Academic Features

Academic Features

Common Curriculum Offerings

Spring 2019 Offered

Advanced Topics in GeneticsModuleCourse #Day/Time
Genetically modifying organisms1525.1M,W,F 9-10
Genes, genomes, and society2525.2M,W,F 9-10
Advanced Topics in PathologyModuleCourse #Day/Time
Basic epidemiology1571.1M,W,F 4-5
Data wrangling & analysis using R3571.2Detail below
Analysis in epidemiology2571.3M,W,F 4-5
Modeling infectious diseases3571.4M,W,F 4-5
Selected Topics in Cell BiologyModuleCourse #Day/Time
Cytoskeleton1529.1M,W,F 10-11
Membrane biogenesis & intracellular trafficking2529.2M,W,F 10-11
Molecular signaling mechanisms3529.3M,W,F 10-11
Spec Topics in Behavioral & Clinical NeurosciModuleCourse #Day/Time
Behavioral neuroscience1543.1M,W 9-10; W 8-10
Neuroimmunology2543.2M,W 10-11; W 10-12
Philosophy and modern neuroscience 3543.3M,W 10-11; W 10-12
Spec Topics in Cellular & Molecular NeurosciModuleCourse #Day/Time
Cell biology of the neuron1541.1M,W 10-11; F 10-12
Signal transduction2541.2M,W 9-10; F 8-9
Sleep regulation3541.3M,W 9-10; F 8-9
Topics in Biomedical ExperimentationModuleCourse #Day/Time
Philosophy of experimental design1564.1T,Th 9-10:25
Analysis of biomedical experiments2564.2T,Th 9-10:25
Bioethics3564.3T,Th 9-10:25
Imaging & image analysis3564.6T,Th 9-10:25




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.  Required textbook available at the Bookie.  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.  Required textbook available at the Bookie.  Dr. Bryan Slinker
  • Bioethics:
    (1 credit, Weeks 11-15).   Throughout the class we will be engaging with case-studies that arise in the context of biomedical research. In particular, the class explores larger social, cultural, and ethical implications of research. This analysis may be helpful for students throughout their careers, as they explore the broader impacts of their research. Additionally, the discussions they embody provide important training in research ethics, leadership, and professionalism. Dr. Samantha Noll and Dr. William Kabasenche
  • Imaging & Image Analysis:
    (1 credit, Weeks 11-15).  This course will provide students with the theoretical and practical knowledge to utilize emergent imaging technologies. The emphasis of the course will be on light microscopy. Students will learn the principles of light microscopy, as well as the use of different types of cameras, laser scanning systems, functional fluorophores, and digital image-processing software. In addition to transmitted light microscopy for viewing cellular structure, the course will examine a variety of molecular probes of cell function, including calcium-sensitive dyes, optogenetic and photo-activatable molecules.  The main focus of the course will be on fluorescent microscopy and the different microscopes used to detect the fluorescence including widefield, point scanning and spinning disk confocal microscopes.  We will also discuss the advance microscopy techniques including super resolution microscopy.  We will also present the students with an opportunity to get some hands on experience with the scopes within our imaging core facility.  Dr. Gary Wayman


MBioS 525 Advanced Topics in Genetics

  • Genetically modifying organisms the state of the art
     (Weeks 1-5).  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 minicourse 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 societal concerns raised by this rapidly evolving facet of biosciences.  Dr. Pat Hunt; Dr. Jon Oatley; Dr. Jennifer Watts
  • Genes, genomes, and society 
    (Weeks 11-15).   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


529 Selected Topics in Cell Biology

  • 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 three contemporary topics in “Cytoskeleton” (Dr. Rey Carabeo and Dr. Kwanhee Kim; Weeks 1-5), “Membrane biogenesis and intracellular trafficking” (Dr. Kwanhee Kim and Dr. Rey Carabeo; Weeks 6-10), and Molecular Signaling Mechanisms (Dr. Wipawee (Joy) Winuthayanon and Dr. Kwanhee Kim; Weeks 11-15)


NEUROSCI 541 Special Topics in Cellular/Molecular Neuroscience

  • Cell Biology of the Neuron
    (Weeks 1-5).  Dr. Joseph Harding (coordinator) Dr. Michael Varnum
  • Signal Transduction
    (Weeks 6-10).  This course will offer an advanced look at cell signaling with an emphasis on signaling in neurons.  Topics presented however will be relevant to most cells.  A few of the topics covered will be second messengers, Ca2+, degradation signaling and the autocrine and paracrine signaling between neurons and other cells.  We will also discuss the downstream targets of these signaling pathways including kinases and how these targets regulate the biology of the neuron.  Dr. Gary Wayman
  • Sleep Regulation
    (Weeks 11-15).  This course will introduce students to basic sleep regulatory concepts.  To bridge a prior component of the “Special Topics” series we will begin by discussing sleep and infectious diseases.  We will discuss the brain circuits, cellular components, and molecular pathways involved in sleep.  Further, sleep function theories and how they impact one’s view of what exactly is it that sleeps will be considered.  Local aspects of sleep will be compared to local aspects of brain plasticity and inflammation.  Students will be expected to read and present discussions of assigned readings in writing and verbally.  Dr. James Krueger


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
  • Neuroimmunology
     (Weeks 6-10).  In this micro-course we will explore the interactions between the immune system and the nervous system in the context of health and disease. Using a “journal club” approach, we will explore this burgeoning area of research from the cell/molecular level to the whole animal level. We will read noteworthy review papers and empirical papers to probe specific areas including, basics of neuroimmune interactions, neuroimmune function in stress, sleep, and circadian rhythms, and the contributions of immune regulation/dysregulation in diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Multiple Sclerosis, and other neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Ilia Karatsoreos
  • Philosophy and modern neuroscience
    (Weeks 11-15). This micro-course will examine the reciprocal relationship between core philosophical arguments and modern neuroscience. Through historical readings, primary scientific literature, and film we will explore the influence of philosophy on our ability to ‘know’ and conduct research; as well as what empirical work has to say about important philosophical ideas. Each week will examine a key set of concepts, including; epistemology and induction, dualism, determinism and concepts of free-will, memory and experiential continuity, and theories of consciousness.   Dr. James Peters



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 four one-credit modules, all under the same course number. Module One is required to take Module Three or Four, but the later 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.

  • Module 1 - Basic Epidemiology: 
    (1 credit, Weeks 1-5). Basic Epidemiology: This module 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 module is required for those students who want to progress to modules 2 and 3 and 4.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 

  • Module 2 - Data wrangling and analysis using R:
      (1 credit. Weeks 5-6).  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 participate in this intense course module.  There will be five sessions that last 3 hours each.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 
  • Module 3 - Analysis in Epidemiology:
     (1 credit, Weeks 6-10).  Building from the concepts introduced in Module 1, this module 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.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi 

  • Module 4 - Modeling Infectious Diseases:
     (1 credit, Weeks 11-15).  This module 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 module will primarily be on compartmental models, both deterministic and stochastic, including the implementation of models in R. The module 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 Module 2, 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.  Dr. Margaret Davis, Dr. Eric Lofgren, and Dr. Thumbi Mwangi

Planned Fall 2019

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