OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Graduate Program

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(Graduate Program in Cancer Biology Course Requirements)
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Revision as of 17:33, 10 March 2010

Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.  ~Edwin Powell Hubble, The Nature of Science, 1954

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Overview

The Graduate Program in Cancer Biology is designed to train students for a career in basic and applied cancer research. Modern cancer research is based on a broad range of technical skills including: Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, Genetics, Biochemistry, and Bioinformatics, which the students will learn through course work and extensive laboratory training. Students in this program will receive training in the application of biotechnology to basic and applied cancer research, and to the dissemination of information to the next generation of scientists and the lay public.

Training will include exercises designed to develop independent thinking, oral and written presentation skills, data and information analysis, and dissemination of information through teaching. Students in this program will enter their graduate careers at OHSU through the Program in Molecular and Cellular Biosciences (PMCB). PMCB is an interdisciplinary program that brings together over 150 faculty from five basic science departments and research institutes to provide graduate students with rigorous training in chemical, molecular, cellular, and systems biology during their first two years at OHSU.

The first-year curriculum, consists of a series of courses that all students will take, and emphasizes all aspects of cancer biology (cellular, molecular, systems, and disease). The curriculum is flexible and courses are largely completed in the first year, permitting students to focus on the essence of graduate training, independent research in a mentor's laboratory, as soon as possible. During the first year, students will be advised by faculty members, who guide them through courses, including advanced electives and rotations. Students also participate in laboratory rotations in the first year, using these rotations to help choose a thesis lab. At the end of the first year, students will take a comprehensive written exam, which tests students on their grasp of the core curriculum and on their skills in understanding the primary literature. Also at the end of the first year, the students choose a mentor and officially enter the Program in Cancer Biology. At the end of their second year, students take the oral qualifying exam, which allows them to become a Ph.D. candidate.

The qualifying exam consists of a written component, which is a thesis proposal in the format of an NRSA grant, and an oral defense. Subsequently, the student chooses a thesis advisory committee, who guides their dissertation research. Students are evaluated at several points during their participation in the program, and are subjected to several yearly requirements, including a thesis committee meeting and a talk on their research. Finally, the culmination of a student's graduate career is the assembly of a written Ph.D. thesis and its oral defense. Thus, the proposed program combines rigorous course work with laboratory training and exercises in writing, speaking, and teaching, designed to provide students with the necessary theoretical and practical skills to launch productive careers. Graduating students will be in a position to competitively pursue a wide range of potential careers including: basic and applied research in the academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries, as well as in undergraduate and graduate level teaching and science writing.

Graduate Program in Cancer Biology Course Requirements

Year 1
CONJ 665 Development, Differentiation and Cancer (Spring) 3 credits
Must be completed by end of year 2
Year 2
Fall Term
MGEN 606

Mechanisms of Cancer Journal Club

1 credit
PCB 607 Knight Cancer Biology Seminar Series 1 credit
PCB601 Research x credits
PCB elective courses (see list below) x credits
total    16 credits
Winter Term
MGEN 606

Mechanisms of Cancer Journal Club

1 credit
PCB 607 Knight Cancer Biology Seminar Series 1 credit
*CELL 622 Topics in Transcriptional Regulation OR 2 credits
*BMB 625 Advanced Topics in Molecular Biology
PCB601 Research x credits
PCB elective courses (see list below) x credits
total    16 credits
* Highly recommended if offered, otherwise
substitute with a PCB elective course
Spring Term
MGEN 606

Mechanisms of Cancer Journal Club

1 credit
PCB 607 Knight Cancer Biology Seminar Series 1 credit
CELL616 Advanced Topics in Cancer Biology 4 credits
PCB601 Research x credits
PCB elective courses (see list below) x credits
total    16 credits
Summer Term
CONJ 608B

PMCB Qualifying Exam

8 credit
PCB601 Research 8 credits
total    16 credits
Year 3+
All Terms
MGEN 606

Mechanisms of Cancer Journal Club

1 credit
PCB 607 Knight Cancer Biology Seminar Series 1 credit
PCB 601 Research x credits
Summer term requirement PCB 601 only

ELECTIVE COURSES

A total of 4 credit hours of upper level elective courses are required to be eligible for the Program in Cancer Biology Ph.D. degree.

The following are only a few of the popular graduate elective courses offered in the school of medicine. Other courses available are listed in the course catalog. Graduate students are encouraged to seek advice from their mentor and/or graduate program director when considering taking other courses. Some of the elective courses are offered every other year.

CELL 611   Histology: The structure and function of cells in tissue   fall term 4 credits
CELL 620 Model Systems Biology summer term 3 credits
MBIM 610 Introduction to Immunology   2 credits
PHPH 617   Pharmacokinetics 2 credits
PHPM 524 Introduction to Biostatistics 4 credits
BMCB 625 Advanced Topics in Cancer Biology winter term 3 credits
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