Office of Graduate Programs in Biomedicine

Graduate Programs in Biomedicine

MSc/PhD Programs

Course Descriptions

GB 500 CAA - Credits: 3.0 Orientation to Research:  The Responsible Conduct of Research

The Responsible Conduct of Research sequence is composed of a number of topics that have been defined by the Office of Research Integrity (ORI) as key elements for the proper conduct of research.  Several granting agencies, most notably the NIH and NSF, have mandated training for all faculty and students involved in any aspect of research with a funding link to these agencies.  Some of the topics are also integrated into the research methodology courses.  Other required topics, contained herein, are organized in three groupings: those involved in ethics and professionalism including data acquisition; the role and responsibilities of mentorship; and the oversight by institutional committees.

This course consists of three sections, all of which present information related to the proper conduct of research. Each section addresses specific issues.

Section (a) focuses on the courses required by the Office of Research Integrity. The list of modules and courses follows later in this syllabus.

Section (b) addresses multiple issues related to graduate student requirements at Salus University and includes a discussion of the vault, e-labber, the Record book the laboratory book, student-mentor relationships, a course on scientific writing strategies and the student’s responsibilities and other obligations.

Section (c) concerns the regulatory mandates as formulated by the institutional policies, the Institutional Review Board (IRB), Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC) and the Safety and Radiation Committees at Salus University.

GB 510 CAA - Credits: 1.5 Research Methodology:  Introduction to Research Methods

This course presents the scientific method and examines the way in which one reviews and uses the literature in developing and formulating a research question.  It discusses the hierarchy of the strength of evidence found in different forms of research literature including the results from clinical trials so as to help the student be a critical appraiser of the current information.  The course discusses how to formulate a research question.  Cognitive errors in fundamental and clinical research, such as issues of bias, are introduced as major pitfalls to avoid.  Generic approaches to problem-solving in research are discussed and placed within the context of the type of research and funding that may influence the way in which the experimental design is developed.

GB 511 CAA - Credits: 2.0 Research Methodology:  Measurement and Design

This course addresses the understanding of the concepts of measurement and experimental design. It is structured to teach how to critically examine and evaluate research findings on the basis of construct validity, internal validity, external validity, statistical validity and conformity to research ethical principles.

 GB 512 CAA - Credits: 2.0 Research Methodology:  Data Analysis and Biostatistics

This course addresses statistical concepts and their application to experimental designs. The student will learn to choose the appropriate statistical test for specific study designs.

GB 513 CAA -  Credits: 2.0 Research Methodology:  Strategies in Choosing Methodology and
Instrumentation in Experimental Medical Research

The student must choose one of the following two options:
The first option is in terms of clinical studies and focuses on how to apply the design of the various clinical trial models including cohort, cross-sectional studies, or randomized blinded trials studies to a clinical research project. Topics include structuring pilot clinical trials, conducting and monitoring the study, and assessing outcomes and analyses.  There will be significant use of examples and opportunities for discussion.

The second option addresses the application of laboratory techniques to basic science research in biomedicine.  Candidates will be trained in aspects related to the areas of wet lab techniques including but not limited to, protein chemistry, biochemistry, clinical immunology, RNA/DNA analysis, microscopy and tissue culture procedures.  In addition, the course will include competencies in the evaluation and interpretation of the results obtained via laboratory techniques.

GB 710 CAA -  Credits: 2.0 Research Methodology:  Epidemiology

This course discusses the basic concepts of epidemiology as applied to human health and disease.  The student learns how this data is derived, how it is reported and the role of biostatistics in describing and cataloging various diseases, epidemics, patterns of disease emergence and management.  Examples of epidemiologic study designs are presented so as to highlight associations between risk factors, genetics, environmental conditions and disease management and their relative impact on outcomes.  Lastly, the criteria for causal inferences are presented.  This then provides a broad overview of the approaches and reporting of public health problems and how this information can be used in biomedical research.

GB 711 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Methodology: Budget Construction

This course discusses the inventory of costs involved in both fundamental and clinical research.  It then presents budget construction modeled after an NIH RO1, an NSF grant, and contracts with industry, and military contracts.  The student proceeds through a refinement of his/her draft budget and a finalization process.

GB 712 CAA - Credits: 2.0 Research Methodology:  Special Issues Related to Clinical Trials Research

This course discusses certain topics which relate specifically to Clinical Trials such as designing a questionnaire and/or interviews, study and quality control in the implementation phase, difficulties in the recruitment of sufficient numbers of subjects, how to deal with “drop-out”, differences between “clinical” populations and a “community” population, and accounting for differences in culture.  The course will include a number of examples as well as exercises for the students to address and discuss in class.

GB 530 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar: Introduction to Seminar Teaching and Learning

This course begins by discussing the “seminar” format, the rules for making the most of the seminars, and how the research program uses seminars to teach communication styles and effectiveness.  Several selected faculty members will present seminars on aspects of their research allowing time for questions from students on the research itself as well as on the methods of presentation utilized by the presenter.  The students will also be exposed to various ways of formulating questions so as to secure information in a non-confrontational manner and how to discuss opposing points of view.

BI 531 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar: Critical Review the Literature

During this term, each student presents their “Review of the Literature” document, addressing the identification of the seminal projects and publications in the area, and what papers contributed information.  They will learn to lead the audience through the logic path with which they formulated their hypothesis and specific aims.  Following this presentation, they must then present a revision of the above documentation to their respective mentors.

GB 532 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar:  How to Prepare Present and Critique Posters

This seminar is devoted to the writing of an abstract and a poster presentation.  Faculty members discuss the elements of good poster presentations and pitfalls to avoid in the first two presentations.  Students are given the guidelines for abstract and posters for one association’s meetings.  They then take their pilot data, write up an abstract and a draft poster which they then present in seminar fashion to an audience of other students and faculty.  The audience asks questions and critiques the poster.  Given the feedback, the students then rewrite their posters and present their work in a second and final presentation.

GB 630 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar: Critiquing a Research Proposal

This seminar is designed to provide the students with the experience of evaluating and critiquing a research proposal and its experimental design.  The first session will be faculty lead and will demonstrate how one facilitates this process.  Each student will then be assigned a proposal which they will present, discuss and critique.  Each student will also lead the discussion of their assigned proposal.  The proposals will be chosen so as to illustrate specific concepts that have been addressed in the two research methodology courses (BI 511 and BI 512) and all three courses will be sequentially linked.

GB 631 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar:  The Research Project-1

Each student presents a seminar on their individual research projects and the data gathered so far.  Other attending students must formulate questions and constructively critique their colleagues’ presentation on the overall organization of the material, the clarity of the questions being asked and the method of presentation of the data.  Faculty members are also expected to provide written suggestions to the student regarding the presentation.  If there are too few students, other invited speakers may be asked to present.

GB 730 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar: The Research Project-2

This seminar is a continuation of the seminar series in which the student presents his/her data and is critiqued by students and faculty. These seminars are expected to facilitate the process of dissertation defense and oral presentations at meetings.

GB 731 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Seminar: The Research Project- 3

This seminar is a continuation of the seminar series in which the student presents his/her data and is critiqued by students and faculty. These seminars are expected to facilitate the process of dissertation defense and oral presentations at meetings.

GB 830 CAA - Credits: 1.0 The Viva Seminar

This seminar is the last of the seminar series to be presented at the time of the defense viva.

GB 560 CAA - Credits: 0.5 Oral Examination:  The Qualifying Examination

This course reviews the purpose and the elements of the qualifying examination, the strategy behind the selection of the examining committee, how to prepare for a viva voce format and the possible outcomes.  The student is then guided through the organization of the submitted document, the relevance of each section and what must be included.  There is also a discussion of how the student should structure answers to questions and the way one addresses differences.  Role playing is used to make certain points with examples of successful and unsuccessful documents and behaviors. If the student is not successful, the alternatives are discussed as are the various appeal procedures so that the student is informed prior to the examination.

GB 770 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Rotation 1

Students rotate for 10 days through a laboratory site that conducts research using a different approach than that used by the student.  For example, if a student is doing wet-lab bench work, he/she may rotate through a clinical trial site or an industrial site.  During the rotation the student analyzes the research protocol, attends research meetings, looks at data gathering and housekeeping, and analyzes any publications that have been published by the site. When the student returns to campus, he/she must write a report on his/her experience.

GB 870 CAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Rotation 2

The student completes a second rotation (10 days) in a research environment different than his/her own.  Other venues include industrial or military research, multicenter clinical trials, and laboratory; i.e., dry vs. wet lab research, or specialized equipment development.

GB 590/790 CAA* - Credits: 3.0/4.0 Research Project 1

The student is expected to identify a project and meet certain documentation requirements such as, but not limited to a preliminary title, a search strategy for the review of the literature, a preliminary draft of the IRB and IACUC proposal and a preliminary Table of Contents for the dissertation. All will be refined and revised as the project develops.

The project utilizes a “Record of Research Activity” booklet, in which all activities are documented and signed so as to provide confirmation of the student’s accomplishments and the mentor’s agreement with the outcome. This Record must be presented at the time of the final viva.

GB 591/791 CAA* - Credits: 3.0/6.0 Research Project 2

Each student will be expected to complete his/her first draft of the literature review to be presented and discussed at length with the primary mentor. The student will also be expected to develop his/her primary hypothesis and identify the specific aims. At the end of the term, the student will identify his/her pilot data experiment.

The student is expected to attend a national or international meeting such as the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology (ARVO).  During those meetings he/she is expected to spend one session with his/her primary mentor and review posters in the student’s field of interest. A similar session will be spent in the paper/symposia sections. At least ten posters/papers must be discussed at length with the mentor, critiquing the strengths and weaknesses of the presentations.

GB 592/792 CAA* - Credits: 4.0/7.0 Research Project 3

During the term, the student must refine the experimental design to an actionable entity.  The student must also begin performing some pilot experiments on which to base later work.  Record keeping of all experimentation must conform with the directives provided in the “Responsible Conduct of Research” course.

GB 690/890 CAA* - Credits: 4.5/8.0 Research Project 4

This course is subdivided into three components.  The first includes the organization of pilot data and its analysis followed by a description of how the experimental design has been altered by the results of pilot experiments.  The greater part of the time is devoted to step two, i.e., the writing of the qualifying report or the thesis for the Master’s student.  The elements include a substantial review of the literature, the hypothesis, specific aims and the experimental design. At this stage, the Doctoral student will present the pilot data, while the Master’s student is gathering most of his/her data and developing the discussion part of the thesis.  The last component involves writing an abstract for submission to a major meeting such as AOA, ARVO, AAA or the like based on either the literature or the pilot data.

GB 691/891 CAA*  - Credits: 4.5/8.0 Research Project 5

During this term, the Doctoral candidate continues his/her experimentation and data gathering and has regular meetings with the mentors.  The student addresses any issues that have surfaced with the pilot projects and adjusts the experimental design or methodology as determined by the outcome of the qualifying examination.  At this point, the Ph.D. candidate begins aggressive experimentation.

Since this is the endpoint for the Master’s student, he/she must complete gathering and interpreting the data for the Master’s thesis and prepares for the thesis viva. The process of the viva is very similar to that for the Ph.D. Please refer to the Student Manual further instruction and the viva Master’s form on pages 38-39.

* Courses with an asterisk are PhD/MSc courses, which have a different credit value depending on the course requirements.

GB 892 CAA - Credits: 7.0 Research Project 6

During this phase of the course, the student is expected to acquire a major accumulation of data through single and replicate studies and pursue statistical analysis of the data.  Having completed the major review of the literature, the student is expected to write his/her first publication either as a review article or as a presentation of a completed part of the experimentation if such exists at this time.  If publication of early experimentation occurs, the student may use the publication as a chapter of his/her dissertation.  The student should also begin drafting the overall organization of the data and discussion chapters for his/her

GB 893 CAA - Credits: 10.0 Research Project 7

This course continues with further accumulation of data, replicate experiments and data analysis.  At this stage, the student should be able to identify what are the embellishments to the design that might increase the significance of the research and provide pilot data for the next grant.  The writing of the dissertation continues and the students begins drafting a second abstract from the study.  If the work has progressed significantly, a rough outline or draft of a grant proposal may be initiated.

GB 894 CAA - Credits: 10.0 Research Project 8

The candidate should be working almost exclusively on completing the experimentation, the data collection and its analysis.  Further experimental work can be continued after the term if requested by the mentor or directed by the Viva Committee. The writing of the dissertation continues and the candidate is expected to present a second poster/paper at a major meeting.

BI 895 CAA - Credits: 0.00 Research Project 9: Defense of the Dissertation

The candidate is expected to complete and submit the dissertation and register for the Defense of the Dissertation through the office of Graduate Programs in Biomedicine.  The completed Record of Research Activity must be submitted before the viva date can be set.  If no publications have as yet been submitted or accepted, the candidate must also present drafts of one publication before the viva can be set.  The viva will have an examining committee which will consist of a faculty member who did not serve as a mentor to the student and an external examiner and will be conducted in a closed session. The candidate is expected to present his/her last seminar on his/her research on the day of the viva.

The candidate has up to one academic year to schedule the viva which must be held within that academic year, after which the candidature of the student will be closed without award if no document has been submitted and the viva has not been appropriately successfully completed.  If there are extenuating circumstances, an appeal granting appropriate extension of time  may be submitted and a response will be given to the candidate within a time frame which will allow him/her to prepare for the defense should additional time not be granted.

GB 650 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Independent Study-1

The topics are to be tailored to the individual student needs.

GB 651 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Independent Study-2

The topics are to be tailored to the individual student needs.

GB 652  EAA - Credits: 1.0 Independent Study-3

The topics are to be tailored to the individual student needs.

GB 653  EAA - Credits: 1.0 Independent Study

The topics are to be tailored to the individual student needs.

GB 750 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Special Topics:  Genetics, Genomics, & Research

The Human Genome Project and other revolutionary advances have increased and broadened the importance of genetics/genomics in all healthcare fields.  Since virtually all diseases have a genetic component, the clinician and researcher will need to raise genetic hypotheses with every patient and realize when genetic factors play a role in a patient’s condition.  This course will provide students with a basic knowledge of genomics and genetics necessary for clinical care and research and will enhance their scientific skills.  The course will be individualized to accommodate students with varying interests.

GB 751 EAA - Credits: 2.0 Special Topics:  From Bench to Impact

This course covers the methods whereby research findings can be translated into specific applications or products and how researchers can protect themselves and their intellectual property in the process.  The various ways in which one can move bench findings to clinical, industrial, and military applications are discussed by faculty experienced in this process.  Legal advice is also provided to discuss royalties, contractual agreements and institutional/shared ownership.  Lastly, financial advice is given in general terms about expectations and self-protection.

GB 752 EAA - Credits: 2.0 Special Topics:  Approaches to Education

Since research is often based in academic centers and many graduates will be employed by institutions of higher learning, this course is designed to introduce the student to contemporary principles and practices in education, including distance learning approaches.  It describes the difference between various modes of student learning and proposes multiple methods of assessment.

GB 850 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Special Topics:  Writing Competitive Grant Proposals (Part 1)

The candidate is expected to put together a draft grant proposal.  This may be for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship, a Young Investigator award, a K08 or K23, an R01 or for an industrial or military contract.  The mentors will review and critique the proposal which will be amended and presented in Part 2 by the student.

GB 851 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Special Topics:  Academic Life and Stewardship

During this course, the post-doctoral fellowship and research associate positions are discussed as options for the new graduate.  Establishing oneself in Academia is also discussed with a review of academic life and expectations, promotions and the hierarchy of professorships, tenure and grantsmanship including the K 08 and the K 23.  The students and faculty discuss establishing one’s professional identity, the role of societies, meetings, and service to the profession.  Special attention is devoted to group research and its advantages.  The last lecture is devoted to what it means to be a “steward of a discipline.”

GB 852 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Special Topics:  Writing Competitive Grant Proposals (Part 2)

The candidate is expected to construct a substantive grant proposal based on the feedback received in BI 850 (Part 1).  This may be for a Post-Doctoral Fellowship, a Young Investigator award, a K08 or K23, an R01 or for an industrial or military contract.  The mentors will review once again and critique the proposal such that the candidate has a proposal in hand, ready to submit as the student moves to graduation and employment. This course is a continuation of BI 850.

GB 853 EAA - Credits: 1.0  Special Topics:  Writing Competitive Grant Proposals (Part 3)

This is a continuation of BI 852 that facilitates the completion of the grant proposal

GB 854 EAA - Credits: 1.0 Research Modeling Using Computing Software and other Tools

This course will present different techniques in the modeling of experimental paradigms and population dynamics. New technologies have revolutionized the study of medicine and biological phenomena. Mathematical strategies are being increasingly used to measure and track health and disease. Students will be introduced as to how mathematics, biology and healthcare converge to disclose new dimensions to understanding biomedical interventions.

The applicant is referred to the Graduate Programs in Biomedicines’s Academic Policy for information regarding credit transfer policies.