Biomedical Science First-Year Core Curriculum

We are now at a crossroads where scientists will be challenged to apply the knowledge of cellular function to the understanding of organ-system biology in order to advance human health and disease prevention. In today's environment, a basic understanding at all levels is necessary for a successful career.


The first-year curriculum provides the foundation needed for future years of study.

The program teaches students:

  • fundamental methods of research
  • the principles of experimental design and hypothesis testing,
  • how to survey and evaluate the biomedical literature, and
  • research communication.

Students complete three-semesters of core courses that integrate basic science principles at all levels. The courses include a combination of lectures and interactive seminars that focus on contemporary research topics by reference to the biomedical research literature. In addition, students learn about the wide variety of research activities being conducted by the graduate faculty that allows them to complete five, hands-on laboratory rotations.

Course Descriptions

Course will provide an overview, via lecture and discussion, of critical issues related to the responsible conduct of research. In addition, it will fulfill the requirements established by the Office of Research Integrity and the Public Health Service for ensuring that PHS-supported researchers are provided adequate instruction in conducting responsible research and ensuring integrity of the research record.

Course focuses on writing and presentations skills needed for a career in biomedical sciences. It provides basic instruction in writing abstracts, curriculum vitae, and grant applications as well as how to organize and give oral scientific presentations. Also covered are basic aspects related to teaching skills needed in the biomedical classroom and laboratory.

One semester course includes metabolism: enzyme structure, kinetics and mechanisms: RNA, DNA, and protein biogenesis: DNA repair and recombination; cell cycle control, cancer genetics. Classroom time includes lectures, discussion, and demonstrations using traditional and alternative teaching methods.

One semester course focuses on the study of the cell as the fundamental structural and functional unit of which all living organisms are constructed. Cell biology serves as a bridge between molecular biology, basic biochemistry, physiology, and morphology at the gross anatomical level and is increasingly a principal area of focus for biomedical research. In this course, the properties of cells are analyzed initially by viewing the structural organization, functional interactions, and biogenesis of cellular components with particular emphasis on understanding of processes involved in regulating the specific composition and interactions of cellular organelles. This understanding forms a basis for the subsequent consideration of cell-cell interactions at the cellular and the tissue level.

Analysis of concepts and methods used in the discovery and validation of biomedical therapeutics.

One semester course includes basic anatomy, physiology, and pharmacology of all the organ systems. Special topics also covered include integrated biosystems and feedback, physiological genomics, modern drug discovery, and hot research topics. Classroom time includes lectures, discussion, and demonstrations using traditional and alternative teaching methods.

An introduction to all research topics currently being conducted by biomedical sciences graduate faculty.

Individualized instruction in research or core laboratories. Students should master at least one laboratory technique and become familiar with the various activities of the laboratories.

Individualized instruction in two research or core laboratories. For each laboratory, students should master at least one laboratory technique and become familiar with the various activities of the laboratory. Students will spend half of the semester in each laboratory.

Neuroscience I will cover the cell and molecular biology of neurons and synapses, motor systems, somatosensory, vision, audition, chemical senses, tastes and olfaction, glia and neuroimmunology, regulatory, autonomic and neuroendocrine systems.

This course will provide a theoretical framework for understanding the fundamental concepts of mammalian genetics, functional genomics and bioinformatics as well as advanced technical and biological tools used in today’s biomedical research environment. The course will provide lectures on a wide range of classical and modern topics such as classical genetics, linkage analysis, genetic mapping, positional cloning, genomics, and bioinformatics. The focus of the course will be to understand the experimental identification of genes responsible for disease and modern applications of genomics to understanding biological processes as well as their impact on modern medicine.

Covers fundamental aspects of cancer biology with emphasis on the etiology, natural history, epidemiology of cancer, host-tumor relationships, immunobiology and principles of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Advanced study of protein function in cell biology and how this relates to the pathogenesis of disease.

Basic instruction on fundamentals of immunology, microbiology, and virology.

The student works with individual faculty members on a specific investigative research problem. This provides an introduction to analytical techniques and the scientific method in action.

This course offers an introduction to the majority of statistical techniques used to analyze and interpret data in the biomedical-sciences and related fields. Emphasis is on applications of these methods, with the following topics covered: graphical methods, probability, discrete and continuous distributions, inferential statistics (estimation and hypothesis testing) for numeric and categorical data, non-parametric methods, analysis of variance, regression, and correlation.