A graduate program in Molecular and Cell Biology

Last updated: September 10, 2014 at 3:14 p.m.

Objectives

The graduate program in molecular and cell biology, leading to the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, is designed to provide each student with the theoretical foundations and research experience needed to become an independent and original investigator of basic biological phenomena. Preparation is achieved through the combination of (1) a flexible curriculum of required and elective courses tailored for each student's specific needs, (2) a set of laboratory rotations that acquaints each entering student with current research techniques and permits exploration of possible research areas, and (3) a proseminar specifically for first-year students and a series of journal clubs that keep students abreast of significant research findings and develop confidence with reading research literature and giving oral presentations. First-year students participate in all three aspects of our graduate program and are thus quickly integrated into the biological research community at Brandeis. A strength of our program is frequent interaction between students and faculty, formal and informal.

Thesis research leading to the PhD degree is carried out under the personal direction of a faculty member. A complete list of faculty research interests and recent publications can be viewed online at www.bio.brandeis.edu. Potential applicants are urged to review this information. As a general orientation, the following areas of research are among those represented in the program: molecular biology of the regulation of gene expression; chromosome structure and chromosomal rearrangements; mechanisms of recombination and DNA repair; developmental genetics; behavioral genetics, neural development; biophysics of single nerve cells; learning and memory; regulation of small RNAs; immune cell differentiation and development; cytoskeletal architecture; organization of subcellular structures; structure and function of proteins; mammalian embryogenesis and the biotechnology of DNA diagnostics.

How to Be Admitted to the Graduate Program

The general requirements for admission to the Graduate School, given in an earlier section of this Bulletin, apply to candidates for admission to this area of study. The student's undergraduate record should ordinarily include courses equivalent to those required of undergraduates concentrating in biology at this institution. Applicants to the PhD program who are deficient in some of these subjects, but whose records are otherwise superior, may make up their deficiencies while they are enrolled as graduate students. In exceptional cases, students may be excused from some of these requirements. Students with serious deficiencies must, however, expect to add additional time to their graduate program in order to satisfy the deficiencies.

Applicants must take the Graduate Record Examination.

Because the summer months provide an important opportunity for uninterrupted laboratory work, the molecular and cell biology program provides twelve-month stipend support for all full-time PhD students.

Faculty

Susan Birren, Dean of Arts and Sciences (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
Developmental neurobiology.

Paul Garrity (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
Neural development and behavior.

Jeff Gelles
Mechanisms of mechanoenzymes and macromolecular machines. Single-molecule light microscopy as a tool to study enzyme mechanisms.

Bruce Goode (Rosenstiel Center)
Biochemistry and genetics of yeast cytoskeleton.

Leslie Griffith (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
Biochemistry of synaptic plasticity.

James Haber, Graduate Advising Head (Director, Rosenstiel Center) (on leave academic year 2014-2015)
Genetics and molecular biology of yeast meiotic and mitotic recombination. Mating-type switching. Repair of broken chromosomes.

Lizbeth Hedstrom (on leave academic year 2014-2015)
Enzyme structure-function. Chemical biology. Mechanisms of retinal degeneration.

Daniel Pomeranz Krummel
Structure-function studies of RNA-protein complexes critical to eukaryotic RNA maturation.

Nelson Lau (Rosenstiel Center)
Gene and genome regulation by RNAi and small RNAs. Molecular biology of germline gene and transposon regulation.

Susan Lovett (Assistant Director, Professional Science Master’s Program in Biotechnology; Rosenstiel Center)
Genetics and molecular biology of bacteria and yeast. DNA repair. Recombination and mutogenesis.

Michael Marr (Rosenstiel Center)
Mechanisms controlling gene expression.

Sacha Nelson (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
Synaptic integration in the visual cortex.

Daniela Nicastro (Rosenstiel Center) (on leave fall 2014)
Electron tomography of cellular and macromolecular structures.

Suzanne Paradis (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
Molecular mechanisms of synapse development.

Joan Press (Rosenstiel Center)
Developmental immunology and immunogenetics.

Ruibao Ren (Rosenstiel Center)
Signal transduction.

Avital Rodal (Rosenstiel Center)
Endosomal Membrane Traffic in Neurons

Michael Rosbash (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
RNA processing and molecular neurobiology.

Piali Sengupta (National Center for Behavioral Genomics; Volen National Center for Complex Systems)
Behavioral and neuronal development in C. elegans.

Neil Simister (Director, Professional Science Master's Program in Biotechnology; Rosenstiel Center)
Molecular immunology. Antibody transport.

Lawrence Wangh
Mammalian embryogenesis, gene expression in single cells, DNA amplification and in vitro DNA diagnostics.

Satoshi Yoshida (Rosenstiel Center)
Cytoskeletal organization during cell division.

Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

Program of Study
The program is designed to guide each student toward realizing her or his potential as an independent scientist and foster their career development towards obtaining a position in research, teaching, or other scientific settings. Students are encouraged to become experts in the theory and practice of their chosen area of research, as well as to obtain breadth in other areas strongly represented in the program. Graduate courses are available in the areas of molecular biology, cell biology, genetics, developmental biology, biochemistry, structural biology, immunology, cancer biology, and neurobiology.

A total of six graduate-level courses, along with the attendance of appropriate Journal Clubs (usually BIOL305a/b) and the Graduate Student Research Seminar (BIOL 350a/b) for two semesters are required for the degree. The courses must include: BIOL 100b (or BIOL 103b, with permission of the chair), BIOL 101a (or BIOL 105b, with permission of the chair), and one laboratory or research based course, with remaining courses to be agreed upon by the program chair. The laboratory or research component can be met by a Masters Research Lab (BIOL 296a), by a Project Laboratory (e.g. BIOL 155a, BIOL 156a, BIOL 158b, BCHM 155b, or NBIO 157a), or with permission of the chair by Readings in Molecular and Cell Biology (BIOL 297a). Students who wish to fulfill the research requirement through BIOL 296a or BIOL 299a must obtain approval from the program chair and the faculty member in whose lab the research is to take place. In addition, all students are required to take CONT 300b (Responsible Conduct of Science), usually offered in the spring.

With approval of the supervising faculty member and the chair of the program, students have the option to write a Master’s Thesis (BIOL 299a) following completion of at least one full semester of Master’s Research Lab (BIOL 296a), provided that the research was performed in a single laboratory at Brandeis. Those that wish to complete a Master’s Thesis must obtain approval in the semester prior to when they will register for BIOL299a (by November 1st if completing the thesis in the spring semester and by March 1st if completing the thesis in the fall semester). After completion and approval, the thesis must be deposited electronically in the Robert D. Farber University Archives at Brandeis.

Residence Requirement
The minimum residence requirement is one year.

Students may take an additional one or two semesters to complete the MS degree as an Extended Master's student with approval of the chair of the program. International students may extend their time one semester if they are still completing required coursework. International students who have completed all required coursework and wish to complete the optional Master’s Thesis may stay an extra semester with advanced approval from the advising faculty, the program chair, and International Students & Scholars Office (by November 1st if completing the thesis in the spring semester and by March 1st if completing the thesis in the fall semester).

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

Program of Study
Students must take a total of six graduate-level courses for the degree. Two courses are taken each semester in the first year, of which three are required: BIOL103b, BIOL105b, and BIOL200a (proseminar, an introduction to the research literature of biology). The remaining three courses are electives, to be chosen by the student, but must be graduate-level life science courses (BIOL, BCHM, CBIO or NBIO; course numbers of 100 or higher). In selecting electives, students are expected to gain knowledge in at least two different disciplines represented in the program: genetics, molecular biology, cell biology, developmental biology, neuroscience, immunology, biochemistry, and structural biology. Students must complete all courses with a grade of B- or better. In addition, all students are required to take CONT300b (Responsible Conduct of Science), typically in the spring of their first year, but this does not count as one of the six courses toward the degree. First year students must also complete four separate nine-week rotations (BIOL300a/b) in four different laboratories on campus. Throughout all graduate years, students must register for and participate in Journal Clubs (usually BIOL305a/b), and register for and (starting their third year in the program) present once per year in the Graduate Student Research Seminar (BIOL350a/b). They are also expected to continue participating in other departmental seminars and colloquia relevant to their fields of study for the entire time they are in the graduate program.

The suggested schedule of courses for the first two years is (note: students must register for all courses, even those not for credit):

First Year
Fall: BIOL105b and BIOL200a for credit, plus BIOL300a, BIOL305a, and BIOL350a.
Spring: BIOL103b and one elective graduate-level science course for credit, plus BIOL305b, BIOL350b, BIOL300b, and CONT300b.

Second Year
Fall: One elective graduate-level science course for credit, plus BIOL305a and BIOL350a.
Spring: One elective graduate-level science course for credit, plus BIOL305b and BIOL350b.

At the end of the first year after completing rotations, each student must find a faculty adviser and position in that laboratory in which to perform their thesis work. Any requested extensions to this time line, e.g. for the purpose of conducting a fifth rotation over the summer, is subject to approval by the Graduate Committee. The adviser will assist the student in planning a well-balanced thesis-research program in his/her field of interest with the objective and expectation of publishing the work.

Qualifying Examination
Students take two qualifying exams, one at the end of the first year and one at the end of the second year. In each exam, there is a written proposal component that is submitted by the student to the members of their exam committee, followed by an oral defense of the proposal. The first exam is taken at the end of the first year and must be connected to a research area investigated in one of their rotation laboratories. The second exam is taken by the end of the second year and must be on the student’s thesis research and outlines their planned experiments and goals. It also includes preliminary data that the student has obtained during his/her first two years in the program.

Teaching Requirement
As part of their PhD training, students are required to serve as teaching assistants (TAs) for two semesters, usually in their second year. With the approval of their thesis adviser, students may have the opportunity to do additional TA’ships, e.g. if interested in pursuing a teaching career path, and receive additional payment for this service at a rate determined by the Department.

Residence Requirement
The minimum residence requirement is three years.

Language Requirement
There is no foreign language requirement for the PhD degree. However, students for whom English is a second language are strongly recommended and sometimes required to take remedial English courses.

Advancement in the Program
To be advanced into the second year of graduate studies, a student must earn grades of B- or better in all courses, have a satisfactory evaluation by their committee on the first exam/proposal, and have gained a position in a laboratory at Brandeis in which to carry out thesis research. At the discretion of the Graduate Committee, students who do not fulfill all of these requirements after the first year may not be readmitted in to the program or may be placed on probation for one year. To pass into the third year of the program, and thus be ‘advanced to candidacy’, a student must have grades of B- or better in all six courses, have performed satisfactorily on both oral exams/proposals, and be in good standing in the thesis research laboratory. Students who had been placed on probation for the prior year must have displayed progress and must perform satisfactorily on the second exam/proposal. Once thesis work has begun, it is a requirement that each student must meet at least once a year with his/her Dissertation Committee, which includes the thesis adviser and at least two other professors, to discuss progress toward the completion of the dissertation. These meetings must be documented with a form signed the thesis committee members and turned into the Biology Ooffice by the student. Progress will be reviewed by the Graduate Committee at the end of each year, and a student may be asked to leave the program if his/her progress is found to be unsatisfactory.

Dissertation and Defense
Each student will conduct an original investigation under the guidance and mentorship of their thesis advisor and write a dissertation of their results. After submission of the dissertation, the candidate will give a public seminar to the University community, and on the same day defend the work in an oral exam to the dissertation committee. The dissertation committee must include the thesis adviser, at least two additional Brandeis science faculty (at least one of whom must be listed as an MCB faculty), and one additional faculty member from outside the university - typically an expert in the area of the thesis research. The dissertation committee is selected by the student and adviser through mutual agreement. There is an expectation that students will publish a minimum of one first-author research paper from their graduate work.

Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Molecular and Cell Biology with Specialization in Quantitative Biology

Program of Study
Students wishing to obtain the specialization in Quantitative Biology must first gain approval of the MCB representative for the Quantitative Biology (QB) program (listed online on the Brandeis QB web site). This should be done as early as possible, ideally during the first year of graduate studies. In order to receive the PhD in molecular and cell biology with specialization in quantitative biology, candidates must complete (a) the requirements for the PhD described above and (b) the course requirements for the quantitative biology specialization that are described in the quantitative biology section of this Bulletin.

Any alteration to the quantitative biology course requirements must be approved by both the MCB program Chair and the Quantitative Biology Program Chair.

Courses of Instruction

(100-199) For Both Undergraduate and Graduate Students

BIOL 100b Advanced Cell Biology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
An advanced course on cell biology. Topics include structure and organization of the cell, principles of signal transduction, and cell division and proliferation. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Miara

BIOL 101a Molecular Biotechnology
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Prerequisite: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a.
Studies molecular biology techniques such as PCR, DNA sequencing, genomics, cloning, microarrays, and siRNA, and their relation to human disease research applications. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Woodruff

BIOL 102b Structural Molecular Biology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b, or permission of the instructor.
Cells are filled with machines that carry materials about the cell, that chemically transform molecules, that transduce energy, and much more. Our understanding of how these machines work depends on understanding their structures. This introduction to the structural basis of molecular biology examines the designs of proteins, their folding and assembly, and the means whereby we visualize these structures. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Kosinski-Collins

BIOL 103b Mechanisms of Cell Functions
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Prerequisite: BIOL 15b or 22b or BIOL 100b.
An advanced course focusing on the mechanistic basis of cell biological processes and how they are elucidated experimentally. Classic and modern research papers are used to illustrate a range of genetic, biochemical, and imaging-based experimental approaches. While topics include cell compartmentalization, membrane traffic, cytoskeleton, cell motility, and cell division, the primary learning goal is to understand how the scientific method is applied in cell biology research. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Goode

BIOL 105b Molecular Biology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
Examination of molecular processes in replication and expression of genetic information and techniques by which this understanding has been achieved. Topics include recombinant DNA and other molecular biological techniques, structure and organization of DNA in chromosomes, DNA replication, transcription and regulation of gene expression, RNA structure and processing, mRNA stability, and other mechanisms of post-translational control. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Marr and Mr. Lau

BIOL 107a Data Analysis and Statistics Workshop
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The interpretation of data is key to making new discoveries, making optimal decisions, and designing experiments. Students will learn skills of data analysis through hands-on, computer-based tutorials and exercises that include experimental data from the biological sciences. Knowledge of very basic statistics (mean, median) will be assumed. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Van Hooser

BIOL 111a Developmental Biology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
How do complex organisms build themselves starting from single cells? Examines how processes such as fertilization, embryogenesis, cell differentiation, and tissue-specific gene expression occur; what is known about the key molecules and genes that orchestrate these processes; and how genetic changes affecting these processes underlie the evolution of body form. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Paradis

BIOL 112b Evolutionary Developmental Biology
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Prerequisite: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a.
Examines both the evolution of developmental processes and the impact of development on evolution. This course will draw on the many sub-disciplines that feed into Evo-Devo including developmental biology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, ecology and paleontology. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Miara

BIOL 122a Molecular Genetics
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Prerequisite: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a.
A lecture- and literature-based course emphasizing strategies of genetic analysis in understanding complex processes, mostly in eukaryotes such as budding and fission yeast, fruit flies, worms, and mice. Examples will focus on the control of DNA replication, the regulation of the cell cycle and cell differentiation, and on mechanisms that preserve genetic stability and ensure accurate transmission of genetic information from generation to generation in both somatic and germ cells. Classical genetic methods and recent molecular genetic and genomic approaches will be examined. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Haber

BIOL 124b Epigenetics
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Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and b, BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
Our genes are much more than just DNA code. Our cells actually orchestrate multiple layers of gene expression control through alterations in chromatin structure. This course explores this dynamic layer of genetic control, called Epigenetics, where gene alterations can be inherited and reversed in response to the environment. Drawing on readings from the primary literature, this course explores how diverse epigenetic phenomena affect organism development, evolution, and human health. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Lau

BIOL 128a Human Genetics
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
Survey of topics, including: mutation and polymorphism; molecular methodology; single-gene inheritance and complexities thereof; multifactorial conditions, risk assessment, and Bayesian analysis; cytogenetics; hemoglobinopathies; population genetics; gene mapping; cancer genetics; ethical considerations in genetics; immunogenetics; pharmacogenetics; genetics of development; biochemistry of selected genetic diseases; gene therapy, genomics, proteomics, and bioinformatics. Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 134b Topics in Ecology
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Prerequisites: BIOL17b, BIOL23a, or BIOL 32a, or permission of the instructor. Topics may vary from year to year. Please consult the Course Schedule for topic and description. Course may be repeated once for credit with permission of the instructor.
Annually, a different aspect of the global biosphere is selected for analysis. In any year the focus may be on specific ecosystems (e.g., terrestrial, aquatic, tropical, arctic), populations, system modeling, restoration ecology, or other aspects of ecology. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Hitchcock

BIOL 135b The Principles of Biological Modeling
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Prerequisite: MATH 10a or 10b.
With examples from neuroscience, cell biology, ecology, evolution, and physiology, dynamical concepts of significance throughout the biological world are discussed. Simple computational and mathematical models are used to demonstrate important roles of the exponential function, feedback, stability, oscillations, and randomness. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Miller

BIOL 149b Molecular Pharmacology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b and CHEM 25a and b. NBIO 140b strongly recommended.
Covers the essentials of pharmacology and the study of the actions of chemical agents (drugs, toxins, neurotransmitters, and hormones) that interact with living systems. Emphasizes molecular mechanisms of neuropharmacology. Topics include pharmacokinetics, hormone action, autonomic pharmacology, and the psychopharmacology of drugs of abuse and mental disorders. Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Griffith

BIOL 155a Project Laboratory in Genetics and Genomics
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Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and b, BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b. Course fee: $150.
This small, laboratory-based course provides an opportunity for students to pursue a genuine research project. Each semester, we focus on a specific topic, such as DNA mutation and repair, epigenetics, or plant biology, and design and carry out original experiments. Students learn basic molecular biology techniques, genetic and genomic analysis, experimental design, and the fundamentals of reading and writing research papers. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Morris

BIOL 156a Project Laboratory in Biotechnology
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Prerequiste: BIOL 18a and b, BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b or equivalents. Course fee: $150.
Encompasses the many facets that present itself to a researcher in a laboratory setting. The primary goal of this course is to teach current methods in molecular biology to establish a foundational skill set that makes a student viable in today's research market. Along with this, enhancing the presentation of acquired data via a notebook, presentation and scientific writing is emphasized. Though the course meets during its scheduled time, additional work will be required during off days as it is meant to instill a form of independent research. Some of the techniques taught will include DNA isolation, DNA sequence analysis, generation of mutations, recombinant DNA cloning, RNA isolation, polymerase chain reaction including real-time quantitative PCR, and DNA/RNA hybridization methods. As part of the course, students will contribute to real research projects of unknown outcome with the possible option of continued independent researcher in the spring. Students will be required to perform tasks when the class is not in session. This class has a larger time commitment and should not be taken in conjunction with other research laboratories or internships. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Marr and Mr. Sutera

BIOL 159a Project Laboratory in Microbiology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and b. Laboratory fee: $150 per semester.
A discovery-based laboratory to study the diversity of microorganisms in particular environments. We will isolate microbes with ability to metabolize complex compounds from special environments, characterize their properties and identify them by DNA sequence analysis. This course will teach the fundamentals of microbiology through hands-on activities. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Cooper

BIOL 160b Human Reproductive and Developmental Biology
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
Course deals with hormonal, cellular, and molecular aspects of gametogenesis, fertilization, pregnancy, and birth. Pathological and abnormal variations that occur and the available medical technologies for intervention, correction, and facilitation of these processes are discussed. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Jackson

BIOL 172b Growth Control and Cancer
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Prerequisites: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b and CHEM 25a.
Covers the fundamental rules of behavior of cells in multicellular organisms. Examines the research that has revealed the molecular basis of cancer development, including the cellular and molecular mechanisms that govern cell growth, differentiation and survival in normal cells, and how this regulation is disrupted in cancer. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Woodruff

BIOL 176b RiboNucleicAcids (RNA)
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Prerequisite: BIOL 105b.
Examines the versatility and biological functions of RiboNucleicAcides (RNA) in an upper-level seminar and primary-literature based course.Topics include splicing and the spliceosome, the ribosome, ribozymes and the RNA World Hypothesis, RNA editing, RNA interference, and long non-coding RNAs. Usually offered second every year.
Mr. Lau and Mr. Rosbash

NBIO 123b Population Genetics/Genomics
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Prerequisite: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a.
Overviews the causes and consequences of genetic differences between and within species. Introduces classical population genetics and modern genomics and explores their application to understanding the genetics of behavior and neurological disorders. Topics include DNA and RNA sequencing technologies and their application, pharmacogenomics, metagenomics, the microbiome, comparative genomics and studies of human traits. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Garrity

NBIO 136b Computational Neuroscience
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Prerequisite: NBIO 140b or PHYS 10a or approved equivalents.
An introduction to concepts and methods in computer modeling of neural systems. Topics include single and multicompartmental models of neurons, information representation and processing by populations of neurons, synaptic plasticity and models of learning, working memory, decision making and neuroeconomics. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Miller

NBIO 140b Principles of Neuroscience
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Prerequisite: Sophomore standing, BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b, and one of the following. One year of college-level chemistry with lab, one year of college-level physics with lab, or any math course above 10a,b. AP scores are not accepted to meet the prerequisite.
Examines the basic principles of neuroscience. Topics include resting potentials, action potentials, synaptic transmission, sensory systems, motor systems, learning, neural circuits underlying behavior, neurological diseases, and mental illness. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Turrigiano

NBIO 142b Sleep
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Prerequisite: NBIO 140b.
Studies how we spend one-third of our lives asleep, but the function of sleep is essentially unknown. This course will explore via lecture and discussion of papers from the primary literature what we know about sleep in humans and other animals. We will discuss the behavioral, cellular and molecular control of sleep and its effects on physiology. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Griffith

NBIO 143b Developmental Neurobiology
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Prerequisite: BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b or permission of the instructor.
Discusses the molecular mechanisms used in the development of the nervous system in both invertebrate and vertebrate experimental systems. Topics include determination of neuronal cell fates, axon growth and guidance, plasticity during development, and mechanisms responsible for generation of connectivity in the nervous system. This course emphasizes reading of original scientific research papers and class discussion and oral presentations. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Paradis

NBIO 145b Systems Neuroscience
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Prerequisite: NBIO 140b.
Explores a fundamental question in neuroscience about how our brains extract and compute features and functions--such as direction of motion from visual stimuli--and how experience allows the microcircuits within our brains to become better tuned to such features. Understanding these processes requires insight into the cellular and network mechanisms that give rise to them. We will examine classical literature and recent advances in understanding the cellular and network properties of brain microcircuits. The course emphasizes reading from original papers, exploration of neural circuit simulations, and extensive class discussion. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Van Hooser

NBIO 146a The Neurobiology of Human Disease
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Prerequisite: BIOL100b, BIOL103b or NBIO 140b.
A lecture- and literature-based overview of the neurobiological underpinnings of neurological and psychiatric disorders including autism, mental retardation, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and other developmental and degenerative disorders. Usually offered every second year.
Ms Rodal

NBIO 147a Neurogenetics
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Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a.
Topics include function of genes, neurons and neuronal circuits in the generation of behavior. The use of genetics and genetic manipulations in the study of behavior will be emphasized. Model organisms to be discussed will include Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish and mammals.Usually offered every third year.
Ms. Sengupta

NBIO 148b Cellular Mechanisms of Neuronal Excitability and Plasticity
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Prerequisite: NBIO 140b or permission of the instructor. Graduate students may take this course concurrently with NBIO 140b.
Neurons are complex computing devises that transmit and store information. This course will explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms of excitability, as well as the plastic mechanisms that allow neurons and synapses to store information. Students will examine classic experiments on action potentials and synaptic transmission, as well as the contemporary literature on our evolving understanding of the cellular mechanisms of developmental and learning-related plasticity. The course emphasizes reading from original papers and extensive class discussion. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Nelson

NBIO 150a Autism and Human Developmental Disorders
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Prerequisite: BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b.
Autism and other developmental disorders are characterized by cognitive and behavioral deficits and by subtle changes in brain development. This course takes an integrative approach to investigate the biological, behavioral, medical, and social aspects of human developmental disorders. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Birren

NBIO 157a Project Laboratory in Neurobiology and Behavior
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Prerequisites: BIOL 18a and b, BIOL 14a or BIOL 22a, and BIOL 15b or BIOL 22b. A statistics class (e.g. BIOL 51a or PSYC 51a) is recommended but not required. Laboratory fee: $150 per semester.
Focuses on neurobiology, the study of the function of the nervous system. Research conducted by students will address unanswered biological questions in this field. This course will focus on temperature sensation and regulation, using the fruit fly Drosophila as a model system. Students will learn: techniques for studying animal behavior in a rigorous lab setting, experimental design and analysis, and the fundamentals of reading and writing scientific research papers. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Vecsey

(200 and above) Primarily for Graduate Students

BIOL 200a Proseminar
For first-year PhD students. Emphasizes the reading, analysis, and presentation of scientific papers. There is considerable emphasis on oral presentations and writing. Students will be guided toward preparing research papers and grant applications, presenting talks and posters at scientific meetings, and writing and defending PhD qualifying exams. Also examines how scientists frame important questions and design appropriate experiments. Papers will be chosen by the instructor for discussions and exercises. Papers focus on one specific research topic while encompassing a broad range of molecular biological, genetic, structural, and biochemical approaches. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Garrity

BIOL 202d Introduction to Genetic Counseling
A two-semester sequence that provides the historical and theoretical foundations for the practice of genetic counseling and the role of genetic services within the health care delivery system. Introduces students to some of the practical aspects of genetic counseling, including case preparation, pedigree construction/interpretation, risk assessment, psychological assessment and support, patient education and medical documentation. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Schneider

BIOL 203a Proseminar: The Molecular Basis of Genetic Diseases
Covers the molecular basis of muscular dystrophy, fragile X syndrome, cystic fibrosis, Huntington's disease, and several inherited cancer syndromes. A historical perspective is used for each topic; molecular diagnostics and genetic counseling issues are addressed as well. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 204b Clinical Genetics I
Introduces the major practice areas of clinical genetics: prenatal, pediatrics, biochemical and cancer genetics for first year students. The course is broken into fours blocks, each devoted to one of these areas. The blocks include didactic lectures from experts in the field as well as case discussions led by practicing genetic counselors meant to allow students to put what they have learned into practice. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Schneider and Ms. Stoler

BIOL 205b Counseling Theory and Technique
A comprehensive overview of counseling theory and practice. Topics include listening, observation, and interview skills and strategies; family dynamics and development; coping and adaptation processes; referral and consultation procedures; and ethical principles. Students are provided an opportunity to integrate clinical experiences with the coverage of topics. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Rintell

BIOL 206d Genetic Counseling Journal Club
Noncredit.
Informal biweekly meeting of students and faculty at which recent papers are discussed. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 207a Genetic Counseling: Case Conferences and Family Counseling
Examines case studies providing the basis for discussion of a variety of genetic disorders and the application of counseling modalities. Students have an opportunity to share experiences gained during clinical internships. Discussions emphasize the interplay of medical, psychological, ethical, legal, social, and cultural factors in genetic counseling. Co-taught by a clinical psychologist and a certified genetic counselor. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Rintell and Ms. Rosenfield

BIOL 211a Genetic Counseling Fieldwork Placement: Part I
Students work one day per week in a community-based health service organization, school, clinic, or public health agency to develop awareness of disability-related issues and the variety of community-based services for individuals with special needs. Students also observe in a genetics clinic twenty to thirty hours over the course of the semester to gain exposure to concepts learned in BIOL 202d (Introduction to Genetic Counseling). Periodic course discussions supplement the fieldwork experience. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Foster

BIOL 211b Genetic Counseling Fieldwork Placement: Part II
To begin preparing for clinical genetics internships, students participate in a variety of experiences that serve to foster and integrate the concepts introduced in courses and presentations. Students are exposed to procedures in clinical labs through lectures, site visits, and/or lab work. In addition, students continue observations in a genetics clinic and meet several times with a family with a child with a disability. Periodic course discussions supplement the fieldwork experience.
Ms. Foster

BIOL 212a Genetic Counseling Internship I
Students complete a 30 contact day clinical genetic internship under the supervision of a genetic counselor or other qualified clinician. Students increase their knowledge of clinical genetics and master genetic counseling skills by offering genetic counseling services in a prenatal, pediatric, cancer, general, adult ,or specialty clinic setting. Usually offered every summer.
Ms. Schneider

BIOL 212b Genetic Counseling Internship II
Students complete a 25 contact day clinical genetic internship under the supervision of a genetic counselor or other qualified clinician. Students increase their knowledge of clinical genetics and master genetic counseling skills by offering genetic counseling services in a prenatal, pediatric, cancer, general, adult, or specialty clinic setting. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Schneider

BIOL 213a Genetic Counseling Research I
In the summer semester students chose a research project, do a review of the literature and summarize key findings, and write a research proposal for a thesis project (to be done in the following fall/spring semesters). Usually offered in the summer.
Ms. Rosen Sheidley

BIOL 213b Genetic Counseling Research II
Prerequisite: BIOL 213a.
Students are introduced to the principles and basic techniques of social science research in a series of seminars while they implement their thesis research projects. Usually offered fall and spring.
Ms. Rosen Sheidley

BIOL 214c Genetic Counseling Process Group
In this small group setting, students can share and learn from their collective experiences in their field placements, courses, and individual lives and have the opportunity to process and integrate the experience of becoming a genetic counselor. Usually offered every semester.
Mr. Cunningham

BIOL 215b Readings in Molecular Biology
A combination of readings and clinical laboratory work to provide students with an in-depth understanding of the molecular biology of several human genetic diseases and the techniques used for their diagnosis. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Tsipis

BIOL 216b Internship Seminar Series
This is a noncredit seminar required for all genetic counseling students.
Students meet once a week for a series of lectures, presentations and mock sessions that explore issues related to advanced practice in genetic counseling. Topics include advanced genetic counseling case management, Baysian analysis, and the use of the NSGC code of ethics. Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 220a Clinical Genetics II
Prerequisite: BIOL 204b or permission of the instructor.
Continuation of BIOL 204b with emphasis on the genetic and developmental disorders of most major organ systems. The course includes discussion of neurogenetics, neuromuscular, hematological, cardiovascular, connective tissue, skeletal dysplasias and craniosynostoses, vision and hearing disorders as well as coverage of renal, immunological and GI and pulmonary disorders. Each week covers a different system in both a didactic lecture and a case discussion. Usually offered every year.
Ms. Schneider and Ms. Stoler

BIOL 235b American Health Policy & Practice and the Delivery of Genomic Health Care
Enrollment limited to Genetic Counseling or Health Policy graduate students or with permission of the instructor.
The continuous discovery of genetic markers for common diseases is leading to an increasing demand for genetic services, and for the integration of traditional medical genetics with mainstream medicine and public health care. In addition, the American healthcare system is evolving and huge changes in how is accessed, financed and delivered can be expected in the coming years. Those providing genetic services will therefore need a strong background in the structure of the American health care system and how public policy is influencing the field of medical genetics. This course is specifically designed to meet this objective using a mixture of readings from the literature, writing assignments, lecture, class discussion, guest speakers and student presentations. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Lerner

BIOL 236b Genetics, Law, and Social Policy
Explores legal doctrines, developing skills in analyzing legal and policy issues arising in professional practice and preparing students to actively participate in the development of institutional and public policies. Topics covered include confidentiality, patient autonomy, regulation of genetic, reproductive rights, and genetic discrimination. Usually offered every second year.
Ms. Noble

BIOL 296a Master's Research Lab
Prerequisite: Permission of the Program Director.
Students engage in biological research by working in the laboratory of a faculty member for a minimum of 10 hours per week for one semester. Intended for students in the MS Program in Molecular and Cell Biology. Usually offered every semester.
Ms. Nicastro

BIOL 297a Readings in Molecular and Cell Biology
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 298a Independent Study in Molecular and Cell Biology
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 299a Master's Research Project
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 300a Biological Research
Primarily for the first-year student, with the purpose of introducing him or her to biological research and to the work in progress in the laboratories of a number of faculty members. In consultation with the graduate adviser, the student plans a sequence of such tenures, each comprising nine weeks, and then carries out experimental investigations under the guidance of the faculty members involved. Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 300b Biological Research
Primarily for the first-year student, with the purpose of introducing him or her to biological research and to the work in progress in the laboratories of a number of faculty members. In consultation with the graduate adviser, the student plans a sequence of such tenures, each comprising nine weeks, and then carries out experimental investigations under the guidance of the faculty members involved. Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 301b Biological Research
Yields half-course credit.
See BIOL 300a for course description.
Staff

BIOL 305a Topics in Molecular Genetics and Development
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 305b Topics in Molecular Genetics and Development
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 316a Mechanisms of Recombination
Usually offered every year.
Mr. Haber and Ms. Lovett

BIOL 316b Mechanisms of Recombination
Usually offered every year.
Mr. Haber and Ms. Lovett

BIOL 320a Current Topics in Chromatin Structure
Yields half-course credit. Two semester sequence BIOL 320a in fall and BIOL 320b in spring.
Explores the key processes of DNA replication, transcription, DNA repair by recombination, and chromosome segregation that all take place in the context of chromatin. Topics including how chromatin is established and maintained during these key life processes will greatly enrich the curriculum. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Haber and Mr. Marr

BIOL 320b Current Topics in Chromatin Structure
Two semester sequence BIOL 320a in fall and BIOL 320b in spring. Continuation of BIOL 320a. Yields half-course credit.
Explores the key processes of DNA replication, transcription, DNA repair by recombination, and chromosome segregation that all take place in the context of chromatin. Topics including how chromatin is established and maintained during these key life processes will greatly enrich the curriculum. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Haber and Mr. Marr

BIOL 350a Graduate Student Research Seminar
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 350b Graduate Student Research Seminar
Usually offered every year.
Staff

BIOL 401d Dissertation Research
Independent research for PhD candidates. Specific sections for individual faculty members as requested.
Staff

Required First-Year Graduate Health-Related Science Programs Course

CONT 300b Responsible Conduct of Science
Required of all graduate students supported on a sponsored project. Not for credit.
Ethics is an essential aspect of scientific research. This course, taught by university faculty from several graduate disciplines, covers major ethical issues germane to the broader scientific enterprise, including areas or applications from a number of fields of study. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Karel

Cross-Listed in Molecular and Cell Biology

QBIO 110a Numerical Modeling of Biological Systems
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Prerequisite: MATH 10a and b or equivalent.
Modern scientific computation applied to problems in molecular and cell biology. Covers techniques such as numerical integration of differential equations, molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo simulations. Applications range from enzymes and molecular motors to cells. Usually offered every second year.
Mr. Hagan

QBIO 120b Quantitative Biology Instrumentation Laboratory
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Focuses on optical and other instruments commonly used in biomedical laboratories to make quantitative measurements in vivo and in vitro. Students disassemble and reconfigure modular instruments in laboratory exercises that critically evaluate instrument reliability and usability and investigate the origins of noise and systematic error in measurements. Usually offered every year.
Mr. Dogic