Academic Features

Academic Features

Common Curriculum Offerings

Spring 2018 Scheduled


Topics in Biomedical Experimentation. 1 credit (may be repeated). This course examines the philosophy of experimental design and practical application and analysis of various experimental approaches in biomedical research. Each section (module) is independent of other sections and is taught within a 5 week block. There are three consecutive blocks per semester. The first 5 week block is always Philosophy of Experimental Design and is required of students from programs participating in the iPBS umbrella. 

  • Philosophy of Experimental Design: (1 credit, Weeks 1-5).  This course will help graduate students develop an understanding and the habits of mind regarding acquisition of new knowledge through examining the philosophy and principles of experimental design and analysis. Dr. Wipawee (Joy) Winuthayanon and Dr. Steve Simasko
  • Analysis of Biomedical Experiments: (1 credits, Weeks 6-10).  This course will inform the student of common misapplications of statistics in biomedical experimentation. Emphasis is on probabilistic decision making in life science data analysis, matching experimental goals with the correct statistical approaches, and common pitfalls in analysis. This course will not substitute for courses that teach formal statistical methods and computation.  Dr. Bryan Slinker
  • Imaging & Image Analysis:  (1 credit, Weeks 11-15).  This course will guide students in the selection of optimal imaging techniques for the particular question they seek to answer, provide hands on experience with collecting results from a sample of their interest (or provided sample), and then once the image is collected, the optimal means to extract data from the image.  Dr. Gary Wayman; Dr. David DeWittt
  • Working with Proteins:  (1 credit, Weeks 6-10).   The course is intended to teach concepts and hands-on skills for commonly used techniques involving strategy development, protein expression, purification and characterization. Laboratory work will include techniques such as HPLC (Affinity, IEX and SEC), 1D and 2D gel electrophoresis, western blotting, ELISA and sample preparation for mass spectrometry.  Dr. Telmo Graca and Dr. Douglas Call

MBioS 525 Advanced Topics in Genetics

  • Genes, genomes (Weeks 1-5).  2013 marked the 10th anniversary of the sequencing of the human genome and the 60th anniversary of the discovery of the DNA double helix. Advances in genetics (the study of individual genes) and genomics (the study of an entire genome) have fundamentally altered our understanding of biology. This course will focus on current topics in human genetics, exploring the science and discussing the philosophical, ethical and societal concerns raised by recent scientific advances. Dr. Pat Hunt; Dr. Terry Hassold
  • Genetically modifying organisms the state of the art (Weeks 11-15).  Humans have been genetically modifying plants and animals by selective breeding for centuries. The ability to selectively modify the genome using engineering strategies began in the late 20th century, but has already had a tremendous impact on our daily lives. This mini course focuses on past and current approaches to generate genetically modified models for research and food animals to benefit human health. It will also explore the philosophical, ethical and societa lconcerns raised by this rapidly evolving facet of biosciences. Dr. Pat Hunt; Dr. Jon Oatley; Dr. Jennifer Watts

529 Selected Topics in Cell Biology

  • Cytoskeleton (Weeks 1-5) 
  • Membrane biogenesis and intracellular trafficking (Weeks 6-10)
    • Recent advances in microscopy of live cells and start of the art molecular tools have changed our concepts of how cells work and how the dynamics of their components contribute to cell and tissue phenotypes and diseases.  This course focuses on two contemporary topics in “Cytoskeleton” (weeks 1-5) and “Membrane biogenesis and intracellular trafficking” (weeks 6-10) in the eukaryotic cell using a combination of lecture format and reading of pertinent, current literature.  Dr. Kwanhee Kim and Dr. Jonathan Jones

NEUROSCI 541 Special Topics in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience

  • Cell Biology of the Neuron (Weeks 1-5).  This course will help students develop ‘big picture’ understanding of intracellular signaling, become familiar with experimental methodologies with attention to experimental design and inclusion of proper controls employed in modern biomedical research. Topics include:  Regulation of gene transcription and protein translation, extracellular and intracellular signaling, plasma membrane receptors, protein and lipid kinases, phosphatases, receptor systems, and cyclic nucleotides-based and calcium-dependent signaling. Dr. Joseph Harding (coordinator) Dr. Michael Varnum
  • Signal Transduction (Weeks 6-10)

NEUROSCI 543 Special Topics in Behavioral/Clinical Neuroscience

  • Behavioral Neuroscience (Weeks 1-5). This course will introduce students to basic concepts in behavioral neuroscience and help them apply these concepts through the critical evaluation and interpretation of primary literature. Students will learn which animal models are appropriate to use to study particular forms of learning, memory, motivated behavior, emotion and cognitive dysfunction; and will get exposure to studies on neural substrates underlying learning, memory, motivated behavior, and emotion. Dr. Rita Fuchs Lokensgard (coordinator), Dr. Ryan McLaughlin
  • Circadian Rhythms (Weeks 6-10).  The 2017 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology was awarded to three investigators for their groundbreaking work in Circadian (daily) Rhythms, which are phylogenetically ancient, evolutionarily well conserved, and pervasive throughout the body. We will discuss the core concepts of biological rhythms, their impact on neurobiology and behavior, and consequences for health. Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos
  • Feeding: Neuronal circuits controlling food intake (Weeks 11-15).  This course examines the neuronal control of food intake.  In particular, we will focus on the recent use of opto and chemo - genetic tools to analyze and identify neuronal circuits that influence food intake. Dr. Suzanne Appleyard


Epidemiology Courses.  1 credit (may be repeated).  Intended to serve as an introductory epidemiology course for those interested in conducting population health research. This collection is offered as three one-credit modules, all under the same course number. Module One is required to take Module Two or Three, but the later two modules can be taken separately or together. No prior coding experience is required, and content involving math and statistics will be focused on aspects of those subjects accessible to students without an extensive math background.  Students outside the CVM contact Sue Zumwalt for registration information.

  • Basic Epidemiology: (1 credit, Weeks 1-5). This section will introduce the graduate student to the subject of epidemiology, including the uses, scope and topics of epidemiology, the most frequently used study designs, measures of excess risk and association, and causal inference. The student will be able to read and critique epidemiological studies, be able to identify the appropriate study design for a specific problem, evaluate screening and diagnostic tests and outline the steps in an outbreak investigation. Examples from medical and veterinary literature will be accompanied by enough background information for students without medical training to understand. This section is required for those students who want to progress to Methods of Analysis in Epidemiology or Modeling Infectious Disease Dynamics.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 
  • Data wrangling and analysis using R: (1 credit, Thursday, Feb 8 from 1-6 pm, Friday, Feb 9 from 9-2 and Sat, Feb 10 from 9-2).  Building from the concepts introduced in Basic Epidemiology, this section will cover working with data and analysis of data using R.  Basic Epidemiology (Weeks 1-5) is recommended but not required for those students who want to this intense course.  To register, contact Sue Zumwalt or at    Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 
  • Methods of Analysis in Epidemiology: (1 credit, Weeks 6-10).  Building from the concepts introduced in Basic Epidemiology, this section will cover the practical aspects of analyzing a study. Topics include the identification of potential confounding variables and methods to adjust for them, the use of contingency tables to obtain effect estimates, as well as the use of generalized linear models to in R analyze data arising from case-control and cohort studies, as well as the use of regression models in the analysis of time series and survival data. Combining lectures with hands-on labs, this module is intended to provide a foundation in these topics to allow students to identify the methods most appropriate for their research and to act as a foundation for further coursework.  Basic Epidemiology (Weeks 1-5) is required for those students who want to take Methods of Analysis.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 
  • Modeling Infectious Disease Dynamics: (1 credit, Weeks 11-15). This section is intended to give students a broad overview of the techniques used in the modeling of infectious disease dynamics. Beginning with the foundational skills of how to read and critically evaluate a model, the section will primarily be on compartmental models, both deterministic and stochastic, including the implementation of models in R. The section will also offer a brief introduction network science as it applies to epidemiology, including defining a network, basic network measurements, how to collect empirical networks, and simulating epidemics on networks. As with Methods of Analysis in Epidemiology, this section is intended to provide a foundation in these topics to allow students to identify the methods most appropriate for their research and to act as a foundation for further coursework.  Basic Epidemiology (Weeks 1-5) is required for those students who want to take Modeling Infectious Disease Dynamics.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 

Planned Fall 2018

Featured Faculty:  To be announced

Deconstruction of Research. (3 credits) Deconstruction of Research is based on the premise that construction of new scientific knowledge builds from a foundation of primary evidence that requires critical evaluation through active analysis and productive discourse. Students will learn and understand the nature and development of scientific knowledge transmitted through oral and written avenues. Students will learn the necessary skills required for critical analysis of general concepts no matter how familiar or unfamiliar the topic.

Fall 2017 Offered