving, and/or case studies. With change of content, may be repeated for credit.

View Classes »

5429. Theory and Practice of High Throughput Sequence Analysis

2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 16 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Advanced training in experimental design, sample preparation, quality control, high throughput sequence acquisition and analysis of data sets for a variety of genomics applications. Taught as a series of modules with each focused on a different aspect of the practice of next-generation genome analysis.

View Classes »

5430. Analysis of Eukaryotic Functional Genomic Data

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Construction and implementation of computational pipelines that integrate available bioinformatics tools to perform processing, analysis and quality control of eukaryotic functional genomics datasets from ChIP-seq, RNA-seq and other high throughput sequencing approaches.No programming experience required.

View Classes »

5432. Molecular and Genetic Approaches to Developing Systems

2.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Topics of current interest in developmental biology are presented with related developmental and genetic background information.

View Classes »

5445. Genome Dynamics and Epigenetics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

An examination of the mechanisms of eukaryotic genome function and dynamics. Topics include, but are not limited to, chromatin organization, chromosome structure and function, and nuclear architecture.

View Classes »

5452. Problems in Genetics of Eukaryotes

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Consideration of such problems as chromosomal organization, mechanisms of meiotic drive, epigenetic inheritance, chromosome distribution, and transposable elements in model genetic organisms.

View Classes »

5454. Molecular Aspects of Genetics

2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 8 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Integration of the biological effects, molecular structure, expression, and evolution of genes and genomes.

View Classes »

5471. Current Topics in Molecular Evolution and Systematics

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 4 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Current concepts, ideas and techniques in the field of molecular evolution, and theoretical problems peculiar to the phylogenetic analysis of molecular data.

View Classes »

5472. Computer Methods in Molecular Evolution

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Practical aspects of molecular data analyses. Databank searches, sequence alignments, statistical analyses of sequence data. Parsimony, distance matrix, and spectral analysis methods. Students compile and analyze a data set of their choice.

View Classes »

5480. Frontiers in Applied Genomics

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 4 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Current topics in genomics research including ethics, impacts on society, and applications in academic and industrial settings.

View Classes »

5490. Industrial Insights

1.00 - 2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Research and development, regulation, intellectual property protection, and production of commercial services and products from the vantage point of the genomics, biotechnology, and pharmaceutical industries. May be repeated with a change in topic.

View Classes »

5491. Professional Development Seminar

1.00 credits | May be repeated for credit.

Prerequisites: Open only to graduate students in the MCB Professional Science Masters programs.(RG 5950)

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Speakers from industry, government agencies, universities and non-profits provide advice about career paths, business models, hiring and employment opportunities.

View Classes »

5499. Current Topics in Genetics

1.00 - 2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 4 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Intensive reading and discussion of current topics in genetics.

View Classes »

5616. Experiments in Bacterial Genetics

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Experiments in bacterial genetics emphasizing genetic manipulations using modern techniques for mutant isolation, DNA characterization and cloning. These include the use of transposons, DNA isolation, restriction analysis, gel electrophoresis, PCR and DNA sequencing. Each student conducts an independent project.

View Classes »

5621. Molecular Biology and Genetics of Prokaryotes

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: Recommended preparation: a course in general microbiology.

Grading Basis: Graded

Molecular genetics of bacteria, archaebacteria, and their viruses. Transcription and replication of DNA, transformation, transduction, conjugation, genetic mapping, mutagenesis, regulation of gene expression, genome organization.

View Classes »

5670. Theory and Practice of Laboratory Techniques in Microbiology

1.00 - 2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 5 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Trains participants in techniques, experimental design, sample preparation, quality control, and analysis of data encountered in microbiology laboratories. Taught as a series of modules with each focused on a different technique. With a change of content, may be repeated for credit.

View Classes »

5671. Advanced Theory and Practice of Laboratory Techniques in Microbiology

1.00 - 2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 10 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Advanced training in microbiology related technologies such as next-generation sequencing and other "omic" techniques including experimental design, sample preparation, library preparation, quality control, analysis of large data sets and processing of large number of samples will be covered. The course is taught as a series of modules with each focused on a different technique. With change of content, may be repeated for credit.

View Classes »

5672. Applied Bioinformatics

1.00 - 2.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Computational analysis of biological datasets. Lecture will cover background and theory. In the computer lab, sample data will be used to perform bioinformatics analysis. The course is taught as a series of modules with each focused on a different aspect.

View Classes »

5679. Microbial Physiology

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Topics in microbial cell organization, growth, and intermediary metabolism with emphasis on specialized physiological adaptations.

View Classes »

5681. Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenicity

3.00 credits

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

An in-depth examination of several host-parasite relationships as models of disease states.

View Classes »

5699. Seminar in Microbiology

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 12 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Discussion of current topics in microbiology.

View Classes »

5801. Scientific Writing and Project Development for MCB Graduate Students

2.00 credits

Prerequisites: Prerequisite: Open to PhD students in Molecular and Cell Biology, others with permission (RG 5962)

Grading Basis: Graded

Instruction in the practice of scientific writing through group discussions and peer review during preparation of an application to the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Group discussions in related aspects of graduate student project development.

View Classes »

5893. Special Topics in Cellular and Molecular Biology

1.00 - 2.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 2 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Selected topics in cellular and molecular biology presented by invited speakers.

View Classes »

5895. Independent Study

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 4 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

A reading course for those wishing to pursue special work in biology. It may also be elected by undergraduate students preparing to be candidates for degrees with distinction.

View Classes »

5896. Investigation of Special Topics

1.00 - 6.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 24 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Advanced study in a field within Molecular and Cell Biology.

View Classes »

5899. Graduate Seminar

1.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 3 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

View Classes »

6000. Rotations in MCB Laboratories

1.00 credits

Prerequisites: MCB Graduate Students Only

Grading Basis: Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory

Open only to students in MCB graduate programs with permission of the instructor. Provides entering graduate students with experience in three different laboratory settings during the first semester of graduate studies to assist with the selection of a research theme for their degree. Students are expected to participate in laboratory meetings, journal clubs, bench work, and other activities as defined by each of three host faculty members. Grading will be based on an aggregate of the performance in each of the host laboratories. Preference is given to students in the MCB doctoral program.

View Classes »

6897. Research

1.00 - 6.00 credits | May be repeated for a total of 24 credits.

Prerequisites: None.

Grading Basis: Graded

Conferences and laboratory work covering selected fields of Molecular and Cell Biology.

View Classes »