Philadelphia University + Thomas Jefferson University

Required & Elective Courses

Following are the courses available to trainees with their corresponding credit hours.

During the first and second years, the predoctoral students take courses in biochemistry, physiology and neurosciences. These courses provide the students with a solid foundation for understanding integrated molecular, cellular, and organ system function and dysfunction

The Biochemistry requirement is satisfied by either completion of BI 510 or the series of courses BI 515, BI 525, and BI 535.

General Biochemistry (BI 510) - Credits 10
The subject matter of this course includes: (1) properties and structures of biological compounds; (2) enzymology; (3) provision of energy to the cell via the major catabolic pathways; (4) utilization of energy by the cell for macromolecular synthesis and muscle contraction; (5) nutrition; (6) growth, replication and differentiation, including biochemical genetics and developmental biochemistry.

or, the following series of courses:

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology I - The Architectural Building Blocks, BI 525 - Credits 3
This course teaches the structure and function of the basic molecules of life, the proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates and lipids. How the structure of these molecules determine the nature of living organisms will be discussed along with the nature and mechanisms of enzymatic catalysis.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology II - Genetic Information, BI 525 - Credits 3
Basic principles of both prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular biology. The course focuses on how genetic information is transmitted and expressed on the molecular level. The subject matter includes chromosome structure, DNA replication, repair and recombination, prokaryotic and eukaryotic transcription, RNA splicing, protein synthesis, translation apparatus and mitochondrial genomes.

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology III - Metabolism, BI 535 - Credits 3
Catabolic and anabolic pathways of carbohydrate, lipid and amino acid metabolism and their biochemical interrelationships and regulation. Also addressed are research directed at understanding the biochemical basis of a few selected diseases, as well as current research efforts in the field of metabolic regulation.

The Physiology requirement is satisfied by the following course:

Mammalian Physiology (PS 520) - Credits 10
Core information on the physiologic process in health, with special attention to functions of organs and systems and the mechanisms of their integration is provided. The physiologic bases of dysfunctions and the various aspects of applied physiology that constitute the foundations of medicine are discussed. Correlation lectures by experts from the clinical departments of Thomas Jefferson University and other institutions present current concepts and the application of basic physiology to clinical medicine.

The Neuroscience requirement is satisfied by the following course:

Introduction to Neuroscience (GC 700) - Credits 3
This course is a graduate lecture/seminar survey course that is designed to introduce students to basic concepts and experimental approaches to issues in the neurosciences. The course is divided into a series of four integrated sections focusing on: 1) Neurophysiology and Synaptic Transmission; 2) Neuroanatomy and Systems; 3) Developmental Neurobiology; and 4) Molecular Neurobiology. An interdepartmental team of faculty leads students through these topics with a series of lectures and discussions based upon assigned text readings and current journal articles.

Other courses taken by the students during the first year include the following:

Seminar (PS 710 and PS 720) - Credits 3
Presentations by staff and invited speakers of new developments in their research activities. A question and answer period follows each seminar presentation.

Research (PS 910 and 920) - Variable Credits
Students spend four weeks in each of four staff members' laboratories becoming acquainted with the kinds of research and techniques employed prior to choosing an advisor. Choice of an advisor is made no later than the end of the summer following the first year, at which time the trainee works in the laboratory of his or her advisor until completion of the training program.

Other required Courses:

Research Ethics: The Responsible Conduct of Research (GC 640) - Credits 1
This graduate seminar course is designed to familiarize students with the ethical dilemmas inherent to the conduct of research. Topics discussed include codes of ethical behavior, research design, conflicts of interest, informed consent and the appropriate use of animals. (Usually taken in first year).

Literature Review (PS 617, 627, 637) - Credits 2
A critical written review of the recent literature on a topic of interest to the student (not related to thesis research), which includes a proposed problem of study and rationale for conducting the investigation. (Usually taken in third or fourth year).

Statistical Methods for Data Analysis (GC 669) - Credits 2
Students learn to apply the principles and techniques of basic statistical analysis. Lectures and workshop sessions are used to familiarize the students with issues relating to both descriptive and inferential statistical methods. (Taken anytime)

Seminar (PS 710 and PS 720) - Credits 3
Presentations by staff and invited speakers of new developments in their research activities. A question and answer period follows each seminar presentation. (Taken on a continuous basis)

Research (PS 910 and 920) - Variable Credits
Under the supervision of a member of the graduate faculty and guidance of a thesis research committee, the students learn research design, methodology, and experimental techniques. (Taken on a continuous basis)

The students are also required to take at least four advanced graduate courses offered by the Department of Physiology. These include the following:

Muscle Physiology (PS 613) - Credits 2
Selected topics on the properties of muscle and other tissues having contractile properties, including electrical and mechanical phenomena, energetics, and modification of intrinsic regulation through evolution are presented. Seminars and lectures requiring reading and discussion of classic and current literature are included.

Energy Transduction in Biological Systems (PS 624) - Credits 2
A discussion of energy transduction in biological systems. Topics include the thermodynamics of biological processes, energetics of muscle contraction, active transport mechanisms, and oxidative phosphorylation. Course includes student presentations of related subject material.

Membrane and Cell Physiology (PS 631) - Credits 2
The course focuses on aspects of receptor-mediated signal transduction, activation of second messenger systems, and the regulation of cellular proliferation and differentiation. The course includes a review of original literature and presentations by the students.

Pathophysiology of Circulatory Disease States (PS 633) - Credits 2
Lectures, discussions, readings and seminars on current problems in the mechanisms of acute circulatory shock (e.g., hemorrhagic, endotoxic, cardiogenic, bowel ischemia), acute myocardial ischemia, myocardial infarction including reperfusion injury. Emphasis is placed on integration of physiologic mechanisms, particularly relating humoral mediators to cellular responses responsible for disruption of circulatory homeostasis.

Molecular Physiology of Ion Channels (PS 634) - Credits 2
This course examines the function and structure of ion channels found in the plasma membrane of excitable cells (nerves and muscles). Functional studies stress patch clamp, single channel recording, and heterologous expression of cloned and mutated channel proteins. A theoretical introduction to the biophysics of ion channels is presented, and the students present current research papers.

Current Literature of Physiology (PS 730, 731, 732) - Credit -1
The courses facilitate student development in the skills that enable them to read and evaluate critically current scientific literature. These courses deal in depth with a specific topic in physiology. The class will meet biweekly in the format of a journal club. Classes consist of student presentations and discussions under the guidance of participating faculty. Students present on a rotating basis and are expected to lead a discussion of a current scientific paper.

Special Topics in Ion Channels (PS 640) - Credits - 2
A seminar series to elucidate and integrate various aspects of contemporary knowledge of ion channel biophysics. This course coincides with meetings of the ion channel core group.

Special Topics in Signal Transduction (PS 650) - Credits - 2
A seminar series to elucidate and integrate various aspects of contemporary knowledge of specific physiological phenomena and underlying signal transduction mechanisms. This course coincides with meetings of the signal transduction core group.

Special Topics in Motility (PS 660) - Credits - 2
A seminar series to elucidate and integrate various aspects of motility including skeletal, cardiac and smooth muscle biophysics and regulation. This course coincides with meetings of the motility core group.

Elective Courses:
In addition to the required courses, students must take several elective courses. These elective courses can be from the Department of Physiology, but must include courses from other basic science departments within Thomas Jefferson University. Below are representative examples of elective courses being offered by the basic science departments.

Molecular Pharmacology (PR680) - Credits 3
This course focuses on regulation of cell function through an understanding of hormone neurotransmitter and drug action at the molecular level. Specific emphasis is placed on the mechanisms by which cell surface receptors, GTP binding proteins, effector enzymes and ion channels mediated signal transduction.

Concepts in Cell Biology (PA 510) - Credits - 3
An overview is provided of structure-function relationships in mammalian cells and subcellular structures.

Molecular Basis of Development (AN 615) - Credits - 3
Current concepts of the molecular basis of cellular interactions and genomic regulation during development are presented. Lectures and discussion groups deal with analytic problems in embryology, morphogenesis and cell differentiation. Selected topics of emphasis may change from year to year, and guest speakers will participate to provide additional topics of current interest.

Experimental Principles of Molecular Biology (B1 512, 522, 532) - Credits 2
A review of the current experimental approaches used in selective areas of molecular biology research, focusing on practical aspects that are fundamental to many biomedical research topics are covered. The course represents a novel and integrated introduction to the experimental components of the rapidly expanding field of molecular biology and attempts to familiarize the students with general and specific protocols and terminologies used in current molecular research.

Introduction to Molecular Genetics (GE 611) - Credits 3
Analysis of the molecular mechanisms of classical genetics, such as Mendelian inheritance, segregation, mutations, linkage, and gene mapping. Special emphasis is placed on recombination and gene conversion. Mechanisms of transposition, the effects of transposable elements on other genes, hybrid dysgenesis, and suppression of mutations are discussed. These principles are used to examine the genetic interactions of complex loci such as the homeotic loci, and transvection effects.

Laboratory Animal Science (GC 529) - Credits 4
This course serves as a means to introduce students to the field of laboratory animal science and the practical application of information gained therein to assorted aspects of animal research. Lecture topics concern regulations and their effect on the care and use of laboratory animals, the biology and husbandry of the common laboratory animal species, animal and occupational health, experimental surgery, proper use of analgesia and anesthesia.

Fundamentals of Immunology (IM 505) - Credits 4
A comprehensive course encompassing the major areas of immunology: 1) the cells and organs of the immune system; 2) nature of antigens, antibodies, and receptors; 3) lymphocyte activation, proliferation, and differentiation; 4) the major histocompatability complex; 5) regulation of the immune response; 6) effector mechanisms of immunity; and 7) immunologic mechanisms in disease. The format involves both lecture and discussion of specific topics and students are encouraged to acquire an understanding of classical and modern immunologic concepts through analysis of their experimental basis. Discussions of critical techniques in immunology are incorporated throughout the course.

General Pharmacology (PR 522) - Credits 3
Introduction to the basic principles of drug action, including molecular mechanisms, time and dose dependency of drug actions, pharmacokinetics, toxicity, resistance and tolerance, pharmacogenetics, mutagenesis, carcinogenesis, and drug development and evaluation.

Issues in Physiology (PS 521) - Credits 3
Current issues in Physiology, involving the major organ systems, are explored in depth at the metabolic, cellular and systemic levels. Integration of knowledge of material at these different levels is stressed.

Special Topics in Physiology (PS 640, 650, 660) - Credits 2
A seminar series to elucidate and integrate various aspects of contemporary knowledge of specific physiological phenomena, such as work dynamics of the heart, developmental physiology of certain organ systems, and neurohumoral control of metabolic processes is presented.


Marion J. Seigman
Chair & Professor
Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics

For Applications:

Ms. Jessie Pervall
Director of Admissions & Recruitment
Jefferson College of Life Sciences
1020 Locust Street, M-60
Philadelphia, PA 19107-6799
(215) 503-4400
(215) 503-3433 fax

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