Course Descriptions

Elective Courses Taught at Meharry Medical College
Perspectives in Immunology (MICR 702)
Gene Transcription and Regulation (BSCI 719)
Directed Studies (BSCI 736)
Advanced Seminar and Special Topics (MICR 901)
Advanced Virology (MICR 713)

Elective Courses Taught at Vanderbilt
Cellular and Molecular Basis of Vascular Disease
Microbial Genetics
Molecular Virology
Cellular Microbiology of the Pathogen-Host Interaction
Human Genetics

COURSE DESCRIPTIONS FOR THE PROGRAM IN MICROBIOLOGY AND IMMUNOLOGY

MICR 702. PERSPECTIVES IN IMMUNOLOGY. This course consists of a series of seminars on recent research advances in immunology. Topics covered include immunochemistry, immunogenetics, cellular immunity, tumor and transplantation immunology, immunopathology, and the complement system. Prerequisite: Medical Microbiology or equivalent preparation in immunology. 3 credit hours. SPRING, even years. 

MICR 703. SEMINAL PAPERS ON THE FOUNDATIONS OF MODERN MICROBIOLOGY. Students present and discuss papers describing fundamental discoveries in areas related to microbiology. The goal is to familiarize students with the process of scientific discovery and with the history of major developments in the field. Topics include important discoveries involving major human pathogens, fundamental processes in molecular biology, and the development of technology that has a major impact on current biomedical research. 2 credit hours. FALL, every year. 

MICRO 707. FUNDAMENTALS OF MICROBIOLOGY. This course explores the importance of microorganisms as both living systems and disease causing agents.  Topics will include discussion of selected, bacterial, parasitic, and fungal infections, and mechanisms of disease pathogenesis. 3 credit hours, Spring every year.

MICR 708. FOUNDATIONS IN RESEARCH. The goal of this course is for the student to critically review the literature relevant to his/her proposed thesis research. The outcome of the course is a student-prepared paper that provides a thoroughly documented background that supports the rationale for the proposed research project. The choice of the research problem should be determined by the student in consultation with the preceptor. Each student is guided by a committee of three faculty members that include the student’s preceptor. 3 credit hours. SPRING, every year. 

MICR 709. HOST-PATHOGEN RELATIONSHIPS. The course is designed primarily for advanced graduate students. Instruction consists of lectures, informal discussions, and guest speakers. Emphasis is directed to examining the theoretical, molecular, ultrastructural, and physiological elements which characterize hosts and parasites in the broad sense (bacteria, viruses, and parasites). Prerequisites: MICR-710 or equivalent preparation in immunology. 5 credit hours. SPRING, odd years.

MICR 710. FUNDAMENTALS IN IMMUNOLOGY. This course reviews the basic concepts in immunology. It consists of the immunology lecture and laboratory component of Medical Microbiology and seminar/discussions focused on selected topics in immunology. This course may serve as a pre-requisite for advanced immunology courses offered by the Department of Microbiology. 3 credit hours. SPRING, every year. 

MICR 713. MOLECULAR BIOLOGY OF ANIMAL VIRUSES. Lecture course with emphasis on mechanisms of viral replication, oncogenic transformation, and virus-host cell interactions. 3 credit hours. SPRING, alternate years. 

MICR 714. ROLE OF MICROORGANISMS IN THE LIVING WORLD. A topical course exploring the biology of microorganisms. Emphasis on mechanisms underlying microbial adaptations and how they influence biological systems. 2 credit hours. SPRING, every year. 

MICR 715. FUNDAMENTALS IN VIROLOGY. This course provides a fundamental understanding of the molecular basis of viral replication and virus-cell interactions. The objectives of the course will be accomplished through lecture and journal article discussion. Prerequisite for: MICR 713. Molecular Biology of Animal Viruses. 3 credit hours, Fall, every year.

BSCI 719. GENE TRANSCRIPTION AND REGULATION. Structure and function of different RNA polymerases (RNAPs). Role of CTD (C-terminal domain) of RNAP II. Basic aspects of initiation of transcription by RNAPs I, II, and III. Molecular mechanisms of transcription activation. Regulation of basic transcription initiation, elongation, and termination in bacterial system. Regulation of transcription initiation, elongation, and termination in eukaryotic system. Chromatin and regulation of transcription. DNA topology and gene expression. Structural studies (X-ray crystallography and NMR) of transcription factors. Nucleic acid-protein interactions. Regulation of expression of tumor suppressor genes and human tumor virus genes. Methods involved in transcription research. 3 credit hours. SPRING, even years. 

BSCI 736. READINGS IN BIOMEDICAL SCIENCES (Directed Studies). Intensive reading under the guidance of a faculty member in an area selected by the student. The student and faculty member meet weekly to discuss the readings; the student may be required to write a paper on the semester's reading. 1-3 credits. FALL and SPRING, every year. 

MICR 850. MICROBIOLOGY RESEARCH. Ph.D. Dissertation Research. Required of students who are candidates for the doctoral degree. 1-12 credit hours. FALL and SPRING, every year. 

MICR 900. MICROBIOLOGY SEMINAR. Weekly discussion of current topics in microbiological research and of research within the department. 0-1 credit hour. FALL and SPRING, every year.

MICR 901. ADVANCED SEMINAR AND SPECIAL TOPICS. This course is a discussion by advanced graduate students and a faculty discussion leader who make assignments from the current literature on a specific subspecialty. The course examines experimental design, laboratory techniques used, validity of conclusions, and contributions to the knowledge of the field under consideration. 1-3 credit hours. FALL and SPRING, every year.


Courses taught at Vanderbilt University that are permitted as electives in this program

Cellular and Molecular Pathology 337. CELLULAR AND MOLECULAR BASIS OF VASCULAR DISEASE. Lectures on contemporary research in cell biology, protein and lipid biochemistry, and molecular biology of the vascular system. 3 credit hours. SPRING

Microbiology and Immunology 328 1. MICROBIAL GENETICS. The genetics of bacteria and yeast and their use in molecular biology as an experimental tool. 2 credit hours. FALL.

Microbiology and Immunology 328 2. MOLECULAR VIROLOGY. The interaction of animal viruses with their host cells, discussed at the molecular and cellular level as model systems. Special emphasis on current literature and methodology. 3 credit hours. FALL.

Microbiology and Immunology 350. CELLULAR MICROBIOLOGY OF THE PATHOGEN-HOST INTERACTION. An interdisciplinary course designed to train students in the field of molecular microbiology and/or cell biology. Model organisms or their products are analyzed in the context of molecular cell microbiology. Students are challenged to utilize new information from microbial genome sequencing to understand host cell subcellular compartments and signaling pathways. 3 credit hours. SPRING.

Molecular Physiology and Biophysics 340. HUMAN GENETICS. Designed to cover background and latest advances in human genetics. Topics include an overview of mutational mechanisms, cytogenetics (detection and description of chromosomal abnormalities), biochemical genetics (gene defects in biochemical pathways), molecular genetics (gene structure, function, and expression), population genetics (heritability, quantitative traits, variance analysis), gene mapping (positional cloning, statistical and molecular techniques), and genetic epidemiology (genetic linkage analysis, design of gene mapping studies, gene-environment interaction). Topics are discussed with reference to specific human genetic diseases. 3 credit hours. SPRING.