Degree Requirements | MS in Tumor Biology

Students are required to complete 30 credits of coursework, including 17 credits of required courses and 13 credits of electives. The recommended electives are listed below. Students have the flexibility to choose electives to tailor the program to fit their interests.

STANDARD TRACK CHECKLIST

🗹 6 Required Courses (21 credits)

🗹 9 credits of Electives

🗹 3.0 GPA to Graduate

CANCER SYSTEMS BIOLOGY TRACK CHECKLIST

🗹 6 Required Courses (20 credits)

🗹 10 credits of Electives

🗹 3.0 GPA to Graduate

General Required Courses

The following are required courses for students in both the Standard Tumor Biology Track and Cancer Systems Biology Track.

4 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Michael Johnson, Rebecca B Riggins

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.

4 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Ayesha N Shajahan, Michael Johnson

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.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Ayesha N Shajahan

Laboratory Research Project required for MS Students. Part 1 of 2.

3 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Ayesha N Shajahan

Laboratory Research Project required for MS Students. Part 2 of 2.


Standard Track Required Courses

The following courses are only required for students in the Standard Tumor Biology Track.

3 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Judy Wang , Sonia Maria De Assis , Suzanne C O’Neill

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 evidence of the need for 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 lead to a successful research career in cancer prevention and control. Required for MS Standard Track. TBIO-PHD Program Requirement.

4 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Robert Glazer , Robert R. Clarke

An overview of the 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.


Cancer Systems Biology Track Required Courses

The following courses are only required for students in the Cancer Systems Biology Track.

3 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor:

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.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Sona Vasudevan

This new didactic course will provide 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.


Electives

For the Standard Track, students must complete 9 credits of electives, including 3 credits of coursework in Quantitative Data Analysis & Scientific Experimental Design. The Tumor Biology Department must approve which course(s) will satisfy the 3 credits. Course offerings vary each semester.

For the Cancer Systems Biology Track, students must complete 10 credits of electives.

1 credit | Fall Semester
Course Instructor
: Cholanayakanaha Vinayaka, Elliott Crooke, Juliana Katinas

The sequencing of the human genome that was completed in 2001 and the explosion of “omic data” has accelerated our understanding of basic genetics and how we think of biology. We are now in the “omic” era of molecular biology that has given birth to the new field of Bioinformatics. All this data can be used meaningfully for biological and clinical research only if we can extract the relevant functional information from them and convert biological data into knowledge of biological systems. Fortunately, by using bioinformatics we can make headway in understanding and extracting relevant biological information from these sequences. The aim of this course is to introduce the various tools and resources that are available as applicable to biomedical research. This course is highly experiential with both lectures and “hands-on” sessions.

2 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor
: Richard Ascione, Robert Donahue, James W. Hawkins

This course will introduce students to the foundational concepts of Toxicology and Pharmacology. Topics to be discussed will include major classifications of toxicants and drugs as they relate to organ systems or major pathophysiological disease effects such substances are likely to engender. Toxic substances in Foods, Water and Medicines will be discussed as well as in Industrial chemical substances that can be encountered in environments at work, home and at leisure.
This course has a lab component.

1 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor
: Peter Sykora, Karen M Brotherton-Julien, James W Hawkins, Ken Wasserman

DNA repair and human therapy will focus on the innovative and rapidly expanding field of gene editing and genome engineering as molecular medicine for human therapeutics. Our focus will be on the historical development of the current tools being advanced toward clinical application and how these tools will be used to treat inherited disease, infectious disease and cancer. Through a series of weekly readings and websites that will augment lecture material, the concepts surrounding this form of gene therapy will be discussed.

Prerequisites: Some background knowledge and/or familiarity with molecular biology and genetics through either formal coursework or tutorials will be helpful in understanding course material.

2 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor
: Cynthia Rosenthal, Esther Chang, Charbel Moussa, Juliana Katina, Dean Rosenthal, Ayesha Shajahan

This lecture and laboratory course familiarizes students with different pathways leading to apoptosis and their importance in development as well as in diseases such as cancer, autoimmune diseases and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and Ischemia.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Rajaram Gana

This course will introduce the idea of how to reason via statistical models to get and interpret information from big biological data. To introduce the idea of how formal models of data are used, examples will also be drawn from related sciences. Students will learn how to apply regression-type models to data and assess the consistency (or inconsistency) of the results they produce with theory. The course will encourage students to set biological or medical problems they are working on within the context of formal statistical models. 

1 credit | Fall/Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Filipa Lynce, Michael Johnson

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.

3 credits | X Semester
Course Instructor:

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 by 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.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Mira Jung, Michael Johnson

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.

3 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Jan M Blancato, Michael Johnson

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.

2 credits | X Semester
Course Instructor:

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.

1 credit | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Deepa Subramaniam, Michael Johnson

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.

0 credits | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Karen A Creswell

This course provides an introduction to the Shared Resources of the Lombardi Cancer Center. Emphasis will be on the practical aspects of utilization.

2 credits | X Semester
Course Instructor:

Animal models are an invaluable tool for cancer research and the goal of TBIO 6560 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.

2 credits | Spring Semester
Course Instructor: Lucile L Adams-Campbell

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.

2 credits | X Semester
Course Instructor:

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 hematopoietic.

1 credit | X Semester
Course Instructor:

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.

1 credit | Fall Semester
Course Instructor: Michael Johnson

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.

1 credit | Spring Semester
Course Instructor:

An introduction to microarray experimental and data analysis. This is a distinct unit of TBIO 6530, which will run from January to mid-February.

1 credit | Spring Semester
Course Instructor:

An introduction to mass spectrometry data analysis and proteomic biomarker discovery. This is a distinct unit of TBIO 6530, which will run from mid-February to the end of March.

1 credit | Spring Semester
Course Instructor:

An introduction to the metabolomics, interactomics, regulatory network, and pathway analysis, and -omics data integrating and mining. This is a distinct unit of TBIO 6530, which runs from the end of March to the end of April.