Coursework

The Graduate Biomedical Science program offers a broad curriculum that can be tailored to meet your research and scientific interests. The coursework and laboratory experiences are meant to prepare you for a career in biomedical sciences.

Course Registration

Students will receive registration announcements through Blazernet and via the GBS newsletter. GBS students will follow the dates listed below for registration deadlines:

  • Fall - July 1st
  • Spring - December 1st
  • Summer - May 1st

Students are responsible for registering for classes on time, even if they are not on campus. Incomplete or inappropriate registration can affect stipend distribution and result in the student paying tuition and fees. If a student needs to withdraw from a class or make any changes to the course schedule after the registration date, please notify the Curriculum Manager, Jessica Stephenson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Failure to do so may result in the student being responsible for tuition payment, late fees, etc.

You may register online until the GBS registration deadline. Blazernet is available 24/7. If you experience difficulty with Blazernet, please call One Stop at (205) 934-4300 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Class Schedule

Please reference the UAB course schedule for specific course information by semester. 

Time to Complete

The timeframe to completing a Ph.D. usually requires five years of training (academic and research) and is individually tailored to your interests and needs by your advisor and a graduate committee chosen by you and your mentor.

 

Course Offerings and Requirements

+ Core Courses

All GBS students are required to enroll in the fall semester core curriculum, which is designed to introduce students to fundamental principals in genetics, biochemistry and metabolism, and cell and molecular biology, respectively.

Core Courses:
  • GBS 708- Basic Genetics & Molecular Biology. David Schneider
  • This course is intended to provide students with a strong foundation in basic genetics and basic molecular biology so that students are able to apply and understand fundamentals in their lab research.
    2017 Dates: August 8 - September 18, 2017
    2018 Dates: August 7 - September 17, 2018
    Recommended Text (not required): Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th Ed. (Alberts et al)
    2017 Syllabus
  • GBS 707- Basic Biochemistry & Metabolism. Scott Ballinger & Shannon Bailey
  • This course is intended to provide students a rigorous background in the principles of biological chemistry. The principles taught are those we believe student should master and include the application of these principles to research protocols and performance.
    2017 Dates: September 19 - October 30, 2017
    2018 Dates: September 18 - October 29, 2018
    Recommended Text (not required): Biochemistry, 4th Ed. (Voet & Voet)
    2017 Syllabus
  • GBS 709- Basic Biological Organization. Elizabeth Sztul & Zsuzsanna Bebok
  • This course is intended to provide students with exposure to the fundamentals of basic cell biology and begin to build a foundation of knowledge that will be needed as the student progress along the scientific path.
    2017 Dates: October 31 - December 18, 2017
    2018 Dates: October 30 - December 14, 2018
    Recommended Text (not required): Molecular Biology of the Cell, 6th Ed. (Alberts et al)
    2017 Syllabus
Please contact the course director for any further course details.

+ Module Courses

GBS students are required to complete four spring modules and one summer module during their 1st year. Please see your theme training plans for recommended and required spring modules.

*If a student is planning to count a module course as advanced credit, they must complete the Advanced Course Verification form.

2018 Module Dates:
  • Module 1: January 8 - February 2, 2019
  • Module 2: February 5 - March 2, 2019
  • Module 3: March 5 - March 30, 2019
  • Module 4: April 2 - April 27, 2019
  • Module 5: April 30 - May 25, 2019

2019 Module Dates:
  • Module 1: January 7 - February 1, 2018
  • Module 2: February 4 - March 1, 2018
  • Module 3: March 4 - March 29, 2018
  • Module 4: April 1 - April 26, 2018
  • Module 5: April 29 - May 24, 2018

January Modules:
  • GBS 710- Cell Signaling (CANB, CMDB, & NEURO). Michael Miller
  • This course covers major extracellular and intracellular signal transduction cascades that regulate animal development and physiology. Topics include the mitogen activated protein kinase cascade, transforming growth factor beta, insulin, and cytokines.
  • GBS 724- Principles of Human Genetics (GGB). Fady Mikhail
  • This course will cover recessive, dominant, X-linked, and mitochondrial inheritance, as well as basic cytogenetics, chromosome abnormalities, and epigenetics.
  • GBS 740A- Intro to Immunology Part 1 (IMM). Louis Justement & Peter Burrows
  • Introductory Immunology is a team-taught survey course that covers basic concepts of innate and adaptive immunity. These integrated series of lectures provide a firm foundation in immunology, especially for those with minimal immunology background, and serve as an important refresher for the developing immunologist.
  • GBS 750- Nerve, Muscle, & Bones (PBMM). Glenn Rowe
  • This course will include an overview of basic cellular physiology and the neurological and musculoskeletal systems. Neurologic and neuromuscular diseases such as Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, and myasthenia gravis will be discussed, along with primary myopathies (e.g., dystrophinopathies), joint diseases (osteoarthritis, acute arthritis, arthropathies, fibrosing disorders), and bone diseases (osteoporosis, osteopetrosis, osteonecrosis).
  • GBS 760- Prokaryotic Genetic & Molecular Biology (MICRO). Michael Niederweis
  • This course is designed to familiarize students with advanced knowledge in recombination, transcription, translation, regulation of gene expression, transport mechanisms and protein export. The students will learn the fundamental principles how structural components of bacterial cells are built and how bacteria-specific metabolic pathways can be exploited by antibiotics. We will also cover state-of-the-art technologies such as whole genome sequencing, microarray experiments, methods to analyze protein-protein interactions and the metabolome of bacteria. In this course, we emphasize the training of critical thinking and foster the ability of the students to design their own experiments to solve scientific problems in bacteriology. The goal of the course is to provide a strong foundation for advanced bacteriology classes and for doing research in any bacteriology lab.
  • GBS 781- Molecular Enzymology (BSSB). Kirill Popov
  • This course intends to touch on the various mechanisms of enzymes in biological systems.

February Modules:
  • GBS 712- Cell Molecular Aspects in Developmental Biology (CMDB). Brad Yoder
  • The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to the fundamentals of vertebrate developmental biology. The course will consist of faculty lectures and research paper discussion groups covering a broad range of developmental issues from fertilization to organogenesis.
  • GBS 720- Genomic Structure & Function (CANB & GGB)
  • This course will cover a wide variety of topics related to this topic, including genetic variation and polymorphisms, alternative splicing, microRNAs, and novel sequencing and microarray technologies.
  • GBS 740B- Intro to Immunology Part 2 (IMM). Louis Justement & Peter Burrows
  • Introductory Immunology is a team-taught survey course that covers basic concepts of innate and adaptive immunity. These integrated series of lectures provide a firm foundation in immunology, especially for those with minimal immunology background, and serve as an important refresher for the developing immunologist.
  • GBS 751- Heart, Lung, & Kidney (PBMM). Sabine Huke
  • This course will introduce the exquisitely integrated cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems. This integration will be reinforced with examination of numerous disease states (acidosis, hypertension, heart failure, atherosclerosis/chronic vascular inflammation, genetic and environmentally-induced pulmonary diseases, chronic kidney disease).
  • GBS 764- Structural Biology for Micro (MICRO). Peter Prevelige
  • Structural biology is central to understanding the function of biological macromolecules and is to relevant to all fields of modern biological science. This course will provide a basic introduction to the elements of structural biology including the levels of protein structure (primary, secondary, tertiary, quaternary), the basis of structure determination by X-ray crystallography, NMR, and cryo-electron microscopy, and will explore the structure/function relationships in select systems.
  • GBS 783- RNA Biology (BSSB). David Schneider
  • Course exploring the biology, biochemistry, structure and function of RNA at a research level.
  • GBSC 729- Cell Neurophysiology (NEURO). Jacques Wadiche
  • This course presents the fundamental principles of how nerve cells work. Starting with ion channels themselves, it integrates them into the functioning of individual neurons. The way in which voltage-dependent ion channels act in concert to generate action potentials and synaptic potentials is discussed in the framework of basic physical laws. The mechanisms of transmitter release and the postsynaptic actions of transmitter are studied. The overall aim is to provide students with a quantitative understanding of how individual nerve cells communicate with each other.
March Modules:
  • GBS 714- Developmental Neuro (CMDB & NEURO). Lucas Pozzo-Miller
  • The course will utilize the scientific literature and faculty lectures to cover a broad range of topics related to the mechanisms of building a brain. The topics covered range from neural induction in early development, to axonal guidance and synapse formation, to neuro-gial interactions in the adult nervous system.Grading is based on exams and student participation.
  • GBS 722- Bioinformatics (GGB). David Crossman
  • This course will cover a wide variety of different bioinformatics applications, which will be taught through using bioinformatics resource websites. The topics covered will include: introductions to large-scale, generic databases at NCBI, European Bioinformatics Institute, SwissProt, PDB, UniProt and Ensembl; Sequence analysis systems such as BLAST; statistical genetics; use of R/Bioconductor in research; super computing; Systems Biology; brief introduction into programming languages; resources that are used in Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) analysis, which includes variant discovery, transcriptomics, ChIP-Seq, epigenetics, micro-RNA, de novo assembly, microbiome and metagenomics.
  • GBS 744- Mucosal Immunology (IMM). Laurie Harrington
  • The mucosal immune system is essentially the primary site of interaction between invading pathogens and the immune system. Mucosal immunity has always been a strength of the immunology community at UAB and is rarely covered at most other institutions. This class will provide in-depth analysis of the structural features that distinguish the mucosal immune system from the peripheral immune system. Features of innate and adaptive immunity as they relate to mucosal immune responses will also be covered. The course will involve student presentations on selected topics.
  • GBS 752- GI, Endo, & Immune Systems (PBMM). Zdenek Hel
  • This course will examine the physiology and pathobiology of the gastrointestinal tract, followed by sub-modules focused on endocrinology and immunology. Students will learn how the endocrine system integrates homeostasis of multiple organ systems through a comprehensive approach—influencing all systems examined in the previous modules. The mechanisms and consequences of abnormal GI function (e.g., peptic ulcer disease, diarrhea), endocrine dysregulation (type II diabetes mellitus, gigantism, hyperthyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome), and immune dysfunction (HIV, rheumatoid arthritis, type I diabetes mellitus) will be discussed. The course is divided into three blocks (GI, Endocrine, & Immune)—each with a block leader.
  • GBS 763- Microbial Pathogenesis (MICRO). David Briles
  • The course in Bacterial Pathogenesis contains introductory lectures that provide an overview of major concepts including virulence factors, and host immune mechanisms. Most of the lectures describe the unique aspects of specific bacterial (and fungal) pathogens. Although many of the most important medical pathogens are covered, the course focuses especially on those bacterial and fungal pathogens studies most intensively at UAB.
  • GBS 769- Carcinogesis (CANB). Rajeev Samant
  • The course is intended to introduce the concepts in carcinogenesis, followed by understanding the etiology, molecular events and signaling pathways involved.
  • GBS 782- Molecular Genetics (BSSB). Pete Detloff
  • Course studying the structure and function of genes at a molecular level.
April Modules:
  • GBS 741- Lympthocyte Biology (IMM). Allan Zajac
  • The objective of this course is to provide first year immunology students with the opportunity to gain a more in-depth understanding of selected aspects of lymphocyte biology. Possible topics include T cell subsets, B cell biology, lymphocyte activation, and transplantation immunology. The course is literature intense, and students are required to read and present numerous scientific papers.
  • GBS 753- Pharm & Molecular Med (PBMM). Robert van Waardenburg
  • Students taking this course will be expected to have a thorough understanding of normal and abnormal organ system function as discussed in the three-modules described above. Lectures will build on that foundation to cover recent advances in drug design and development based on approaches of molecular pharmacology and molecular medicine. In addition, drug targeting strategies that take advantage of specificity in cellular structure and cell signaling processes will also be discussed.
  • GBS 762- Virology (MICRO). Elena Frovola
  • This course is designed to familiarize students with the general steps involved in viral lifecycles and use this knowledge as a framework for understanding the similarities and differences in the lifecycles of (+) and (-) stranded RNA viruses, DNA viruses, and retroviruses. The course also covers the role of viruses in oncogenesis, the origin and evolution of viruses, the innate immune response to viral infections, and the development of antiviral chemotherapeutics. The goal of the course is to provide a strong foundation for advanced virology classes and to provide students with enough background in virology to be comfortable teaching in a college level microbiology class.
  • GBS 774- Cancer Immunology (CANB). Nabiha Yusuf
  • A summary of key signaling pathways that regulate cancer cell growth, death and behavior will be presented. An intense evaluation of mechanisms involved in pro-and anti-tumor immunology will be presented along with theoretical aspects of cancer immunotherapy.
  • GBS 784- Stem Cell Biology (BSSB & CMDB). Tom Ryan
  • This course will explore the derivation, manipulation, and differentiation of embryonic, fetal, and adult stem cells in both mice and humans. Topics to be discussed include stem cell self-renewal, teratoma formation, hematopoietic stem cells, neural stem cells, trans-differentiation, nuclear transfer, and reproductive and therapeutic cloning. The course will be a mixture of instructor lectures and interactive journal club style presentations from the current stem cell literature by the students.
  • GBSC 718- Epigenetics (GGB). Lizhong Wang
  • This course introduces the fundamentals of epigenetic controls and how epigenetic regulation is being investigated and utilized in basic and translational research. Specifically, students learn of changes in gene expression or cellular phenotype caused by mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. Students also gain an understanding of the differences between genetic and epigenetic influences on gene expression; epigenetic mechanisms that regulate gene expression; how epigenetic modifications are propagated; and the phenotypic consequences of normal versus abnormal epigenetic regulation in disease, development, and evolution.
  • GBSC 727- Neuro Systems (NEURO). Kristina Visscher
  • Systems neuroscience studies how neural circuits and systems work together to create behavior. This course is a short overview of systems neuroscience ideas and concepts, from alpha oscillations to zebra-finch song.
May Modules:
  • GBS 723- Model Systems for Genetic Analysis (CANB, CMDB, & GGB). Kasturi Mitra
  • This course is designed to introduce various genetic model systems to students. The model organisms discussed in this course include bacteria, yeast, plants, worm, fly, killifish, zebrafish, chick, frog and mouse. Students will learn about the basic physiology and genetic manipulation tools for each organism. There will be one lecture highlighting the strength of each model organism. The students will also learn how to use induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells in disease models.
  • GBS 733- Diseases Nervous System (NEURO). Gwendalyn King
  • Major advances have been made in understanding diseases of the nervous system at a cellular and molecular level. Several new findings have had direct therapeutic implications and have resulted in the development of novel drugs or new disease management strategies. This course intends to review the most common brain and CNS disorders.
  • GBS 768- Communicating Science: Reading, Writing, & Presenting (MICRO). Sunnie Thompson
  • This first year graduate level course will teach students how to make formal scientific oral presentations and how to write a paper for publication in a scientific journal.
  • GBSC 726- Science Communication & Review (BSSB, IMM, & PBMM). Anita Hjelmeland
  • This course will familiarize students on four major components of science communication and review: 1) how to read and review scientific manuscripts, 2) how to review scientific proposals, 3) how to give effective poster presentations and elevator summaries, and 4) how to give an oral research presentation. The course will offer the opportunity for students to be fluent and effective communicators and scientific reviewers.
Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ Advanced Courses

At least three advanced courses are required for all GBS students. Typically, advanced courses are 3 credit hours and must have a letter grade (no pass/fail). They must be completed prior to scheduling your dissertation defense. Only 700-level courses count toward this requirement. While 500- and 600-level courses may be taken, they cannot count towards the advanced courses requirement.

Advanced Courses:
  • GBS 700- Molecular Neurodegeneration- Erik Roberson & Jeremy Herskowitz
  • This is an advanced course covering several of the most important molecules involved in neurodegenerative disease, including Aβ, tau, apoE, TDP-43, α-synuclein, LRRK2, prion protein (PrP), and Huntington (HTT). The goal is to develop a deeper understanding of each protein's normal structure/function and how these are altered in neurodegenerative disease.
  • GBS 702- You Teach Me- Hubert Tse
  • You Teach Me: Autoimmune Effector Mechanisms and Inflammation in Type 1 and 2 Diabetes. This course will begin with a general overview of Type 1 and 2 diabetes, but in later weeks, students are given the opportunity to teach and describe a particular cell type and/or immune effector molecule that pertains to Type 1 or 2 diabetes pathogenesis. The teaching topic is for the presenter to decide, but the course master will provide guidance and input. Does your favorite immune cell or effector molecule have a role in the pathogenesis of Type 1 or 2 diabetes? You will be surprised at what you uncover.
  • GBS 715- Skeletal Development and Disease. Amjad Javed
  • This class is designed for understanding Cellular and Molecular Signaling essential for the normal development and remodeling of skeleton and for learning genetic mechanisms associated with skeletal diseases and pathology.
  • GBS 718- Histology of Mammalian Organs and Tissues- Laura Fraser
  • This course will cover the specialized cell biology and microscopic anatomy for each of the mammalian organ systems, as well as consider current research with regards to each system. The objective is to understand how cells organize into tissues and organ systems and how these systems function in the body, as well as appreciate the microscopic appearance of cells, tissues and organs. Prerequisites include completion of the first year of a graduate program and active engagement in research.
  • GBS 726- Advanced Medical Genetics- Jessica Denton & Jon Sharer
  • This course will focus on the medical application of advances in genetics and genomics. Topics include chromosome structure and function and major types of chromosomal abnormalities, cancer genetics and cytogenetics, inborn errors of metabolism, current strategies for detection of mutations associated with genetic disorders, genetic risk assessment and population genetics, and genomic approaches to diagnosis and risk stratification.
  • GBS 727- Advanced Human Genomics- Greg Cooper
  • This course will cover the conceptual basis, major discoveries, and unsolved problems in human genomics, with an emphasis on disease applications. The goal is to make students conversant with the structures, functions, and natural histories of human genomes, the computational and experimental methods used to establish that knowledge, the applications of genomics to medical research, and the broader impacts of genomic research on the community. Each topic will be covered by an approximately 90-minute lecture from a subject-specific PI coupled to reading of pieces of primary literature. Students will also participate in 3 student-led journal clubs in which one or more papers are discussed in detail with the help of the teaching faculty. We will also perform 3 interactive sessions to teach basic computational skills in Unix, Perl and R. Course meets both on UAB Campus and at Hudson-Alpha in Huntsville.
  • GBS 729- Translational Approaches in Neurodegeneration- Andy West & Jeremy Herskowitz
  • With the current emphasis on "bench to bedside" strategies, successful translational research approaches may be helpful for a productive career in academic and industrial settings. This course uses the field of neurodegeneration as a vehicle for conceptualization to the failures, current challenges, and successes of different translational approaches. This course emphasizes active learning principles by placing students into scenarios of direct relevance to a career in science (e.g., emulation of study section discourse, formal critical debate that happens at international symposia, and informal discussions between colleagues).
  • GBS 739- Neuropharmacology- Qin Wang
  • Advanced course which will focus on the mechanism of action of CNS-active drugs. The first one-third of the course will consist of lectures that emphasize basic principles of neuropharmacology including neurotransmitter and receptor concepts, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and pharmacogenomics. The next two-thirds of the course will focus on the mechanism of action of different drug classes, including classical behavioral and biochemical studies, as well as genetic and molecular analyses of drug action. In each section, the instructor will give an overview lecture followed by student presentations. Student performance will be evaluated based on homework, oral presentation and written examination.
  • GBS 749- Mitochondria in Health, Disease, & Toxicology- Shannon Bailey
  • The course will consist of lectures given by faculty members on specific topics in the field of mitochondrial biology and toxicology. These lectures will be complemented by student presentations of original research articles, which are related to the presented subject matter and that place the discussed topic into the context of human health, disease, and toxicology. This format will allow for students to gain a solid understanding of normal mitochondrial physiology, which they can then use to explore the literature to reveal the importance of mitochondrial dysfunction in human diseases and toxicology responses.
  • GBS 754- Autophangy in Disease and Medicine- Jianhua Zhang
  • This advanced course reviews the pathobiology of autophagy and how it is essential for survival, differentiation, development, and homeostasis and how it serves an adaptive role to protect organisms against diverse pathologies, including infections, cancer, neurodegeneration, aging, and heart disease.
  • GBS 757- Biology of Disease- Peter Anderson
  • Biology of Disease is a comprehensive course in general pathophysiology designed for graduate students in the GBS program or other science related graduate programs. This course will begin with an overview of general anatomy and histology and then will investigate basic pathophysiologic principles emphasizing pathogenic mechanisms and clinically important diseases where current research areas will be highlighted. The biomedical science students will learn the mechanisms involved in disease processes and will develop an understanding of diseases and clinical medicine to help them converse knowledgeably with medical colleagues and target their research towards clinically relevant issues.
  • GBS 765- Hybrid Structural Techniques- Terje Dokland, Peter Prevelige, Jamil Saad, & Mark Walter
  • This course will focus on the use of X-ray crystallography, Cryo-Electron microscopy and Image Reconstruction, NMR, and Mass Spectrometry to obtain structures of biological macromolecules. Each component will be taught separately (Drs Walter, Dokland, Saad, and Prevelige respectively). Each module will focus on insuring the student has a basic understanding of the essential principles of the technique and its practical application. Examples will generally be drawn virology and immunology.
  • GBS 775- Cancer Treatment- Karina Yoon & Christ Willey
  • Students will study current theories regarding chemotherapy, radiation therapy, chemoprevention and imaging. Students will also be exposed to state-of-the-art for each of these treatment/diagnostic modalities. This course uses a combination of textbook and literature readings and classroom discussions to provide students with an understanding of the different classes of drugs used to treat cancer. The course focuses on the mechanisms of drug action, the basis for selectivity and therapeutic applications. Traditional as well as novel approaches to therapeutics will be discussed, as well as the role of drug resistance and strategies for its management.
  • GBS 778- Cancer Metastasis- Doug Hurst
  • The majority of cancer associated deaths are due to complications arising from metastatic disease. The process of metastasis is highly selective and is the result of a tumor cell completing a series of complex interrelated steps. Despite our improved knowledge of this disease, we still do not fully understand the molecular mechanisms regulating tumor progression and metastasis. This advanced course will cover basic mechanisms of how a tumor cell progresses from growth at the primary site to forming an overt lesion in a secondary organ and techniques used to study this disease.
  • GBS 779- Translational Research in Cancer- Eddy Yang
  • This course covers topics on patient-based research efforts that may be important adjuncts to basic science studies. Topics include tissue collection, ex vivo assays, animal models, high-throughput arrays, drug development, epidemiologic studies, basics of clinical trials, and other topics.
  • GBS 790- Clinical Evaluation of Cognitive Disorders- Erik Roberson
  • This course will provide clinical exposure to the evaluation and care of patients with cognitive disorders through a combination of didactic sessions and practicum visits, including observation of visits for patients with developmental and age-related cognitive impairment, neuropsychological testing, and functional MRI.
  • GBSC 705- Protein Mass Spectrometry- Matt Renfrow
  • Students participating in this course become familiar with standard analysis of proteins and protein mixtures by analytical mass spectrometry. This includes the analysis of recombinant and native isolations of proteins including the analysis of post translational modifications. The first month of the course will focus on the fundamentals of mass spectrometry and protein analysis and will be open to first year students. The second and third months of the course is followed by an applications section for students who have completed their first year course requirements. Included topics throughout the course include, sample preparation, mass spectrometry instrumentation, mass spectral interpretation, proteomic experimentation, database searching, analysis of protein modifications, targeted analysis of proteins in complex mixtures, and structural techniques in mass spectrometry.
  • GBSC 706- NMR Spectroscopy- Wiliam Placzek & Chad Petit
  • The main purpose of this course is to provide fundamental understanding (physics) to graduate students who want to utilize NMR spectroscopy as a major tool in their structural biology research. Students with elementary Quantum Mechanics background will gain the optimum benefit from this course. The course is offered every two years. This course covers basic NMR Theory and Concepts (Nuclear Spin-1/2, Bloch Equations, FT-NMR, Rotating Frame, Various Relaxation Mechanisms, Chemical shits, J couplings, etc.), Density Matrix Theory, Product Operator Description of 2D- and 3D-NMR, Nuclear Overhauser Effect, Conformational Exchange, Solomon-McConnel equations, Residual Dipolar Couplings, NMR spectra of Amino acids, Peptides and Proteins, Solvent Suppression Methods, Random Coil Chemical shifts, 2D-NMR methods for assignments and structure calculations of peptides and small proteins, 3D/4D-NMR methods for assignment and structure studies of large proteins, CYANA Structure-Refinement calculations, NMR of nucleic acids, Protein Dynamics, and study of Protein-Ligand complexes including applications in drug design (STD-NMR, trNOESY, SAR-by-NMR and ILOE).
  • GBSC 707- Metabolic Regulation of Gene Expression- Natalia Kedishvili
  • This course will focus on the impact of various metabolites on gene expression, cell growth, and differentiation in health and disease. The key topics for discussion will include the types of biologically active molecules in mammalian tissues, the mechanisms that regulate their concentrations at different stages of life, and the mechanisms by which these bioactive molecules regulate gene transcription through binding to nuclear receptors/transcription factors. Primary literature applicable to these topics will be the basis for discussion. Each section on a specific type of signaling molecule will start with an introductory lecture, followed by student presentations focusing on various aspects of the topic. The goal of this course is to familiarize students with the mechanisms of action and diversity of bioactive metabolic compounds that directly affect the expression of proteins at the level of gene transcription as well as mRNA translation during development and in adulthood.
  • GBSC 709- Advanced Stem Cell Biology & Regenerative Medicine- Thomas Ryan & Kejin Hu
  • Patient-specific cell therapies promise to transform medicine in the next two decades. In order for these regenerative therapies to be safe and effective, basic mechanisms of stem cell biology must be better understood. The goal of this course is to provide students with the basic science foundation to contribute to this field and to provide examples of translating this information to next generation medical therapies.
  • GBSC 710- Advanced Chromatin Biology- Xinyng Zhao & Hao Jiang
  • Chromatin biology may hold the keys for discovery of novel cures for cancer and other chronic genetic diseases. Chromatin state directly influences the development of regenerative medicine. Over the last few years, there has been an explosion of new insights into chromatin biology. This course will focus on four key topics: chromatin structure and gene regulation, chromatin in cancer biology, chromatin in developmental biology, and practical approaches in chromatin research. Special emphasis will be on the molecular mechanisms and biochemical approaches. The format will be 1/2 lecture and 1/3 student presentations. Primary literature related to these topics will be assigned for discussion. The goal of this course is to help students to understand the cutting edge knowledge in chromatin biology and to be able to address questions on chromatin in their own research.
  • GBSC 712- Evolution of Immunity- Rodney King
  • Every form of multicellular life on earth has the capacity to carry out host defense. In higher order vertebrates the necessity for immunity against pathogens has given rise to an elaborate and complex system that involves a variety of specialized cell types and effector molecules. How did this complex system evolve? This course will explore immunity across the animal kingdom with a special emphasis on points of convergent and divergent evolution of immune mechanisms and strategies.
  • GBSC 715- Molecular Basis of Disease- Yabing Chen
  • This is an advanced, graduate course that explores the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the causes, symptoms, and complications of various diseases, including diabetes, autoimmune diseases, atherosclerosis, and cancer. An integrative approach to the clinical, pathologic, biochemical, and molecular perspectives of diseases is introduced. This will help the students to understand how metabolic pathways, cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, transcription factors, and protein glycosylation impacts on our ability to understand and treat human disease. Requirement: This course is designed for graduate students admitted to campus-wide PhD programs in the biomedical and basic sciences, post-doctoral fellows, medical students, residents, staff, and members of the faculty interested in the latest advances and approaches in understanding and treating human disease.
  • GBSC 717- Crystallography-Protein- Todd Green & Champion Deivanayagan
  • Xray crystallography is an important technique to resolve protein/DNA structures and it requires specialized training. Covered in this will not only be the theoretical aspects, but there will also be hands-on training sessions on each topic. Some topics covered: protein crystallization, data collection and reduction, structure solution, refinement and how to report structures.
  • GBSC 721- Brain Tumor Biology- Anita Hjelmeland
  • Brain Tumor Signaling, Biology & Therapeutics Course. This course will review the types of adult and pediatric brain tumors with a focus on 3 major components: 1-cellular genetics and signaling, 2-pro-tumorigenic cellular biology, and 3-preclinical models and clinical treatments. AT the end of the course, the student should have a thorough understanding of the changes in tumor vs. normal tissue that promote cancer initiation and growth. The student should understand how these changes provide the foundation for current and cutting edge treatment strategies. The focus will be on gliomas, but other tumors will be discussed.
  • GBSC 724- Metabolimics- Stephen Barnes
  • The goal of the course is to provide training on the new vision of the chemical composition of the metabolome, its impact on phenotypes in normal health and disease, how to design experiments that reduce systematic variation and deal with the effects of the microbiome, recovery of the metabolome from body fluids/excreta, cells and tissues, analytical methods used in metabolomics, post-acquisition data processing and univariate and multivariate statistical analysis, metabolite confirmation, unknown (new) metabolite identification, pathway analysis, targeted quantitative analysis of specific pathways, use of stable-isotopically labeled precursors to measure pathway dynamics, metabolomics in human and animal models of disease (atherosclerosis, cancer, diabetes, eye diseases, immune diseases and neurodegeneration), metabolomics in situ (imaging mass spectrometry and direct analysis in the clinic and the operating room) and integration of metabolomics with other Omics (genomics, transcriptomics and proteomics).
  • GBSC 725- Cancer & Microenvironment- Yang Yang
  • The growth and progression of cancer is closely regulated by the tumor microenvironment. Through this course, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the tumor microenvironment by studying topics that include, for example, the cellular and acellular composition of the microenvironment, mechanisms of communication between tumor and host cells and how the tumor microenvironment promotes tumor growth, metastasis and drug resistance. Students will also learn the in vitro and in vivo models utilized for studying the tumor microenvironment and current approaches for targeting the tumor microenvironment for cancer therapy.
  • GBSC 728- Cancer Genomics, Epigenetics & Therapeutics- Sooryanarayana Varambally
  • Recent advances in high throughput technologies have enabled researchers to decipher the genomic and epigenetic alterations in cancer in great detail. In this course, students will learn the technologies used for investigating the genomic and epigenetic alterations in cancer and effect of these changes on cancer progression and potential application of understanding these changes. The goal of this course is to provide students with an exposure to a wide range of high throughput technologies used in cancer genomic research, basic and translational genomic and epigenetics research. In addition, the course will highlight the major discoveries in the area of gene mutations and gene fusions, as well as therapeutic targeting some of the critical molecular alteration. This course will give exposures to students to state-of-the-art cancer research topics, promote scientific literacy, discussion skills, and critical research integration skills. In addition, students will also gain experience in presentation and ideas to develop new projects in cancer genomics and epigenetics research areas.
  • GBSC 730- Respiratory Tract Pathogens- David Chaplin & Chad Steele
  • This course will examine major bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens that infect the respiratory tract in human, each using different mechanisms in attempts to evade host defenses. It will also introduce fundamental aspects of respiratory tract anatomy, lung function, and the clinical approach to patients suspected to have pneumonia. Classes will consist of an introduce to each topic provided by the faculty preceptor, followed by a critical analysis of the primary literature in the form of presentations by individual students and in-class discussion.
  • GBSC 732- Advanced Study of Renal Phsyiology- David Pollock
  • The objective of this course is to increase familiarity with classic renal physiology terminology, improve understanding of mechanisms for evaluating renal function, and to become familiar with the forefronts in research related to renal physiology and disease.
  • GBSC 734- Experimental Model Systems for Immunology Studies- Hui Hu
  • This advanced course is designed to help students gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of a broad range of experimental model systems used in immunology studies. All enroll students will give a brief presentation of their research projects in the beginning weeks. Then, based on the students’ research interests/projects, the experimental model systems that are involved or have the potential to be involved will be identified to form specific topics for the rest of the course.
  • GBSC 735- Discoveries in Molecular Biology- Markek Napierala, Xinyang Zhao, Jill Butler, & Tim Townes
  • The aim of the course is to familiarize students with landmark, historical discoveries in biological research. The course will focus on seminal publications in different disciplines, predominantly but not limited to: biochemistry, cell biology and genetics. The course will be organized as student-led discussions of selected papers. In-depth analysis of the presented literature will facilitate gaining broadened knowledge of selected fields and improve capability of critically reading manuscripts. For each publication, special emphasis will be placed on examining the experimental design, interpretation of results, and organization and reporting of the findings. Classes will consist of an instructor-led introduction to the topic and presentation of a historical perspective followed by a group discussion of the paper. An important goal of the course is to help students understand and appreciate principal discoveries.

Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates. This list does not include special topic courses. You may check the class schedule each semester to discover when a class you are interested in is offered.


Exceptions and Special Circumstances
The following exceptions and special circumstances require the student to complete the Advanced Course Verification Form.
  • 2 credit hour course: A 2 credit hour course may be used as an advanced course, if your theme director(s) agrees and the course results in a letter grade (no pass/fail).
  • Off-site courses: One of the advanced courses can be an off-site course, such as those offered by Cold Spring Harbor; however, you must receive prior approval from your theme director and mentor.
  • Non-GBS courses: Graduate courses offered by other UAB Schools require prior mentor approval.
  • HudsonAlpha: If your permanent lab is at HudsonAlpha you can take courses at UAH, if prior approval is given by your mentor and theme director.

+ Advanced + Courses

The following are 2 hour advanced courses that require additional work to be approved as an advanced course. Students must complete the Advanced Course Verification form for the following courses to be applied as advanced credit.

Advanced + Courses:
  • GBS 758- Cardiovascular Biology. Scott Ballinger
  • The course will consist of didactic lectures given by faculty members from UAB and guest lecturers from other institutions on a specific topic in the field of cardiovascular biology, which will then be followed up by student presentations of original research articles which are related to the presented subject matter and that place the discussed topic into the context of human health and disease. This format will allow for students to first gain a solid understanding of normal and pathological aspects of cardiovascular physiology, the basic experimental approaches that can be used in bench to bedside studies and the current perspectives on a broad range of current hot topics in the field. In addition, this course has unique components including instruction on how to review a research paper and prepare for an interview for an entry level position (e.g. postdoctoral) in academia and/or industry.
  • GBS 770- Pathobiology of Cancer. Andra Frost
  • Students will gain an understanding of the pathology of cancer in general and an appreciation of the gross, histologic and molecular pathology of cancers of multiple organs, including the brain, lungs, breast, prostate, colon, bone, bone marrow and lymph nodes.  The students will learn the basis of the pathologic classification of cancers of particular organs, including the gross, microscopic and molecular features that aid in classification.  Then the clinical implications (i.e., prognostication and treatment) of the classification systems will be discussed.  Also, current controversies and topics of research interest may be introduced.  In addition, several lectures will focus on the epidemiology of cancer and translational research in cancer, including animal models of cancer. 
  • GBS 789- Evolutionary Developmental Biology. Chenbei Chang
  • The class is aimed at introducing the concepts of evolution and describing how changes in gene expression and function during embryonic development represent the central molecular mechanism underlying evolution.
  • GBSC 704- Cryo-Electron Microscopy. Terje Dokland
  • This is a two-week practical course in high resolution electron microscopy (EM) with emphasis on cryo-EM and the preparation and observation of frozen-hydrated particulate samples such as protein complexes, viruses and whole bacterial cells. The first week will cover some theoretical aspects and general EM theory in morning lectures, followed by practicals and demos in the afternoon. The second week will consist of independent, hands-on practical work on the Tecnai F20 cryo-electron microscope. Students have the opportunity to work on their own samples.
Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ Journal Clubs

Students are to participate in journal clubs that teach assessment of scientific literature and how to critically think. Please see theme specific requirements as journal club requirements vary between themes.

Journal clubs are courses focused on discussion and review of journal articles. They are taught by a range of GBS faculty, and course structure varies by instructor. Students are encouraged to attend journal clubs throughout their time in the program. Journal club courses help students develop competency in several areas: fundamental understanding of modern research topics, scientific writing, critical evaluation of research findings, and oral presentation skills. There are many diverse journal clubs taught every semester.

Journal Clubs:
  • GBS 736 JC- Cognition. Farah Lubin
  • Journal club exploring various literature on cognition and cognitive disorders.
  • GBS 746J JC- Exercise Medicine. Amanda Willig
  • Exercise training in various forms induces a complex array of coordinated cellular and molecular processes that improve symptoms and co-morbidities associated with numerous chronic conditions including musculoskeletal, cardiorespiratory, metabolic, immunologic, and neurologic disorders—and disease risks associated with chronic physical inactivity are widespread.  Understanding the biological mechanisms underlying exercise-induced adaptations and their clinical utility in disease treatment and prevention is therefore a truly interdisciplinary effort.  Students will interact with scientists and clinicians from several disciplines, and will present and discuss the latest and most impactful exercise-based research in both human and animal model systems.  
  • GBS 747J JC- Circadian Clocks. Karen Gamble
  • In this journal club, we will bring together researchers with diverse perspectives, specialized techniques, and scientific backgrounds in order to develop a take-home message from recent circadian literature that may be applicable to all of our specific fields. Nearly all organisms possess an endogenous circadian clock that governs a wide array of rhythms, from biosynthetic to behavioral, and synchronizes (entrains) them to the 24-h environmental day-night cycle. The central circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus orchestrates rhythms in many peripheral clocks located throughout the brain and body, resulting in 24-h regulation of many physiological processes (including sleep and reproduction, metabolism, organ function, and seasonal behaviors). This regulation allows for a predictive, rather than purely reactive, homeostatic control. In humans, dysregulation of the circadian system has been implicated in some insomnias, cancers, affective disorders, and in aging and cognitive impairment. The discovery and characterization of oscillating circadian clock genes during the last decade has been largely due to cross-talk between researchers working on fruitflies and mice; this approach fueled insights into the likely design principles underlying the intracellular oscillatory machinery. Similar discussion and collaboration at a systems level of analysis may lead to new discoveries and approaches. Students will choose and present papers from any field as long as there is a circadian component to the paper.
  • GBS 756 JC- Cardiometabolic Disease. Martin E Young
  • The review of recently published articles focused on understanding the complex gene-environment interactions that contribute towards common metabolic diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Articles most commonly reviewed range from the whole organism (e.g., physiology, energy balance, metabolism, endocrinology, genetics) to individual cells (e.g., cellular metabolism, signal transduction, and transcriptional regulation), in both animal models and humans. In addition, articles investigating novel lifestyle (e.g., diet and/or exercise), pharmacological (e.g., appetite suppressants), and surgical (e.g., gastric by-pass) interventions designed to treat cardiometabolic diseases are routinely discussed. 
  • GBS 766 JC- Inflammation. Jessy DeShane
  • Inflammation Journal Club presents the state of the art papers that fall broadly in the area of inflammation, which include aspects of basic cellular and molecular mechanisms, animal models and immunopathology of human diseases including, infectious diseases, cancer and chronic lung diseases. 
  • GBS 776 JC- Cancer Biology. Doug Hurst
  • This journal club focuses on current topics in all areas of Cancer Biology. Each week, a student will present and discuss a recently published paper related to a selected monthly cancer theme. All students are expected to actively participate in the discussion. The goals of this course are to enhance one’s ability to critically read the literature, to stay abreast of current findings, and to improve presentation skills. 
  • GBS 786J JC- Structural Biology. Todd J. Green
  • The journal club will discuss peer-reviewed scientific articles of interest to structural biology community.  In general, the majority of the articles will contain macromolecular structural data determined by one or more of the following methods: X-ray crystallography, cryo-EM, NMR and Mass Spectroscopy.  It will help students become familiar with our present understanding of the structure/function for different classes of macromolecules and gain an appreciation of state-of-the-art biophysical techniques available to determine macromolecular structures.
  • GBS 793 JC- Alzheimers and Frontotemporal Dementia. Erik Roberson & Jeremy Herskowitz
  • Discussion of important current research on Alzheimers disease and frontotemporal dementia, with a focus on basic and translational science. 
  • GBSC 700.VTA JC- Cancer Immunology. Nabiha Yusuf
  • This Journal Club will meet twice a month and discuss various cancer immunology related topics including: tumor microenvironment, Toll-like receptor signaling, kinase signaling, microbiome, microRNA, Antibodies, Vaccine/Gene therapy, Innate immunity, T-cell / B-cell immunity/therapies. Format will be, faculty lecturer will present a brief 10min presentation on a specific area/discipline in cancer immunology and then a student will present an article provided by the faculty member. The intention is for the faculty member to discuss the evolution of the discipline over the years and then the article present by the student should discuss very current updates in the field. As with every journal club, discussion and debate are encouraged.
  • GBSC 700.VTB JC- YstMods4HuDis. John Hartman
  • It is increasingly appreciated that human diseases are genetically complex. The power of genomic analysis varies inversely with organismal complexity. There is an increasing appreciation for evolutionary conservation of the biology underlying many disease relevant cellular processes. Thus, there is a growing opportunity to utilize simple model organisms such as S. cerevisiae (budding/bakers yeast) to understand the genetic complexity of disease processes. The journal club aims to illuminate and examine established models and to explore possibilities and new opportunities for systems genetics in yeast, in particular S. cerevisiae, to model complex biological processes that contribute to human disease.
  • GBSC 700.VTC JC- Tissue Injury & Repair. Qjang Ding
  • This course will provide a basis for understanding the fundamental biology and pathophysiology of tissue repairing and remodeling. This course will explore current state-of-the-art overview in literatures and textbooks relevant to mechanistic and therapeutic intervention relevant to abnormal tissue repairing and remodeling. 
  • GBSC 700.VTD JC- Protein/Mass Spec. Matt Renfrow
  • This course will be a weekly journal club in the area of proteomics and mass spectrometry.  Each week leading papers in the field will be reviewed by the students in the class.  Emphasis will be placed on papers which focus on the application of these cutting edge technologies to specific biological systems and pathways.  Over the course of the semester a wide range of proteomic applications of mass spectrometry will be covered from the papers reviewed including quantifications of proteins, post-transitional modification, biomarker discovery, sample preparation, data analysis, and proteomic experimental design.
  • GBSC 700.VTE JC- Stem Cell Biology. Thomas Ryan
  • This Journal Club will focus on the isolation, characterization, derivation, and differentiation of both embryonic and adult stem cells with an emphasis on the hematopoietic system and a focus toward therapies.
  • GBSC 700.VTF JC- Trans Control in Viruses & Cancer. Sunnie Thompson
  • The format of this courses consists of student participation in a journal club format. This is an advanced graduate course that explores recent literature. We will cover topics ranging from Basic discoveries on translation initiation, elongation, termination or regulation. In addition, we will cover articles on how viruses subvert the translational machinery to translate or regulate translation of viral proteins. Students will present papers from the recent literature that are of broad interest to the group and prepare a 15 minute Power Point introduction. Discussions of the paper will be interactive with the entire group that will explore the hypothesis, approach, results, interpretation, and the unanswered questions. The goal of this journal club will be to teach students how to think critically and creatively.
  • GBSC 700.VTG JC- Adv Eukaryotic Molecular Biology. Tim Townes
  • In this Journal Club, we discuss the latest research reports on topics of eukaryotic molecular biology, with special emphasis on mechanisms of eukaryotic gene transcriptional regulation.
  • GBSC 700.VTH JC- Striated Muscle Biology. Glenn Rowe
  • For Trainees, Faculty and Students interested in any aspect of skeletal muscle or cardiac muscle biology.
  • GBSC 700.VTJ JC- Cardio-Renal Physiol. Christian Faul
  • The Cardio-Renal Physiology and Medicine Journal Club explores state-of-the-art topics in vascular and renal physiology and pathophysiology. Topics are rotated monthly to provide focus on the cardiovascular and renal system, while highlighting interplay between the systems based on their underlying physiology. Students will gain insight into hypothesis testing, critical thinking skills, new paradigms for research, and cutting-edge experimental methods and models. 
  • GBSC 700.VTK JC- CB2-401 & Seminar. Malay Basu
  • This CB2-401: 401 Journal Club and Seminar is a complement to the other CB2 courses offered.
  • GBSC 700.VTL JC- Oral & Skeletal Biology. Amjad Javed
  • GBSC 700.VTM JC- Free Radical & Redox Biology. Rajasekaran Soorappan
  • This Journal Club will consist primarily of student presentations of peer-reviewed journal articles and/or relevant research-related topics. Students should plan to present at 30-40 minute presentation using the Power Point format, which will then be followed by a period of discussion.
  • GBSC 700.VTN JC- Central Dogma of Molecular Biology. David Schneider
  • This Journal Club will be a literature review course that will cover current and pertinent recent papers concerning DNA replication, transcription, gene regulation and protein synthesis. Eukaryotic systems will be emphasized, but none of the three domains of life will be excluded. Special effort is devoted to developing presentation skills and scientific discussion.
  • GBSC 700.VTO JC- Mol Basis Resp Dis. Susan Birket
  • This journal club will study molecular defects that contribute to human respiratory disease, including but not limited to cystic fibrosis (CF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), asthma and others. Special emphasis will be placed on recent discoveries that further our mechanistic understanding of disease pathogenesis, as well as experimental modulation of key pathways for development of novel therapeutic interventions.
  • GBSC 700.VTP JC- Advances Mol Exer Med. Adam Wende
  • The format of this course consists of student participation in a journal club format. This is an advanced, graduate course that explores emerging areas of research defining the molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie the changes that occur in response to exercise. The particular focus will be on areas in which exercise improves outcomes in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. This includes new areas of epigenetic regulation of gene expression and post-translational regulation of protein function. Students will research topics and present a 30 min Power Point on the hypothesis, approach, results, and interpretation of papers within the past few years and their revelance in advancing exercise medicine as a therapeutic tool or means of understanding disease development.
  • GBSC 700.VTR JC- Genetics and Genomics. Sara Cooper
  • Students enrolled in the course rotate through a schedule, presenting 1-2 papers each week. The papers broadly describe applications of or advances in genetic and genomic technologies. The presenting student discusses the major findings of the paper, the implications for the field, applications beyond those described in the paper as well as strengths and weaknesses of the study design, analysis, and interpretation.
  • GBSC 700.VTS JC- Metabolism. Natalia Kedishvili
  • This course will be a literature review course that will cover current and pertinent recent papers concerning metabolic pathways, regulation of metabolism, and the impact of various metabolites on gene expression, cell growth, and differentiation in health and disease.
  • GBSC 700.VTT JC- Hematology. Robert Welner
  • This Journal Club will discuss hematology related topics including: hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, differentiation, microenvironment, leukemia, cell signaling, and transcription factors. We will cover recent papers related to hematology/leukemia. Each week one student will supply a paper to the group to read, they are responsible for giving a brief introduction and then students will be selected at random to discuss the figures and approach.
  • GBSC 700.VTU JC- Parkinson's Disease. Laura Volpicelli-Daley
  • The goal of this journal club is to be current with all the recently published high impact studies related to Parkinson’s disease. Our other goal is to try to start thinking outside the box with respect to this disorder, which is likely many different diseases. We will read articles related to idiopathic PD, lewy body dementias, multiple systems atrophy, and even Alzheimer’s disease. We will also read articles ranging from biophysics to cell biology to behavior to biomarkers to genome wide association studies. Articles not directly related to PD but presenting a novel technique or concept that could be relevant to our work will also be considered. 
  • GBSC 700.VTV JC- Developmental Biology. Michael A Miller
  • This is a journal club for GBS students focusing on Developmental Biology. Additional topics include human disorders such as cancer that involve developmental mechanisms.
  • GBSC 700.VTW JC- Biomedical Informatics. James J Cimino
  • Biomedical informatics is an interdisciplinary field that brings together biology, medicine, nursing, computer science, cognitive science, public health and much more. This journal club will discuss papers across the spectrum of bioinformatics, translational research informatics, clinical research informatics, clinical informatics and population informatics. Presenters will be expected to discuss papers approved by the instructor, with discussion of historical context of the work, comparison with similar papers, and critique of the science presented.
  • GBSC 700.VTX JC- Sleep Medicine. Amy Amara & Joseph Daley
  • This journal club is designed to discuss recent literature regarding neurobiological mechanisms controlling sleep and arousal, including basic, clinical, and imaging research exploring regulation of behavioral state. Additionally, content will include recent research on health impact of various sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, hypersomnias, parasomnias, and insomnia. Because sleep and health have a bidirectional relationship, we will also explore the impact of various disease states on sleep. Students can present papers from any field of interest as long as sleep medicine is central to the research outcomes. 
  • GBSC 720.VTA JC- Trans Neuropsychiatry. Badari Birur
  • This course is appropriate for grad students with an interest in translational neurobiology of psychiatric illnesses, including Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Bipolar, ADD/ADHA, PTSD, Schizophrenia, and other related conditions. The first meetings will focus on clinical aspects of specific disorders with a facilitated discussion of social-environmental risk factors, diagnostic criteria, and treatment options, as well as the clinician-patient therapeutic relationship, the patient experience, and assessments of patient outcomes. Remaining meetings will be a traditional JC, with each student responsible for presenting a translationally relevant original research article. Strong emphasis on class participation. There is an optional component for students to spend the day shadowing a clinical faculty member.
  • GBSC 720.VTB JC- Virology. Elliot Lefkowitz & Jamil Saad
  • This journal club will consist of primary research paper presentations and discussions covering current papers addressing any aspect of virology. Possible topics include virus structure, genetics, genomics, evolution, life cycle, replication, molecular mechanisms, virus-host interactions, immune response, epidemiology, pathogenesis, prophylaxis, and treatment. Throughout the semester, it is expected that papers presented will be representative of a wide variety of viral systems, methodologies, and problems. Students will select papers to present with input from the course masters or other participating faculty, and should submit 3 possible papers at least 2 weeks prior to their scheduled presentation. The paper chosen will be distributed at least 1 week prior to the presentation date. As scheduling permits, we will also hold 1 or 2 discussion round-tables during the semester. These discussions consist of 5-10 minute presentations by each student on any paper they find interesting. No preapproval of this paper is necessary. No slides will be used during these discussions. They will consist solely of a brief verbal presentation, followed by a general discussion about the paper and related topics. In addition to student who register for this class, we also welcome faculty and virology trainees (including students, postdocs, and research staff) to participate in the JC (sit in or present). The goal of the journal club is to foster discussions and critical review of the latest research in the field of virology.
  • GBSC 720.VTC JC- Mucosal Immunology. Zina Moldoveanu
  • Mucosal Immunology Journal Club aims to discuss papers that fall broadly in the area of mucosal immunology, including immunology of infections, immunopathology, as well as basic immunology that impacts on mucosal immunology. Papers presented should fit the following criteria: Research reports in peer-reviewed journals (not reviews); Important new findings of general interest to members, substantial pieces of work with plenty of data to discuss, in the broad area of mucosal immunology, published within the past year, and not the work of UAB colleagues. 
  • GBSC 720.VTD JC- Bact Pathogenesis & Phys. Carlos J. Orihuela & Michael Gray
  • The purpose of this JC is to provide a weekly forum for students to present and discuss the latest research related to bacteria physiology and infection. The papers discussed will focus on the molecular basis of gene regulation, stress response, pathogenesis, and subversion of host immunity.
  • GBSC 720.VTE JC- Cell/Mol Immunology. Rodney G. King
  • The Cellular and Molecular Immunology Journal Club involves weekly meetings during the Fall and Spring semesters. This course is a student-run journal club; as such, regular attendance and participation are required. Students will select and present recent immunologically-relevant articles from primary scientific literature and participate in group discussions. Student selected papers are provided to the instructure 1 week prior to the scheduled presentations and should be read by all participants prior to class meetings. Presentations should be formatted in Microsoft PowerPoint and include a summary of relevant background information, a discussion of techniques and technologies involved int he presented research, and highlight and critique critical findings. The goal of this course is to bring together students from a wide range of immunology themed disciplines and expertise to provide an engaging and inclusive environment to facilitate the collective exploration of the current state of immunology research. 
  • GBSC 720.VTF JC- Phys & Path of Mycobacteria. Michael Niederweis
  • Phys and Path of Mycobacteria JC covers the newest and most exciting research about mycobacteria with a focus on tuberculosis. Occasionally, we discuss top articles or related fields including antibiotic discovery, important molecular mechanisms and cutting-edge technique developments. In addition to expanding your knowledge in an important microbiology field, you will also practice scientific presentation and learn how to critically evaluate and discuss science. 
  • GBSC 720.VTG JC- Inflammation & Autoimmunity. Janusz Kabarowski & Chander Raman
  • This Journal Club provides a fortnightly forum for students to present and discuss the latest research related to the cellular and molecular basis of inflammation, autoimmunity and autoimmune disease. The topics of papers will include the roles of specific immunoregulatory and inflammatory cell-types and molecular mediators involved in inflammation, immune tolerance and autoimmune disease. The latest basic, translational and clinical science will be presented and discussed.
  • GBSC 720.VTH JC- 100 Things About the Brain. Robin Lester
  • This course will examine small and big questions in neuroscience as they are presented to the layperson via TED Talks, Scientific American, and newspaper/magazine science op-eds. The aim is to expose students to a wide range of topics about the brain, some fundamental, some controversial, and to challenge them to discuss the evidence for and against theories of brain function. There will be no memorization of information, only the willingness to read, post, and discuss scientific opinions on pre-assigned articles/videos.
  • GBSC 720.VTI JC- Post-Trx Reg Mech. David Bedwell
  • The Post-Transcriptional Regulatory Mechanisms JC examines different aspects of gene regulation with an emphasis on mRNA processing, localization and turnover mechanisms; protein localization and turnover mechanisms; and various aspects of translational control (including siRNA and miRNA). An emphasis will be placed on reading papers that utilize a wide range of experimental approaches to study these processes.
  • GBSC 720.VTJ JC- Cardiac Immunometabolism. Lufang Zhou & Ganesh Halade
  • This journal club will discuss the latest advances in two key areas of cardiovascular disease: cardiac metabolism and resolution of inflammation that defines the molecular and cellular mechanisms in heart failure pathology. The major focus will be paradigm shift areas of inflammation and resolution of inflammation axis coupled with mitochondrial dysfunction in cardiovascular disease pathology. The format of the course consists of fellow/course master /student presentations in a journal club format. Students will have opportunity to select best fit research paper/topics in this theme and present a 30 min PowerPoint on the hypothesis, approach, results, and interpretation in relevance to mechanism and clinical translation in cardiac biology. Preference will be given to recent papers within the past few years and their relevance in advancing cardiac immunometabolism, the creative way to precise and personalized treatment for cardiovascular disease.
  • GBSC 720.VTK JC- Neurodegenerative Diseases. Michelle Gray & Talene Yacoubian
  • This Journal Club-style course will consist of topics related to molecular mechanisms of neurodegenerative disorders. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Spinocerebellar ataxias. Each week, one student will be responsible to present a manuscript regarding a mechanisms of neurodegeneration. The student will be expected to give a brief overview of the paper topic, discuss the hypothesis and significance of the study, present the data with a discussion of strengths and weaknesses, and discuss any potential clinical applications of the findings. The presenter will be responsible, with the course directors, to facilitate the discussion.
  • GBSC 720.VTL JC- Brain Tumor Biology. Anita Hjelmeland
  • Brain Tumor Signaling, Biology & Therapeutics Course. This course will review the types of adult and pediatric brain tumors with a focus on 3 major components: 1-cellular genetics and signaling, 2-pro-tumorigenic cellular biology, and 3-preclinical models and clinical treatments. AT the end of the course, the student should have a thorough understanding of the changes in tumor vs. normal tissue that promote cancer initiation and growth. The student should understand how these changes provide the foundation for current and cutting edge treatment strategies. The focus will be on gliomas, but other tumors will be discussed.

Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ Seminars

Students are to participate in seminars that teach assessment of scientific literature and how to critically think. Please see theme specific requirements as seminar requirements vary between themes.

Seminars:
  • GBS 737- Student Summer Seminar Series in Neuroscience. Rita Cowell
  • Seminar series presented by UAB neuroscience students.
  • GBS 777- Cancer Biology Seminar. Lalita Shevde-Samant & Soory Varambally
  • Seminars on various topics in cancer biology or other biomedical science topics. Students will attend a minimum of 12 seminars offered by a Joint Health Sciences department/theme, keeping a journal that includes each seminar date, title and a brief synopsis of each seminar.
  • GBS 792- CMDB Seminar. Alecia Gross & John Parant
  • Seminars on various topics in cellular and molecular biology or other biomedical science topics. Students will attend a seminar offered by a Joint Health Sciences department/theme, keeping a journal that includes each seminar date, title and a brief synopsis of the seminar.
  • GBSC 701.VTA- BMG Seminar. Thomas Ryan
  • This is a weekly seminar series that features extramural and intramural speakers. The topics covered will range from structural biology to developmental biology. Students will be exposed to well-crafted seminars by leading experts in their respective fields. Attendance will improve the student’s breadth of scientific knowledge as well as his/her understanding of how to prepare an organized research seminar.
  • GBSC 701.VTB- Grad Student Research Mtg Seminar. Thomas Ryan
  • This course is a student seminar series in which each student presents his/her research. Each meeting consists of two 30-minute presentations. After each seminar, discussion among the presenter and his/her peer audience is encouraged. This course provides critical training in research presentation in a relatively low pressure environment.
  • GBSC 701.VTC- Translational Cardiovascular Science. Sumanth Prabhu
  • This course will cover a wide array of basic, clinical, and translational topics in cardiovascular medicine and research that will give the student a broad appreciation of cutting-edge cardiovascular science. Seminars will be given by a variety of scientists and clinicians and will broadly focus on the following focus areas, Cardiac Reparative and Regenerative Medicine; Cardiovascular Risk Factors and Prevention; Heart Failure and Transplantation; Heart Rhythm and Arrhythmias; Valvular and Congenital Disease; and Vascular and Ischemic Heart Disease. The course will be of interest to students concentrating in either the basic or population sciences. 
  • GBSC 713- Epigenetics Discussion. Farah Lubin
  • This course provides the student with an exposure to a wide range of basic epigenetics research topics and will promote scientific literacy, discussion skills, and critical thinking skills. In addition, student will gain experience developing lectures and providing constructive criticisms to their peers.
Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ GBS Required Courses

Students are required to statisfy training obligations in bioethics, statistics, and scientific writing during their training. To fulfill these requirements, students may choose from the following courses.

Grant Writing/Scientific Writing:
  • GBS 716- Grantsmanship & Scientific Writing. Jim Collawn
  • The objective of this course is to teach students how to effectively write grant proposals. This course will provide hands-on training in the preparation of a grant application and demonstrate effective strategies for assembling a successful proposal. With guidance from the faculty, the students will write an NIH-style proposal on their dissertation research topic. After the proposal is complete, each grant will be reviewed in a mock NIH study section. Based on the comments from the study section, the student will revise the application and submit the proposal to his/her thesis committee as admittance into candidacy.
  • GBS 725- Grant Writing: Crafting a Research Proposal. David Schneider
  • This course is designed to educate students on the best practices of research proposal preparation and review. Several grant mechanisms will be discussed, but the primary focus will be on preparation of NIH "F30/F31 style" proposals. These are six page research strategies focused on the research project of each student. Each week, the class will meet and discuss individual portions of the proposal (e.g. Aims, Significance, Strategy), and student will draft those sections during the intervening week. By the tenth week of the course, students will submit a complete research portion of an F30/F31 grant. These proposals will be reviewed by peers as well as by faculty members of a "live" study section to be held on the last day of class. After completion of the course, students will have substantial critiques of their proposals in hand. It is expected that students will revise these proposals and submit them to committee members as the written portion of the student's qualifying exam. Long term benefits of careful, critical grant preparation extend to many future career paths. Near term benefits of this course are to improve students' writing skills and progress into written qualifying exam. Finally, it is expected that these proposals will be submitted to one or more extramural funding agencies to support the students' training.
  • GBS 768- Communicating Science: Reading, Writing, & Presenting. Sunnie Thompson
  • This first year graduate level course will teach students how to make formal scientific oral presentations and how to write a paper for publication in a scientific journal.
  • GBSC 726- Science Communication & Review. Anita Hjelmeland
  • This course will familiarize students on four major components of science communication and review: 1) how to read and review scientific manuscripts, 2) how to review scientific proposals, 3) how to give effective poster presentations and elevator summaries, and 4) how to give an oral research presentation. The course will offer the opportunity for students to be fluent and effective communicators and scientific reviewers.

    Biostatistics:
    • GBSC 731- Intro to Biostats. Karen Gamble
    • This course is intended to provide graduate students with an introduction to biostatistics. The emphasis in this course will be upon understanding statistical concepts and applying and interpreting tests of statistical inference. Content will include but not be limited to: choosing the correct test for a given research design, data and data files, data screening, scaling, visual representations of data, descriptive statistics, correlation and simple regression, sampling distributions, and the assumptions associated with and the application of selected inferential statistical procedures (including t-tests, Chi-square, and ANOVA). Computer software (SPSS) will be employed to assist in the analysis of data for this course.

    Bioethics:
    • GRD 717- Principles of Scientific Integrity (Bioethics). Lisa Schweibert
    • This course is comprised of online modules that the student completes autonomously, then the student attends a one-day workshop and participates in activities and case studies regarding the content learned through the modules.

    Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ Theme Required Courses

The following courses are required by each theme. Please see the theme training plans for more details.

Biochemistry, Structural, and Stem Cell Biology:
  • GBSC 701- Grad Student Research Mtg Seminar. Thomas Ryan
  • This course is a student seminar series in which each student presents his/her research. Each meeting consists of two 30-minute presentations. After each seminar, discussion among the presenter and his/her peer audience is encouraged. This course provides critical training in research presentation in a relatively low pressure environment.

Cancer Biology:
  • GBS 770- Pathobiology of Cancer. Andra Frost
  • Students will gain an understanding of the pathology of cancer in general and an appreciation of the gross, histologic and molecular pathology of cancers of multiple organs, including the brain, lungs, breast, prostate, colon, bone, bone marrow and lymph nodes.  The students will learn the basis of the pathologic classification of cancers of particular organs, including the gross, microscopic and molecular features that aid in classification.  Then the clinical implications (i.e., prognostication and treatment) of the classification systems will be discussed.  Also, current controversies and topics of research interest may be introduced.  In addition, several lectures will focus on the epidemiology of cancer and translational research in cancer, including animal models of cancer. 
  • GBS 777- Cancer Biology Seminar. Lalita Shevde-Samant & Soory Varambally
  • Seminars on various topics in cancer biology or other biomedical science topics. Students will attend a minimum of 12 seminars offered by a Joint Health Sciences department/theme, keeping a journal that includes each seminar date, title and a brief synopsis of each seminar.

Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology:
  • GBS 717- Methods & Scientific Logic. Jianbo Wang
  • This is a literature-based class to teach students how to critically evaluate primary research literature. The students will be expected to critique the thinking processes that went into the experimental design, interpretation and presentation of the papers selected. Through this exercise, it is expected that the students will learn to critically evaluate the experimental design and data interpretation, to improve their logical reasoning skills, and to understand the peer-review process behind scientific publication.
  • GBS 792- CMDB Seminar. Alecia Gross
  • Seminars on various topics in cellular and molecular biology or other biomedical science topics. Students will attend a seminar offered by a Joint Health Sciences department/theme, keeping a journal that includes each seminar date, title and a brief synopsis of the seminar.

Genetics, Genomics, and Developmental Biology:
  • GBS 717- Methods & Scientific Logic. Jianbo Wang
  • This is a literature-based class to teach students how to critically evaluate primary research literature. The students will be expected to critique the thinking processes that went into the experimental design, interpretation and presentation of the papers selected. Through this exercise, it is expected that the students will learn to critically evaluate the experimental design and data interpretation, to improve their logical reasoning skills, and to understand the peer-review process behind scientific publication.

Immunology:
  • GBSC 736- Dev Comm Skills for Bio Research. Louis B Justement
  • This seminar is designed to foster the acquisition of knowledge and skills that enable Immunology Theme students to effectively present their research to other scientists.
  • GRD 701- Presentation & Discussion Skills. Jefferson Walker
  • For students and employees who need to be able to speak confidently and adapt for a range of audiences.

Microbiology:
  • GBS 759- Developing Presentation Skills for Microbiological Research. Janet Yother
  • The goal of this course is to provide students with the skills to critically evaluate and present their research. In initial sessions, students will learn how to give an effective presentation. Students will then develop their own presentation with advice from a student advisor as well as the course director or other faculty members. Following the presentation, students will address questions from an audience of students and faculty. The students and faculty will also provide written evaluations of the presentation. The student advisor will develop skills in critiquing presentations and introducing a scientific speaker to an audience. 

Neuroscience:
  • GBS 730- Intro to Neurobiology (Dauphin Island Course). Christianne Strang & Kent Keyser
  • Hands on experiments and classroom lectures onsite at the Dauphin Island Sea Lab. Students live onsite the entire course.
  • GBS 737- Student Summer Seminar Series in Neuroscience. Rita Cowell
  • Seminar series presented by UAB neuroscience students. Two students present each week.
  • GBS 791- Grad Neuro Discussions. Gwendalyn King & Robin Lester
  • Students will participate in journal club style discussion on current topics in neuroscience research and develop presentation skills.
  • NBL 703- Neurobiology Seminar Series. Vladimir Parpura
  • Current research topics in neurobiology presented by visiting scholars and campus faculty.

Pathobiology & Molecular Medicine:
  • GBS 703- Research Analysis & Presentation. Yabing Chen & Robert C Van Waardenburg
  • This course is designed to help graduate students with oral presentation skills by exposing them to the style of presentation expected in national meetings.

Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ Off Campus Courses

The following courses may only be utilized for students in special circumstances off-campus. Registration requires prior approval.

Off-Campus Courses:
  • GBSC 737.VTA- Advanced. David Schneider
  • GBSC 737.VTB- Journal Club. David Schneider
  • GBSC 737.VTC- Seminar. David Schneider

Hudson Alpha Courses:
  • GBSC 738.VTA- Genomics in Medicine. Sara Cooper
  • This course will be almost completely literature-based. Each student will read and present several papers (at least 6) throughout the course. All students will participate in weekly discussion of the papers. The papers will be broadly focused on applications and implications of clinical sequencing. We will discuss the technical aspects of using next generation sequencing in a clinical settings, existing projects that have successfully applied these techniques and others that have faced challenges, as well as the legal, ethical and social implications of this work. Proposed topics of discussion will be genome and exome sequencing for rare disease diagnosis, genomics for gene discovery in complex disease, precision oncology, and pharmacogenomics. A total of at least twenty papers will be read and discussed over the 10 sessions. The overall goal of this course is to integrate students understanding of technology, genetic disease, and treatment options.
  • GBSC 738.VTB- Ethical Considerations in Genomic Era. Thomas May
  • HudsonAlpha. Students will discuss issues of Responsible Conduct of Research covering important topics such as mentorship, falsification of data, responsible reporting of data, the ethics of authorship, human subjects research, ethical use of animal models. These topics will be discussed in the context of ongoing genetic and genomic research.

Please contact the course director for course details in regards to semester(s) offered and frequency, times, and dates.

+ Research

All GBS students are required to be actively involved in research every semester in the program.

Concurrent with first-year coursework, students will participate in research rotations in three to four different laboratories of their choosing. These rotations are meant for students to gain practical experience in a variety of the techniques and types of scientific questions being addressed in the different theme areas and to aid students in selecting a research focus and their thesis advisor. Toward the end of the first year, students will choose your permanent mentor and lab home.

2017-2018 Lab Rotation Dates:
  • Early Admit: June 2 - August 2, 2017
  • Early Fall: August 14 - October 13, 2017
  • Late Fall: October 16 - December 15, 2017
  • Early Spring: January 8 - March 9, 2018
  • Late Spring: March 12 - May 11, 2018
2018-2019 Lab Rotation Dates:
  • Early Admit: June 1 - August 3, 2018
  • Early Fall: August 13 - October 12, 2018
  • Late Fall: October 15 - December 14, 2018
  • Early Spring: January 7 - March 8, 2019
  • Late Spring: March 11 - May 10, 2019

Research Rotations:
  • GBSC 794- Lab Rotation 4. David Schneider
  • GBSC 795- Lab Rotation 1. David Schneider
  • GBSC 796- Lab Rotation 2. David Schneider
  • GBSC 797- Lab Rotation 3. David Schneider

Research Courses:
  • GBSC 798- Non-dissertation Research. David Schneider
  • GBSC 799- Dissertation Research. David Schneider