Science at the heart of medicine

7028 Stem Cells, Differentiation, and Disease

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course deals with fundamental aspects of stem cell biology and function, and how they relate to physiologic and pathological conditions at the interface of cancer, aging, and tissue engineering. Topics include: regulation of gene expression, epigenetic regulation and chromatin organization; intracellular signaling; regulation of cell cycle and cell death; stem cells in differentiation, effects of niches and the microenvironment; tumor heterogeneity and cancer stem cells; metabolism in stem cells and cancer; stem cell regeneration and aging, DNA repair and genomic instability.

REQUIRED MATERIALS: Computer with internet access. Textbook: Lanza et al. “Essentials of Stem Cell Biology”. 3rd edition.

PREREQUISITES: Graduate courses “Biochemistry” or “Molecular Genetics”, AND “Gene Expression: Beyond the Double Helix”

STUDENT PREPARATION: Relevant topics that students should be familiar with include: Fundamentals of DNA replication, transcription, epigenetics, chromatin, RNAs, splicing, translation, and stem cell biology. E.g. at the level of Alberts et al. “Molecular Biology of the Cell”, Lodish et al. “Molecular Cell Biology”.

SUITABLE FOR 1ST YEAR STUDENTS: Yes

UNIQUE TRAINING OFFERED IN THIS COURSE: A unique feature of this course is that it aims to familiarize the students with the fundamental concepts of stem cells, a fast developing discipline of modern biology. There is currently no other graduate course specifically focused on stem cell biology. In addition to covering a variety of stem cell-related regulatory mechanisms that operate in normal tissue function and homeostasis, the lectures will extend these concepts to disease pathogenesis including cancer, and demonstrate how mechanistic understanding can be leveraged for the development of targeted therapies. Concepts learned in didactic lectures will be reinforced by in-depth discussion of specific topics and related experimental designs in the 7 team-based learning sessions.

STUDENT ASSESSMENTS: The final grade (Honor/Pass/Fail) will be mainly based on the two take-home examinations. Participation in the seven team-based learning sessions will be factored in when deciding Honor versus Pass and Pass versus Fail.

CREDIT HOURS: 3.0