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Interdisciplinary Graduate Program Courses

The courses listed below include required courses of the core curriculum, research and milestone courses, as well as program specific advanced topics, seminars, journal clubs and tutorials for specialization in Interdisciplinary studies.

  • Cancer Biology and Medicine | BBS 725

    Programs: Cancer Biology, Interdisciplinary

    This course will provide students with a rigorous and comprehensive understanding of the mechanisms that underlie the genesis and progression of human cancers. It will build on the basic science knowledge acquired in the Foundations Course and establish an appreciation of cancer as a disease. The salient topics to be covered include cancer stem cells; oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes; tumor-host interactions, invasion and metastasis, cancer metabolism and anti-tumor immunity. A major theme of the course will be to integrate the biology of cancer with the clinical behavior of tumors.

    Course Directors: Arthur Mercurio, Michelle Kelliher

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • Principles of Light and Electron Microscopy | BBS 732

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    Principles and application of microscopy in biomedical research for graduate students at all levels. Demonstrations and laboratory exercises will be incorporated into some of the blocks of the instruction. This course is designed to teach the biologist how microscopes work and how to optimize image quality.

    Course Directors: Greenfield Sluder, David Grunwald

    Semester Offered: Spring, odd years

    Last Taught: Has not been taught in the past 2 years

  • Mammalian Development and Stem Cells | BBS 737

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    The potential of stem cells in therapeutic applications has ignited a fiercely competitive field of research aimed at the isolation, maintenance and differentiation of stem cells into specific pathways of differentiation. The use of stem cells in clinical application, however, requires an understanding of the molecular and cellular and epigenetic events that transform pluripotent cells into differentiated ones. Mammalian embryogenesis can be conceived as a sequence of developmental decisions that result in progressive restriction in cell potency. Because all the cells of a future individual are derived from a single cell, the zygote, the differences between cell types are due to epigenetic events established as the embryo develops. The process for generating these epigenetic marks is equally important for embryogenesis as well as for stem cell research. In this course we will use the cellular and molecular mechanisms of mammalian development as a framework for understanding the origin and differentiation of multiple pluripotent cells and their role in stem cell research and human disease.

    Course Director: Jamie Rivera

    Semester Offered: Fall, even years

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within last two years

  • Eukaryotic Gene Expression | BBS 738

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    This course encompasses current topics in eukaryotic gene regulation including the discussion of current research articles. Within this context, we will also explore the role of epigenetic regulators in transcriptional control. Course goals include improving skills in reading, presenting, discussing, and critically analyzing research articles.

    Course Director: Craig Peterson

    Semester Offered: Spring, odd years

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • Introduction to Cellular Metabolism and Disease | BBS 748

    Programs: Interdisciplinary, Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program, Translational Science

    This intense 3-week course will expose students to a variety of topics related to cellular metabolism. The course will cover material ranging from foundational principles to current leading-edge research. The principles and mechanisms regulating metabolism will be explored from multiple perspectives, including biochemistry, biophysics, genetics, molecular biology and cell biology. 

    Course Director: Brian Lewis, Amy Walker

    Semester Offered: Fall, Summer

    Last Taught: Summer 2021

  • Molecular Biology of Cell Cycle | BBS 761

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    This course covers genetic, biochemical and cellular mechanisms of cell cycle control. Topics include genetic screens for cell cycle regulators; cell cycle checkpoints; cell cycle regulation of DNA replication and chromosome structure; and the cell cycle in development and cancer. 

    Course Director: Nicholas Rhind

    Semester Offered: Spring, odd years

    Last Taught: Spring 2021

  • Systems and Computational Biology | BBS 764

    Programs: Bioinformatics & Computational Biology, Interdisciplinary

    This is a lecture and paper-discussion based course covering a broad range of topics in Systems Biology and Computational biology. 

    Course Director: Marian Walhout

    Semester Offered: Spring

    Last Taught: Spring 2020

  • Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology | BBS 787

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    Advanced course, lecture and discussion, recent information of stem cell biology, tissue regeneration, and potential therapeutics

    Course Directors: Yicktung (Tony) Ip, Craig Ceol

    Course Offered: Fall, odd years

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within past two years

  • RNA Biology Journal Club | BBS 801

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    A discussion of recent and classical papers covering various topics in RNA biology. Students will choose from a list of papers provided by course coordinators or from recent literature with approval from coordinators.

    Course Director: Victor Ambros

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Fall 2020

  • Current Topics in Aging | BBS 803

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    This is a journal club that meets every two weeks to discuss papers on aging and genomic stability. The topics will be mechanisms of aging; with a focus on genetics. The objectives are to cover a large number of papers that identify genes that act to promote or limit life span and theories of aging.

    Course Director: Heidi Tissenbaum

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within last two years

  • Student Research Seminar | BBS 812

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    This course offers students an opportunity to learn scientific information and presentation skills. Students are required to attend the weekly Interdisciplinary Graduate Program seminar series and to write a short critique on each seminar. The goal is for students to understand the important elements of a successful presentation including style, interaction and organization.

    Course Director: Yicktung (Tony) Ip

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within last two years

  • Educational Outreach to High Schools and Middle Schools | BBS 843

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    Middle and high school educational outreach coordinated through the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program, Worcester Pipeline, and Regional Science Resource Center. IGP coordinated activities include development of in-class presentations and experiments in collaboration with high school teachers, and one-on-one and small group mentoring of high school science students. The Worcester Pipeline Collaborative coordinates a range of programs with the Worcester Public Schools dedicated to educating and challenging underrepresented and/or economically disadvantaged students for success in the STEM professions. Course is not available to GSBS first-year students. Students need to make an appointment with the course coordinator to discuss outreach opportunities prior to the start of semester.

    Course Director William Theurkauf

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Fall 2015

  • Tutorial in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program | BBS 844

    Programs: Interdisciplinary

    Tutorial arranged with individual faculty.

    Course Director: Craig Peterson

    Semester Offered: Fall, Spring

    Last Taught: Has not been taught within last two years

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