Ph.D. Curriculum & Course Descriptions

The doctoral program requires completion of 33 credits from required and elective cources, plus various non-credit reqirements.

Summer prior to first Fall semester
TBIO 985 - Tumor Biology Lab Rotation I (0)
TBIO 712 - Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0)

Year 1

Fall Semester
BCHB 501 - Biochemical and Cellular Sciences I (4)
BCHB 528 - Modern Methods in Molecular Biology (3)
TBIO 508 - Cellular & Molecular Aspects of the Transformed Cell (4)
TBIO 546 - Resources for Cancer Research (0)
TBIO 986 - Tumor Biology Lab Rotation II (0)
TBIO 703 - Current Topics in Cancer Research (0)
TBIO 711 - Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0)
Electives (0-3)

Spring Semester
TBIO 562 - Survival Skills & Ethics in Scientific Research (2)
CBIO 539 - Molecular Cell Biology (4)
TBIO 520 - Cancer Prevention, Control & Epidemiology (3)
TBIO 536 - Cancer Pharmacology I & II (4)
TBIO 987 - Tumor Biology Lab Rotation III (0)
TBIO 704 - Current Topics in Cancer Research (0)
TBIO 712 - Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0)
Electives (0-3)

Summer After First Year
Continuing Training Program or Comprehensive Exam

Year 2

Fall Semester
TBIO 599 - Practical Data Analysis & Experimental Design (3)
TBIO 591 - Signal Transduction Journal Club (1)
TBIO 703 - Current Topics in Cancer Research (0)
TBIO 711 - Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0)
TBIO 999-03 Thesis Research Cancer Biology (0)

Spring Semester
TBIO 588 - Preparing a Scientific Paper (2)
TBIO 704 - Current Topics in Cancer Research (0)
TBIO 712 - Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0)
TBIO 999-03 Thesis Research Cancer Biology (0)

Summer After Second Year - Guided Research Training & Thesis Proposal

Year 3+ until Graduation 

TBIO 703/704 - Current Topics in Cancer Research (0)
TBIO 711/712 - Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0)
TBIO 999-01 - Thesis Research (0)

Lab Rotations 

TBIO 997 - Lab Rotation I (0 credits) Back to Curriculum

TBIO 556 - Lab Rotation II (0 credits) Back to Curriculum

TBIO 557 - Lab Rotation III (0 credits) Back to Curriculum

Descriptions of Required Courses & Recommended Program Electives

BCHB 501 - Biochemical and Cellular Sciences I (4 credits) Back to Curriculum
The structure and function of macromolecules including enzyme kinetics, thermodynamics, protein folding,
membranes, nucleic acids, glycoproteins, signal transduction, enzymology of DNA replication,
recombination and repair.
 
BCHB 528 - Modern Methods in Molecular Biology (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
Introduction to core concepts of Molecular Biology. Detailed description of methods used for analysis,
purification, quantitation of nucleic acids, and proteins.

BCHB 592 - Cancer Informatics (1 credit) Back to Curriculum - While breakthroughs abound in cancer research, there is a profound disconnection in translating these discoveries into clinical medicine. This new didactic course will be based on application of computational biology and high throughput technologies to cancer research. The course is designed as a combination of lectures and practical computer based exercises utilizing functionalities of web-based cancer resources. The course will also cover some aspects of pharmacogenomics. The students will experience the use and applications of informatics resources and tools to different types of cancer. The main goal is to understand these diseases from a Systems Perspective.
 
BCHB 594 - Translational Bioinformatics (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
This didactic course is a one semester course that will cover major concepts, methods and tools used in
translational bioinformatics. It is designed as a combination of lectures and practical computer based exercises
utilizing functionality of web-based GU resources - such as Protein Information Resource (PIR), and
Georgetown Database of Cancer (G-DOC) - a unique translational research platform for connecting molecular
and clinical data. Additional hands-on experience will be provided to students in the applications of advanced
systems biology level analysis of experimental multi-omics data using Pathway Analysis tools from Pathway
Studio software suite (Ariadne Genomics). A campus-wide license for Pathway Studio is available to all.
 
BCHB 596 – Clinical Metabolomics (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
This new didactic course is designed to provide students an in depth understanding of qualitative and
quantitative mass spectrometry based metabolomics as a “state of art” tool for clinical research. The course
will cover the basics of ultra-performance liquid chromatography in conjunction with quadrupole time of flight
mass spectrometry (UPLC-QToF MS) and UPLC - triple quadrupole MS based data acquisition, sample
preparation techniques from different matrices, multivariate data analysis tools and finally the clinical
applications of this technology for studying disease onset and progression, drug metabolism and toxicity,
discovery and validation of disease biomarkers and the effect of different treatments (drugs, radiation etc.) on
the overall metabolism. The course will also include laboratory sessions that would cover sample processing
and data acquisition demos.
 
BCHB 598 - Informatics Grand Rounds (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
This new didactic course will cover applications of bioinformatic tools and resources as they relate to human
health and diseases. The course is designed as a combination of lectures and practical computer based
exercises utilizing functionalities of web-based resources. The students will experience the use and
applications of informatics resources and tools to a real disease situation presented as series of case-studies.
The main goal is to understand these diseases from a Systems Perspective.

BIST 501 - Introductory Biostatistics (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course is designed for introductory biostatistical theory and application for students pursuing a master's
degree in fields outside of the Department of Biostatistics, Bioinformatics, and Biomathematics. Students first
learn the four pillars of exploring and displaying data appropriately, exploring relationships between two
variables, issues of gathering sample data, and understanding randomness and probability. On these pillars,
students then can develop the platform for statistical inference including proportions and means, multiple
regression, and ANOVA.

CBIO 539 - Biochemical and Cellular Sciences II (4 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course covers topics in the disciplines of Cell Biology, Cell Signaling, and Developmental Biology for
advanced undergraduate, graduate, and medical students. The major topics covered include: cytoskeletal
organization, cell adhesion, extracellular matrix, cell signaling, cell cycle, tissue biology/histology, early
development and patterning, and organogenesis.
 
PHAR 534 - Ethical Issues in Scientific Research (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
Discussions of ethical questions and dilemmas facing scientists today.
 
TBIO 508 - Cellular & Molecular Aspects of the Transformed Cell (4 credits) Back to Curriculum
Designed to provide students with an integrative overview of mechanisms of growth control & malignant
transformation by physical, chemical, & viral mechanisms. Introduction to growth factors, oncogenes, &
suppressor genes. Includes an introduction to means of reverting or blocking malignant behavior with
particular emphasis on biochemical & molecular mechanisms.
 
TBIO 510 - Biochemistry for Cancer Research (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
In this course, students will be introduced to basic biochemical pathways involved in normal human tissue and
in carcinogenesis. Furthermore, students will be encouraged to think about how molecular interventions of
biochemical pathways could be applied to solve current problems in cancer research. (Required for MS)
 
TBIO 511 – Lecture Series: Clinical & Translation Oncology (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
Each segment of this 3 part series will consist of one 2 hour tutorial session, directed readings, and one 2 hour
journal club seminar meeting hosted by LCCC Clinical Oncologists. The topics covered will include cancer
screening, pathology and management, inherited susceptibility to cancer, cancer chemotherapy and radiation,
drug design, and new techniques in screening and therapy. Students will choose 2 of 4 tumor types for
focused study (Gastrointestinal Cancer, Breast Cancer, Lung Cancer, and Hematologic Malignancies).
 
TBIO 513 - Breast Cancer Conference (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
This course promotes an appreciation for the biology of breast cancer as it occurs in individual women,
allowing students to better formulate research programs addressing issues of clinical significance.
 
TBIO 520 - Cancer Prevention, Control, & Epidemiology (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
Cancer epidemiology, prevention and control relies on the conduct of basic science research and applied
research in the behavioral, social, and population sciences to create or enhance interventions that,
independently or in combination with biomedical approaches, reduce cancer risk, incidence, morbidity and
mortality, and improve quality of life. The objectives of this course are to equip students with the
understanding of cancer problems from cell to society and to provide them with the evidence of the need of
cross-disciplinary collaboration between biomedical and behavioral sciences. The overall goal of the course is
to stimulate students to apply broad perspectives to their areas of research interest that ultimately leads to a
successful research career in cancer prevention and control. Required for MS Standard Track.
 
TBIO 522 - Epigenetics: Mechanisms & Environmental Impact (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
This is a combined lecture/literature review/problem-based discussion course designed for upper level
undergraduates and graduate students in Human Science, Molecular/Cell Biology, Tumor Biology,
Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. Moreover, a broad range of topics will be covered through discussing
landmark papers and emerging concepts in the field of epigenetic research, including environmental health,
cancer, and neurological disorder. Following an introductory lecture on each topic, students will discuss in
detail recent papers and background material concerning each individual topic.
 
TBIO 523 - Cancer Epigenetics (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
The Cancer Epigenetics course covers epigenetic mechanisms in human diseases, focusing on cancers. This is a
combined lecture/literature review/discussion course designed for graduate students in Molecular/Cell
Biology, Biochemistry, Physiology, Tumor Biology, Pharmacology, and Neuroscience. The course has five
primary objectives: (1) understanding the epigenetic regulation in normal & cancer cells; (2) deciphering
epigenetic pathways and molecular targets in malignant transformation; (3) learning the impact of epigenetic
alterations associated with cancers; 4) reviewing recent advances in epigenetic issues/phenomena by
highlighting the growing importance of epigenetic therapeutics in cancers; (5) learning the scientific
approaches/methods employed to define epigenetic-mediated cancer drivers and their therapeutic potential.
Moreover, a broad range of topics will be covered through discussing landmark papers and emerging concepts
in the field of epigenetic research. In the class, students will discuss background materials, including papers
related to individual topics.
 
TBIO 525 - Cancer Genetics (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course introduces the fundamentals of the molecular genetics and molecular cytogenetics of cancer. In
addition, it covers diagnostic, clinical, and population-based aspects of this rapidly advancing field.
 
TBIO 530 - Systems Biology and Bioinformatics (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
An introduction to bioinformatics in systems biology, covering microarray data analysis, proteomic informatics,
and regulatory network and pathway analysis, and discuss how a systems approach to the analysis of “omics” data
can improve our understanding of biology.
 
TBIO 532 - Principles and Practices of Behavioral Science in Cancer Control (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course provides an understanding of the principles and practices related to cancer prevention and control,
highlighting the application of social, psychological, behavioral, and translational research across the cancer
control continuum, from cancer diagnosis to survivorship. We will examine strategies to help control the impact of
cancer from the individual to population levels, with innovative examples from clinically-applied and research-
tested approaches in the fields of tobacco control, diet and physical activity promotion, cancer screening and
management, and survivorship education and health outcomes.
 
TBIO 535 - Cancer Pharmacology I (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
An overview of fundamentals of pharmacology as applied to cancer therapy. Mechanisms of action and
resistance to chemotherapeutic, antihormonal, biological response modifiers, and new experimental drugs will
be emphasized. TBIO 535 is the first half of the full semester course (TBIO 536; 4 credits).
 
TBIO 536 - Cancer Pharmacology I & II (4 credits total) Back to Curriculum
An overview of fundamentals of pharmacology as applied to cancer therapy. Mechanisms of action and
resistance to chemotherapeutic, antihormonal, biological response modifiers, and new experimental drugs will
be emphasized. TBIO 536 is a full semester course (4 credits).
 
TBIO 540 - Biomedical Informatics (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course provides an overview of the field of Biomedical Informatics from different perspectives. Particular
emphasis is given to understanding the basic building blocks, various information resources and the
application areas of Biomedical Informatics. Students will learn to explore the process of developing and
applying computational techniques for determining the information needs of health care providers and
patients.
 
TBIO 543 - Clinical Survey of Human Cancer (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
This course features a broad site by site survey of human cancer. The perspective is primarily from the points
of view of the medical oncologist and pathologist, with an emphasis on providing an integrated view of each
principal cancer covering the following: natural history, biology, and treatment.
 
TBIO 546 - Resources for Cancer Research (0 credit) Back to Curriculum
This course provides an introduction to the Shared Resources of the Lombardi Cancer Center. Emphasis will be
on the practical aspects of utilization.
 
TBIO 558 - Contemporary Issues in Genetics and Society (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course provides a framework for understanding fundamentals of human medical genetics and the
concomitant ethical and social issues that arise, as well as the practical implications for health and well-being.
 
TBIO 560 - Animal Models in Cancer Research (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
Animal models are an invaluable tool for cancer research and the goal of TBIO 560 is to introduce graduate
students to the wide variety of models available to the factors that inform the choice of an appropriate model
for the research planned, and to provide basic training in the ethical, legal, and technical aspects of their use.

TBIO 562 - Suvival Skills and Ethics in Scientific Research (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
This course will allow the student to develop an understanding of the skills and ethical questions important for
a successful and satisfying career in science. Open to Ph.D. students.

TBIO 568 - Minority Populations & Health Disparities in Cancer (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
Cancer health disparities represent a major public health problem in the United States. This course addresses
the biological basis for the observed unequal burdens of cancer across racial/ethnic populations. The impact of
genetic/genomic/epigenetic variability between groups that may affect cancer susceptibility and/or response
to therapy which is vital to reducing the cancer gaps will be explored. The course will also explore evidence-
based mechanisms that are designed to increase our understanding of biological factors and mechanisms that
play a role in cancer health disparities.
 
TBIO 572 - Pathological Basis of Cancer (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
A combination of lecture and lab, this course provides a strong background in pathology as related to cancer.
The course consists of general introductory pathology lectures, followed by the pathologic basis of specific
cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, cervical and endometrial, and hemapoietic.
 
TBIO 581 - Topics in Molecular Epidemiology (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
This course introduces students to the concept of carcinogenesis process (chemical, viral, and physical) with a
focus on the causes, distribution and prevention of cancer in populations. The course emphasizes the roles of
DNA damage/repair, individual genetic differences to environmental exposures in cancer risk. Students will
learn how the current knowledge is used to develop molecular and genetic biomarkers that could be applied
to assess cancer risk and identify potential risk and protective factors.
 
TBIO 584 - Intro to Tumor Biology (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
The discipline of Tumor Biology (or cancer biology) occupies the intersection between multiple other fields
including biochemistry, physiology, cell biology, pharmacology, and pathology, since at its essence it is the
study of how processes within the body, whether normal or perturbed in some way, are involved in
carcinogenesis, tumor progression, and the response to anti-cancer therapy. The goal of this course is to
provide an overview of the field of Tumor Biology through a series of short informal presentations by Tumor
Biology Program faculty describing their research interests, how their work relates to the field as a whole, and
the research projects currently ongoing in their labs. The course usually starts in the middle of October. Each
session includes two to three presentations. The sessions are informal and student participation in discussions
is expected. Grading is based on attendance and class participation.
 
TBIO 585 - Transcriptomics: Microarray Analysis (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
An introduction to microarray experimental and data analysis. This is a distinct unit of TBIO 530, which will run
from January to mid-February.
 
TBIO 586 - Proteomics: Mass Spectrometry Data Analysis (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
An introduction to mass spectrometry data analysis and proteomic biomarker discovery. This is a distinct unit
of TBIO 530, which will run from mid-February to end of March.
 
TBIO 587 - Systems Biology: Pathway & Network Data Analysis (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
An introduction to the metabolomics, interactomics, regulatory network and pathway analysis, and -omics
data integrating and mining. This is a distinct unit of TBIO 530, which runs from end of March to end of April.
 
TBIO 588 - Preparing a Scientific Paper (2 credits) Back to Curriculum
The course covers the process of generating a manuscript for submission to a scientific journal. Starting with
raw data, the process includes generating figures, legends for figures, results, discussion, methods, abstract,
and introductory sections.
 
TBIO 591 - Signal Transduction Journal Club (1 credit) Back to Curriculum
Recent papers in the broad area of signal transduction as it pertains to areas such as growth factor signaling,
angiogenesis, and transcription control mechanisms will be presented. Each registered student presents a
paper in at least one session. Enrollment requires permission of instructor.
 
TBIO 599 – Practical Data Analysis & Experimental Design (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
This is a two module 3-credit tutorial “small group “ style course designed to be taken by PhD students
conducting research in the second year in the program. They should be generating data from their own
experiments and are planning on pre-doctoral grant submissions. It is envisioned that the course involves a lot
of hands-on problem solving by the students to enable them to design experiments and analyze the data from
cancer research with the correct mathematical and statistical approaches.
Prerequisite: Tumor Biology Thesis Research (typically 2nd year and above)
 
TBIO 703/704 - Current Topics in Cancer Research (0 credit) Back to Curriculum
Student presentations of current articles in cancer research literature coordinated with a weekly outside
speaker seminar series. All areas of Basic, Clinical, and Cancer Prevention and Control research are covered.
Grading is based on attendance and class participation.
 
TBIO 705 - Cancer Research Techniques (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
Laboratory Research Project required for MS Students. Part 1 of 2.
 
TBIO 706 - Cancer Research Techniques (3 credits) Back to Curriculum
Laboratory Research Project required for MS Students. Part 2 of 2.
 
TBIO 711/712 – Tumor Biology Student Seminar (0 credit) Back to Curriculum
Student seminar series of presentations coordinated with their laboratory rotation research projects, and with
an ongoing series of weekly research presentations by all Lombardi Cancer Center members. Grading is based
on attendance and class participation.

TBIO 999 – Thesis Research (0 credits) Back to Curriculum
Thesis Research (Ph.D. Candidates)

Electives outside of the Tumor Biology Training Program (TBIO) must be approved by the Director of Graduate Studies, Dr. Anna T. Riegel, to be counted towards your degree as an elective.