University of Virginia
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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Course Descriptions

Interdisciplinary Program in Biomedical Sciences


Admission Currently, Biomedical Sciences is strictly an admissions program. Students participate in a core curriculum and research rotations during their first year in the program but must select a degree granting graduate program by the end of their first year. While there are no rigid prerequisites for admission to the Biomedical Sciences, the optimal background of entering students includes courses in biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics. The GRE subject test is not required but is preferred. All graduate students in the program receive 12-month stipends plus tuition and fees.

Fields of Study Biomedical Sciences includes a broad range of disciplines including Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Biophysics, Biotechnology, Cardiovascular Research, Cell Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology, Developmental Biology, Immunology, Microbiology, Molecular Medicine, Neuroscience, and Pharmacology.

Doctor of Philosophy The program is designed for maximum flexibility to permit students to identify their research area and an appropriate mentor. Once the mentor has been identified, the student will transfer to a PhD granting program serving that mentor.

Faculty Biomedical Sciences is an interdisciplinary category that encompasses faculty from departments in the College of Arts and Sciences, School of Engineering and the School of Medicine.

Graduate Programs Office
P.O. Box 800738
School of Medicine
University of Virginia
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0738
(434) 924-2181

Course Descriptions


BIMS 503 - (4) (S)
Macromolecular Structure and Function

Prerequisites: Calculus, organic chemistry, physical chemistry. Some introductory knowledge assumed.
This integrated course provides the necessary background at the professional level for careers in a variety of biological and physical sciences.

BIMS 710 - (3) (Y)
Research Ethics

Beginning in 1989, the National Institutes of Health introduced a requirement that institutions provide a program of instruction in the responsible conduct of research (NIH Guide for Grants and Contracts, Volume 18, Number 45, 1989). This was later expanded to require that all fellows on NIH training grants should receive instruction in the responsible conduct of research. The requirement does not specify a particular format or curriculum. However, recommendations are made that several areas should be covered in the instruction:

  • conflict of interest;
  • responsible authorship;
  • policies for handling misconduct;
  • policies regarding the use of human and animal subjects;
  • data management.
This course is designed to help student consider each of these areas and therein formulate an understanding of responsible conduct in research.

BIMS 803 - (5) (Y)
Fundamental Immunology

An introduction and detailed coverage of cellular and molecular immunology, emphasizing antigen-specific immune responses. Topics include structure of antigens and antigen recognition structures, development of immunologically competent cells, cell-cell interactions and signaling, development and regulation of different immune responses, and the relationship of basic immunological mechanisms to the control of disease and immunopathology.

BIMS 808 - (4) (Y)
General and Molecular Genetics

Study of the organization, transmission, function and regulation of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genes. Three lecture hours.

BIMS 811 - (5) (Y)
Gene Structure, Expression and Regulation

Study of the molecular biology of bacterial and eukaryotic cells, emphasizing the application of recombinant DNA for elucidation of gene structure, the mechanism of gene expression, and its regulation. Five lecture hours.

BIMS 812 - (5) (Y)
Cell Structure and Function

A beginning graduate course in molecular cell biology examining the functional organization of eukaryotic cells and the interactions of cells with their surroundings. General and specialized forms of cell signaling are discussed, and events involved in regulating cell proliferation and differentiation are emphasized. Five lecture hours.

BIMS 813, 814 - (2) (S)
Topics in the Molecular Basis of Human Disease

The course will address the biologic/ molecular mechanisms related to selected disease processes as they affect specific cell types, tissues, and/or organic systems. A strong focus of the course will be the discussion of the basic pathobiologic processes and the contemporary biomedical translation of experimental science to the understanding and treatment of human disease.

BIMS 815, 816 - (1)
Cell and Molecular Biology Literature

A continuing seminar based on papers in the current literature.

BIMS 817, 818 - (1)
MD/PhD Research In Progress Colloquium

The Research in Progress Colloquium is a series of research seminars and short talks by students in our combined M.D./Ph.D. Program. The major goals of the course are to familiarize students with key research areas of importance for training as physician scientists, and to develop the student's presentation skills. Students are required to give a minimum of one oral presentation per year to their fellow students and to selected faculty members who have expertise in the area of presentation. Students also are required to attend presentations of other students and to participate in group discussions. In addition to research presentations by students, there will also be presentations by faculty members in areas of significance for training of physician scientists. Grading (S/U) will be based on the quality of the students' presentation, as well as the extent of their participation in group discussions.

BIMS 819, 820 - (1)
Biotechnology Research Seminars

This weekly research-in-progress student series will be overseen by the Biotech- nology Training Program Director or Co-Director. Trainees will present their research results or a related journal article on a round robin basis involving a single presenter per session. To ensure that trainees learn how to prepare research or journal presentations, a training program mentor will be scheduled to meet with a trainee one week before the presentation for rehearsals. This weekly research-in-progress student series will be overseen by the Biotechnology Training Program Director or Co-Director. Trainees will present their research results or a related journal article on a round robin basis involving a single presenter per session. To ensure that trainees learn how to prepare research or journal presentations, a training program mentor will be scheduled to meet with a trainee one week before the presentation for rehearsals.

BIMS 821, 822 - (1)
Biotechnology Industrial Externship

A one to four month training experience at participating Biotechnology Training Program host companies or facilities. Students contribute to host company research projects, offer ideas and interact with company/facility officials. Student performance is graded by the hosting company official using a standardized form. Externship occurs within 2 years of entering the Biotechnology Training Program.

BIMS 824 - (3) (SI)
Chromatin Structure and Function

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the role that chromatin structure plays in multiple chromosomal processes. Emphasis is placed on the integration of structural, biochemical, and genetic approaches to chromatin function. Topics covered include nucleosome structure, DNA replication and nucleosome assembly, chromosome condensation, post-translational histone modifications, chromatin remodeling, gene silencing, and many others.

BIMS 852 - (3) (E)
Vascular Biology

Prerequisite: One course in mammalian physiology and one in cell biology.
A broad interdisciplinary course considering the basis for vascular function from a physiological and pathophysiological perspective. Topics include basic microcirculatory function, smooth muscle and endothelial cell function and development, capillary exchange, inflammatory processes, leukocyte endothelial cell interactions, and the pathophysiology of atherogenesis. Topics such as vascular control, angiogenesis, and inflammatory responses of the cardiovascular system will be highlighted.

BIMS 853, 854 - (1)
Modern Literature of Cardiovascular Research

A one-hour course taught by a number of members of the faculty of the Cardiovascular training grant. Faculty will rotate from semester to semester. It will be offered each semester and the aim of the course will be to establish a strong background in cardiovascular research technology and state-of-the-art research concepts.

BIMS 856 - (3)
Cardiovascular Physiology

An intense six-week course emphasizing autonomic pharmacology, and basic principles of cardiovascular function. This will be integrated into the Medical Physiology course and supplemented by weekly meetings with Cardiovascular faculty. Prerequisites are cell biology and biochemistry.

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