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Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Course Descriptions

Program in Biomedical Sciences

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


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 Ph.D.-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.

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 541 - (4) (S)
Computational Methods in Diabetes and Endocrinology
Prerequisites: consent of advisor.
A focused introduction to contemporary quantitative methods applied to basic and clinical diabetes and endocrine research. Topics may include the clinical blood glucose optimization problems of diabetes, history of quantifying characteristics of T1DM and T2DM, error-grid analysis, behavioral determinants of T1DM control, risk analysis of blood glucose data, use of self-monitoring blood glucose data for evaluation of patients’ glycemic control, stochastic modeling of blood glucose fluctuations, network modeling of blood glucose dynamics, and analysis of continuous monitoring data.

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, and 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 809 - (1) (Y)
Cell Imaging

Prerequisite: BIMS 812.
Principles of optical and electron microscopy, light absorption and emission, quantitative fluorescence imaging; in vivo imaging; image processing, FRET and FLIM, photo-bleaching and photo-activation, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy, speckle microscopy, and other new techniques for studying cell dynamics by microscopy. Includes lectures on these topics and discussions of research papers.

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) (S)
Cell and Molecular Biology Literature
A continuing seminar based on papers in the current literature.

BIMS 817, 818 - (1) (S)
M.D./Ph.D. 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) (S)
Biotechnology Research Seminars
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. 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) (S)
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 832 - (5) (Y)
Graduate Physiology
A course in mammalian physiology that integrates events that occur on the cellular, tissue, and organ level to understand the vial functions of the human body. Emphasis on common cellular principles that underlie tissue organization and function, and advances to an understanding of specific functional roles carried out by each organ system.

BIMS 834 - (2) (Y)
Issues in Biodefense: Science and Policy
Analysis of historical, clinical, practical, social, and political issues that have emerged as a consequence of bioterrorism.

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) (Y)
Modern Literature of Cardiovascular Research
A one-credit 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) (Y)
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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