Cancer, Developmental and Regenerative Biology — M.S., Ph.D.

Co-program directors
Mary Kearns-Jonker
Julia Unternaehrer-Hamm

The basic sciences of the School of Medicine offers curricula leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees. The core curriculum provides a broad background in molecular biology, cell biology, and biochemistry.  Advanced courses allow each student to fully develop an area of interest.  Research strengths of the program include: cancer biology (prostate, breast, thyroid, ovarian, cervical, pancreatic, leukemia), molecular mechanisms controlling normal development and regeneration, stem cell-based cardiovascular repair, oxidative stress in mechanism of anticancer agents, stem cell delivery of gene therapy for regenerative medicine, neuronal injury and axonal regeneration, transcriptional regulation, normal and malignant immune cell development and function, nanoparticles for therapeutic applications, cellular and molecular mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases and aging, plasticity and interconnection between normal and cancer stem cells, miRNA regulation in ovarian cancer and early development, epigenomic/transcriptomic reprogramming and longevity, calcium signaling during lung development, developmental programming of health and disease, stem cell reprogramming, and genome editing.

The thesis or research Master of Science degree provides training for individuals who will become technicians involved in biomedical research in universities or in the biotechnology industry. The nonthesis Master of Science degree provides content appropriate for secondary teachers seeking advanced training in areas such as molecular biology, cancer biology, developmental biology, and regenerative medicine; and for students seeking admission to a professional school, such as medicine or dentistry.

The Doctor of Philosophy degree is designed to prepare students for a career in independent research and teaching in a university, clinical, or biotechnology environment. Doctoral degree students are expected to develop creativity and independence in addition to technical skills.

Program student learning outcomes

Students will demonstrate a broad knowledge of the biomedical sciences.

  • Students will demonstrate subject mastery in cancer, developmental or regenerative biology.
  • Students will interpret the current literature in the field.
  • Students will demonstrate ability to design hypothesis-driven studies to address key questions in the field.
  • Students will make original contributions to the body of biomedical knowledge.
  • Students will demonstrate an understanding of the principles of scientific and professional ethics.
  •  Students will write effective scientific publications and grant proposals.*

*This objective is not applicable to M.S. degree students.

A minimum of 45 units is required for the M.S. degree, as detailed in the table below. Two options, a research track and a course work track, are available. Students must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0. Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Seminars (all requried)
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
Religion
REL_ ____Graduate-level religion course (RELE, RELR, or RELT)3
Program specific courses12
Choose from the following:
Stem Cell Biology and Medicine
Human Embryology Lecture
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry
Seminar in Stem Cells and Cancer
Cancer Journal Club
Biology of Cancer
Degree completion options8
Coursework track:
Electives (8 units)
Research track:
Research
Thesis (1-3 units)
Elective (0-2 units)
Total Units45
Available Electives
ANAT 548Introductory Flow Cytometry1
BCHM 530Biochemical Basis of Human Disease SM2
IBGS 525Translational Research Training2
MDCJ 520Basis of Medical Genetics2
MDCJ 560Basis of Medical Genetics2
MICR 515Introduction to Bioinformatics and Genomics2
MICR 530Immunology4
MICR 537Selected Topics in Molecular Biology1-3
PHSL 541Cell and Molecular Biology4
PHSL 587Physiology of Reproduction2
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

May substitute with another religion course at the 500-level or greater.

Noncourse requirements

Course work track:  a comprehensive written examination over the graduate course work in lieu of preparing a thesis.

Research track:   pass an oral examination given by his/her graduate guidance committee after the thesis has been completed.

Normal time to complete the program

2 years— based on full-time enrollment; part time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.

For the Ph.D. degree, students must complete a minimum of 61 units—as detailed in the table below—and must maintain a G.P.A. of at least 3.0.  Students must adhere to all University and program policies as published in the Student Handbook, University CATALOG, or "Student Guide." Policies and requirements are subject to change.

Basic science core
IBGS 501Biomedical Communication and Integrity2
IBGS 502Biomedical Information and Statistics2
IBGS 503Biomedical Grant Writing2
IBGS 511Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems I6
IBGS 512Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II6
IBGS 522Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems II Journal Club2
IBGS 523Cellular Mechanisms and Integrated Systems III Journal Club2
Seminars (all required)
IBGS 604Introduction to Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar1
IBGS 605Integrative Biology Presentation Seminar 22
IBGS 607Integrated Biomedical Graduate Studies Seminar 10
Religion
RELE 525Ethics for Scientists 33
RELR 588Personal and Family Wholeness 33
RELT 617Seminar in Religion and the Sciences 33
Program specific courses6
Emphasis: Developmental/regenerative biology
Stem Cell Biology and Medicine
Human Embryology Lecture
Emphasis: Cancer biology
Advanced Topics in Biochemistry
Seminar in Stem Cells and Cancer
Cancer Journal Club
Biology of Cancer
Electives: 6-12
Choose from the following and other courses as approved by advisor:
Clinical Exposure in Oncology
Biochemical Basis of Human Disease SM
Translational Research Training
Special Topics in Biomedical Sciences
Basis of Medical Genetics
Introduction to Bioinformatics and Genomics
Immunology
Fundamentals of Electrophysiology
Cell and Molecular Biology
Physiology of Reproduction
Research and dissertation
BCHM 697Research 212
IBGS 696Research Rotations 22
IBGS 699Dissertation1-5
Total Units61
1

Registration and attendance required every quarter in residence, but units do not count toward total required for graduation.

2

Multiple registrations required to fulfill total units required.

3

May substitute with another graduate religion course with the same prefix and numbered 500 or above.

Noncourse requirements

  • pass both written and oral comprehensive examinations in order to advance to candidacy.
  • successfully defend the dissertation before their guidance committee prior to being awarded the Ph.D. degree.

Normal time to complete the program

4 years — full-time enrollment, part-time permitted

Comparison

See the comparison of the M.S. Course work, M.S. Research and Ph.D. tracks of this program.