CAMB Courses

A list of all CAMB courses can be found below, and also on the Course Catalog website.
For relevant semester course information, refer to the following:

CAMB 4310 | CAMB 4800 | CAMB 4830 | CAMB 4850 | CAMB 4860 | CAMB 4930 | CAMB 5100 | CAMB 5110 | CAMB 5120 | CAMB 5180 | CAMB 5220 | CAMB 5300 | CAMB 5320 | CAMB 5340 | CAMB 5420 | CAMB 5500 | CAMB 5780 | CAMB 5970 | CAMB 6010 | CAMB 6050 | CAMB 6080 | CAMB 6090 | CAMB 6100 | CAMB 6150 | CAMB 6170 | CAMB 6300 | CAMB 6330 | CAMB 6910 | CAMB 6920 | CAMB 6950 | CAMB 6970 | CAMB 6980 | CAMB 7000 | CAMB 7010 | CAMB 7020 | CAMB 7030 | CAMB 7040 | CAMB 7050 | CAMB 7060 | CAMB 7070 | CAMB 7080 | CAMB 7090 | CAMB 7100 | CAMB 7110 | CAMB 7130 | CAMB 7140 | CAMB 7520 |

CAMB 4310 (BIOL 4310): Genome Sciences and Genomic Medicine

2020 Syllabus

Prerequisites: BIOL 2210; BIOL 4210 strongly recommended.
Director: Dr. Brian Gregory
Offered: Spring Semester

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, analysis of sequences and microarrays, and new techniques including high-throughput sequencing and reverse genetic analysis with a focus on genome-wide mutant collections.

CAMB 4800 (BIOL 4800): Advanced Cell Biology

2020 Syllabus
Prerequisites: College level biochemistry and cell biology
Director: Dr. Wei Guo
Offered: Spring Semester

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.

CAMB 4830 (BIOL 4830): Epigenetics

2019 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOL 2210
Director: Dr. Doris Wagner
Offered: Fall Semester

This course investigates epigenetic phenomena: heritable alternate states of gene activity that do not result from alteration in nucleotide composition (mutations). Epigenetic mechanisms regulate genome accessibility and cell differentiation. They play a key role in normal development and in oncogenesis. For example both mammalian X-chromosome inactivation and nuclear transfer (cloning) are subject to epigenetic regulation. Amongst the epigenetic mechanisms we will discuss in this course are chromatin organization, histone modification, DNA methylation and non-coding RNAs. The course is geared toward advanced undergraduate and beginning graduate students and is a combination of lectures, student presentations and research presentations by guest speakers. Students will work with the current scientific literature.

CAMB 4850 (BIOL 4850): The RNA World: A Functional and Computational Analysis

Prerequisites: BIOL 2210 required, BIOL 4210 strongly recommended
Director: Dr. Brian Gregory
Offered: Spring Semester in even years

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.

CAMB 4860 (BIOL 4860): Chromosomes and the Cell Cycle

2022 Syllabus
Prerequisites: This section is limited to PhD students only
Director: Dr. Michael Lampson
Offered: Spring Semester in even years

Life depends on the propagation of genetic material from one generation to the next through cycles of genome replication and cell division. The genome is copied by the parent, and one exact copy is inherited by each daughter cell. We will treat chromosomes as discrete entities, rather than collections of genes, that are replicated and divided with high fidelity to ensure that the genome remains stable over many generations. By reading selected primary literature covering several decades, we will build an understanding of the cell cycle by focusing on chromosomes and the associated molecular machinery. We will explore mechanisms that underlie replication and division, particularly control mechanism that maintain genome integrity and are critical to prevent disease. The goal of the course is to develop a picture of the cell cycle by examining some of the key experiments and insights that have led to our current understanding. There is no textbook for the course. Readings from the primary literature will be assigned for each meeting and provided as pdf files. Presentations of these papers and class participation, including questions and critical evaluation, are an essential part of the course. Grading will be based on a final paper in the form of a research proposal (50%) and on class participation (50%).

CAMB 4930 (BIOL 4930): Epigenetics of Human Health and Disease

Prerequisites: BIOL 2210 required, BIOL 4830 recommended
Director: Dr. Shelley Berger
Offered: Spring Semester in odd years

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 a 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, research lectures, and student-led presentations.

CAMB 5100: Immunology for CAMB

2024 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 or instructor permission. Priority is given to students in the MVP & GTV programs of CAMB. Second priority to CAMB students in other programs. If slots remain, then PhD students from other graduate groups by permit only.
Directors: Drs. Michael Abt, Chengcheng Jin, and Amelia Escolano
Offered: Spring Semester

There are several goals for this course. One is to introduce students to basic fundamental principles and emerging therapeutic concepts in immunology. A second goal is to challenge students to think with considerable depth about how these principles and concepts were shaped through experiments, as well as their implications, limits, and caveats. A third goal is to hone the ability of students to think clearly and critically about the testing of a specific hypothesis through experimental design and data interpretation. These goals will be achieved through lectures, readings, class discussions, and take-home exams. The course aims to provide students with foundations that will enable them to keep abreast of basic and translational immunology topics through critical appraisal of the literature and seminars.

EXAMS: There will be two take-home exams: a mid-term and a final. Students will have a week to work on each exam, using any materials from class or outside as resources. The exams are intended to encourage deep thinking about immunology generally and/or deeper reading into some important areas that, because of time constraints, could not be given the in-depth coverage they warrant in-class lectures. It is expected that answers will reflect this and will reference appropriate literature sources. Faculty may suggest some primary papers to help direct students in formulating their answers.

CAMB 5110: Principles of Development

2024 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Undergrad background in cell biology and molecular biology is required. Non-BGS students require permission from course directors to register.
Directors: Dr. Patrick Seale
Offered: Spring Semester

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: the germ line and piRNA, signaling pathways in development, pattern formation and cell specification, gastrulation, tissue differentiation, morphogenesis, cell polarity, epigenetics in development, organogenesis, stem cell biology, regeneration, and developmental evolution. The use of molecular biology, biochemistry, genomics and genetics, cell biology, and embryological manipulations will be discussed in the context of the analysis of developmental mechanisms.

CAMB 5120: Cancer Biology and Genetics

2024 Spring Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 or course director permission. Non-CAMB Students must contact the course directors prior to registration.
Directors: Drs. David Feldser and Donita Brady

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, hematopoietic 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. This is a year-long course. Students must have taken the fall CAMB 512 course to participate in the spring semester. This course is open to PhD students only.

CAMB 5180: Current Topics in Ion Channels

Prerequisites: Basic knowledge of ion channels; Cell 6000 or equivalent
Director: Dr. Carol Deutsch
Offered: Fall and Spring Semester
Spring 2022 Syllabus

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 a 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.

CAMB 5220 (BIOL 5220): Human Evolutionary Genomics

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor required
Director: Dr. Sarah Tishkoff
Offered: Spring Semester in even years

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.

CAMB 5300: The Cell Cycle, Genome Integrity, and Cancer

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Completion of BIOM 6000, BIOM 5550 and/or equivalent graduate level course work. Anyone without such coursework must obtain instructor permission. Preferential registration of Cancer Biology and CAMB students up to the maximum of 12 students applies. Permission to register is required upon exceeding the 12 student limit.
Directors: Drs. Luca Busino and Irfan Asangani
Offered: Fall Semester

This seminar course focuses on molecular and biochemical events that regulate cell cycle progression and genome maintenance, and explores how these processes influence cancer etiology and treatment. Specific topics will familiarize students with the key principles and recent developments within these areas. These topics include CDK-Cyclins and their inhibitors, regulation of G1-S and G2-M phase cell cycle transitions, DNA damage checkpoints and repair, the impact of chromatin regulation on DNA repair, and how these processes affects cancer etiology and treatment. In depth reading and evaluation of research literature will be primarily used to accomplish these aims, as well as provide instruction on rigorous experimental design and data interpretation.

CAMB 5320: Human Physiology

2024 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. Tejvir Khurhana, Benjamin Prosser, and Paul Titchenell
Offered: Spring Semester

This course will present a survey of the physiology of most of the major organ systems. It will integrate the 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, the reproductive systems, environmental and exercise physiology. 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.

CAMB 5340: Seminar on current genetic research: Human Disease Modeling in Experimental Systems

Prerequisites: CAMB 6050 or CAMB 5420 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
Offered: Spring Semester

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".

CAMB 5420: Topics in Molecular Medicine (TIMM)

Course Page and Syllabus
Section 402 2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Section 401: First year MD/PhD students only; Section 402: Open to combined degree and BGS students.
Capped at 12 students total. Non-BGS students must receive permission from course instructors
Directors: Section 401: Drs. Rahul Kohli and Rajan Jain; Section 402: Drs. Michael Atchison and Nicola Mason
Offered: Fall Semester

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.

CAMB 5500: Genetic Principles

2024 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Open to all PhD students in BGS or Biology. Priority given to CAMB, GCB and Biology students. Students outside of BGS, Biology, or who are in non-PhD programs require permission from the course directors.
Directors: Drs. Eric Joyce and Kai Wang
Offered: Spring Semester

This is a required course of the Genetics and Epigenetics 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 and tools; II Genetics of model organisms (with focus on worms, flies, zebrafish, 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.

CAMB 5780 (BIOL 4880): Advanced Topics in Behavioral Genetics

Prerequisites: Permission of instructor required
Director: Dr. Maja Bucan
Offered: Spring Semester in even years

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 rhythms, and neurological and psychiatric disorders. Reverse genetic approaches utilizing gene knockout and transgenic technologies, as well as forward genetic approaches using mutagenesis and quantitative genetic techniques, will be discussed.

CAMB 5970: Neural Development, Regeneration, and Repair

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 or equivalent.  Students who are not in one of the BGS graduate programs need instructor permission.
Directors: Drs. Jonathon Raper and Wenqin Luo
Offered: Fall Semesters, and Summer 2020

The goals of this course are to examine the principles underlying nervous system development and to learn how understanding developmental mechanisms can inform strategies to promote regeneration and repair. 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.
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 Development edited 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, the faculty will introduce methods, concepts, and background information pertinent to the paper that will be discussed at the following meeting.

CAMB 6010: Advanced Virology Seminar

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: CAMB 7060 (MVP Core Course). Non-CAMB students must obtain instructor approval.
Director: Drs. Paul Bates and Susan Weiss
Offered: Spring Semester

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.

CAMB 6050: Cell and Molecular Biology First-Year Seminar

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: None
Director: Dr. John Seykora
Offered: Fall Semester

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.

CAMB 6080: Seminar in Regulation of Eukaryotic Gene Expression

2024 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Biom 5550 or equivalent (exception=MD/PhD students) Students are expected to bring their laptops to class. Non-CAMB students need approval from course directors. This course is limited to 14 participants. All interested students need permits from course directors before registering.
Directors: Dr. Douglas Epstein 
Offered: Fall Semesters and Summer 2020

An advanced seminar course emphasizing current topics in gene regulatory mechanisms in eukaryotes. Based on the current literature, presentations and in-depth discussions will familiarize the student with recent innovations and developing principles of genome regulation.

CAMB 6090: (IMUN 6090): Vaccines and Immune Therapeutics

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Biology, biochemistry, or immunology courses at the advanced college level
Directors: Drs. Paul Offit and David Weiner
Offered: Fall Semesters and Summer 2020

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 are 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.

CAMB 6100: Molecular Basis of Gene Therapy

Prerequisites: Background in biochemistry, cell biology, and molecular biology. Students not enrolled in a BGS graduate program who wish to take this course must notify Dr. Musunuru in advance in order to be added to a waiting list, given the limited enrollment. Students should send their undergraduate and graduate transcripts (including spring semester) along with their request to Dr. Musunuru via email: This class is not accepting non-BGS masters students or auditors.
Director: Dr. Kiran Musunuru
Offered: Fall Semester

This course focuses on the basic science relevant to achieving efficient and effective gene transfer and genome editing in animal models and humans for the treatment of disease. The course includes units devoted to a variety of vectors useful for gene transfer, the fundamentals of genome editing, and current therapeutic 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 rapid movement in this field, specific topics vary somewhat from year to year. 

CAMB 6150: Topics in Conformational Disease

Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 or equivalent
Directors: Drs. Yair Argon 
Offered: Fall Semester

Protein misfolding and aggregation has been associated with over 40 human diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsons disease, amytrophic lateral sclerosis, prion diseases, alpha (1)-antitrypsin deficiency, inclusion body myopathy, and systemic amyloidoses. This course will include lectures, directed readings and student presentations to cover seminal and current papers on the cell biology of protein conformational diseases including topics such as protein folding and misfolding, protein degradation pathways, effects of protein aggregation on cell function, model systems to study protein aggregation and novel approaches to prevent protein aggregation. Target audience is primarily 1st and 2nd year BGS graduate students. MD/PhDs and Postdoctoral fellows are welcome.

CAMB 6170: Emerging Infectious Diseases

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 and CAMB 7060 (MVP Core course) are required. Course open to graduate students only. Other students may petition the course directors for permission to enroll.
Directors: Drs. Sara Cherry and Scott Hensley
Offered: Fall Semester

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 MERS, 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, re-emerging 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. Classes will run from 10am to 11:30am on Mondays and Wednesdays in Johnson 207.  Evaluation will be based on the presentation of a research manuscript from the literature and participation in discussion sessions.

CAMB 6300: Topics in Human Genetics and Disease

Prerequisites: CAMB graduate students having taken CAMB 5500, or students in MD/PhD, veterinary, genetic counseling, or nursing programs with equivalent courses. Must have director's permission to register.
Directors: Drs. Marcella Devoto, Straun Grant, and Eileen Shore
Offered: Fall Semester in even years

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.

CAMB 6330: Advanced Seminar in Gene Therapy

2024 Spring Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000, Second year students, who already have notions of cell manipulation, immunotherapy and vector biology. Class is limited to CAMB and other graduate students. 

Directors: Drs. Peter Kurre, Norbert Pardi, Stephano RivellaOffered: Spring Semester

Each class will involve a review of a manuscript in the field of gene therapy selected by course faculty (Drs. Kurre, Pardi or Rivella) or a lecture by an outside speaker. Students work with faculty in discuss an assigned primary research paper along with relevant background. The student leader for a given class will introduce the paper and have other members cover a portion of the result section to promote discussion, interaction and participation. Two faculty will be present for each class. Each session will last ~1 hour, including presentation of the manuscript and Q&A. Each session will cover one paper on a weekly base, mixing Journal club classes with lectures. Each presentation will be utilized to grade the students (70%). For lectures, visiting expert speakers will lecture for 40 minutes followed by a 15 minutes to ask questions during or at the end of the lecture. Dr. Kurre, or a substitute, will also be present at each lecture. Prerequisites: This course is most suitable for students with a basic understanding of techniques commonly used in cell manipulation, immunotherapy and vector biology.

CAMB 6910: Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Physiology I

2024 Syllabus

Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 or a similar survey course in cell biology. Permission needed for all non-CAMB students. Advanced undergrads must contact instructor to confirm qualifications.
Directors: Dr. Benjamin Prosser, Dr. Erika Holzbaur, and  Dr. Michael Marks
Offered: Spring Semester alternately with CAMB 6920

This course, together with its companion CAMB 6920, offers an advanced, in depth analysis of selected topics in cell biology and physiology. CAMB 6910 and 6920 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 6910 will focus on key issues at the forefront of research in the areas of (1) Channels and transporters, (2) Vesicular and viral trafficking, (3) Tissue mechanics, (4) Heart and muscle physiology, (5) Cytoskeletal dynamics and cell division. 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.

CAMB 6920: Advanced Topics in Cell Biology and Physiology II

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 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 and Robert Lee
Offered: Spring Semester alternately with CAMB 6910

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.

CAMB 6950: Scientific Writing

2024 Syllabus

Prerequisites: BIOM 6000, BIOM 5550, and CAMB 6050. Preference for enrollment in CAMB 6950 is given to CAMB students with the highest priority given to second-year students. Students from graduate groups other than CAMB may be enrolled if space permits.
Directors: Drs. Jonathan Katz and James Lok
Offered: Spring Semester

This 7-week course is designed to introduce students to basic scientific writing skills and is based upon the premise that clear writing, giving feedback, and receiving feedback are all essential tools for professional development. While this is not strictly a prelim preparatory course, applying the principles of this course will help improve your prelim writing and your scientific writing in general.
Structure: An initial introductory lecture for the entire class is followed by 6 weekly small group sessions. These sessions are conducted as workshops designed to enhance student and faculty engagement to improve scientific writing. During the course, participants review the principles of clear, persuasive writing, and apply these principles to writing for a scientific audience. Particular emphasis is placed on conveying the significance of your research, outlining your aims, and discussing your results. Classes are highly interactive, and the majority of class time will be spent discussing student scientific writing. In order to focus on the techniques of scientific writing, in-class discussion and critiques will not address scientific methodology or interpretations of results.
Evaluation: One of the goals of the course is to encourage active and open interaction among students, and grading will be predominantly based on class attendance, participation, and timely submission of assignments, not on the quality of the writing itself.

CAMB 6970: Biology of Stem Cells

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: BGS Core Courses. Graduate students only. NO undergraduates. Non-CAMB will need permits. CAMB students receive priority seating.
Directors: Drs. Paul Gadue and Pantelis Rompolas
Offered: Fall Semesters and Summer 2020

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 embryonic stem cells, epigenetics, and reprogramming, tissue-specific stem cells such as hematopoietic, neuronal, and epithelial stem cells, tissue regeneration, and tissue engineering. 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.

CAMB 6980: Elective Tutorials in Cell and Molecular Biology

2024 Spring Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 6000 or an alternative senior undergraduate, graduate, or professional school course in Cell Biology. Interested students must contact directors in advance with chosen topic and mentor.
For the Fall semester, students must contact Dr. Robert Lee, 1209 BRB, 215-573-9766,
For the Spring semester, students must contact Dr. Ben Stanger, 512 BRB, 215-746-5560,
Directors: Drs. Robert Lee (Fall semester) and Ben Stanger (Spring semester)
Offered:  Fall and Spring Semester, and Summer 2020

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.

CAMB 7000: Topics in Microbiology

2024 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Permission from instructor required. Student must have taken Immunology and 2 MVP pathogen classes.
Directors: Drs. Matthew Weitzman and Joseph Zackular
Offered: Spring Semester

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 has been very interactive, with each class 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.

CAMB 7010: Tumor Microenvironment

2024 Syllabus
Prerequisites: First year CAMB core courses must be completed. Course is for 2nd year graduate students and beyond. CB students get first priority followed by other CAMB students.
Directors: Drs. Celeste Simon and Todd Ridky
Offered: Fall Semester

This 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. The course will be divided into 4 broad topic areas. The course will begin with 2 weeks of didactic lectures presented with overviews of Immunology, Stromal cells and Angiogenesis/Endothelial cells. After that, each session will consist of one hour of presentation of didactic background lecture regarding the salient points of that week's topic, followed in the second hour a discussion of a primary research paper to be read in advance of the session by all class participants. Discussions will include specific technical background needed for the paper, presentation of 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 twice 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 their presentations as "preliminary data" or their own research project provided it is related to the tumor microenvironment and is approved by one of the course directors.
Evaluation: Students will be evaluated on their participation in class (40%), their presentations (40%) and their written assignment (20%). Students will be given feedback immediately after their presentations.

CAMB 7020: (BMB 6500): Current Biochemical Topics

2020 Syllabus

Prerequisites: Course is limited to BGS graduate students and undergrads from the Vagelos Scholars Program.
Directors: Drs. Ben E. Black and James Shorter
Offered: Spring Semester

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.

CAMB 7030: The ECM, adhesion receptors, and translational biomechanics

Prerequisites: BIOM 6000
Directors: Drs. Robert Mauck and Rebecca Wells
Offered: Spring Semesters in even years

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.

CAMB 7040: Stress Responses and Metabolism in Cancer

2023 Syllabus
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 and Cell Biology, Physiology, and Metabolism Programs.
Directors: Drs. Zoltan Arany, Zachary Schug, and Terrance Gade
Offered: Fall Semester

The course meets once a week for student presentations and lectures. The first 2-3 weeks encompass lectures on state-of-the-art metabolic labeling, metabolomics, and other related methodologies. Subsequently, both "historical" and more recent papers in the field of cancer metabolism are reviewed with individual faculty experts in each chosen area. The overall goal of the course is to give students a better understanding of the abrogation of normal cellular metabolism and stress during cancer, and how these interplay with each other to create/retain a malignant state. Grades are dependent on 2 presentations per semester, class participation, and weekly answers to 2-3 questions on the assigned papers.

CAMB 7050: Advanced Topics in Bacterial-Host Interactions

2022 Syllabus
Prerequisites: Strong background in cell biology, immunology and/or bacteriology fulfilled by 1st yr CAMB (previous BGS courses). Course is limited to 2nd-3rd year graduate students or advanced undergraduates with course director’s permission.
Directors: Drs. Igor Brodsky and Sunny Shin
Offered: Spring Semester

This course will delve into specific topics in general area of bacterial pathogenesis and bacteria-host interactions. We will be exploring key historical and current papers on topics related to bacterial invasion of and replication within host cells, bacterial interference with host cell signaling pathways, bacterial interactions with host mucosal tissues, and the role of bacterial colonization in shaping and instructing host immune responses. Each week, a student will lead the class in the discussion of published papers on a specific topic. The format of each class will be a 10-15 minute introduction of the key background and underlying questions to be presented by the student, followed by an in-depth analysis by all members of the class of one to two articles. Students will be graded based on their introductory presentation and active participation in the paper discussions.

CAMB 7060: MVP Core

2024 Spring Syllabus
Prerequisites: Required for all CAMB-MVP students. Non MVP students must obtain instructor permission to take this course.
Directors: Drs. Boris Striepen and Sunny Shin

This is a year-long course for the incoming CAMB-MVP students and others wishing to gain a broad overview of pathogens and their interactions with hosts. The course will provide students with key fundamental knowledge of Microbiology, Virology, and Parasitology. The course starts with introductory lectures on Concepts of Host-Pathogen interactions. The rest of the course is divided into sections on Bacteriology, Virology, and Parasitology. Each week there are three 1 hour class slots that are either lectures on a specific topic or discussions of a relevant paper presented by students. Classes are led by faculty from across the campus and are highly interactive. Evaluation is based on mid and final take home essay topics for each of the three sections. Regular attendance and active participation in the discussions is also part of the evaluation.

CAMB 7070 (REG 6210): Cell and Gene Therapy

2023 Syllabus

Prerequisites: At least one course in Immunology.
Director: Dr. Michael Milone
Offered: Spring Semester

This course will provide students with a general overview of translational research in the area of gene and cell therapy. This includes technical considerations, translating preclinical investigation into therapeutics, the execution of gene and cell therapies clinical trials, and key regulatory issues. Entrepreneurial considerations will be discussed as well. By the end of this course, students will understand the basic technologies employed for gene and cell therapy along with approaches and pitfalls to translating these therapies into clinical applications including regulatory and commercial aspects of this emerging area.

CAMB 7080: HIV Virology/Pathogenesis/Cure Seminar/Journal Club

2024 Spring Syllabus
Prerequisites: Strong background in cell biology, immunology or virology fulfilled by 1st year CAMB Courses. Course is limited to graduate students. Instructor permission is required for non-CAMB graduate students.
Directors: Drs. Katharine Bar and Ronald Collman

This will be a year-long class, held every other week, that is paper-based utilizing the current literature in HIV virology, pathogenesis and cure research. The class will have a journal club format with attendance and participation open to the full Penn student & postdoc community (teach-your-peers). Enrolled students will be responsible for approximately 4-5 presentations over the duration of the course, as well as for bi-weekly paper selection in conjunction with the instructors and coordinating the presentations by other participants.

CAMB 7090: Quantitative Imaging and Analysis for Biologists (QIAB)

2022 Syllabus
Prerequisites: None. Open also to BGS or Biology graduate students past their qualifying exam. Enrollment is capped at < 20, with a priority given to those with a demonstrated need.
Director: Dr. Andrea Stout
Co-director: Dr. Melike Lakadamyali
Offered: Fall Semester, 13-weeks, 0.5 credits

In many areas of biomedical research, light microscopy plays a key role in advancing our understanding of biological processes. Images are often used only to provide general qualitative support for data obtained using other methods. However, the digital images acquired using modern scientific microscopes can yield so much more than pretty pictures. Accurate and quantitative analysis of image data can reveal important details invisible to other techniques; these details can, in turn, provide mechanistic insights into previously inscrutable phenomena. This course will provide an introduction to the fundamentals of modern light microscopy and image analysis. Topics include image acquisition methods, image data handling, object identification and tracking, simple modeling and macro programming, and single-molecule techniques. The goal is to provide students with the background and confidence required to pursue more advanced quantitative imaging methods as the need arises in their research. Grading: Students will be judged on active participation in class, completion of hands-on exercises during weekly recitation sessions, and a final presentation describing a "publication-quality" figure they have prepared from their own image data that applies at least one of the analysis methods covered in class.

CAMB 7100 (BMB 6050): Drug Discovery and Development

Directors: Drs. Ben E. Black, UPenn and Craig A. Leach, GlaxoSmithKline
Offered: Spring Semester

This course will expose graduate-level students to the process of drug discovery and development. The course will be structured to cover topics from the identification of a disease-relevant target through to Phase III Clinical Trials. The course will be lecture based and there will also be student-led journal club presentations as part of the course. There will also be a writing project consisting of a 3 page proposal of how to advance one of the areas of Drug Discovery & Development covered in the course.

CAMB 7110: Integrative Plant and Animal Mechanobiology

2023 Syllabus
Prerequisites: None
Director: Dr. Rebecca Wells
Offered: Fall Semester

This course aims to provide students with an understanding of biomechanics that spans the plant and animal kingdoms, with the goal of emphasizing principles common to both. Major concepts include 1) Plant and Animal Cell Biology; 2) Solid, Fluid, and Transport Mechanics; and 3) Integrating Biology and Mechanics - Big Questions. In addition to lectures, there will be two journal article discussion sections. Most lectures will be given by Penn faculty, although selected topics (particularly in plant biology and mechanics) will be covered by faculty at other sites through lectures broadcast remotely. The Penn director will be present at all sessions of the class.

CAMB 7130: Neuroepigenetics

2023 Fall Syllabus
Prerequisites: BIOM 555 or permission by course directors
Directors: Drs. Elizabeth Heller, Hao Wu, and Zhaolan Zhou
Offered: Fall Semester

This is a course intended to bring students up to date concerning our understanding of Neural Epigenetics. It is based on assigned topics and readings covering a variety of experimental systems and concepts in the field of Neuroepigenetics, formal presentations by individual students, critical evaluation of primary data, and in-depth discussion of potential issues and future directions, with goals to:
1) Review basic concepts of epigenetics in the context of neuroscience, 2) Learn to critically evaluate a topic (not a single paper) and set the premise, 3) Improve experimental design and enhance rigor and reproducibility, 4) Catch up with the most recent development in neuroepigenetics, 5) Develop professional presentation skills - be a storyteller.
Each week will focus on a specific topic of Neuroepigenetics via a "seminar" style presentation by a class member.

CAMB 7140: DIYtranscriptomics

Course Page and Syllabus
Prerequisites: None
Director: Dr. Daniel Beiting
Offered: Spring Semester

As access to high-throughput sequencing technology increases, the bottleneck in biomedical research has shifted from generating data to analyzing and integrating diverse data types. Addressing these needs required that students and postdocs equip themselves with a toolkit for data mining and interrogation. This course focuses specifically on studying global gene expression (transcriptomics) through the use of the R programming environment and the Bioconductor suite of software packages - a versatile and robust collection of tools for bioinformatics, statistics, and plotting. During this semester-long course, students participate in a mix of lectures and guided code reviews, all while working with real datasets directly on their laptops. Students will learn to analyze RNAseq data using a lightweight and reusable set of modular scripts that leverage open-source software. In addition, students will learn best practices in data science for working in R/Bioconductor, including creating interactive data visualizations, making their analyses transparent and reproducible, and identifying experimental bias in large datasets.
Students are encouraged, but not required, to bring their own RNAseq data to the course.

CAMB 7520: (GCB 7520): Genomics

2024 Syllabus

Prerequisites: GCB 5310/5340 Intro to Genomics or equivalent, or permission from instructor
Director: Dr. Ingo Helbig
Offered: Spring Semester

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 genomic sequence and set of cellular instructions encoded in the DNA of specific organisms, including homo sapiens, dozens of bacterial species, the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the nematode C. elegans, and the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster. The goals of the course include the following: 1) introduce the basic principles involved in sequencing genomes, 2) familiarize the students with new instrumentation, informative 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 basic and translational research. This will be accomplished through in depth discussion of classic and recent papers.