This 40-credit Master of Science degree is composed of 6 Core Courses and 4 Elective Courses. One of the Required Core Courses is Stem Cell Culture Laboratory Methods which has a residency that lasts one week.

Core Courses - Required

Complete all 6 courses.

This course will explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the growth and development of complex organisms. In particular, students will be introduced to the mechanisms of fertilization, formation of the early body plan, cell type determination, organogenesis, morphogenesis, and stem cell niches. The course will examine the cellular and morphological changes during development, as well as the molecular signals responsible for development of organisms. SCI

In this course, students learn about how gene therapy can be used to treat or prevent genetic disease in the human population. This course is centered around how disease-causing variations in the human genome, including inherited diseases, mutations, epigenetic modifications, and viral infections, can be targeted using molecular technologies. Students will learn about the benefits and limitations of gene therapy and the bioethical concerns involved with this field of research and medicine. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry or equivalent, 410.602 Molecular Biology or equivalent, 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology or equivalent. SCI

Regenerative Medicine is a multidisciplinary field developing next-generation therapies that aim to augment, repair, replace or regenerate tissues and organs. This field can be broadly defined by three overlapping technology domains: cell therapy, gene therapy, and tissue engineering. In this course, we will explore these regenerative medicines from bench to bedside. We will discuss relevant biological, engineering, clinical, legal, regulatory, and ethical principles and perspectives to understand the emerging field of regenerative medicine. Specific topics will include induced pluripotent stem cells, bioartificial organs, cell-based immunotherapy, and gene editing techniques such as a CRISPR/Cas-9. In addition to gaining a scientific foundation, students will become familiar with the current state of the industry and the process of bringing these regenerative medicine products to market, including market trends and opportunities, process development and manufacturing, and commercialization challenges and successes. Readings will be drawn primarily from scientific journals. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry; 410.602 Molecular Biology; 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology I. SCI

This course covers basic ethical notions in the conduct of research into regenerative medicine. Specific case studies involving informed consent, gene editing, organ transplantation, animal research, sources of stem cell lines, the use of placebos, and eugenics will be covered. Students will examine navigating the institutional research boards of different universities, hospitals, and institutions. Authorship, peer review, conflict of interest, and copyright law will be discussed. Students will explore international differences and approaches to the ethics of regenerative medicine and how that affects practice and how patients are treated.

This course will involve discussion and debate on current topics concerning stem cell biology and the use of stem cells in biotechnology and therapeutics. Topics will include review and discussion of developmental and cell biology, stem cell characteristics, stem cell preparation and therapeutic uses, tissue engineering, global regulatory and ethical issues, and commercialization of stem cell therapy. The course will also detail state-of-the-art techniques for the experimental study of stem cells for biotechnology and biomedical applications. Current peer-reviewed literature and guest experts in the field will provide up-to-date information for discussion. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry or equivalent; 410.602 Molecular Biology or equivalent; 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology or equivalent; 410.604 Cellular Signal Transduction. SCI

This laboratory course introduces students to the isolation, cultivation, and differentiation of stem cells. Students are introduced to reprogramming and differentiation protocols for various stem cell and cell progenitor types and the basics of tissue engineering. Students will scale up cells into mini-bioreactors for large-scale use. The class will include industry-wide practices in cGMP. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry or equivalent; 410.602 Molecular Biology or equivalent; 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology or equivalent; 410.604 Cellular Signal Transduction or equivalent; 410.652 Cell Culture Techniques or permission of programming committee. SCI

Elective Courses

You will choose 4 electives from the courses listed below.

Students examine cell-to-cell signaling that involves hormones and receptors, signal transduction pathways, second messenger molecules, cell adhesion, extracellular matrix, cell cycle, programmed cell death, methylation of DNA, modification of chromatin structure, and mechanisms of the cell. The roles that defects in signal transduction pathways play in the development of cancer and other disease states will be stressed. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry or equivalent; 410.602 Molecular Biology or equivalent; 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology or equivalent.

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. SCI

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. SCI

This course covers molecular and cellular immunology. Topics include innate immunity, adaptive immunity, the development and function of B cell and T cell antigen receptors, the major histocompatibility complexes, innate effector mechanisms, humoral and cellular immune responses, and regulation of immune responses. Special topics include immunomodulation, immunodeficiency diseases, autoimmunity, evasion and subversion of the immune system by pathogens, immunotherapies, and vaccines. Students are also introduced to the applied aspects of immunology, which include protein and cellular-based immunoassays. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry; 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology I. SCI

This course begins by reviewing receptor binding and enzyme kinetics. Various cellular receptors and their physiology are discussed, as are the pharmacological agents used to define and affect the receptor’s function. Students study the pharmacology of cell surface receptors and intracellular receptors. Also considered are the drugs that affect enzymes. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.602 Molecular Biology, 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology I, 410.604 Advanced Cell Biology II. SCI

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. SCI

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. SCI

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. SCI

This course introduces statistical concepts and analytical methods as applied to data encountered in biotechnology and biomedical sciences. It emphasizes the basic concepts of experimental design, quantitative analysis of data, and statistical inferences. Topics include probability theory and distributions; population parameters and their sample estimates; descriptive statistics for central tendency and dispersion; hypothesis testing and confidence intervals for means, variances, and proportions; categorical data analysis; linear correlation and regression model; logistic regression; analysis of variance; and nonparametric methods. The course provides students a foundation with which to evaluate information critically to support research objectives and product claims and a better understanding of statistical design of experimental trials for biological products/devices. Prerequisites: Basic mathematics (algebra). SCI

This laboratory course illustrates the use of basic cell culture techniques for bioscience research and commercial applications. Students are introduced to cell cultivation methods, including proper use of a biological safety cabinet, sterile technique, cell enumeration and media preparation, cultivation of cell lines, detection of contamination, cryopreservation, transfection, cell culture scale-up, and bioassays. This course is designed for students with no prior knowledge or with limited knowledge of cell culture methods. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry, 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology I. SCI

The Advanced Recombinant DNA Laboratory course consists of integrated laboratory exercises designed to give students hands-on experience with various molecular techniques. This innovative hybrid course is intended for advanced learners with extensive molecular biology experience who want to use the current and emerging techniques commonly employed in government and industry. This course will review fundamental molecular biology research principles and summarize the process of converting a research-based laboratory into a clinical-level laboratory. The onsite laboratory learning experiences will include, but not be limited to, PCR optimization, quantitative real-time PCR, and control of gene expression by DNA sequencing in the clinical setup. The essential concepts discussed will include setting up a clinical lab, writing Standard Operating Protocols (SOPs) at the clinical level, and applying for a CLIA certificate. Students will also be introduced to microarray analysis and the utilization of bioinformatics pipelines. Students are required to attend the onsite laboratory period. Prerequisites: 410.601 Biochemistry; 410.602 Molecular Biology; 410.656 Recombinant DNA Laboratory; or consent of program committee. 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 or equivalent; 410.602 Molecular Biology; 410.603 Advanced Cell Biology; 410.638 Cancer Biology; 410.633 Introduction to Bioinformatics is recommended.

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. SCI

Select four electives from the list of more than 100 general biotechnology electives and science elective courses. Be aware that the electives you are considering may include important prerequisites.


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

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