Overview

Not only does every human disease and condition have a hereditary component, but genetic studies also encompass all aspects of molecular genetics of development, differentiation, aging, evolution and death. Thus, an understanding of genetics is an important foundation for many disciplines within the biological sciences. 

The role of genetics in normal and disease processes is a focus in numerous laboratories of faculty members. For students to receive a transcript designation of genetics, she/he will use advanced methods to study basic mechanisms of inherited or acquired traits, among them cancer, heart disease, diabetes, neuropathies, developmental disorders or infectious diseases. 

Potential advisers use model systems from bacteria to homo sapiens to investigate causes, molecular mechanisms, diagnosis or treatment of diseases or conditions: from autism to zebrafish development, from autoimmunity to splicing mechanisms, from age-associated CNS changes to genetic contributions to human variation, from mechanisms involved in acute leukemia to X-linked developmental disorders, from molecular genetics of addiction to genetics of DNA repair, from predisposition to common cancers to cancer prevention research, from evolutionary history of organisms to mechanisms of VDJ joining.

There are more than 40 faculty members with a genetic theme to research in their laboratories, with ultimate goals related to understanding human disease states. Potential advisers are in several departments, as well as centers, with access to shared resources that facilitate students’ introduction to state-of-the-art methods for massive parallel analyses of gene and protein expression.

Contact: Amanda Toland, PhD and Vincenzo Coppola, MD
Faculty Liaisons

Program Curriculum

Required Courses

In addition to the core curriculum, for a student to receive the transcript designation of genetics, she/he must complete a total of nine credit hours including the required course:

  • MOLGEN 5733 Advanced Human Genetics (2 credits) The principles of human genetics, mapping of disease genes, defects causing human disease, the cloning of disease genes, exon and genome sequencing for disease gene identification, complex traits, gene therapies, transgenes, and specific pathological disorders, development of treatments for genetic disorders.

Elective Courses

In addition to the above, a student should, with permission of her/his dissertation adviser, take at least seven credit hours from the following elective courses:

  • MICRBIO 8050 The RNA World (2 credits) Evolution, structure and function of RNA with topics including RNA catalysis, RNA editing and modification, ribosomes, ribozymes, tRNA, telomerase, tmRNA, and alternative translation strategies. Prereq: Grad standing, or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for 850. Offered in the fall.
  • CBG 8270 Biochemical Mechanisms of Cancer: Touches on some genetics but also other mechanisms associated with cancer development. This course is offered every other spring (in even years).
  • PHR 8194 Interpretation of Genomic Data Studies (Group studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences) Group studies topics in various fields of Pharmacy. Prereq: Permission of instructor.  This course is offered every spring. 
  • PATHOL 6670 Medical Cytogenetics (3 credits) Overview of cytogenetics in medical diagnosis and evaluation, including laboratory techniques, nomenclature, structural and numerical chromosome abnormalities; prenatal, constitutional, molecular, and cancer cytogenetics. Recommended coursework in genetics and molecular cell biology.
  • MOLGEN 5623 Genetics and Genomics (2 credits) A survey and discussion of genomic studies applied to fungal, animal, or plants systems.
  • MOLGEN 5645 Quantitative, population and evolutionary genetics (2 credits) The genetics of populations, including quantitative, population, and evolutionary genetics
  • MOLGEN 5300 Cancer Genetics (2 credits) Students will learn about the genetic evolution of human cancer. Specifically, the hallmarks of cellular transformation and tumor progression will be discussed. Students will be introduced to modern approaches aimed at targeting genetic aberrations in cancer cells. Includes hands-on training in the use of online databases of cancer genetics.
  • CBG5700 Introduction to Personalized Therapeutics and Pharmaocogenomics Exploration of the trend to therapy tailored to the individual patient rather than "one drug fits all;" inter-individual differences in drug responses, with emphasis on genetic and genomic factors; ethical, regulatory and economic issues that impact drug therapies. Cross-listed in BioPhrm and Phr.
  • MOLGEN 5701 DNA Transactions and Gene Regulation (3 credits) Understanding mechanisms of DNA replication, DNA repair and recombination, transcription, translation, regulation of gene expression, and the experimental approaches to these topics. Prereq: 4500, 4606, Biochem 4511, or equiv., and Sr standing; or Grad standing; or permission of instructor. Not open to students with credit for Biochem 5701. Cross-listed in Biochem.
  • PUBHBIO 5280 Introduction to Genomic Data (2 credits) Introduction to Genomic Data Analysis Provides an in-depth analysis of a specific question to which genomic methods are applied. Intersperses experimental methods and statistical analysis of biological data. Some experience with programming is recommended. 

Other genetics courses that requires permission of program or course instructor

Genetic Counseling program

  • INTMED 7020  Foundations in Genetics I (3 credits) Covers etiology, natural history, and treatment of genetic disorders needed for the practice of genetic counseling and working with a healthcare team. One hour a week of this course will include a practice based or case-based learning approach which will be in alignment with the content delivered in alignment with the content delivered in IntMed 7000. Offered every fall
  • INTMED 7030 Foundations in Genetics II (3 credits) Continuation of Fdn Gen 1. It will cover etiology, natural history, and treatment of genetic disorders needed for the practice of genetic counseling and working with a healthcare team. One hour a week of this course will include a practice based or case-based learning approach which will be in alignment with the content delivered in alignment with the content delivered in IntMed 7010. Prereq: 7020. Offered every spring
  • INTMED 8050 Current Technologies (2 credits) Through clinical cases and reports, we will investigate the techniques used to identify alterations in the genome and the bioinformatics resources used to interpret them. Students will develop knowledge and skills to explain technical aspects of diagnostic and screening methods; discuss sensitivity, specificity, and implications of genetic test results; and interpret clinical significance of test results depending on situational variables. Offered every fall.

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