Degree Requirements

To graduate with MS in Individualized Genomics and Health, students are required to take six core courses, three concentration courses, and one elective.

Concentration Options

You may choose to pursue one of the following concentrations or customize a general concentration by selecting three courses from across the concentration options. This degree program’s concentration options are: 

  • Lab Diagnostic
  • Genomics
  • Regulatory
  • Policy

Core Courses

Students use genetic analysis and molecular biology techniques to investigate chromosome organization, chromatin structure, functional genomics, and mechanisms of differential gene expression. Other topics include DNA methylation, silencers, enhancers, genomic imprinting, and microarray analysis. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology. S

In this course, students learn to use the tools of modern genomics to elucidate phenotypic variation within populations. The course uses human disease (from simple Mendelian disorders to common, complex disorders) to exemplify the types of studies and tools that can be used to characterize cellular pathophysiology as well as to provide genetic diagnostics and therapies. Students become facile with linkage analysis, cancer genetics, microarray analysis (oligo and DNA arrays), gene therapy, SNP studies, imprinting, disequilibrium mapping, and ethical dilemmas associated with the Human Genome Project. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology. S

Because of recent advances, powerful diagnostic tests now detect genetic diseases, and there is promise of gene replacement therapy. In this course, students cover general genetic principles, DNA tools for genetic analysis, cytogenetics, gene mapping, the molecular basis of genetic diseases, animal models, immunogenetics, genetics of development, genetics of cancer, and treatment of genetic diseases. Molecular methods of analysis are emphasized. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology I. S

This course explores the theory and practice of biological database searching and analysis. In particular, students are introduced to integrated systems where a variety of data sources are connected through internet access. Information retrieval and interpretation are discussed, and many practical examples in a computer laboratory setting enable students to improve their data mining skills. Methods included in the course are searching the biomedical literature, sequence homology searching and multiple alignment, phylogeny, gene prediction, protein sequence motif analysis and secondary structure prediction, and several genome browsing methods. Introductory analysis using the R programming language is introduced. Computer access is required. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry. Corequisite: 410.602 Molecular Biology. S

This course provides an overview of the important ethical, legal, and regulatory issues that are critical to the biotechnology industry. The course shares current trends and essential elements of ethics, legal issues, and regulations in a way that allows for an appreciation of how each influences the others. Students will examine core ethical values that guide the practice of science in the biotechnology industry. The course will provide an overview of legal issues, such as protecting inventions, intellectual property, licensing, and the range of regulatory oversight mechanisms with which the biotech industry must comply. This course will review the implications of strategic ethical, legal, and regulatory choices that add value to the biotechnology firm, customers, and society.

With the advent of rapid, low-cost whole-genome sequencing, the field of personalized medicine is growing from a niche field to becoming the new standard of practice in medicine. Already, oncology makes use of genomic sequencing to inform treatment decisions based on tumor types, and patients are seeking knowledge about their genetic and environmental risk factors to make informed health decisions. This class explores the evolving field of personalized medicine, examining genomics as well as proteomics, metabolomics, epigenetics, and the microbiome. Students will read and discuss new developments in pharmacogenomics, rare and complex diseases, genomics for the healthy person, and the ethical, economic, and social implications of these new technologies. These topics will be approached with a view toward application in clinical practice. Prerequisites: 410.602 Molecular Biology; 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics.

Lab Diagnostic Concentration Courses

Choose three.

This course covers basic concepts and practical applications of modern laboratory diagnostic techniques. Topics include the principles of testing methodology, quality assurance, and the application of molecular methods to the clinical and research laboratory. The test methods to be covered include nucleic acid-based methods, such as hybridization, amplification, and sequencing, non-nucleic acid methods, such as HPLC, GLC, and protein analysis, and technologies such as PFGE, ribotyping, RFLP, and serological testing methodologies. In addition to the test procedures, students are exposed to aspects of statistics, quality control, and regulatory issues, as well as applications of these methods to the diagnosis and prognosis of human disease. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology.

This laboratory course introduces students to methods for manipulating and analyzing nucleic acids. Students gain extensive hands-on experience with plasmid purification, restriction mapping, ligations, bacterial transformations, gel electrophoresis, and applications of the polymerase chain reaction. This course is not recommended for students with substantial experience in these methodologies. Prerequisites: 410.602 Molecular Biology. SCI

This course is a continuation of Recombinant DNA Laboratory (410.656), intended for those who have completed the introductory course, or who have extensive molecular biology laboratory experience. This second course consists of a series of integrated laboratory exercises designed to give students hands-on experience with a variety of molecular techniques. Exercises include molecular cloning; PCR optimization; quantitative real time PCR; control of gene expression by RNA interference (RNAi), CRISPR and DNA sequencing. Students will be introduced microarray analysis, and utilization of bioinformatics pipelines. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry; 410.602 Molecular Biology; 410.656 Recombinant DNA Laboratory; or consent of program committee.

The recent revolution in DNA sequencing technologies has transformed biology within a few short years, decreasing the cost and difficulty of sequencing dramatically to the point where the “$1,000 human genome” is in sight. Armed with complete genome sequences, biologists need to identify the genes encoded within and the variation in these genes between individuals, assign functions to the genes, and put these into functional and metabolic pathways. This course will provide an overview of next-generation sequencing technologies in the historical context of DNA sequencing, the pros and cons of each technology, and the bioinformatics techniques used with this sequence information, beginning with quality control assessment, genome assembly, and annotation. Prerequisites: 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics, 410.634 Practical Computer Concepts for Bioinformatics.

This course will introduce students to various methods for analyzing and interpreting transcriptomics data generated from technologies such as oligonucleotides or two-channel microarrays, qRT-PCR, and RNA sequencing. Topics will include scaling/normalization, outlier analysis, and missing value imputation. Students will learn how to identify differentially expressed genes and correlate their expression with clinical outcomes such as disease activity or survival with relevant statistical tests; methods to control for multiple testing will also be presented. An introduction to linear and nonlinear dimensionality reduction methods and both supervised and unsupervised clustering and classification approaches will be provided. Open source tools and databases for biological interpretation of results will be introduced. Assignments and concepts will make use of publicly available datasets, and students will compute and visualize results using the statistical software R. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.645 Biostatistics, 410.634 Practical Computer Concepts for Bioinformatics, or an undergraduate computer programming course. SCI

Genomics Concentration Courses

Choose three.

This course introduces students with a background in the life sciences to the basic computing concepts of the UNIX operating system, relational databases, structured programming, object-oriented programming, and the Internet. Included is an introduction to SQL and the Python scripting language. The course emphasizes relevance to molecular biology and bioinformatics. It is intended for students with no computer programming background but with a solid knowledge of molecular biology. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology.

Large-scale DNA sequencing efforts have resulted in increasingly large numbers of DNA sequences being deposited in public databases. Assigning annotations, such as exon boundaries, repeat regions, and other biologically relevant information accurately in the feature tables of these sequences requires a significant amount of human intervention. This course instructs students on computer analytical methods for gene identification, promoter analysis, and introductory gene expression analysis using software methods. Additionally, students are introduced to comparative genomics and proteomic analysis methods. Students will become proficient in annotating large genomic DNA sequences. This course covers customizing genome browsers with novel data. Next-generation sequence analysis is covered through sequence quality control and assembly and analysis of ChIP-seq and RNA-seq data. Students complete two large sequence analysis projects during the course. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry; 410.602 Molecular Biology; 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics or equivalent.

The recent revolution in DNA sequencing technologies has transformed biology within a few short years, decreasing the cost and difficulty of sequencing dramatically to the point where the “$1,000 human genome” is in sight. Armed with complete genome sequences, biologists need to identify the genes encoded within and the variation in these genes between individuals, assign functions to the genes, and put these into functional and metabolic pathways. This course will provide an overview of next-generation sequencing technologies in the historical context of DNA sequencing, the pros and cons of each technology, and the bioinformatics techniques used with this sequence information, beginning with quality control assessment, genome assembly, and annotation. Prerequisites: 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics, 410.634 Practical Computer Concepts for Bioinformatics.

This course will introduce students to various methods for analyzing and interpreting transcriptomics data generated from technologies such as oligonucleotides or two-channel microarrays, qRT-PCR, and RNA sequencing. Topics will include scaling/normalization, outlier analysis, and missing value imputation. Students will learn how to identify differentially expressed genes and correlate their expression with clinical outcomes such as disease activity or survival with relevant statistical tests; methods to control for multiple testing will also be presented. An introduction to linear and nonlinear dimensionality reduction methods and both supervised and unsupervised clustering and classification approaches will be provided. Open source tools and databases for biological interpretation of results will be introduced. Assignments and concepts will make use of publicly available datasets, and students will compute and visualize results using the statistical software R. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.645 Biostatistics, 410.634 Practical Computer Concepts for Bioinformatics, or an undergraduate computer programming course. SCI

Alterations to the genome are the basis of cancer development, but not all mutations cause cancer. Cancer genomics is the study of cancer cell genomes to elucidate how changes from the normal host genome drive cancer development and how these changes can be targeted for better prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer. In this course, students learn about the multi-step process of tumorigenesis and the confounding development of passenger mutations that challenge the use of genomics to inform therapies. Students will use bioinformatics tools to analyze human cancer genomic data sets to understand the genetic basis of cancer and how to identify genetic signatures in tumors to guide treatment. Topics also include the development of drug resistance, biological sample acquisition, the technologies used to identify and distinguish pathogenic alleles, and how data is stored, referenced, and shared. Discussions about clinical trials and standards of care based on cancer genomics, and about the ethical challenges raised by the use of genomic information to make personal care decisions, are included in the course. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.603 Advanced Cellular Biology I. 410.638 Cancer Biology is recommended. SCI

The emerging field of metagenomics allows for the study of entire communities of microorganisms at once, with far-reaching applications in a wide array of fields, such as medicine, agriculture, and bioremediation. Students will learn the principles of metagenomics through the exploration of published project data and guided readings of recent literature. Using data from the Human Microbiome Project, students will explore practical analysis tasks, including sequence assembly, gene prediction and annotation, metabolic reconstruction, taxonomic community profiling, and more. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics, 410.634 Practical Computer Concepts for Bioinformatics. SCI

Regulatory Concentration Courses

Choose three.

This course introduces students to the planning and work required to develop potential new drugs and biologics efficiently. Students gain a thorough appreciation of FDA and International Council for Harmonisation regulations and guidelines. Because the course emphasizes the importance of planning before the execution of any of the necessary steps, lectures use a “backward” approach, discussing the final analysis and report before developing protocols. Topics also include an overview of preclinical investigations, NDA/BLA format and content, clinical development plans, product and assay development, the IND, and trial design, implementation, and management. Prerequisites: 410.303 Foundations of Bioscience OR 410.601 Biochemistry and 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology OR admission to the MS in Regulatory Science Program OR Master of Biotechnology Enterprise and Entrepreneurship programs. SCI

The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act governs the regulatory approval process for bringing a drug, biologic, medical device, food, or cosmetic to market. The class will discuss administrative procedures followed by the FDA. The course includes an overview of the drug, biologic, and medical device approval processes and the regulation of food and dietary supplements. Students then will be exposed to the enforcement activities of the FDA, including searches, seizure actions, injunctions, criminal prosecutions, and civil penalties authorized under the FD&C Act as well as other statutes, like the Public Health Service Act, which regulates the development and approval of biologics.

Software continually grows more complex and is becoming relied upon by health care professionals in the treatment of patients. This course describes how the U.S. government regulates software used in delivering health care, including the regulations utilized by the FDA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. This course covers a wide range of topics, including FDA regulation of software as a medical device and software validation, medical imaging software regulation, electronic record keeping and software used in clinical trials, laboratory information management systems, and HIPAA privacy rules and security standards.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of in vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices and how they are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and internationally, including the European Union (E.U.). Topics that will be covered include: (1) a summary of the U.S. and international laws, regulations, and policies that govern IVD devices, (2) administrative and legal requirements and resources for IVD devices throughout the full product life-cycle, (3) types of IVD devices, (4) coverage and reimbursement of laboratory tests, and (5) current issues and developments.

Upon completion of this course, the student will have a working knowledge of the requirements and policies of the regulation of IVD devices.

Policy Concentration Courses

Choose three. Course options include:
∙ Ethics in Personalized Medicine - 410.762
∙ Legal Aspects of Personalized Medicine - 410.763
∙ Healthcare Economics - 410.764

Medical products brought to market need to have a sound payment, coding, and coverage strategy.  Medicare covers over 100 million Americans and it leads the way in all United States insurance policies.  This course will provide insight into how medical product reimbursement works and allow students to understand how the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) considers medical products for coverage, coding, and payment.  We’ll review the history of Medicare coverage and the regulations.  We’ll focus primarily on strategies used to get reimbursement for medical products—both at the national and local levels.

This course provides a comprehensive overview of in vitro diagnostic (IVD) devices and how they are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and internationally, including the European Union (E.U.). Topics that will be covered include: (1) a summary of the U.S. and international laws, regulations, and policies that govern IVD devices, (2) administrative and legal requirements and resources for IVD devices throughout the full product life-cycle, (3) types of IVD devices, (4) coverage and reimbursement of laboratory tests, and (5) current issues and developments.

Upon completion of this course, the student will have a working knowledge of the requirements and policies of the regulation of IVD devices.

Biotechnology Elective

Select one elective from the list of more than 100 general biotechnology electives and science elective courses. Pay close attention to whether the elective you are considering includes any prerequisites, and speak with your adviser about whether you will need to seek permission from the program committee.

STATE-SPECIFIC INFORMATION FOR ONLINE PROGRAMS

Students should be aware of state-specific information for online programs. For more information, please contact an admissions representative.

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