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

Course Description

Gene Regulation in Cancer and Development 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.

Syllabus (subject to revision):

1                         Irvine            Course Introduction & Review of some fundamental concepts in Molecular Biology

2                         Steward        Drosophila as a model system:  genetics and development

3                         Steward        Induction of mutations and analysis of mutant phenotypes      

4                         Steward        Genomics and micro RNAs            

5                         Steward        Control of gene expression in development:  activated and repressed promoters

6                         Edery            Circadian rhythms: overview and principles

7                         Edery            Clock Mechanisms I

8                         Edery            Clock Mechanisms II

9                         Edery            Circadian rhythms and connection to cancer and other diseases I

10                       Edery            Exam 1 (covers lectures 1-9 & readings)

11                       Steward        Prenatal diagnosis/ Inherited diseases in humans

12                       Steward        Gene therapy

13                       Steward        Personalized genomics

14                       Steward        TBD

15                       Edery            Circadian rhythms and connection to cancer and other diseases II

16                       Edery            Signaling to and from the clock I

17                       Edery            Signaling to and from the clock II

18                       Edery            TBD                

19                       Steward        Exam 2  (covers lectures 11-18 & readings)  

20                       Irvine            Introduction to signal transduction and Wnt signaling

21                       Irvine            Genetic approaches toward identifying & ordering genes in a pathway                                            

22                       Irvine            Extracellular Regulation of Wnt Signaling

23                       Irvine            Biochemical & Cell biological analysis of cytoplasmic & nuclear events in Wnt Signaling I

24                       Irvine            Biochemical & Cell biological analysis of cytoplasmic & nuclear events in Wnt Signaling II

                                                Irvine Take Home handed Out

25                       Irvine            Downstream of Wnt Signaling:  Transcriptional responses & Cellular Outcomes                                              

26                       Irvine            Wnts, Stem cells, and Cancer Irvine Take Home Due                                           

27                       Irvine            Wnts & PCP

28                       Irvine            Hallmarks of Cancer & Review

29                       Irvine            Exam 3  (covers lectures 20-28 & readings)

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

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, 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?

If this course is closed please contact the This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.concerning special permission numbers.


The course will be taught by three faculty members from the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Drs. Isaac Edery, Ken Irvine and Ruth Steward, plus some guest lecturers.

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.