Course Descriptions

This course is intended for Life Science majors or those with a strong background in the Biological Sciences.

This course may be used to fulfill the elective requirements of the Biological Sciences major.






Genetics 01:447:380 or Genetic Analysis I 01:447:384 and General Biology Lab 01:119:117 or 01:119:102

Credit not given for this course and Introduction to Cancer 01:447:245

Course Description

This is an advanced course covering the biological and medical aspects of malignancy. It includes cancer cells and tumors, cancer genomics and proteomics, and examples of human cancers (breast, prostate, colon, melanoma, etc.). Each week the professor will introduce a topic in a lecture, assign readings from the published biomedical research literature, and in the next class period lead a discussion of the assigned readings.

Topics may include:

  • Pathology of neoplasia
  • Successful therapies based on molecular targets
  • Cancer stem cells
  • Tumor microenvironment and host interaction
  • Invasion and Metastasis
  • Cancer gene expression
  • Cancer genomics
  • Cancer proteomics
  • RNAi and microRNAs
  • Model systems of human cancer
  • Tumor progression and chemoprevention
  • Mathematical oncology

Learning Goals

This course has been certified as satisfying learning goals of the Department of Genetics, and the SAS Core Curriculum goals.

Department of Genetics Goals:

3. Use genetic information and ideas to critically analyze published research articles in genetics.

4. (in part) At the end of four years, all our students will be able to design an experiment, carry out the research using appropriate laboratory techniques and analyze and interpret their data. They will also be able to communicate their discoveries through a written article appropriate for publication in a peer-reviewed Genetics journal, and through talks or posters appropriate for scientific meetings.

SAS Core Curriculum Goals:

This course satisfies the SAS requirement for "Cognitive Skills and Processes: Discipline-Based Writing and Communication [WCd]".

This course meets the following SAS Writing and Communication goals:

t. Communicate effectively in modes appropriate to a discipline or area of inquiry.

u. Evaluate and critically assess sources and use the conventions of attribution and citation correctly.

v. Analyze and synthesize information and idea from multiple soureces to generate new insights.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

During the course, students will be expected to demonstrate in several written assignments their understanding of the facts and concepts of the lecture material and of the assigned readings (40%). At the end of the course students will be expected to demonstrate that they can use facts and concepts about cancer learned in the course, and new material which they find in the published literature, by proposing new avenues of research in a written final term paper in the form of a research proposal (abstract, critical review of the literature, research plan) (40%). Class participation in discussions (10%).

Course Materials

Readings online at Library of Science and Medicine website, handouts on course Sakai website.  

Course Closed?

No special permission numbers will be administered for this course. If the course is closed you should continue to check WebReg to see if a spot opens.


David E. Axelrod
Dept. Genetics
Nelson Biolabs, Room B341
phone: 445-2011

** All information is subject to change at the discretion of the course coordinator.