First Year Semester I:
Core Courses (Select 3)
Physiology – GEMS 500 (3 credits)
This course covers basic systems physiology at the graduate level. It is designed for students enrolled in a graduate program offered through the College of Medicine or Pharmacy or in the Departments of Bioengineering, Biological Sciences or Physical Therapy. Students will learn fundamental concepts related to the normal function of cells, tissues, organs and organ systems of the human body through conference-type lectures. The major areas of systems physiology covered include neurophysiology, skeletal and smooth muscle physiology, cardiovascular physiology, respiratory physiology, renal physiology, gastrointestinal physiology, and endocrine physiology. In addition, the last part of the course applies the basic physiological concepts to normal situations in which homeostasis has been altered, such as exercise or pregnancy.
The course provides the foundation for more advanced graduate level physiology courses, such as Translational and Applied Physiology PHYB 552.
Biochemistry – GEMS 501 (3 credits)
This course is taken by all basic science graduate students in the College of Medicine as well as students from other colleges, most prominently Bioengineering and Pharmacognosy. The course presents selected topics in depth, appropriate to a 500-level course. Whereas there is a heavy emphasis on metabolic pathways in traditional introductory Biochemistry courses, most of this has been removed in this course. The emphasis is on fundamental properties of bio-macromolecules in an aqueous environment, the thermodynamics underlying basic biochemical processes and the properties of enzymes, including the kinetics of operation, and regulation, illustrated with important examples.
The course consists of 37 hours of lecture, with 5 hours of student conferences to discuss material that has been covered, and its application. These conferences will be evenly spaced and will give instructors a better opportunity to actively engage students. There are three exams.
With enrollment of 45-50 students from the GEMS program and 20-25 additional students from other colleges, non-degree students and students from outside UIC will be given low preference if total enrollment would otherwise exceed 70 students.
Molecular Biology – GEMS 502 (3 credits)
This is a core Molecular Biology course covering basic principles of gene expression, genome replication and molecular interactions important to biological processes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The goals of this course are to ensure that graduate students have a broad base of knowledge in the molecular biology of prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Students will learn the basic molecular principles of gene expression, genome replication, recombination and repair, RNA processing, translation and modification. Students will learn examples of important molecular interactions central to biological regulation. Students will gain an understanding of the principles, terminology and techniques of molecular biology important for most aspects of biomedical research. They will acquire fundamental skills that are necessary for reading current literature, critical analysis and for use in their own research.
Cell Biology – GEMS 503 (3 credits)
This is an advanced course that will provide students with a solid background in fundamental aspects of cell biology and will expose them to recent advances in general cell biology. The course is divided into several topic areas including membrane structure, membrane transport of small molecules, electrical properties of membranes, intracellular compartments, protein trafficking, extracellular matrix, cell adhesion, cytoskeleton, cell communication, the cell cycle, and programmed cell death. Using the basic knowledge of cell biology obtained during lectures, students will be expected to critically read and discuss related primary scientific literature.
Research Methods I and II – GEMS 504 and GEMS 505 (1-3 credits)
This “Introduction to Research Methods” course is organized into seven modules. It is
designed to provide the maximum flexibility for students to select those topics that best fit their
background, interest, and thesis research. The modules are given in two semesters, GEMS 504 three
modules in Fall 2016 and GEMS 505 four modules in Spring 2017. The modules are given in a
concurrent or overlapping schedule in order to accommodate multiple modules in each semester. Each
module consists of 12-15 lectures and is assigned one credit hour. The first year GEMS graduate
students usually take three modules during their first year to fulfill the requirement of three credit hours.
The remaining modules will become electives in their graduate program. We recommend students to
take as many modules in the “Research Methods” course as possible to broaden their knowledge in
different aspects of life sciences research.
Research Methods I -GEMS 504 (Fall):
Students will choose 1 module in the first semester from those listed below.
- Module I – Spectroscopic and Structural Biology Methods
Coordinator: Dr. Bernie Santarsiero (email@example.com)
The application of spectroscopic methods in elucidating the structure, function, and dynamics of biomolecules will be discussed. The basic theory and application of on X-ray absorption, UV-Visible, infrared and Raman, fluorescence, phosphorescence spectroscopy circular dichroism, light scattering, isothermal titration calorimetry, X-ray, neutron, and electron diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance will be discussed. Theoretical and mathematical treatments will be kept to a minimum. The lectures stress concepts, practical application, and interpretation of experimental data. Methodology in elucidating macromolecular structure including X-ray crystallography, multi-dimensional NMR and electron microscopy imaging will be discussed.
- Module II – Welcome to Omics
Coordinators: Dr. Stefan Green (firstname.lastname@example.org)
This module will provide students with an overview of modern techniques of molecular biology for genetic and expression analyses. Lectures will emphasize the principles and practical application of specific techniques and interpretation of data related to studies focused on gene structure and function, analysis of DNA sequences, comparative gene expression, genotyping, and microbiome. A central theme of this course will be the use of next-generation sequencers for genotyping, expression analysis and discovery.
- Module III – Biostatistics
Coordinators: Dr. Karl Volz (email@example.com)
Biostatistics will be basic training in statistical analysis/presentation of biomedical research
data. Classes will typically be half theory (topic of the day), and half practice (problem solving).
The students will work on assigned problems, and are welcome to bring their own
research data to class for group discussion and solution. Grades will be based on semiweekly
homework (70%) and six quizzes (30%).
GEMS Research Rotation – GEMS 506 (1-5 credits)
This course is designed for graduate students in the first year of the GEMS interdepartmental graduate program. Students will participate in research rotations in laboratories that are affiliated with the GEMS program. Students are expected to participate directly in laboratory research, and in so doing, gain an appreciation of how to approach a scientific problem and how to perform the various experimental techniques to investigate that problem. In second half of the first semester, students will do one rotation for a total of 2 credits.
First Year Semester II:
Core Courses (2 required)
Integrative Biology – Development, Cancer, Immunology – GEMS 510 (3 credits)
This advanced level course will explore issues of development, immunity, and cancer, especially from a molecular and cellular perspective. The course will provide students with rigorous fundamentals as well as in-depth explorations of critical topics and recent advances within each of these areas. A unique aspect of this course will be the focus on common thematic issues, including regulated gene expression, the control of genome stability, specificity and discrimination in cellular interactions, and selective cell death, that integrate these subjects. This approach is designed to foster critical and integrative thinking skills.
Although touching on topics of immunology, cell biology, and developmental biology that are raised in other courses (for example, GCLS 503, MIM 551, and BioS/Gene 526), there is no fundamental overlap and the material here is presented in a different context. Satisfactory completion of GCLS 501, GCLS 502, and GCLS 503, or demonstrated proficiency in the material covered in those courses, is a prerequisite for this course.
Molecular Genetics – GEMS 511 (3 credits)
Core molecular genetics course covering classical and molecular principles of microbial and Mendelian genetics. Systems covered include bacteria, bacteriophage, animal viruses, yeast, Drosophila, mouse, and human.
The goals of this course are to ensure that graduate students have a broad base of knowledge in the molecular genetics of prokaryotic, eukaryotic, and viral genetic systems. Students will gain an understanding of the principles, terminology and techniques of molecular genetics important for most aspects of biomedical research. Students will acquire fundamental skills that are necessary for reading current literature, critical analysis and for use in their own research.
Pathobiology of Cancer– GEMS 512 (Same as PATH 511) (3 credits)
This course provides and introduction to principles of carcinogenesis, tumor biology and oncology, including cancer epidemiology, molecular-cellular basis of cancer, tumor progression, invasion and metastasis, and prevention, detection, diagnosis, and therapy of cancer. This course is intended for students who want to pursue a career in research.
Structure of Biopolymers – BCHE 513 (3 credits)
This course provides an overview of structural and bioinformatic approaches used to characterize proteins and nucleic acids. Lectures emphasize X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy and their application to the study of protein structure/function relationships, drug design, and structural genomics.
Prerequisites: GCLS 501 or equivalent.
Translational and Applied Physiology – PHYB 552 (3 credits)
Continuation of GCLS 500 Physiology. Advanced physiological concepts emphasizing interactions of different organs and systems under normal and abnormal conditions. Review of compensatory mechanisms and clinical applications of physiology.
Receptor Pharmacology and Cell Signaling-GEMS 515 (3 credits)
This is an advanced course on the molecular pharmacology of signal transduction mechanisms in cells. The course includes an overview of receptor theory, hands-on data analysis, lectures on various receptor-mediated signaling mechanisms, student presentations and discussions of selected papers. The emphasis is to provide fundamental knowledge of molecular mechanisms of cell signaling, as well as to expose students to the most updated progress in the field. Major topics covered include (1) Receptor Theory, (2) Signaling through G-protein coupled receptors; Heterotrimeric G proteins, Low molecular weight G proteins; Effectors and regulators of G-protein signaling pathways, (3) Signaling through enzyme-linked receptors; Receptors with tyrosine kinase activity; Cytokine receptor signaling, (4) Signaling through ion channels, and (5) Signaling through nuclear receptors. Crosslisted as NEUS 515.
Research Methods II- GEMS 505 (Spring semester)
Please see the general description of GCLS 504 and 505, Research Methods I and II under First semester courses (above). In the second semester, students will choose 2 modules from those listed below to complete their 4 module requirement for the first year.
- Module IV – Bio-Imaging Techniques
Coordinator: Dr. Richard Minshall (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Module V – Separation Techniques
Coordinator: Dr. Yee-Kin Ho (email@example.com)
- Module VI – Immunological Methods
Coordinator: Dr. David Ucker (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Module VII – Translational Research
Coordinator: Dr. Larry Tobacman (email@example.com)
GEMS Research Rotation – GEMS 506 (4 – 5 credits)
This course is designed for graduate students in the first year of the GEMS interdepartmental graduate program. Students will participate in research rotations in laboratories that are affiliated with the GEMS program. Students are expected to participate directly in laboratory research, and in so doing, gain an appreciation of how to approach a scientific problem and how to perform the various experimental techniques to investigate that problem. In the second semester, students will do two rotations for a total of 4 – 5 credits.
Second Year and beyond:
Anatomy and Cell Biology
Please review the Graduate College Course Description to select 6 credits in 500 level electives.
Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
Topics in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics – BCMG 575 (3 credits)
This is an advanced course in which students will be exposed to, present and discuss recent scientific papers in biochemistry and molecular genetics. Students will learn about recent advances in these broad fields and learn how to critically evaluate and discuss scientific literature related to these areas.
Microbiology and Immunology
Molecular Biology of Cells and Viruses – MIM 553 (2 credits)
Animal viruses including basic structure and viral nucleic acids; emphasizes molecular organization of viral genomes; cellular and molecular events during virus replication and viral transformation. Prerequisites: first year GEMS curriculum or consent of instructor.
Immunology – MIM 551 (2 credits)
Concepts in immunochemistry, immunogenetics, molecular immunology, cellular immunology and immunopathology at the intermediate level. Prerequisites: first year GEMS curriculum or consent of instructor.
Molecular Microbiology – MIM 552 (2 credits)
Advanced microbial genetics and molecular biology. Topics include microbial pathogenesis, microbial cell biology, diversity of microorganisms, gene regulation, genetic structure, and genomics. Prerequisites: first year GEMS curriculum or consent of instructor.
Special Topics – MIM 594 (1 credit)
The department currently uses this course to develop presentation and grant-writing skills. Students develop research grants and present them to a “study section” of departmental faculty.
Medical Pharmacology – PCOL 501 and 502 (6 total credits)
A comprehensive course on human pharmacology. Drug mechanisms, toxicities and kinetics are presented as a foundation to therapeutic application. This is a College of Medicine course and as such does not follow the Graduate College academic calendar.
Molecular Pharmacology of the Cardiovascular System and Platelets – PCOL 510 (2 credits)
Novel therapeutic approaches to: failing or dysrhythmic heart, prevention/dissolution of thrombi, vascular tone regulation, platelet dysfunction and platelets as model cells for excitation mechanisms.
Pharmacology and Biology of the Vessel Wall – PCOL 530 (2 Credits)
Regulation of physiological and pathological processes in the cardiovascular system; e.g. endothelial barrier, cell adhesion, smooth muscle proliferation, angiogenesis, endothelial gene expression. Pharmacological treatment of cardiovascular diseases.
Ion Channels: Structure, Function, Pharmacology, and Pathology – PCOL 540 (2 credits) The concept of ion channels is treated from the perspectives of their molecular structures and functions. Modulation, pathological conditions (channelopathies), and pharmacological intervention will also be treated.
Physiology and Biophysics
Cell Physiology – PHYB 586 (3 credits)
Advanced functional and structural organization of the cell with emphasis on the cellular basis of physiological activity.
Two or more additional UIC 400 – or 500 – level courses, totaling 5 or more semester hours, are also required. These courses are to be chosen in consultation with the thesis advisor.
The following is a list of 500 level PHYB courses.
PHYB501 – Endocrinology
PHYB502 – Physiology of Reproduction
PHYB512 – Gastrointestinal Physiology
PHYB516 – Biochemistry and Physiology of Muscle Contraction
PHYB518 – Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Cardiovascular Physiology
PHYB540 – Ion Channels: Structure, Function, Pharmacology and Pathology
GCLS515 – Receptors & Cell Signaling