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Graduate Course List

INTBP 2000 Foundations of Biomedical Science

INTBP 2005 Foundations Conference
Contemporary approaches to problem-solving in biology, as well as principles underlying modern methods of biomedical research will be integrated with the lecture component of the course through an analysis of mechanisms underlying biological phenomena.  Students will present papers, critically analyze data and devise experimental approaches to biomedical problems considered in lecture.

INTBP 2010 Laboratory Research Rotation
This lab is designed to introduce the student to relevant laboratory methods as well as the layout and conceptualization of experiments.  The course will serve to acquaint the student with the laboratory process, and to facilitate his/her selection of a lab for dissertation research.  Students are required to register for and complete rotations through three different laboratories, thereby ensuring broad exposure to method and practice.

INTBP 2013 D2K: From Data to Knowledge-Biomedical Experimental Design & Analysis
Experimental biologists formulate hypothesis and models, design experiments, collect data and conduct analysis to draw conclusions. Deep understanding of biological principles requires D2K-The translation of DATA INTO KNOWLEDGE that transcends first-order conclusions. This course for first year PhD Students in the biomedical sciences will examine basic principles of experimental design, together with measurement and sources of experimental error. The course will provide a practical ‘hands on’ introduction to the quantitative tools required for experimental research using cellular, molecular and systems based methods. Topics will include: goals of experimental design, making measurements, principles of parametric and non-parametric statistical inference, use of MS Excel, GraphPad PRISM and R, design of publication graphics and a brief introduction to big data approaches. Students will work in small groups to construct capstone projects by making ‘youtube’ style videos to illustrate key principles of experimental design and analysis.

INTBP 2290 Scientific Ethics and the Responsible Conduct of Research
The course is an introduction to the basic ethical issues that arise in the course of conducting scientific research.  It is intended for graduate students and fellows in the biomedical sciences who have completed at least one year of graduate work.  The course will be composed of informal lecture presentations followed by discussion of issues in small groups.

Lab Research Rotation Supplement
Course supplement to INTBP 2010 for those students initiating their first rotation in summer.

MSMPHL 2310 Principles of Pharmacology
This course consists of a series of lectures and tutorial sessions that focus on the general principles of pharmacology. Major topics are principles of pharmacokinetics (including drug absorption, distribution, and metabolism), pharmacodynamics (quantitation of drug-receptor interactions) and mechanisms of action of cardiovascular and autonomic drugs. In addition, this course will include both animal laboratory and human simulator demonstrations that illustrate important pharmacological principles discussed in class.

MSMPHL 2350 Research Seminar
Beginning in the second year of the program students will be required to attend the Departmental Seminar Series. These seminars are held approximately once a week throughout the fall and spring semesters and include presentations by nationally and internationally recognized visiting researchers in pharmacology and related fields. In order to receive credit for the course, students must attend a minimum of 80% of the seminars.

MSMPHL 2355 Pharmacology Summer Seminar
Beginning in the summer of the second year, students will be required to participate annually in the Departmental Summer Research Seminar Series. These seminars will be held once a week throughout the summer and will be focused on the students’ research plans and recent results. This presentation will be made to an audience with diverse research interests and should therefore include a brief summary of general background information.  Each student will be required to present once each summer and attend a minimum of 80% of the summer seminars in order to receive credit for the course.

MSMPHL 2360 Biology of Signal Transduction
This course will explore different types of signaling pathways activated by receptor-ligand interactions.Topics to be covered include, but are not limited to:G-protein linked receptors, adenylate cyclases, small GTPases, kinases and phosphatases, nitric oxide, phospholipases, steroid hormone signaling, and pharmacological applications of signaling pathways.

MSMPHL 2370 Drug Discovery
Drug discovery is an interdisciplinary science that seeks to identify small molecular and/or biologic probes and to understand at the molecular level how these probes affect macromolecular processes. This course will discuss various topics that are relevant to current approaches and principles in drug discovery including target validation, drug origins, cell-based screening, high throughput screening, proteomic approaches to drug discovery, computational biological aspects of drug discovery and pharmacoinformatics; as well as topics in preclinical drug development and intellectual property. The course will include case studies intended to aid Students in a full understanding of the drug discovery process.

MSMPHL 2390 Directed Study
This course provides an opportunity for students to carry out a specific laboratory project in any area of interest in pharmacology.

MSMPHL 3300 PhD Dissertation Research
After advancement to candidacy for the PhD degree, students enroll in this course to pursue original experimental laboratory research, the results of which will provide the substance of their doctoral dissertation.  A minimum of 40 credits of this course are required for the PhD degree in the school of medicine.

MSMPHL 3310 Cancer Biology and Therapeutics
This course presents biochemical and clinical aspects of cancer biology and therapy and is designed for graduate students training in the basic sciences or medicine. The lectures cover the biology of normal and neoplastic cells, mechanisms of neoplastic transformation, chemical and environmental carcinogenesis, viral oncogenisis, breast and prostate cancer, radiotherapy, tumor immunology chemotherapy and chemoprevention.

MSMPHL 3320 Journal Club
Beginning in the second year of the program students will participate in the Departmental Journal Club. Presentations will be held each week that the Department hosts a seminar speaker (i.e. 2-3 times/month) during the Fall and Spring semester. Students entering their fifth year of study may petition the Program Director to be excused from the Spring Session of the Journal Club. Sixth year students and beyond are not required to enroll in Journal Club although their attendance is encouraged. A log-in sheet will be available at all Journal Club meetings. All students in attendance will complete an anonymous peer-evaluation sheet that will be provided to the presenter. Students must inform the Program Director in advance if they are unable to attend a specific Journal Club. Excusable absences from Journal Club include individual or family illness or presentation (i.e. poster, platform talk) at a major scientific conference. Students are allowed two unexcused absence/semester.

MSMPHL 3330 Genome Instability and Human Disease
Mechanisms that maintain genome stability allowed the origin of species. DNA damage is omnipresent and DNA repair and DNA damage tolerance mechanisms are interwoven in systems that control transcription, replication, cell division, signal transduction, cell death and evolution. More than 40 distinct human diseases are caused by defects in DNA repair, including syndromes of impaired development, immunodeficiency, cancer predisposition, neurodegeneration and premature aging.  This course will emphasize the molecular biology and biochemistry of DNA repair, placing these mechanisms into the context of other cellular processes as they pertain to health and disease.  Environmental, clinical and endogenous sources of DNA damage will be discussed.  An understanding of the fundamental role of DNA repair mechanisms in immunology, oncology, neurology, and aging will be central to all lectures. The course comprises twenty-nine lectures that will be taught twice a week. Lectures will be fashioned around selected manuscripts and the recent text book: “DNA Repair, Mutagenesis, and Other Responses to DNA Damage (2014) Errol C. Friedberg, Stephen J. Elledge, Alan R. Lehmann, Tomas Lindahl & Marco Muzi-Falconi.  Lecturers will include faculty from the Universities of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon who are engaged in laboratory and clinical research at the forefront of the DNA damage and repair fields, as well as distinguished Professors visiting Pittsburgh from other Institutions

MSMPHL 3335 DNA Repair Journal
The course is a journal club on current topics in DNA repair as it relates to human disease, DNA damage processing, genome stability, telomere biology, cancer and aging. Primarily designed for students in the second year of their graduate program and beyond. Presentations will be held twice per month during the fall and spring semester. In order to receive credit for the course students must attend a minimum of 80% of the sessions, present once per semester, participate in class discussion and complete anonymous peer-evaluations for each presenter. One week prior to presentation, presenters will identify a recent publication in the field and distribute it to their classmates.  Presenters must define the hypothesis of the paper, provide background and significance, describe experimental methods used, interpret the data, conclude whether the data support the authors' conclusions and propose future experiments. Grades will be determined by attendance (10%), class participation (20%) and quality of presentation (70%).

MSMPHL 3340 Foundations of Successful Career Planning and Development Part 1

MSMPHL 3341 Foundations of Successful Career Planning and Development Part 2

MSMPHL 3360 Molecular Pharmacology
This course examines molecular mechanisms of drug interactions with an emphasis on drugs that modulate cell signaling, cellular responses to drugs and drug discovery. The course will include student participation through presentations and discussion of relevant contemporary scientific literature. Topics include: cell cycle checkpoints and anti-cancer drugs, therapeutic control of ion channels and blood glucose, anti-inflammatory agents and nuclear receptor signaling and molecular mechanisms of drugs used for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

MSMPHL 3375 Neuropharmacology
This course will broadly review neuropharmacology and neurobiology, study monoamine, cholinergic and GPCR biology, and explore the blood-brain barrier and its significance to neuropharmacology.  The course will focus on the molecular mechanisms of drug action for different classes of compounds including but not limited to; antidepressants, antipsychotics, anti-epileptics, anesthetics, weight loss, stimulants, neuroprotective, addiction, pain and migraine drugs. In addition to the formal lectures the course will emphasize critical reading of the primary literature through journal-club style discussions and cover the most recent treatment and therapeutic avenues being developed for a broad range of neurologic and psychiatric disorders.  The course is ideally suited for Molecular Pharmacology and Neuroscience graduate students or any other graduate student with interest in neurological diseases and their treatments.  The course is also appropriate for senior undergraduates who have completed 4 semesters of chemistry, 2 semesters of biology, and other relevant upper division course work (e.g. Cell Biology, Physiology or Biochemistry)