Courses

Coursework Requirements

IGG students take courses in the first two years of their graduate study. In order to remain in good standing, all students must demonstrate understanding of course material by:

  • Completing examinations
  • Writing the appropriate assignments
  • Achieving a final minimum grade of B in each course.

Course Descriptions

View current course listings and syllabi for all Biomedical Graduate Courses on the BGS website. All other Penn current course listings are available on the Registrar's website

BIOM 555 Gene Expression

Regulation of gene expression including chromatin structure, transcription, DNA modification, RNA processing, translation, control of gene expression via microRNAs andpost translational processing.

BIOM 600 Cell Biology & Biochemistry

An intermediate level graduate course designed to introduce students to the molecular components and physiological mechanisms that underlie the structure and function of cells. The course is designed as an in depth survey to cover general concepts central to the field of biochemistry and cell biology and to emphasize these concepts within the context of current scientific research questions and technical approaches.

BIOM 611 Biological Data Analysis Cell Biology & Biochemistry

This introductory course provides a foundation for the fundamental concepts in biostatistics as they relate to experimental design and analysis. We focus on defining research questions, carefully choosing appropriate analytic tools and interpreting the results of the analyses, including limitations of the analysis. 

IMUN 506 Immune Mechanisms

This course assumes basic knowledge of the immune system. The course is a team-taught, lecture-based course that utilizes experimental data from the primary literature to examine basic cellular and molecular aspects of the immune system. The course begins with general overviews, moves to more detailed introductions of innate and adaptive immune cells, and then examines the activation and integration of innate and adaptive immune mechanisms. Several sessions focusing on presentation and discussion of primary papers will follow lectures that cover related topics.

IMUN 507 Immune Responses

This course assumes basic knowledge of the immune system. The course
is a team taught, lecture-based course that utilizes experimental data from the primary literature to examine basic cellular and molecular aspects of the immune system. The course is an extension of Immunology 506 and focuses on advanced topics in immunology and specific examples of immunological diseases. Several sessions focusing on presentation and discussion of primary papers will follow lectures that cover related topics.

IMUN 520 Elective Tutorials in Immunology

This tutorial course is designed to provide students with an in-depth knowledge of a specific branch of Immunology. 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 a topic that the student found interesting in one of their basic courses. This course is open as an elective to all BGS students who meet the pre-requisite.

IMUN 601 Molecular Immunology

The purpose of this course is to provide examples in which the cell biology topics covered in BIOM 600 are studied in the context of immune cells or used to explain immune system function. This course will help students become proficient at reading and critically assessing the published literature and encourage students to actively participate in scientific discussions with their peers.  

IMUN 607 Grant Writing and Review

There are several objectives for this course: First, we will introduce the basic principles of grant writing. In this regard, a primary objective of the course is to teach you how to describe your ideas and experimental objectives in a clear and concise manner within the standard NIH grant format. To accomplish this, you will be required to write an NIH F30 (combined degree) or F31 (straight PhD) grant proposal based on your own laboratory thesis project. Second, we will provide insights into how NIH grants are processed and reviewed. To this end, you will participate in three mock study sections, in which you will evaluate and score actual grants. Investigators here at Penn wrote the proposals that you will review during the first two sessions. You and your colleagues will write the proposals to be reviewed for the final session.

IMUN 609 Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics

The goal of the Vaccines course is to expand on the students’ general understanding of the immune system and to focus this understanding towards the application of vaccination. 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, ethical & political implications of Modern Vaccines. Initial lectures will 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 of vaccines is provided in the next section of the course along with lectures that focus on the ethical implications of vaccines in different situations. The financial implications of specific vaccines and their impact on the global community are a specific focus of the course.

Electives

Students have the option to take electives as part of their coursework and it is recommended that students begin taking electives after the first year. The list below is a select list of recommended electives. Registration for elective courses requires the approval of the IGG chair and the student's advisor. View current course listings and syllabi for all Biomedical Graduate Courses on the BGS website. All other Penn current course listings are available on the Registrar's website

Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics

BMB 508 Macromolecular Biophysics 
BMB 550 Macromolecular Crystallography

Neuroscience

INSC 587 Neurobiology of Disease

Cell and Molecular Biology

CAMB 539 Prokaryotic Molecular Genetics 
CAMB 545 Fundamental Virology
CAMB 555 Eukaryotic Gene Expression
CAMB 600 Cell Biology
CAMB 601 Advanced Virology Seminar
CAMB 608 Regulation of Eukaryotic Gene Expression
CAMB 621 Seminar in Retroviral Biology
CAMB 714 DIY Transcriptomics

Immunology

IMUN 520 Elective Tutorials in Immunology
IMUN 609 Vaccines and Immunotherapeutics