Cancer Biology

[Fields of Study]

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Alakananda Basu, Ph.D., Graduate Advisor
Research and Education Building 437
817-735-2487
E-mail: Alakananda.Basu@unthsc.edu

Graduate Faculty:  Y. Awasthi, A. Basu, R. Chakraborty, H. Das, A. Eisenberg, A. Ghorpade, E. Gonzales, I. Gryczynski, Z. Gryczynski, J. He,  L. Hodge, H. Jones, A. Lacko, P. Mathew, S. Mathew,  L. Prokai, R. Roby, M. Singh, J. Vishwanatha, S. Yang

Adjunct Graduate Faculty: S. Awasthi, D. Dimitrijevich, W. Siede, S. Yadav

The Cancer Biology program is an interdisciplinary program that offers both M.S. and Ph.D. degrees. The goal of this program is to provide students with rigorous education and training in biomedical sciences with a specialty in Cancer Biology. The students will receive training through original research, formal classroom education, problem-based learn, seminars and journal clubs. The program includes faculty members from several departments. Our faculty members are engaged in various aspects of cancer research, including signal transduction, apoptosis, cell poliferation and differentiation, cancer immunology, drug resistance, tumor invasion and metastasis, DNA damage and repair, gene delivery, cancer therapeutics, molecular carcinogenesis, and nanotechnology/imaging. The research projects employ state-of-the-art molecular, cellular and biochemical techniques that include genomics, proteomics, mass spectrometry, molecular cloning, gene targeting, FACS analysis, advanced fluoescence spectroscopy, and optical imaging.

Students may choose faculty advisors from any department according to their research interests. In addition, students will be able to utilize the resources and expertise of faculty members with diverse background from several departments. During the first year, the students will acquire sufficient background in biological sciences, including biochemistry, molecular biology, cell biology, pharmacology, physiology, microbiology and immunology. The students will have the opportunity to rotate in research laboratories in any department prior to selecting their thesis advisors. Students are required to take two discipline specific courses, Molecular and Cell Biology of Cancer (MOLB 6250) and Molecular Aspects of Cell Signaling (MOLB 6435), The students will be able to select additional elective courses from any department based on their needs and interests. Ph.D students are admitted to candidacy after successful completion of their preliminary oral qualifying examinations and defense of an NIH-style research grant proposal. M.S. students are expected to graduate in 2 years whereas Ph.D. candidates may require 5 years to complete their degree.

Click here for the Cancer Biology Student Handbook


Degree Plans

The following are typical degree plans for students in the cancer biology discipline. It is advantageous to the student to begin graduate study in the fall semester. These degree plans may vary depending upon availability of course offerings in a given semester and each student's progress toward thesis and dissertation research. 

M.S. Degree Plan for Cancer Biology
Year 1: Fall
BMSC 6301 Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry 4 SCH
BMSC 6302  Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology 4 SCH
BMSC 5135  Introduction to Faculty Research 1 SCH
BMSC 5150  Laboratory Rotation 2 SCH
BMSC 5160  Biomedical Ethics 1 SCH


12 SCH
Year 1: Spring


At least two of the following
BMSC 6303 Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology 3 SCH
BMSC 6304 Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology 2 SCH
BMSC 6305 Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology / Microbiology 3 SCH

And
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research 1 SCH
MOLB 6250 Molecular and Cell Biology of Cancer 2 SCH
BMSC 5998 Individual Research for MS Students 1-4 SCH


12 SCH
Year 1: Summer

BMSC 5400 Biostatistics for Biomedical Sciences 4 SCH
BMSC 5998 Individual Research for MS Students 2 SCH


6 SCH
Year 2: Fall

BMSC 5998 Individual Research for MS Students 4-5 SCH

Electives* 3-4 SCH

Journal Club/Current Topics** 1-2 SCH


9 SCH
Year 2: Spring

BMSC 5998 Individual Research for MS Students 3 SCH
BMSC 5395 Thesis 3 SCH


6 SCH



TOTAL
45 SCH




Ph.D. Degree Plan for Cancer Biology
Year 1: Fall
BMSC 6301 Integrative Biomedical Sciences I: Principles of Biochemistry 4 SCH
BMSC 6302 Integrative Biomedical Sciences II: Molecular Cell Biology 4 SCH
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research Programs 1 SCH
BMSC 5150 Lab Rotations 2 SCH
BMSC 5160 Biomedical Ethics 1 SCH


12 SCH
Year 1: Spring


At least two of the following:
BMSC 6303 Integrative Biomedical Sciences III: Physiology 3 SCH
BMSC 6304 Integrative Biomedical Sciences IV: Pharmacology 2 SCH
BMSC 6305 Integrative Biomedical Sciences V: Immunology / Microbiology 3 SCH

And
BMSC 5135 Introduction to Faculty Research Programs 1 SCH
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 1-3 SCH
MOLB 6250 Molecular and Cell Biology of Cancer 2 SCH


12 SCH
Year 1: Summer
BMSC 5400 Biostatistics for Biomedical Sciences 4 SCH
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 2 SCH

Qualifying Exam 0 SCH


6 SCH
Year 2: Fall
 MOLB 6435  Molecular Aspects of Cell Signaling (offered alternate years) 4 SCH
 BMSC 5310 Scientific Communication 3 SCH
 BMSC 6998 Individual Research 4-6 SCH

Electives * 2-4 SCH

Journal Club/Current Topics ** 1-2 SCH


12 SCH
Year 2: Spring
 BMSC 6310 Grant Writing 3 SCH
 BMSC 6998 Individual Research 4-6 SCH

Electives * 2-4 SCH

Journal Club/Current Topics ** 1-2 SCH


12 SCH
Year 2: Summer
 BMSC 6998 Individual Research 6 SCH


6 SCH
Year 3: Fall
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 3-5 SCH

Electives * 0-3 SCH

Journal Club/Current Topics ** 1-2 SCH


6 SCH
Year 3: Spring
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 4-5 SCH

Journal Club/Current Topics ** 1-2 SCH


6 SCH
Year 3: Summer
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 6 SCH


6 SCH
Year 4: Fall
BMSC 6998 Individual Research 3 SCH
BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 3 SCH


6 SCH
Year 4: Spring
BMSC 6395 Doctoral Dissertation 6 SCH


6 SCH



Total 90 SCH

*Elective Courses (6-8 SCH)
MOLB 6220 Cellular and Molecular Fluorescence 2 SCH
BMSC 5203 Regulation of Human Subject Research 2 SCH
CBAN 6341 Functional Genomics and Proteomics 3 SCH
CBAN 6440 Methods in Molecular Biology 4 SCH
MOLB 6200 Advanced Molecular Biology: Transcriptional and Translational Regulation - offered every other fall (even years) 2 SCH
MOLB 6202 Advanced Molecular Biology: Techniques and Principles - offered every other fall (odd years) 2 SCH

**Journal Club Courses
MOLB 5160 Current Topics in Cancer Biology 1 SCH
MOLB 5210 Signal Transduction 2 SCH
BMSC 5220 Novel Macromolecules that Regulate the Cell Cycle 2 SCH

Advancement to Doctoral Candidacy

Qualifying Examination

The qualifying examination is to ensure a doctoral student has sufficient mastery of fundamental principles of cancer biology and biomedical sciences, including biochemistry, molecular biology and cell biology to be successful as a Ph.D. candidate and independent researcher. A list of major topics to be examined will be distributed to the student after the completion of the first year. The student is expected to become knowledgeable in each of these topics through coursework, individual reading, or discussions with faculty members. The qualifying examination will be administered by faculty members of the cancer biology program, and will consist of an oral examination. A student will answer a given set of questions within a given time. The student must demonstrate an ability to discuss and apply concepts of cancer biology. Students are required to pass this examination before they can register for Grant Writing (Advance to Candidacy Qualifying Examination). Two attempts to successfully pass the qualifying examination are allowed. Failure of the student to pass the qualifying examination results in dismissal of the student from the doctoral program. In this case, a student may be allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree.

Grant Writing (BMSC 6310)

This stage of the advancement to doctoral candidacy will evaluate a student's aptitude for independent thought and scientific writing. The student is required to (a) prepare an NIH-style research proposal without the assistance of his/her major professor, (b) present the proposal in a public seminar, and (c) address specific questions of an examination committee. The proposal should be based on an original hypothesis that could be related but should be distinct from the major professor's funded research, and should describe specific experimental approaches to address the hypothesis. The student will present this proposal in the form of a public seminar and then privately address specific questions of an examination committee. The examination committee will consist of cancer biology faculty (4 members) appointed by the graduate advisor. The chairperson of the committee (appointed by the graduate advisor) will serve as coordinator and will meet with the student at the beginning of the semester to review guidelines and answer relevant procedural questions. The grant proposal and the student's oral presentation and defense will be evaluated on the basis of originality and ability to communicate the proposal content. Upon successful completion of this course, the student is advanced to doctoral candidacy. Two attempts to successfully pass the BMSC 6310 Grant Writing are allowed. Failure of the student to pass the BMSC 6310 Grant Writing results in dismissal of the student from the doctoral program. In this case, a student may be allowed to complete the requirements for a Master of Science degree.

This page last updated 10th Apr 2013