Pathology Graduate Training Program
Cellular and Molecular Pathology (CMP) -
Course Descriptions

MSCMP 2700

MS Thesis Research - 1 to 14 credits
This is a directed research project that results in a thesis for a master's degree.

MSCMP 2730

Molecular Mechanisms of Tissue Growth and Differentiation
- Spring only - 3 credits
This course covers the anatomy, embryology, histology, function, and growth regulation (growth factors, receptors, and signaling pathways) of various differentiated tissues. Multidisciplinary lectures are given by the members of the various departments including Pathology, Cell Biology and Physiology, Medicine, and Surgery who have ongoing research in these areas. The course is designed to offer detailed information on specific tissues, tissue-tissue interactions, and overlapping cellular and molecular pathways that exist in multiple tissues. Required for all.

MSCMP 2740

Molecular Pathobiology - Spring only - 3 credits
This course is structured to introduce students to the integration between basic and clinical research on the molecular pathogenesis of relevant human diseases. The course will provide students with an overview of the natural history of selected diseases, their diagnosis, and clinical management. This will be followed by an in-depth discussion concerning the pathologic substrate of the disease, with particular attention focused on the molecular mechanisms of disease progression. In addition to current basic science research, students will be exposed to the clinical impact of basic science discoveries upon the development of new therapeutic interventions. Discussions of current research trends and factors that enhance fundability of research projects will ensue. Each disease module will contain lectures from the faculty followed by presentations of current research papers by the students. These research presentations/discussions will be peer reviewed by fellow students and faculty, and form the basis of the final grade. (Note: either this or MSCMP 3710 is required for students entering through the PhD program)

MSCMP 2750

Research Seminar - Spring and Fall - 1 credit
Students present their research (allowed one time) or a recent research article from a broad range of topics selected by the student in consultation with a faculty advisor. The course meets weekly. Emphasis is placed on a careful analysis and critical evaluation of the manuscript as well as the development of teaching and speaking skills needed for scientific presentation. The student is expected to elucidate issues relevant to the topic and to answer questions from other graduate students and faculty. A minimum of 5 semesters is required.

MSCMP 2760

Intro to Tissue Engineering - Spring only - 3 credits
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to tissue engineering. Tissue engineering is defined as the development and manipulation of laboratory-grown molecules, cells, tissues, or organs to replace and/or support the function of injured body parts. Tissue engineering is highly interdisciplinary and therefore crosses numerous engineering and medical specialties. Upon completing this course, the graduate and undergraduate students should:

  • understand the basic principles behind human cell and tissue biology
  • be familiar with the general types of biomaterials used in tissue engineering
  • understand techniques utilized to design, fabricate, and functionally assess tissue engineering systems
  • apply the combined knowledge of tissue organization and tissue engineering strategies to design a unique, reasonable tissue engineering solution.

This five-part course covers cell and tissue biology, biomaterials, drug delivery, engineering methods and design, and clinical implementation.

MSCMP 2770

Biomaterials and Biocompatibility - Spring only - 3 credits
This course serves as an introduction to biomaterials and biocompatibility and assumes some background in organic chemistry and biology. The first half of the course connects biomaterial applications. The second part of the course introduces biocompatibility issues as they follow from protein adsorption, thrombosis, inflammation and infection. Throughout the course, ties are made between the topics of students and clinically relevant material and device performance.

MSCMP 2780

Special Topics - 3 credits
One or more student(s) will focus on a selected topic (usually defined by the students) in cellular and molecular pathology and discuss the primary literature pertaining to the topic. Students will be evaluated on their discussions and presentations, and write a paper under the direction of a faculty advisor.

MSCMP 2790

Directed Study - 1.01 to 14 credits
This course provides the student an opportunity to carry out a specific laboratory project in any area of interest in cellular and molecular pathology.

MSCMP 3700

PhD Dissertation Research - 1 to 14 credits
After advancement to candidacy for the PhD degree, students enroll in this course to pursue original experimental laboratory research, the results of which will provide the substance of their doctoral dissertation. A minimum of 40 credits of this course are required for the PhD degree in the School of Medicine.

MSCMP 3710

Cancer Biology and Therapeutics - Fall only - 3 credits
This presents biochemical and clinical aspects of cancer biology and therapy and is designed for graduate students in basic sciences or medicine. The lectures will cover: Biology of Normal and Neoplastic Cells, Mechanisms of Neoplastic Transformation, Chemical and Environmental Carcinogenesis, Viral Oncogenesis, Breast and Prostate Cancer, Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, Gene Therapy, Tumor Immunology, and Nutrition and Cancer. (Note: either this or MSCMP 2740 is required for students entering through the IBGP program.)

MSCMP 3730

Topics in Experimental Neuropathology - Spring and Fall - 1 credit
This course meets once every other week to critically evaluate the latest scientific literature concerning diseases of the central nervous system. Participants include the faculty, residents, and fellows within the Division of Neuropathology. Emphasis will be placed on methodologies as they are applied to the study of human neurologic diseases, with discussion of the most recent hypotheses concerning cellular and molecular mechanisms that cause human disease. Student participants will present scientific papers and lead the classroom discussion.

MSCMP 3735

Extracellular Matrix in Tissue Biology and Bioengineering - 3 credits
Extracellular matrix (ECM) is an important structural and signaling component of all tissues. It plays a defining role in how differentiated cells and tissues respond to homeostatic signals, tissue regeneration, response to inflammation, and wound healing. Indeed, one can generalize and state that there is no aspect of the biology or function of any given tissue in which ECM does not play an important role.

The objective of the proposed course is to bring to students the knowledge of fundamental aspects of ECM, its importance for tissue function and its potential use in bioengineering applications. The course will start by providing information about structure and gene expression regulation of the main protein and glycosaminoglycan components of ECM. This will be followed by lectures describing the mechanisms by which ECM components interact with their receptors (integrins) and the intracellular signaling cascades and multiple protein allosteric interactions mediating the transmission of the signal from integrins to multiple intracellular targets affecting cell proliferation, function and cell-cell communication. TGF-β is an important regulator of ECM synthesis and a special lecture will be devoted to gene regulation of ECM components and the role of TGF-β.

Subsequent lectures will focus on histologic techniques for visualization of ECM and specific tissue examples in which ECM changes define a particular biological model. ECM is known to be remodeled early in liver regeneration and re-synthesized at the end of the regenerative process. ECM signaling is defining the regulation of liver size and termination of regeneration. This will provide an example to illustrate the multifaceted aspects of ECM and cell interaction in a well-known model of tissue biology.

Specific targeted lectures will also be given on ECM in wound healing, and repair of tissue in central nervous system, bone and cartilage. ECM is important as a potential barrier for cancer invasion. The mechanisms by which cells invade ECM will be examined in the context of cancer and also in the context of organ building and tissue morphogenesis in embryonic development. The cellular approaches utilizing ECM in bioengineering and tissue reconstruction will be also presented. These will include preparation of decellularized organs (a technique currently applied to liver with partial success in cell recolonization); functions of hyaluronic acid in tissue reconstruction and aspects of its signaling; ECM in vascular reconstruction and biology of joints; ECM in muscle biology and reconstruction.

MSCMP 3740

Stem Cells - Fall only - 3 credits
The course will provide a comprehensive overview on this intriguing and highly debated topic. The course will focus on the biology of stem cells and their role in health and disease with emphasis on development, carcinogenesis, and tissue engineering. Lectures on various aspects of stem cells from reknowned experts will cover both embryonic and adult stem cells. Specific lectures will include stem cells in the blood, liver, brain, muscle, kidney, pancreas, prostate, lung, gut, skin, and eye. Students will also be educated on therapeutic cloning as well as bio-ethical issues and existing laws governing stem cell research. Letter grades will be based on midterm and final exams as well as on the attendance in the lectures.

MSCMP 3750

Angiogenesis: Molecular Pathways and Pathophysiological Functions - Spring only - 3 credits
This course will provide extensive basic knowledge of developmental, cellular, and molecular biology aspects of angiogenesis and the most recent advancements in its clinical applications. Topics include: 1) angiogenesis in physiological and pathological processes; 2) molecular and cellular regulation of angiogenesis; 3) current advances in angiogenic therapies. Recent outstanding research publications are also discussed.

MSCMP 3760

Regenerative Medicine Research Seminar Spring and Fall - 1 credit
The seminar in regenerative medicine provides exposure to cutting-edge research in the broad fields of regenerative medicine, tissue engineering, and synthetic biology. The course blends lectures by experienced faculty, work-in-progress talks by graduate students, and professional development seminars (e.g., alternative careers in science, grant writing, and scientific communication). Lectures are held approximately twice per month, and student engagement is strongly encouraged. Grades are based on attendance and participation.

MSCMP 3770

Cell Therapy - Summer only - 3 credits
This course is meant to be unlike any other in the graduate curricula, showcasing cell therapy from theory to practice, from the bench to the bedside. For each area of cell transplantation the lectures will be given by faculty who have implemented cell transplantation techniques and moved them into clinical therapy.Most of the lectures in the course and all clinical application lectures will be given by those who actually do the patient transplants. Immunology and pharmacology will be addressed as it directly relates to cellular therapy. Gene therapy and stem cell biology will not be addressed individually, but will be raised in the context of specific applications. Course meetings will consist of approximately two lectures per discussion section. The first lecture will present the basic research leading intoa particular area of cell therapy such as animal models used for preclinical studies, and the second will focus on the clinical application of that particular cell therapy for specific diseases. The grade for the course results from attendance at lectures and the submission of a paper in an area relevant to Cell Transplantation / Cell Therapy. At the conclusion of this course students should: be able to critically read and review the literature in the field of cellular therapy; know the mechanisms of rejection of cellular transplants from both allotypic and xenotypic sources and be familiar with strategies to avoid transplant rejection; be familiar with the application of cellular therapy techniques to a variety of disease states; have a perspective and be conversant on relevant ethical issues associated with the field of cellular therapy.

MSCMP 3780

Systems Approach to Inflammation Fall only - 2 credits
This course is focused on particular topics of great biologic complexity in critical illness, where modeling has the potential to translate in improved patient care. Lectures are provided by basic (biological and mathematical sciences) and clinical faculty, in conjunction with members of industry and speakers from outside institutions. This information will be communicated within the framework of defined themes that describe the complexity of inflammation in acute and chronic illnesses. Grading is based on participation in discussions and on a semester-long, interdisciplinary group project. Each group includes students with a predominantly biology background alongwith students who are more facile with mathematics and/or simulation. This project therefore requires the students to work with others from outside of their main discipline, to learn about and from interdisciplinary exchange, and gain practical experience in team-based modeling of biological processes.

MSCMP 3790

Basics of Personalized Medicine - Fall only - 3 credits
Rapid and ongoing discoveries in basic biomedical research are leading to a world where there is a demand for personalized medicine. Nevertheless, on a practical level, it is complicated to translate the findings from the basic scientific arena into clinical practice. This course will show students how findings from basic research can be translated into clinically relevant tests for the diagnosis and treatment of patients. The course will provide an overview of the past, present, and future of basic biomedical research as it relates to this subject.

Teaching By Graduate Students

Teaching is seen as an important part of the graduate training program. it provides experience in classroom instruction as well as an opportunity to obtain a broader perspective of pathology. Pathology Research Seminar is designed to give you a teaching-like opportunity; however, teaching is not a required component of the CMP Graduate Program. therefore, students must take the initiative to obtain other teaching experiences. Certain faculty members allow graduate students to give lectures in their graduate courses. Additionally, the IBGP offers teaching opportunities through group sessions and private tutoring for the Foundations Course. Students wishing to obtain this teaching experience should contact the Program Director.