Cell & Molecular Biology Graduate Group

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CAMB Courses

CAMB 422 (BIOL 422) Human Genetics and Genomics
Prerequisite: BIOL 221
Director: Dr. Sarah Tishkoff

In this course we will discuss the identification and characterization ofb genetic diversity in the human genome, the genetic basis of normal variable
traits, and the genetic basis of human disease. The study of human genetics impacts almost every aspect of our society, from medicine to law enforcement to how we view ourselves. An ability to understand the basics of genetic analyses will serve you well since in your lifetime you are almost certain to be faced with a major decision involving your heredity; and society will be forced to make major reforms in medicine and law because of our increasing genetic knowledge. Human genetics is a topic that gets frequent attention in the press. Reports about genes for traits ranging from breast cancer to criminal behavior are constantly in the news. Our society is engaged in a debate about the implications of genetic typing, particularly with the advent of personalized genomics. By the end of this class you should be able to sort fact from fiction and to have a better understanding of the science behind the study of the human genome. Offered spring semester (Odd years).

CAMB 431 (BIOL 431): Genome Sciences and Genomic Medicine
Prerequisite: BIOL 221; BIOL 421 strongly recommended.
Director: Dr. Brian Gregory

This course will be a focused study of genomes, genomic techniques, and how these approaches are and will be used in diagnosing and treating human disease. Topics will include genome sequencing, analisys of sequences and microarrays, and new techniques including high-throughput sequencing and
reverse genetic analysis with a focus on genome-wide mutant collections. Offered spring semester.

CAMB 480 (BIOL 480): Advanced Cell Biology
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisite: College level biochemistry and cell biology.
Director: Dr. Wei Guo

This course is designed for beginning graduate students and advanced undergraduate students with a particular enthusiasm for Cell Biology. CAMB/BIOL 480 does not attempt to cover all aspects of cell biology, and is therefore not appropriate for students seeking a lecture course that provides a comprehensive survey of the field. Rather, the primary objective of this course is to teach those students considering a career in the biomedical sciences how to read, discuss, and question research papers effectively. Intensive classroom discussions focus on the experimental methods used, results obtained, interpretation of these results in the context of cell structure and function, and implications for further studies. There is no assigned text; students learn to critically evaluate current literature by reading original papers on selected topics in modern cell biology. Accordingly, class participation/discussion is essential and the grade will be determined significantly by that. In addition, there will be two exams including answering short questions and an assay critiquing an original paper that is selected on a topic in Cell Biology. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 482 (BIOL 482) Cell Signaling
Prerequisite: BIOL 202 or permission of instructor
Director: Dr. Kimberly Gallagher

The evolution of multicellularity required that cells be able to both send and receive signals from their neighbors.  The development of organs and differentiation of cells and tissues requires reliable and continuous communication between cells.  Consequences of inappropriate or anomalous signaling include development abnormalities and cancer.  This class will examine mechanisms of cell-to-cell signaling between plant and animal cells with an emphasis on the cell biology of development.  For Spring 2014, particular attention will be given to signaling in stem cell niches. Back to top

CAMB 483 (BIOL 483): Epigenetics
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisite: BIOL 221
Director: Dr. Doris Wagner

This course will investigate epigenetic phenomena: heritable alternative states of gene activity that do not result from altered nucleotide sequence. Recent findings suggest an important role of these phenomena in normal development, as well as in oncogenesis. Many, but not all, epigenetic phenomena are based on the fact that in the organism DNA is organized into a higher order structure, the chromatin. We will therefore first discuss the implications of chromatin for gene activity. We will then investigate epigenetic phenomena such as DNA methylation, genomic imprinting, RNA interference, silencing, and co-suppression. This course is a combination of lecture and discussion using current scientific literature. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 485 (BIOL 485): The RNA World: A Functional and Computational Analysis
Prerequisite: BIOL 221 required. BIOL 421 strongly recommended.
Director: Dr. Brian Gregory

A focused study of genomic, biochemical, cellular, and molecular aspects of RNA. Topics of study will include RNA structure, RNA processing and turnover, splicing, ribozymes and riboswitches, RNA editing and modification, RNA interference, endogenous eukaryotic RNA silencing pathways, small RNA biology, computational methodologies for studying RNA biology, and RNA viruses. Lectures, student presentations, and discussions will be based on readings from the primary literature. Offered spring semester in even years. Back to top

CAMB 493 (BIOL 493): Epigenetics of Human Health and Disease
Prerequisite: BIOL 221 required, BIOL 483 recommended
Director: Dr. Shelley Berger

Epigenetic alterations encompass heritable, non-genetic changes to chromatin (the polymer of DNA plus histone proteins) that influence cellular and organismal processes. This course will examine epigenetic mechanisms in directing development from the earliest stages of growth, and in maintaining
normal cellular homeostasis during life. We will also explore how diverse epigenetic processes are at the heart of numerous human disease states. We
will review topics ranging from an historical perspective of the discovery of epigenetic mechanisms to the use of modern technology and drug development to target epigenetic mechanisms to increase healthy lifespan and combat human disease. The course will involve a combination of didactic lectures, primary scientific literature and research lectures, and student-led presentations. Back to top

CAMB 510: Immunology for CAMB
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600 or instructor permit. Priority given to students in the MVP & GTV programs of CAMB. CAMB students only.
Directors: Drs. Youhai Chen & Andrew Wells

The purpose of this course is to provide a thorough grounding in immunology to Cell and Molecular Biology graduate students, with an emphasis on the role of the immune system in combating infectious and neoplastic disease, and its role in immunopathological states such as autoimmunity and allergy. This is a required course for CAMB students in the Microbiology, Virology and Parasitology program and the Vaccine and Gene Therapy program, replacing IMM 506 (Immune Mechanisms). It may also be used as an elective by CAMB students in other programs.

The course is divided into two parts. The first deals with basic innate and adaptive immune mechanisms, the structure, function, and molecular biology of antigen receptors and major histocompatibility complex molecules, and the development, activation, and differentiation of lymphocytes and other hematopoietic cells involved in immunity. The second part will cover the immune response to infection by bacteria, viruses, and parasites, and the clinical and applied aspects of immunopathological states such as cancer and autoimmunity. The course is comprised of two 1.5 hour lectures per week, and there will be two exams. The first will be taken after part I, and the second after part II of the course. Both will be open-book and in-class exams. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 511: Principles of Development
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Previous courses in molecular and cellular biology are recommended. Undergrad background in cell biology and molecular biology required. NON-BGS students require permission from course director to register.
Director: Dr. Mary Mullins

This graduate course, which will include lectures and readings from the literature, is designed to provide a foundation in the principles of developmental biology.  Topics covered will include: fertilization and cleavage, pattern formation, gastrulation, germ layer formation, tissue specification, morphogenesis, tissue differentiation, organogenesis, stem cell biology, and developmental evolution.  The use of modern molecular biology, genetics, and embryological manipulations will be discussed in the context of the analysis of developmental mechanisms. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 512: Cancer Biology and Genetics
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: BIOM600 or course director permission.
Directors: Drs. Todd Ridky and Yi Fan

The course objective is to introduce the students to important and current concepts in Cancer Biology and Cancer Genetics.  The lectures are organized into 4 broad thematic groups: A) Cell-Autonomous Mechanisms (e.g., tumor suppressor and oncogene function, DNA repair pathways, senescence, apoptosis); B) Non Cell-Autonomous Mechanisms (e.g., tumor microenvironment, hypoxia, angiogenesis); C) Organ Systems (e.g., pancreatic cancer, hematopoetic malignancies); and D) Therapeutic Approaches (e.g. protein kinase inhibitors, immunotherapy, radiation therapy).  The organizers, along with faculty from the Perelman School of Medicine, the Wistar Institute and CHOP, with expertise in the corresponding areas provide lectures for the course.  The students are expected to present, and participate in discussions of one or more key recent papers at Journal Clubs that are held at the end of each thematic group. There will be mid-term and final exams of short essays relevant to the lectures. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 518: Current Topics in Ion Channels
Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of ion channels,Cell 600 or equivalent.
Director: Dr. Carol Deutsch

The course is a seminar format, specifically a journal club format, targeted to graduate students and MD/PhD students interested in ion channels. It meets for one hour, once a week for graduate students and once every other week for the entire group with formal presentation. On alternate weeks a faculty member meets with students to discuss and review the contents of each selected article for the subsequent week's presentation. This is an elective course meant to excite and intellectually enlighten students regarding the latest advances in ion channel research. It includes a wide range of ion channel topics from basic biophysics, structure, and physiology to cell biology and clinical applications. It is attended by faculty, students, and postdocs/ from the departments of Physiology, Pathology, Neuroscience, Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Biophysics, Psychiatry. We require a written critique of each paper presented by other participants during the semester, submitted prior to the formal presentation of the paper. This critique will be graded by a faculty member, as will the student's ,participation in both the preparatory sessions and formal presentation ,sessions. In addition, the student will make one formal presentation, also,graded by a faculty member. A final grade would be based on all three of these components. Offered spring and fall semesters. Back to top

CAMB 522 (BIOL 522): Human Evolutionary Genomics
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor requred
Director: Dr. Sarah Tishkoff

Advanced seminar on current topics in human genomics and human evolution. Topics include the methods used for mapping and sequencing genomes;
phylogenetic and population genetic analysis; and detecting variation in the human genome. This course is designed for graduate students but advanced
undergraduates with a strong background in genetics are also welcome. Offered spring semester (even years). Back to top

CAMB 530: The Cell Cycle, Genome Integrity and Cancer
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisites: CAMB 512 and/or BIOM 600 or equivalent graduate level advanced cell biology course. Anyone without BIOM600 or equivalent must obtain instructor permission.
Directors: Dr. Eric Brown

This seminar course will focus on molecular and biochemical events that regulate cell cycle transitions and genome maintenance and will explore their relevance to human cancer.The course topics are chosen to familiarize the student with the key principles, the most productive experimental systems, and the seminal studies from the past twenty years of cell cycle and DNA damage/repair research. Primary literature will be used to illustrate the impact of perturbations in both cell cycle regulation and genome surveillance mechanisms on neoplastic growth. The topics unfold by focusing on major classes of cell cycle regulatory, mechanisms of their regulation, critical cell cycle transitions, and their importance for normal cell proliferation. We will subsequently consider the checkpointand DNA repair mechanisms that are activated by perturbation in genome integrity and examine how they in turn impact the cell cycle. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 532: Human Physiology
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Although not a formal prerequisite, a good foundation in cell biology at the level of BIOM/CAMB 600 (or an equivalent upper level undergraduate course) is strongly recommended. A general understanding of the chemistry and biochemistry of macromolecules, and of basic molecular biology will also be assumed. This course is primarily designed for 2nd year BGS students; 1st year students in BGS or other programs will require the permission of the instructor. This course is not open to undergraduates.
Directors: Drs. J. Kevin Foskett and Tejvir Kurhana

This course will present a survey of the physiology of most of the major organ systems. It will integrate knowledge of cellular and molecular mechanisms into an understanding of function at the tissue, organ, and organism levels. It will begin with a brief review of membrane physiology, followed by electrophysiology and signaling in nerve. Then, after a brief outline of neural control systems and their role in homeostasis, it will present motility and muscle, the cardiovascular system, respiration, the renal and gastrointestinal systems, and selected topics from the endocrine system and the reproductive systems. As well as providing a basis of integrative physiology for students in fields such as physiology, bioengineering and pharmacology, it should be of interest to students of cellular and molecular biology and genetic engineering who will need to appreciate the roles of specific systems and molecules at higher levels of organization. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 534: Seminar on current genetic research: Human Disease Modeling in Experimental Systems
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: CAMB 605 or CAMB 542 or permission of the instructor. Priority for enrollment will be given to CAMB graduate students. Class is not open to Master or undergraduate students.
Director: Dr. Thomas Jongens

An advanced seminar course emphasizing genetic research in model organisms and how it informs modern medicine.  Each week a student will present background on a specific human disease.  This is followed by an intense discussion by the entire class of ~2 recent papers in which model organisms have been used to address the disease mechanism and/or treatment.  As a final assignment, students will have the opportunity to write, edit, and publish a "News & ,Views" style article in the journal "Disease Models and Mechanisms".  Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 542: Topics in Molecular Medicine (TIMM)
Course page  
Prerequisites: None
Directors: Section 401: Drs. Ben Stanger & Rahul Kholi
Section 402: Drs. Michael Atchison & Nicola Mason

TiMM is planned as a once-weekly seminar course whose goal is to introduce students to the ways in which biomedical research can provide new insights into clinical medicine and, conversely, how knowledge of clinical disease impacts scientific discovery. There are two sections for the course -- 401 and 402. Section 401 is for first year MD/PhD students only and section 402 is for VMD/PhD and PhD students.

The course will be in a seminar style. Two or three students will be assigned to present at each session. Each session has a different faculty member as a preceptor; this faculty member, in consultation with the course directors, has choosen a clinical topic and one or two state-of-the-art research papers which provide molecular insight into the topic. The faculty member will meet with the students before the class session to provide additional insight into the topic. One of the assigned students will briefly present the clinical aspects of the problem and the second (and possibly third) student(s) will present the scientific paper(s). All of the students in the class will be expected to have read both the clinical and research papers and to contribute to class discussion. A list of topics and articles will be given out on the first day of the course. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 546: HIV Pathogenesis
2010 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Strong background in cell biology, immunology or virology fulfilled by 1st yr CAMB (previous BGS courses) or Module 1 of med school curriculum. Course is limited to graduate students. Instructor permission required for non-CAMB graduate students.
Director: Drs. Ronald Collman & Drew Weissman

This course will introduce students to diverse basic principles that contribute to viral pathogenesis.  We will use HIV as a model to illustrate specific elements that relate to disease development, emphasizing; a) pathogenesis, b) immunology, c) retroviral replication cycle, and d) vaccine development.  Offered spring smester.

One 1.5 to 2hour class weekly for the course of the semester.  The first class will include two 45-minute introductory lectures given by the course instructors.  Each week, a student will lead the class in the dissection and discussion of published papers on a specific topic.  The format that we will follow will be a 20-minute introduction presented by the student followed by the analysis of one to two articles, which will be presented by the student and discussed by the class. Offered spring semester in even years. Back to top

CAMB 547: Fundamental Virology
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: None
Directors: Drs. Nigel Fraser and Jianxin You

The course provides an introduction to virology aimed at graduate students in the biomedical sciences. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 548: Bacteriology
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisite: Priority given to MVP graduate students
Directors: Drs. Jun Zhu & Frederic Bushman

The format of this course will be two lectures and one student presentation/paper discussion per section.  The course will begin by introducing molecular mechanisms in bacterial replication, then cover detailed studies of approaches to the analysis of host-bacterial replication, then cover detailed studies of bacterial interactions. The course will cover the general concepts and recent advance of how bacterial pathogens prepare to infect the host, the successful strategies bacteria used to infect the host, and how they survive after the infection. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 549: Parasitology and Parasitism
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: Permission needed from course director for non-CAMB students
Directors: Drs. Christopher Hunter and James Lok

Parasites infect over one quarter of the world’s population and parasitic diseases are a leading cause of death globally. A new course, entitled "Parasites and Parasitism", is to be offered to first and second year MVP students over a seven-week block in the spring semester. The course will begin with an introduction to the major protozoan and helminth pathogens of humans, their geographic distribution and the diseases they cause. Subsequent lectures will emphasize a variety of topics from the current research literature using specific parasitic pathogens as examples. These will include how various protozoans enter cells and adapt to different intracellular habitats or how helminths utilize different strategies to survive within the GI tract. Malaria and schistosomiasis will serve as examples for how parasites cause disease while trypanosomes and leishmaniasis will be discussed as models for how parasites survive or evade immune elimination. Finally, several helminth and protozoan systems will be used to demonstrate the intimate association between parasite and vector that leads to efficient transmission. In addition to lectures, weekly discussion sessions will provide an opportunity for students to review papers or research specific topics and present their findings to their colleagues. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 550: Genetic Principles
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Open to all PhD students in BGS, priority given to CAMB and GCB students. Students outside of BGS or in non-PhD programs require permission from the course director to register.
Directors: Drs. Meera Sundaraman & Struan Grant

This is a required course of the Genetics and Gene Regulation Program and is designed to provide students with a comprehensive overview of genetic concepts and methodology.The course is organized into three parts: I Fundamental genetic concepts; II Genetics of model organisms (with a focus on worms, flies and mice); III Human genetics and disease.Each week there will be two lectures and one associated discussion/problem-solving session.Discussions emphasize practical aspects of generating and interpreting genetic data. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 578 (BIOL 488): Advanced Topics in Behavioral Genetics
Prerequisites: Permission of instructor required
Directors: Dr. Maja Bucan and Dr. Edwin (Ted) Abel

This course focuses on the use of genetic techniques to study the molecular and cellular bases of behavior. Particular emphasis will be given to the role of genetic approaches in understanding the biological processes underlying memory storage, circadian rythms, and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Reverse genetic approaches utililzing gene knockout and transgenic technologies, as well as forward genetic approaches using mutagenesis and quantitative genetic techniques will be discussed. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 597: Neural Development, Regeneration and Repair
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: BIOM 600. Course reserved for NGG and CAMB graduate students. All others by permission only.
Directors: Dr. Gregory Bashaw and Dr.Michael Granato

The goal of this course is to examine the principles underlying nervous system development. This is not a survey course. Rather, the course will focus on selected topics, for which we will discuss the genetic, molecular and cellular strategies employed to study these problems in different model organisms. Emphasis is on how to interpret and critically evaluate experimental data.

Spring 2014 Topics: Specification and generation of Neuronal Diversity; Axon and Dendrite Tiling and Self-Avoidance; Axon Guidance at the Midline; Synapse Formation; Wiring the Olfactory System, Axon DegenerationandRegeneration, Stem Cell Replacement Strategies for Neural Repair.

Textbooks: No specific textbooks are required. The following texts are useful resources. Developmental Biology by Scott Gilbert; Development of the Nervous System by Sanes, Reh, and Harris; and Molecular and Cellular Approaches to Neural Developmentedited by Cowan, Jessell, and Zipursky.

Format: Each class is 1.5 hours in length. During the first hour, an assigned paper will be discussed in detail. During the last 20-30 minutes, faculty will introduce methods, concepts, and background information pertinent to the paper that will be discussed at the following meeting.

Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 601: Advanced Virology Seminar
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: Non-CAMB students must obtain instructor approval.
Director: Drs. Paul Bates and Nigel Fraser

This seminar course covers current topics and important concepts in virology. Students will read selected papers on various topics in virology. Each subject will be illustrated by ground-breaking classic papers and innovative recent articles. Students will present a seminar under the guidance of a faculty member. Grades will be based on the guidance of a faculty member. Grades will be based on the quality of the seminar(s) and participation in discussion. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 605: Cell and Molecular Biology First Year Seminar
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: None
Director: Dr. John Seykora

Topics are selected by course instructors and student participants. Course instructors vary yearly. The goal of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to analyze, present, and discuss significant research papers in the field of cell and molecular biology in small group settings. The sections are taught by faculty from the different programs within the Graduate Group.This is a required course for CAMB PhD Students. Other BGS students are eligible, space permitting. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 608: Seminar in Regulation of Eukaryotic Gene Expression
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 555 or equivalent (exception=MD/PhD students). Students are expected to bring their laptops to class. This is an elective course for CAMB/GGR and has a capacity of 14 students. Non-CAMB/GGR students should email course director for permission prior to registration. Class make-up will be determined at the organizational meeting.
Directors: Drs. Zhaolan Zhou, Stephen Liebhaber, & Douglas Epstein

An advanced seminar course emphasizing the molecular biology and molecular genetics of gene expression in eukaryotes. Based on the current literature, the presentations and discussions will familiarize the student with present day technology and developing principles. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 609: (IMUN 609): Vaccines and Immune Therapeutics
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Biology, biochemistry, or immunology courses at the advanced college level
Director: Drs. David Weiner, Jean Boyer, and Paul Offit

Vaccination is perhaps the most successful medical technological intervention. The goal of this course is to expand on students' general understanding of the immune system and to focus this understanding towards the application of vaccination and immune therapies for the 21 century.  Furthermore, the course will give the student a sense of how these principles are applied to vaccine and immune therapeutic development.  The course covers basic science as well as the clinical, regulatory, ethical, and political issues and implications of modern vaccines and world health.

Initial lectures review immune mechanisms believed to be responsible for vaccine induced protection from disease.   Subsequent lectures build on this background to explore the science of vaccines for diverse pathogens, including agents of bioterrorism as well as vaccines for cancer.  An appreciation for the application of laboratory science to the clinical development and studies of vaccines is provided in the next section of the course along with lectures, which focus on the regulatory, safety, and ethical implications of vaccines in different world situations.  The financial implications of specific vaccines on global health is one focus of the course.

The course is lecture style with many, many guest lecturers who are experts in their particular area of vaccine development.   There are required readings to provide the student context and background for the diverse lectures topic.  Students are graded on course participation, and a final project/exam.  The project is to design in a powerpoint report a vaccine strategy for a current disease or pathogen of importance that does not as yet have an effective vaccine or immune therapy.  Strategies used should build on the material presented in the class lectures.  The course is intended for graduate students or medical students in various MS, Ph.D., or MD/Ph.D. programs on the campus, as well as local scientists and professionals in the community.  As a prerequisite students should have taken biology, biochemistry, or immunology courses at the advanced college level. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 610: Molecular Basis of Gene Therapy
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Background in biochemistry, cell biology and molecular biology. Any student not enrolled in a BGS graduate program who wishes to take this course must get permission in advance from Dr. Wilson. Students should send their undergraduate and graduate transcripts (including spring semester) along with their request to Dr. Wilson via email: wilsonjm@mail.med.upenn.edu and copy Robin Hartley at hartleyr@exchange.upenn.edu. This class is not accepting Non-BGS masters students.
Director: Dr. James Wilson

This is a team-taught, survey course that focuses on the basic science relevant to achieving efficient and effective gene transfer in animal models and humans for the treatment of disease. The course includes a unit devoted to a variety of vectors useful for gene transfer, with the remainder of the course devoted to the study of current gene therapy approaches using specific diseases as models. Prior background in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology is essential. Aspects of organ system anatomy and physiology, virology and immunology that are relevant to the course material are included in the course. Because of the rapid movement in this field, specific topics vary somewhat from year to year. The course is designed for second year graduate students, however first year students may take the course with the course director's approval. Lecture format with discussion hours interspersed. There will be a take-home examination at the end of each of the three sections, each focusing on the material covered in that section. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 615: Topics in Conformational Disease
2011 Syllabus
Prerequisite: BIOM 600 or equivalent
Director: Drs. Yair Argon & Harry Ischiropoulos

Protein misfolding and aggregation have been associated with a number of human diseases, ranging from Alzhemier's and Parkinson's Disease to Respiratory Distress Syndrome, alpha(1)-antitrypsin deficiency and Mad Cow Disease.  This course will cover the common principles underlying such diverse diseases.  The course will consist of lectures, directed readings, and student presentations and will cover seminal and current papers on the cell biology of conformational diseases.  Examples of topics are cellular inclusion bodies, protein degradation pathways (proteosome, autophagy, ER-associated degradation), effects of protein aggregation on cell function and mutations which lead to autosomal dominant diseases.
Target audience is primarily 1st year CAMB, other BGS graduate students or students interested in acquiring a cell biological perspective on the topic.  MD/PhDs and Postdoc are welcome.  MS and undergraduate students must obtain permission from course directors.  Class size is limited to 14 students.  Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 617: Emerging Infectious Diseases
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600 (CELL 600) is required. First year MVP courses or permission by course directors.
Directors: Drs. Scott Hensley & Paul Bates

A physician from just 25 years ago would not recognize two of today's most pressing public health problems, AIDS and Hepatitis C, nor be familiar with many other infectious diseases or agents including Ebola virus, Hantaanvirus, HTLV-1, HHV-8 and Borrelia burgdorferi.  Such a physician might also be dismayed to learn that old enemies such as tuberculosis, malaria, diphtheria, West Nile virus, meningococcal meningitis, Yellow fever, and Dengue have become more (or rather less) prevalent due to antibiotic resistance and other factors.  In addition, bioterrorism, long a theoretical possibility, is now part of today's reality and could result in the deliberate introduction of anthrax or other biological agents into the civilian population or the food supply.  Thus, with the beginning of the new millennium, the medical profession, the veterinary profession, and the biomedical research establishment are faced with the triple-threat of emerging infectious diseases, reemerging infectious diseases, and bioterrorism.  These topics are covered in this course, with an emphasis on student's participation in the discussion.
Emerging Infectious Diseases will cover emerging viral, bacterial and parasitic organisms, with lectures being given by faculty from the Schools of Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Dental Medicine, and Arts and Sciences, and outside lecturers. Epidemiology, immune responses to infection, vaccine and antimicrobial agents, and pathogenesis all will be discussed.  The course format will include short lectures by various faculty members to provide background information on each topic, followed by extensive discussion by students as well as separate review and discussion sessions.  Classes will run from 10am to 11:30am on Mondays and Wednesdays in Johnson 209.  Evaluation will be based on a writing assignment (TBD) and participation in discussion sessions. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 620: Thematic Concepts in Developmental Biology
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600 (CELL 600); Gene Regulation; a developmental biology course (CAMB 511 or equivalent) is suggested not required. CAMB students have priority
Directors: Drs. Steven DiNardo & Nancy Speck

The goal of this seminar course is to foster discussion about general strategies used by cells and organisms to solve fundamental problems during development. This is not a survey course in Developmental Biology. Rather, we focus on an overarching theme for the semester (see below), enabling us to define the issues central to that theme, and explore attempts to uncover solutions using different model systems. Primary research papers are assigned for discussion, and all students are expected to contribute thoughtfully and energetically to the discussion each week. Prior years' topics have been: "Developmental links to Disease"; "Cell Biology in Development"; "Stem Cells"; "Rulers, Clocks & Oscillators in Development". Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 630 : Topics in Human Genetics and Disease
2010 syllabus
Prerequisites: CAMB graduate students having taken CAMB550, or students in MD/PhD, veterinary,genetic counseling or nursing programs with equivalent courses. Must have directors permission to register.
Directors: Drs. Eileen Shore, Marcella Devoto, & Straun Grant

Building on the foundations of the Human Genome and HapMap projects, as well as parallel efforts in model organisms, research in human genetics and genomics is progressing rapidly. Our understanding of basic concepts in genetics, and Mendelian and non-Mendelian human genetic disease is proceeding at an unprecedented pace. This course will provide students with an overview to approaches to understanding current problems and techniques in human genetics. The format will be an advanced seminar course, with directed reading and students presentations. Prerequisites: This course is designed for students with previous background in graduate level genetics, i.e., CAMB graduate students having taken CAMB 550, or students in MD/PhD, veterinary, genetic counseling or nursing programs with equivalent courses. Offered fall semester even years. Back to top

CAMB 632: Cell Control by Signal Transduction Pathways
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600, Molecular and Cell Biology Courses. Priority given to PhD students. Class is limited to CAMB, PHARM, IMUN and other graduate students. Masters will go on waiting list.
Directors: Drs. Xianxin Hua, Jeffrey Field, Warren Pear, & Adam Resnick

This course, "Cell control by signal transduction pathways", will examine how various signal transduction mechanisms influence cell functions including replication, growth, transcription, translation and intracellular trafficking. The primary signal transduction pathways to be examined include those mediate by Notch, TGF-ß, TNF-a, Ras, and Rho. We will also discuss intracellular signaling in response to DNA damage and explore in depth some of the key classes of enzymes involved in transmitting signals including kinases and phosphatases. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 633: Advanced Seminar in Gene Therapy
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisite: Background in biochemistry, cell biology, molecular biology, and immunology. Students who are not in CAMB need to request permission from the course director, Dr. James Wilson, via email: wilsonjm@mail.med.upenn.edu.
Director: Dr. James Wilson

This year's Advanced Seminar in Gene Therapy will cover controversial topics in the field. It will meet on Wednesdays from 4:30 - 6:30pm. The goal of this seminar is to provide graduate students with an understanding of the challenges, both experimentally and practical, that face the gene delivery field. At least two sessions will deal with ethical issues. With the exception of the first class meeting, each of the weekly, two-hour sessions will be devoted to a discussion of two recent papers. All students are to have read the papers. Evaluation will be based on attendance (required), active participation, and preparation of reviews of papers. Students will be introduced to the process of manuscript review and will be asked to provide critical reviews for two manuscripts. Offered spring semester in odd years. Back to top

CAMB 637. Gene Therapy: Vectors, Immunology and Disease
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: Background in molecular biology, virology and immunology.
Director: Dr. James Riley

This seminar course is designed to provide students with a cohesive understanding of virology and immunology of gene therapy. Three major themes will be covered: vectors, vector immunology, and gene therapy of genetic and acquired diseases. The topics to be covered are viewed as an extension of topics covered in CAMB 610 (Molecular Basis of Gene Therapy), although CAMB 610 is not an absolute prerequisite for this seminar. Each class will consist of a brief introduction by an instructor, reviewing background information related to the theme discussion. The topics are explored through discussions, led by assigned students, of seminal research articles. Students are expected to have thoroughly reviewed the assigned articles and be able to present and discuss various aspects of the papers. Regular attendance and active participation in the discussions, which focus on critical evaluation of experimental design, data presentation and interpretation, is essential. Student evaluation will be based on attendance, in-class presentation (for 50% of the letter grade), and a take-home exam (for another 50% of the grade). Offered spring semester in even years. Back to top

CAMB 691: Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Physiology I
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600 or a similar survey course in cell biology. Permission needed for all non-CAMB students.
Director: Dr. Ekaterina Grishchuk

This course, together with its companion CAMB 692, offers an advanced, in depth analysis of selected topics in cell biology and physiology. CAMB 691 and 692 are complementary courses that focus on different aspects of cell biology; these courses are offered on an alternating basis in the spring semester. The courses can be taken in either order, but require BIOM 600 or an equivalent background in basic cell biology. CAMB 691 will focus on key issues at the forefront of research in the areas of (1) channels and transporters, (2) protein trafficking through cellular pathways, and (3) cytoskeletal dynamics and molecular motors. The course format pairs faculty presentations with student-led discussion sessions highlighting important papers from the primary literature. Students will be evaluated on their presentations, their participation in class discussions, and weekly problem sets. Offered alternately in the spring semester with CAMB 692. Back to top

CAMB 692: Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Physiology II
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600 or a similar survey course in cell biology, or the permission of the instructor.We encourage participation by non-CAMB students.
Directors: Drs. Joseph Baur & Mark Lemmon

Cells in complex organisms are required to adapt rapidly in a changing environment. Maintaining homeostasis while performing specialized functions requires that cells respond to extracellular signals as well as fluctuations in a host of intracellular metabolites. This course will cover selected topics and general principles related to signal transduction and the control of metabolic flux in living cells. The course format will include student-led discussion sessions both providing an overview of a topic as well as focusing on important papers from the primary literature. Students will be evaluated on their presentations and participation, as well as problem sets. Offered alternately in the spring semester with CAMB 691. Back to top

CAMB 695: Scientific Writing
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 600, BIOM 555 and CAMB 605. Course open only to second year CAMB graduate students. If space permits, will open up to non-CAMB BGS graduate group students.
Directors: Drs. Jonathan Katz, James Lok

This 7-week course is designed to introduce students to basic scientific writing skills and is ideal for second year graduate students preparing for qualifying examinations. Participants will review the general principles of clear, persuasive writing, and will apply these principles to writing for a scientific audience. Particular emphasis will be placed on conveying the significance of your research, outlining the aims, and discussing the results for scientific papers and grant proposals. The course will also provide an overview of the structure and style of research grant proposals and scientific manuscripts. Classes are highly interactive, and the majority of class time will be spent discussing student scientific writing.

Evaluation: The goal of the course is to encourage active and open interaction among students. Ideal endpoints include improved self-editing, and development of effective strategies for offering and receiving editorial recommendations among peers. Grading will be predominantly based on class attendance and participation, not on the quality of the writing itself. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 696: Contemporary Topics in Parasitology Research
Prerequisite: CAMB 549-001, Parasites and Parasitism
Directors: Drs. Michael Povolones & James Lok

The specific aims of this course are:

  1. The in depth review of recent manuscripts is intended to provide a greater knowledge in specific and timely areas of parasitology research. This will develop their ability to use the primary literature as the major source of information, evaluating it critically, and integrating it in to a cohesive body of knowledge.
  2. A principal aim of the course is to develop the ability to think outside of the box and to cultivate the skills necessary for developing the ability to critically appraise one’s own research and that of others. It is not enough to simply understand the significance of a paper, but to develop alternative hypotheses to explain the results, determine what are the next steps for this research to move forward and integrate these studies into ‘the Big Picture’.
  3. The course requires the development of oral presentation skills and the ability to concisely review the background of a research area and to critically evaluate published research and the ideas of ones peers. The ability to present and review work will be tested

    Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 697: Biology of Stem Cells
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BGS Core Courses. Graduate students only. NO undergraduates. Students other than CAMB will need permits. CAMB students receive priority seating.
Directors: Drs. Paul Gadue & Christopher Lengner

The goal of this course is to introduce graduate students to the field of stem cell biology through lectures and reviews of important contributions from the literature.  Topics include stem cell niche biology, epigenetics and reprogramming, tissue specific stem cells such as hematopoietic and epithelial stem cells, tissue regeneration, tissue engineering, and ethical and legal issues of stem cell and regeneration biology.  The future potential and challenges in stem cell and regeneration biology will be discussed.  Important aspects of stem cell identification and characterization utilizing multiple model systems will also be a focus. Limited to 14 students. Offered Spring Semester. Back to top

CAMB 698: Elective Tutorials in Cell Biology
2014 Spring Syllabus
Prerequisite: Cell 600 or an alternative senior undergraduate, graduate, or professional school course in Cell Biology. Interested students must contact Director in advance with chosen topic and mentor.
Directors: Drs. Janis Burkhardt (Fall semester); Wei Tong (Spring semester)

This tutorial course is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of a specific topic in cell biology. The tutorial can be used to enable students to become more deeply acquainted with the literature related to their thesis projects or to expand on another topic of interest. Interested students can choose from this list of faculty and proposed topics or make arrangements with faculty on their own. All arrangements, whether from the listing or independently set up, must be approved by the course director. Students taking the course will attend an initial organizational meeting. Students will meet weekly with faculty mentors to discuss the literature, and in the end will write a brief review article and give an oral presentation. Offered spring and fall semesters. Back to top

CAMB 700: Topics in Microbiology
2013 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Permission from instructor required. Student must have taken Immunology and 2 MVP pathogen classes.
Director: Dr. Sara Cherry

This course is designed for second year students in the MVP program, and focuses on pathogen-host interactions.  Students make a presentation designed for 30 minutes on a topic of their choice.  The topic can be something that they are working on, or simply something that they are interested in.  They are requested to provide sufficient background, discuss what is known and what is not known about the topic, and then frame two to three Specific Aims.  The success of the course rests entirely upon the quality of the faculty and students involved.  In past years, the class have been very interactive, with each of the 11 classes lasting about 1.5 hours.  The discussions are deliberately wide-ranging, and review recent literature, techniques, and how to construct a grant. Generally, two faculty will be in attendance. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 701: Tumor Microenvironment
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisites: First year CAMB core courses must be completed. Course is for 2nd year graduate students and beyond.
Directors: Drs. Sandra Ryeom, Ellen Pure, & David Feldser

Location and Time:  Tuesday 3-5 pm, BRB 801 (September 2, 2014– December 9, 2014)
**Note 1st class will be Tuesday 9/2/14 from 3-5pm in BRB 801

Course Content
This 15-week course is designed for second year (and up) graduate students interested in learning about the
tumor microenvironment. The course will cover the main players of the tumor microenvironment field
(stroma, vasculature and immune cells) and emphasize the connections between the basic biology of the
tumor microenvironment to potential therapeutic intervention. The goals of this course are to enrich
scientific culture, train for clear and concise oral presentations, improve grant-writing skills, and develop
critical thinking, professional composure, and discussion skills.


Course Design
The course will be divided into 3 broad topic areas. At the beginning of each block, faculty members will
present a 1 hour didactic lecture and overview of the topic followed by questions and discussions by
students. Each session will be led by two students. One will prepare and present a didactic background
lecture regarding the salient points of that week’s topic, while the other student will lead discussion of a
primary research paper to be read in advance of the session by all class participants, including specific
technical background needed for the paper, presenting the data in the paper, leading discussion on the data
and conclusions drawn from the paper and putting them in the context of state of the field. Each student will
present one background and one paper throughout the course. Students will be guided in choosing the
appropriate depth of background and topic area and in giving formal presentations and constructive criticism
of scientific data. Additionally each student will write a specific aim for a grant using one of his or her two
presentations as "preliminary data" or their own research project provided it is related to the tumor
microenvironment.


Evaluation:
Students will be evaluated on their participation in class (40%), their presentations (40%) and their written
Aims assignment (20%). Students will be given feedback immediately after their presentations and at the
end of the second block on their in-class participation. Offered fall semester. Back to top

CAMB 702: (BMB 650): Current Biochem. Topics
Prerequisite: Course is limited to BGS graduate students and undergrads from the Vagelos Scholars Program.
Directors: Drs. Ben Black & James Shorter

Participation in the "Dr. George W. Raiziss Biochemical Rounds", a weekly seminar program sponsored by the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics. Program deals with a wide range of modern biochemical and biophysical topics presented by established investigators selected from our faculty, and by leading scientists from other institutions. Offered spring semester. Back to top

CAMB 703: The ECM, adhesion receptors, and translational biomechanics
2014 Syllabus
Prerequisite: BIOM 600
Directors: Drs. Richard Assoian & Rebecca Wells

This course is geared towards first and second year graduate students in BGS/CAMB and SEAS/BE with an interest in the interface of extracellular matrix (ECM) cell biology and biomechanics. Students will learn about the ECM and adhesion receptors and their impact on the cytoskeleton and signaling, as well as fundamental concepts in biomechanics and engineered materials. We will discuss how these topics can inform the study of cell biology, physiology and disease. An additional objective of the course is to give students experience in leading critical discussions and writing manuscript reviews. Invited outside speakers will complement the strengths of the Penn faculty. Offered spring semesters in even years. Back to top

CAMB 704: Stress Responses and Metabolism in Cancer
Prerequisites: Must have taken first year CAMB courses. Permission to enroll is required from course directors, preference is given to second year CAMB students in the Cancer Biology Program.
Directors: Celeste Simon, Katy Wellen and Jim Alwine

The course will meet once weekly for student presentations and lectures. The goal of the course will be to give students a better understanding of the
abrogation of normal cellular metabolism and stress signaling during cancer and how these interplay with each other to create/maintain a malignant state.
Besides student presentations the course will include 4 lectures devoted to metabolomics methodologies.

CAMB 752: (GCB 752): Genomics
Prerequisite: None
Director: Dr. Harold Riethman

Recent advances in molecular biology, computer science, and engineering have opened up new possibilities for studying the biology of organisms. Biologists now have access to the complete set of cellular instructions encodedin the DNA of specific organisms, including dozens of bacterial species, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the nematode C. elegans, and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
The goals of the course are to 1) introduce the basic principles involved in mapping and sequencing genomes, 2) familiarize the students with new instrumentation, informatics tools, and laboratory automation technologies related to genomics; 3) teach the students how to access the information and biological materials that are being developed in genomics, and 4) examine how these new tools and resources are being applied to specific research. Offered spring semester.

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