Biochemistry & Cancer Biology

Faculty mentors in the Biochemistry and Cancer Biology graduate program study the biochemical and molecular bases of cancer and other human diseases. Translational research (i.e. from the bench to the bedside) is highly emphasized. Diseases and tumor sites which disproportionately affect African Americans (such as breast, lung, prostate, and colon cancer) are of particular interest. Faculty members focus on endogenous mediators of the balance between cell proliferation and programmed cell death (apoptosis) as well as environmental agents that influence disease development and progression. Their studies are conducted using in vitro as well as in vivo models of human disease.

Contact Biochemistry & Cancer Biology

LaMonica Stewart

LaMonica Stewart, Ph.D.

Associate Professor
Biochemistry and Cancer Biology
School: Medicine

Phone: 615.327.6749
Email: lstewart@mmc.edu

Office Location: West Basic Science Building, Room 2118

Course Descriptions

BICH 703. MOLECULAR GENETICS (SPRING)

An advanced course on the biochemistry and molecular genetics of gene expression, gene regulation, and mutation. Current advances in prokaryotic and eukaryotic systems are discussed. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: Core Curriculum.

BICH 77101. CANCER IMMUNOTHERAPY. 

This course is designed to familiarize students with basic and translational tumor immunology and immunotherapy. The objectives of the course are to:  1) assist students in understanding the evolution of the concept of tumor immunosurveillance and immunotherapy; 2) make students aware of challenges associated with effectively using immunotherapy for cancer care; and 3) review the various approaches by which the immune system can be modulated for the treatment of cancer.  2 credit hours, SPRING.  Prerequisite: Core Curriculum.

BICH 704. TOPICS IN CELLULAR AND METABOLIC REGULATION (SPRING)

An advanced course on the regulatory mechanisms controlling major metabolic and cellular physiological processes in eukaryotes. 3 credit hours.

BICH 706. MEMBRANE BIOCHEMISTRY (FALL)

This course discusses basic and contemporary literature on the structure and functions of biological membranes and includes topics on membrane dynamics, biogenesis, and transport by or through membrane components. The cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix are also discussed. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: Background in cell physiology and/or molecular biology.

BICH 710. SEMINAR IN BIOCHEMISTRY AND CANCER BIOLOGY (FALL & SPRING)

Discussion of contemporary topics in cancer biology, carcinogenesis, biochemistry, and cell and molecular biology. 1 credit hour.

BICH 712. DIRECTED STUDIES (Faculty) (FALL & SPRING)

Individual instruction designed to meet the specific academic needs of the student. This course may be research or didactic instruction. Up to 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor. The grade awarded in this course is S or U if a research course.

BICH 713. ADVANCED CELL SIGNALING (SPRING)

A lecture course covering specialized and contemporary areas of inquiry in cell signaling and molecular biology, consisting of one of three such areas per semester. This course may be taken more than once. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.

BICH 730. CANCER BIOLOGY I (FALL)

A multidisciplinary course designed to expose students to the latest and promising areas of basic and translational research. Molecular mechanisms underlying carcinogenesis and tumor progression and their relationship to clinical aspects of the disease are discussed. Students are required to take a Keystone course in the pathobiology of cancer as an additional requirement for the course. 3 credit hours. Prerequisite: Consent of the instructor.

BICH 799. THESIS RESEARCH (FALL, SPRING, SUMMER)

Students are required to conduct original research, culminating in the preparation and defense of a dissertation that is acceptable, at least in part, for publication in a professional journal. 1-12 credit hours.

PHARM 738. CARCINOGENESIS & CANCER THERAPEUTICS (FALL)

This course will cover the mechanisms underlying the carcinogenic process induced by chemical, viral, or physical agents. Major emphasis will be focused on the mechanisms exploited in developing therapeutic targets for cancer treatment. Lectures on clinical correlates will be presented by clinical oncologists. 3 credit hours.

SELECTED TOPICS IN MOLECULAR VIROLOGY GENE THERAPY AND TRANSGENICS

Cross-listed in Microbiology and Immunology.

MECHANISMS OF CANCER THERAPEUTICS

Cross-listed in Pharmacology.

Curriculum & Course Requirements

In addition to the School’s general requirements for admission, Participants in the Graduate Program in Biochemistry and Cancer Biology are recommended to also have taken the following undergraduate courses:

  • General Chemistry, one year
  • Analytical Chemistry, one semester
  • Organic Chemistry, one year
  • Physical Chemistry, one year
  • Physics, one year
  • Biology, two years
  • Mathematics through Integral Calculus

* DR: Departmental Required Course
* DE: Departmental Elective Course

First Year: Core Curriculum

Second Year: Fall Semester

Name of Course:

Cancer Biology I (DR)

Membrane Biochemistry (DR)

Biochemical Basis of Human Disease (DR)

Directed Studies in Cytokines (DR)

Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (DR)

Directed Studies [Faculty] (DE)

Research (DR)

Seminar Course (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

3

3

2

3

1-3

4-12

1

Name of Course:

Cancer Biology I (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Membrane Biochemistry (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Biochemical Basis of Human Disease (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Directed Studies in Cytokines (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

2

Name of Course:

Advanced Topics in Biochemistry (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Directed Studies [Faculty] (DE)

# of Credit Hours:

1-3

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

Name of Course:

Seminar Course (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

1

Second Year: Spring Semester

Name of Course:

Molecular Genetics (DR)

Metabolic & Cellular Regulation (DR)

Research (DR)

Seminar Course (DR)

Directed Studies–Cancer Biology II (DE)

Radiation Biology (DE), Vanderbilt

Molecular Bioimaging (DE), Vanderbilt

Advanced Cell Signaling (DE)

Other Elective Courses, MMC or VU/p>

# of Credit Hours:

3

3

4-12

1

2

2

3

1

varies

Name of Course:

Molecular Genetics (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Metabolic and Cellular Regulation (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

Name of Course:

Seminar Course (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

1

Name of Course:

Directed Studies–Cancer Biology II (DE)

# of Credit Hours:

2

Name of Course:

Radiation Biology (DE), Vanderbilt

# of Credit Hours:

2

Name of Course:

Molecular Bioimaging (DE), Vanderbilt

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Advanced Cell Signaling (DE)

# of Credit Hours:

3

Name of Course:

Other Elective Courses, MMC or VU

# of Credit Hours:

varies

Second Year: Summer Semester

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

6

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

6

Third Year: Fall Semester

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

Preparation of Ph.D. Candidacy Proposal Seminar

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

1

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

Name of Course:

Preparation of Ph.D. Candidacy Proposal Seminar

# of Credit Hours:

1

Third Year: Spring Semester

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

Ph.D. Candidacy Exam Seminar

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

1

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

Name of Course:

Ph.D. Candidacy Exam Seminar

# of Credit Hours:

1

Third Year: Summer Semester

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

Ph.D. Candidacy Exam

# of Credit Hours:

6

0

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

6

Name of Course:

Ph.D. Candidacy Exam

# of Credit Hours:

0

Subsequent Years: Fall & Spring Semesters

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

Seminar

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

1

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

4-12

Name of Course:

Seminar

# of Credit Hours:

1

Subsequent Years: Summer Semesters

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

6

Name of Course:

Research (DR)

# of Credit Hours:

6

Special Features

Preceptors and trainees in the Cancer Biology program participate in the annual Cancer Biology Retreat hosted jointly by Meharry Medical College and the Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center. This is an outstanding opportunity to learn of advances in cancer research from bench to bedside to behavioral research and community-based research. Participants also have the opportunity to obtain constructive feedback from a broad audience on each individual’s research program.

Admissions

Learn a little more about applying to the program.

Go to Admissions >