Course Descriptions

Gene Regulation in Cancer & Development (01:694:492) 

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

Offered:  Spring

Credits: 3

Pre- or Corequisites: 01:694:407-408 or 01:447:384-385 or 11:115:403-404 or 11:126:481

Class time: Mon. & Thurs. 10:20 - 11:40 AM (In person) Waksman Rm 1001

Course Description

Gene Regulation in Cancer and Development (01:694:492) is a course for advanced undergraduate students majoring in the Life Sciences.  Molecular biology is an experimental science, and a major goal of this course is to explain not just what molecular biologists know, but how they know it.  Thus, while covering selected topics in gene regulation, development, and cancer, we will emphasize the methods, experimental design, history, and deductive reasoning that has led to the current state of understanding of these topics.  There are no textbooks.  Material taught in this course is based on understanding general concepts, in-depth analysis of selected primary research articles and enhancing critical thinking skills.  Topics include, gene therapy, inherited diseases, circadian rhythms, metabolic disorders, microbiome, COVID/vaccines, immunity and cancer resistant animals.  

Syllabus (subject to revision):

Jan 20 Th Steward-1 Course introduction & review of some fundamental concepts in molecular biology
Jan 24 M Steward-2 Drosophila as a model system:  genetics and development
Jan 27 Th Steward-3 Induction of mutations and analysis of mutant phenotypes
Jan 31 M Steward-4 Genomics and micro RNAs
Feb 3 Th Steward-5 Control of gene expression in development: activated and repressed promoters
Feb 7 M Steward-6 Prenatal diagnosis/ Inherited diseases in humans
Feb 10 Th Steward-7 Gene therapy
Feb 14 M Steward-8 Personalized genomics
Feb 17 Th Steward-9 Personal genomics II
Feb 21 M Steward-test Exam 1 (9 lectures and reading materials; Jan 20-Feb 17)
Feb 24 Th Steward-10 Introduction to signal transduction and Wnt signaling
Feb 28 M Steward-11 Biochemical & Cell biological analysis
Mar 3 Th Steward-12 Wnt signaling in stem cells and cancer
Mar 7 M Edery-1 Circadian rhythms: overview and principles
Mar 10 Th Edery-2 Clock mechanisms I
SPRING BREAK (no class 14th or 17th)
Mar 21 M  Edery-3 Clock mechanisms II
Mar 24 Th Edery-4 Circadian rhythms and connection to cancer and other diseases I
Mar 28 M Edery-5 Circadian rhythms and connection to cancer and other diseases II
Mar 31 Th Edery NO CLASS-study day
Apr 4 M Edery-test Exam 2 (8 lectures and reading materials; Feb 24 – Mar 28)
Apr 7 Th Edery-6 Signaling to and from the clock
Apr 11 M Edery-7 Clock, feeding, microbiome, disease
Apr 14 Th Edery-8 Clock, cancer, metabolism
Apr 18 M Edery-9 Clock, codon usage, protein folding
Apr 21 Th Edery-10 Clocks, immunity, lungs and COVID vaccines
Apr 25 M Edery-11 Cancer, elephants and mole rats: Do all animals get cancer?
Apr 28 Th Edery-12 Follow the science?
May 2 M Edery Exam 3 (7 lectures and reading materials; April 7-28)



Course Satisfies Learning Goals

1. Students should demonstrate an understanding of the knowledge that is needed to begin biomedical research and that is required for post-graduate exams and studies.

2. Students should demonstrate the ability to find and evaluate information about specific biological systems or problems.

Exams, Assignments, and Grading Policy

PowerPoint lecture material and readings for each class will be posted on the relevant Canvas site for this course.  There will be three exams over the semester that will cover the material presented in class; there will not be a cumulative final exam. Each exam will count for 25% of the grade. In addition, there will be problem sets, in class quizzes, critiques, and/or other assignments that together will count for the remaining 25% of the grade. Absence from exams will be excused only in the case of serious illness or family emergency, and only when backed up by appropriate documentation. Requests for regrades must be submitted within 72 hours of return of the exam.

Course Materials

Because we are focusing on current topics, there is no textbook, but there will be assigned readings and literature research from the primary literature, and where appropriate, background reference material will be recommended by the instructors.

Course Closed?

f this course is closed please contact Dr. Isaac Edery concerning special permission numbers.


The course will be taught by two faculty members from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Drs. Isaac Edery and Ruth Steward.

Course Coordinator: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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