db Home Program in Developmental Biology BCM Home
Baylor College of Medicine
Previous db Home Index Next

Courses in Developmental Biology


Classical Developmental Biology

This course provides an introduction into the early development of vertebrate and invertebrate embryos. It is mostly descriptive to provide spatial cues about the anatomy of most structures and organs. Particular emphasis is given to Dictyostelium discoideum, C. elegans, Drosophila, Xenopus, chick, mouse, and plant.



Evolutionary Conservation of Developmental Mechanisms

This course focuses on the similarities and differences of developmental mechanisms between vertebrates and invertebrates. Invertebrates, such as Drosophila and C. elegans, have allowed scientists to isolate many genes that are required for development through genetic screens. Vertebrate homologs of many of these genes have been identified, and their role is now being studied through a variety of approaches, including manipulations in chicken and Xenopus, as well as through mouse knock outs and classical mutagenesis. The view of vertebrate and invertebrate developmental biologists on a series of topics like segmentation, Hox and Polycomb-group genes, limb development, and cell death is presented in this course. In addition, the lecturers discuss and compare the function of proteins required for specific development pathways in invertebrates and involved in tumorigenesis in vertebrates. Finally, discussions on the evolution of development, conservation versus divergence are held.



Neural Development

Topics in neural development are presented with a particular focus on molecular genetic studies. Most importantly, this course integrates knowledge about molecular patterning of the nervous system with developmental neuroscience using a cross-species approach. The development of the central and peripheral nervous systems in vertebrate and invertebrate species is discussed, focusing on how conserved molecular strategies have been utilized in these disparate organisms. The biochemical and genetic basis for neural plasticity, the role of neurotrophic factors in neural development, and the molecular mechanisms of growth cone guidance and synapse formation in invertebrates and vertebrates are also discussed.



Topics in Development

The purpose of this course is to introduce the student to some current topics in developmental biology, to improve the student's ability to read and interpret primary literature, and to improve the student's skills in presenting scientific data. Students are expected to critically evaluate and interpret data in assigned papers prior to attending class. Each student makes two presentations during the course. Grading in the class is based on take home essay questions, class participation, and presentations. Topics discussed include sex determination, epithelial morphogenesis and cancer, hematopoietic and cardiac development, vertebrate kidney development, skin cancer, and nuclear hormone receptors.



Seminar in Developmental Biology

The purpose of this course is to guide the students into learning how to approach scientific literature directly. Students are expected to read the primary literature and lead discussions in a group setting. Students in the Program in Developmental Biology participate in this seminar every term during their stay at Baylor.



Computational Mathematics for Biomedical Scientists

This course introduces essential computational and mathematical concepts to students who are interested in computational biology and bioinformatics. It is intended that each of the concepts will be taught in the context of the real biological problems ranging from genomics to structural biophysics.



Computer Aided Discovery Methods

The objective of this course is to introduce students to the concepts, methods and tools relevant for computer-aided discovery using data collected using high-throughput technologies. The course will focus on the methods of integration of data, tools, and discovery processes and the methods of computational pattern discovery, hypothesis generation and testing. The students will master advanced applications of computing that enable new methods of discovery in a field of focus, which will initially be cancer biology. The course will not focus exclusively on technical, algorithmic or mathematical aspects nor will it focus on biology alone. Instead, the focus will be on genuine integration of the two fields.



Introduction to Biostatistics

This course covers basic concepts for statistical analysis of quantitative data. The focus will be on applying computer-assisted statistical analyses of data commonly obtained in biomedical research. Students will learn how to characterize data, select appropriate statistical tests for analyses, and properly interpret statistical results for testing research hypotheses using statistical software.



Bioinformatics and Genome Analysis

This course is intended to provide a background in the theory and application of standard computational methods for molecular biology research. The topics to be discussed include databases, sequence comparison, phylogeny, pattern inference and matching, RNA secondary structure, and protein structure. The course will also address computational issues for the Human Genome Program in the areas of large-scale DNA sequencing, chromosome mapping, and gene recognition. During the term, a seminar speaker, with expertise in an area relevant to the subject area of the course, is invited as a guest lecturer. Students are required to attend this seminar.

Previous db Home Index Next