Graduate Courses


Oncology 401: Introduction to Experimental Oncology (ONC 401/Fall/2 credits) is the first in a series of courses offered by the Department of Oncology with instruction in the field of basic oncology.  ONC 401’s objective is to introduce the student to the biological processes and mechanisms associated with the characteristics of neoplasia.


Oncology 545: Topics in Biotechnology (ONC 545/Spring/1 credit) is crosslisted with Microbiology 545.  Current topics include medical, agricultural, and industrial biotechnology.


Oncology 625: Toxicology (ONC 625/Fall/3 credits) is a basic course on the prinicples of toxicology and biochemical mechanisms of toxicity in mammalian species, including humans.  Correlation between morphological and functional changes caused by toxicants in different organs of the body.


Oncology 640: General Virology–Multiplication of Viruses (ONC 640/Fall/3 credits) is a lecture course on bacterial and animal viruses, and their structure, multiplication, and genetics.


Oncology 673: Protein Purification (ONC 673/Spring-odd-numbered years/2 credits) is a lecture course on the theory and practice of protein purification. Topics covered include conventional and recent protein fractionation techniques; enzymes assays, handling, and characterization; purification strategy; and overproduction of cloned gene products.  The emphasis is on micro and laboratory scale purification.


Oncology 675: Advanced or Special Topics


Oncology 703Carcinogenesis and Tumor Cell Biology (ONC 703/Fall/3 credits) introduces students to viral, chemical, and physical factors that induce tumor formation in humans and experimental animals and to the biology and biochemistry of neoplasia, both in vivo and in vitro.  ONC 703 provides a foundation in cancer research and consists of lectures, reading some primary literature, and discussions of the lectures and the readings.  It gives students an appreciation of the different mechanisms of carcinogenesis, transformation assays in cell culture, animal models for many types of tumors, and an introduction to human cancers and their treatment.


Oncology 715: Ethics in Science (ONC 715/Spring/1 credit) covers conflict of interest (personal, professional, and financial); policies regarding the use of human subjects and live vertebrate animals subjects in research and safe laboratory practices; mentor/mentee responsibilities and relationships; collaborative research including collaborations with industry; peer review; data acquisition and laboratory tools; management, sharing, and ownership of data; research misconduct and policies for handling misconduct; responsible authorship and publication; scientists as responsible member of society; contemporary ethical issues in biomedical research; and the environmental and societal impacts of scientific research for our students.


Oncology 725: Readings in Cancer Biology (ONC 725/Spring/1 credit) has been designed to instruct our students to read and discuss current literature in cancer research critically.  Approximately 40 papers are read each semester with students leading the discussions with all class members required to participate.  The papers cover topics in Carcinogenesis, Inherited Predispositions to Cancer, Epigenetics and Cancer, Metastasis, Immune Responses to Cancer, and Cancer Prevention and Screening.   Students progress from tentative analysis of the described research to being astute critics of the most sophisticated, current cancer research.


Oncology 735: Current Problems in Cancer Biology (ONC 735/Fall/2 credits) is required for second-year Cancer Biology PhD majors as they prepare for their preliminary examinations.  The goal of this course is to provide students in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program with experience in the logical design, preparation, and presentation (written and oral) of a research proposal.  Students participate in a mock study section and write and present their own research proposals.

Initially, students are assigned a grant proposal. In the form of mini-seminars, students present a critical critique of their assigned grant proposal. Students are introduced to how grant proposals are critiqued by and presented to study sessions, provided insights into grant proposal writing, and taught critical oral presentation skills through this process. In the second and third phases of the course, students write their own research proposals and present and defend these proposals to the class. In addition to in-class instruction, students receive intensive one-to-one tutorials on writing and presentation, these sessions generally last one to two hours, but will go on as long as necessary for instructional proposes. Students may schedule as many one-to-one sessions with the instructor as necessary.


Oncology 778: Bioinformatics for Cancer Biologists (ONC 675/Spring/2 credits) familiarize students with bioinformatics theory and principles; provides students with real-world experience they can apply to their own work; and provides students with a foundation of knowledge that students can use critically to evaluate existing bioinformatics tools that they can use in their work– and in the absence of an appropriate tool, identify the analyses that demand the development of novel tools.  Topics include: i) Introduction to algorithms; ii) Introduction to data structures and flow control; iii) Global Alignment (Needleman-Wunshch); iv) Mismatch penalties; v) Introduction to Dynamic Programming; vi) Global Alignment; vii) Local Alignment (Smith Waterman); viii) BLAST; ix) Sanger Sequencing; and x) Contig Assembly.


Oncology 901: Cancer Biology Student Seminar (ONC 901/Fall, Spring/1 credit) allows students to present their research annually to program trainers and peers. Critical feedback to evaluate seminar content, organization, and presentation-delivery are collected from the faculty and peers.


Oncology 990: Research (ONC 990/Fall, Spring, Summer/2-12 credits).