Courses

COURSES

Sample five-year training plan with partial list
of available health-related graduate courses

Year 1, Fall Semester   Year 1, Spring Semester
  Courses     Courses
BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club   BIOC 992k Reserach Seminar/Journal Club
BIOC 998 Tour of Industry & Medicine   BIOC 998 Tour of Industry & Medicine
BIOC 898 Research Credit (two rotations)   BIOC 898 Research Credit (two rotations)
  Macromolecules core course(s)*   GRDC 901 Professional Ethics
  Quantitative biology core course(s)**     Speciality Course***
      Select research mentor
         
Year 2, Fall Semester   Year 2, Spring Semester
BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club   BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club
BIOC 998 Tour of Industry & Medicine   BIOC 998 Tour of Industry & Medicine
BIOC 999 Dissertation Research   BIOC 999 Dissertation Research
BIOC 935 Metabolic Function and Dysfunction     Speciality Course***
  Speciality Course***   Written and oral comprehensives in summer
       
Year 3, Fall Semester   Year 3, Spring Semester
BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club   BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club
BIOC 998 Tour of Industry & Medicine   BIOC 998 Tour of Industry & Medicine
BIOC 999 Dissertation Research   BIOC 999 Dissertation Research
Revise and submit external fellowship   Revise and resubmit external fellowship if necessary
         
Year 4, Fall Semester   Year 4, Spring Semester
BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club   BIOC 992k Research Seminar/Journal Club
BIOC 999 Dissertation Research   BIOC 999 Dissertation Research
TA Experience (waived if on research fellowship)   TA Experience (waived if on research fellowship)
     
Year 5, Fall Semester   Year 5, Spring Semester
BIOC 999 Dissertation Research   BIOC 999 Dissertation Research
    Final thesis defense
         
* Macromolecules core courses: choose two or more   *** Additional options for specialty courses
BIOC 932 Proteins   ASCI 842 Endocrinology
BIOC 933 Enzymes   ASCI 949 Biochemistry of Nutrition
BIOC 934 Genome dynamics and gene expression   BIOS 802 Cancer Biology
BIOC 848 Redox Biochemistry   BIOS 812 Human Genetics
BIOC 836 Physical Basis of Macromolecular Function   BIOS 897 Physical Bology of the Cell
    BIOS 964 Signal Transduction
** Quantitative biology core courses: choose one or more   BIOS 840 Pathogenic Microbiology
BIOC 836 Physical Basis of Macromolecular Function   BIOS 841 Microbial Physiology
STAT 801 Statistical Methods in Research   BIOS 843 Immunology
STAT 842 Computational Biology   CHEM 835 Chemical Biology
STAT 843 Next-generation sequencing & systms biology   CHEM 964 Bioorganic Chemistry
      CHME 873 Biochemical Engineering
      CHME 882 Polymers
    Other courses approved by supervisory committee

 

I. MMoD Core

BIOC 992k: Graduate Seminar

Seminar students present one journal club topic per year (years 1-3 of the program) in an area of broad interest to an interdisciplinary audience. Peer review committees, each consisting of students at different levels in their programs, evaluate the presentation in a short discussion with the presenter and the course director. Each student (years 2-4 of their program) is also required to present once per year on their individual research project.

BIOC 998: Tour of Industry and Medicine

This course is designed to provide early and ongoing opportunities for all MMoD students to be exposed to health and disease related topics in the clinic and in an industry setting. To address the industry component, we have developed an agreement with regional biomedical industries to host a full-day tour and workshop on-site for first-year MMoD students. The objective is to expose students to the private sector concerns of product development, industry preparedness, entrepreneurship and innovation, and offer them expert training in building their curriculum vitae to be competitive for private sector employment at the PhD level. For the clinical topics component of this course, the MMoD sponsors one externally invited clinical research speaker per semester in the CBC weekly seminar series (Tuesdays). MMoD students will participate in a two-hour journal club workshop led either by the faculty host or by a senior graduate student in the host lab, in which teams of junior and senior trainees select key journal articles for the discussion that are centered on the speaker's research theme. All MMoD students will receive ongoing instruction in clinical health and disease research areas by participating in these workshops throughout their program.

BIOC 935: Metabolic Function and Dysfunction

The course is exclusively based in the primary literature on metabolism, featuring the current year's research to examine overall pathways and principles of intermediary metabolism and how they are altered or uniquely adapted in pathological conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cancer. Discussion and critical interpretation are solidified, and hypothesis construction and experimental testing are developed. The course assessment is focused on proposal writing and peer critique. Students meet four proposal deadlines: the first is a two-page specific aims outline, which is revised and integrated into a three- to four- investigator program project for the second proposal; the third is an individual proposal, which is revised for the final deadline to be in the style of an NIH predoctoral F31 proposal. Following each submission, students are assigned two proposals and use the NIH critique template to provide a written critique, which is then discussed in a mock review panel format. Revisions are discussed in the following class period in small groups guided by the instructor, with the proposal author and reviewers working together to strengthen each other's proposals. Students develop critical skills in team science approaches, grantsmanship, giving and receiving constructive professional criticism, and the presentation and defense of a hypothesis.

II. Macromolecules Core (students choose two or more)

BIOC/CHEM/BIOS 932 Proteins (Fall, first 8 weeks of the semester)
BIOC/ CHEM/BIOS 933: Enzymes (Fall, second 8 weeks of the semester)

BIOC/CHEM/BIOS 932 ProteinsProteins is a practical examination of principles and methods of analysis for protein structure and function in vitro and in a cellular context. Review articles and primary literature provide the information content, which is reinforced on a practical level by in-class discussion and examination of a variety of protein structures using the programs COOT and Chimera, as well as problem sets requiring data analysis and interpretation. The course also introduces new students to critical primary literature evaluation as their first line of continuing education in a professional scientific career.

BIOC/ CHEM/BIOS 933: Enzymes: Enzymes presents fundamental principles in enzyme mechanism, steady-state and pre-steady-state kinetics, and combines textbook instruction with hands-on use of the shared core stopped flow instrument to collect and interpret raw data.

BIOC 934: Genome Dynamics and Gene Expression

This course is based in primary literature supplemented by review articles to examine central dogma, replication, gene expression, epigenetics, and molecular genetics. Assessment emphasizes verbal discussion and debate, and a final position paper on a pertinent topic of choice, as well as a traditional examination. Students also cultivate skills in literature evaluation and written and oral persuasion.

BIOC 836: Physical Basis of Macromolecular Function.

This course introduces the theory and practice of biophysical characterization of macromolecules. It is based on primary research literature and covers the thermodynamics of protein folding and ligand binding, macromolecular energetics, absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, and macromolecular hydrodynamics. Students learn how to apply quantitative approaches to their study of systems in vitro and in a cellular context, and how to analyze and interpret data using these specialized methodologies.

BIOC/CHEM 848: Redox Biochemistry

This course examines redox (oxidation and reduction)-based biochemical processes (energy generation, oxygen transfer, enzyme catalysis, signaling, gene regulation, and diseases), focusing on recent progress in these areas. The role of metals in biochemical reactions, metal homeostasis, and biosynthesis of metal cofactors and metal sites are specific topics of interest. The biochemistry and pathophysiology of redoxactive species and radicals in medicine and disease are explored. Antioxidant molecules and enzymes that detoxify reactive oxygen species are also studied in detail.

 

 

III. Quantitative Biology Core (students choose one or more)

STAT/BIOS 801: Statistical Methods in Research

This course presents statistical concepts and statistical methodology useful in descriptive, experimental, and analytical study of biological and other natural phenomena. Most graduate students in the life sciences are interested in this course as a springboard to understanding how to analyze data collected by a wide variety of experimental approaches. The course focuses on practical application of statistics rather than on statistical theory.

STAT/BIOC 842: Computational Biology

Databases, high-throughput biology, literature mining, gene expression, next-generation sequencing, proteomics, metabolomics, systems biology, and biological networks. This course is designed first of all for biology, agronomy and statistics students. However, computer science, mathematics, physics and chemistry majors also may find it beneficial. This course is designed to benefit computational and experimental biologists as well as biostatisticians to understand the principles of analyzing biological data, building models and testing hypotheses using computer science paradigms. This Course does not depend on any graduate course.

STAT/BIOC 843: Next generation sequencing and systems biology

Next-generation RNA and genome sequencing, systems biology. Regulatory networks of transcription, protein-protein interaction networks, theory and practice. Databases, data integration and visualization. Students present computational biology publications and projects.

BIOC 836: Physical Basis of Macromolecular Function.

This course introduces the theory and practice of biophysical characterization of macromolecules. It is based on primary research literature and covers the thermodynamics of protein folding and ligand binding, macromolecular energetics, absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, nuclear magnetic resonance, and macromolecular hydrodynamics. Students learn how to apply quantitative approaches to their study of systems in vitro and in a cellular context, and how to analyze and interpret data using these specialized methodologies.

IV. Ethics

GRDC 901: Ethics and Responsible Conduct of Research

Major ethical issues in the conduct of research and teaching, topics identified by the National Academy of Science as critical to responsible research: the acquisition and maintenance of research data, including issues of informed consent and rules about safety and animal use; responsible reporting of research, including authorship issues, duplicate and fragmented publication, and reporting in the public media; peer review, including issues of confidentiality and conflict of interest; and the ethical training and supervision of students, including the assignment of mentors, appropriate supervision and fair performance evaluation, and the avoidance of exploitation.

Future Faculty program at UNL