With the entire human genome sequenced, it has become easier than it was decades ago to identify the genes that are causally linked to particular diseases. Unfortunately, identification of the gene responsible for a disease does not lead necessarily to a cure. To develop a therapy or cure, we need to understand where and when the particular gene is expressed, and more importantly, how the gene functions in normal as well as in affected cells. 

The goal of the molecular basis of disease area of research emphasis is to train students to understand the molecular mechanisms by which disease genes function, regardless of the type of disease. Our experimental approaches are mechanistic, employing a variety of techniques that include basic molecular, biochemical, and cell biological techniques, in addition to state of the art live imaging, proteomics, and structural analyses. Our experimental systems also vary in basis from cell cultures to yeasts, mice and human specimens.


Jeffrey Parvin, MD, PhD, Faculty Liaison

Program Curriculum

In addition to the core curriculum, students must take one of the following courses in order to receive the transcript designation of molecular basis of disease:

  • BIOPHRM 7823 (2 credits): Control of Cell Growth and Proliferation
  • BIOPHRM 7828 (2 credits): Signaling Pathways and Human Diseases
  • BIOPHRM 7831 (2 credits): Eukaryotic Genome: Structure and Expression
  • BIOPHRM 7807 (3 credits): Gene Expression: Post-Transcriptional Control
  • BIOPHRM 6850 (1 credits): Research in Progress Seminars