Highly Recommended Courses

In addition to the coursework required by each student’s PhD program, new students (G1) joining the Cancer Biology Area of Concentration are highly recommended to take the following three courses for a broad knowledge base in cancer biology.


Cell Biology 201: Molecular Biology of the Cell (offered every Spring)

This core course of the BBS program covers the following topics: molecular basis of cellular compartmentalization, protein trafficking, cytoskeleton dynamics, mitosis, cell locomotion, cell cycle regulation, signal transduction, cell-cell interaction, and the cellular/biochemical basis of diseases. Methods covered include protein purification, mass spectrometry, and microscopy.


Cell Biology 211: Molecular and Systems Level Cancer (offered every other Spring; To be offered Spring 2016)

Describes novel molecular and systems-level approaches to cancer cell biology, including: identifying alterations in cell cycle machinery, functional genomics, proteomics, interactomics, chemical biology, and systems biology.


Cell Biology 212: Biology of the Cancer Cell (offered every other Spring: To be offered Spring 2015)

Examines the molecular basis of human cancer including: cancer epigenetics, alterations in DNA repair, tumor suppressors and oncogenes, cancer cell signaling, metabolism, angiogenesis, and heterogeneity.

Suggested Coursework

We also recommend that students take a pathology course during their graduate training, such as HT035: Principles and Practice of Human Pathology.  In addition, the Cancer Biology Area of Concentration currently offers a bootcamp course in this area for a limited number of students to take during January.


The Epidemiology and Molecular Pathology of Cancer

This two-week January course provides students with an in-depth introduction to the molecular pathology of cancer.  We explore multiple types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, prostate and brain, through a series of lectures and hands-on practice tutorials. These tutorials include training in molecular pathology techniques, state of the art image analysis of human biomarkers, tissue processing, immunohistochemistry, and tumor histology. In addition, the epidemiology, genetics and relevant signal transduction pathways of cancer are highlighted.


BPH 309qc Tumor Cell Metabolism and Signaling (offered every other Fall; To be offered Fall 2015)

This course will focus on the metabolic reprogramming of cells as they undergo the transformation from normal to cancer cells.  The metabolic strategies exploited by cancer cells are similar to those used by normal cells in our body, such as immune cells, which can undergo rapid proliferation in response to specific signals.  Emphasis will be placed on the unique nutrient and energy demands of growing tumors, the molecular mechanisms by which oncogenic signaling pathways chronically alter cellular metabolism, and therapeutic opportunities arising from the profound differences in the metabolism of normal versus tumor cells.  This course consists of one lecture and one session of critical reading of primary literature related to the lecture each week.


Immunology 307qc Cancer Immunology (offered every Fall)

There have been many exciting recent developments in the cancer immunology field, and multiple therapeutic approaches have shown efficacy against diverse types of cancer. This course will emphasize new mechanistic insights, in particular on the following topics: Mechanisms of spontaneous protective anti-tumor immunity; Key effector cell populations of anti-tumor immunity; Inflammation and tumor microenvironment; Immunosuppressive mechanisms in tumor immunity; Targeting of inhibitory receptors; Cancer vaccines; New approaches for delivery of immunotherapies into tumors. 


Cancer Biology Nanocourses

As part of the growing cancer biology curriculum, beginning in the Fall of 2010, we will be offering an array of nanocourses offered by our faculty and focused on topics relevant to cancer biology.  For an updated list of Nano and Quarter courses, please visit


Please visit our nanocourse page to view a list of cancer biology specific nanocourses.


Additional Courses

Also check out the complete listings of courses offered by the Division of Medical Sciences.


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