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Course Information: Year 1
Muscles, Cells & Tissues



Molecules, Cells, and Tissues

There are two broad aims of this 8-week course module. The first is to help students obtain knowledge, at an introductory level, of relevant concepts that deal with the normal structure and function of the body at the cellular and molecular levels. This includes acquiring knowledge of fields traditionally classified as Cell Biology, Microscopic Anatomy (or Histology), Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Genetics, Cell Physiology and Pharmacology. The second aim is to help and encourage students to obtain experience in applying these basic science concepts to understand human diseases.

The course is divided into six thematic topic areas organized within 8 weeks. The course examines development at the cellular and tissue levels and major functions of the cell such as signaling, energy metabolism, contractility, and membrane transport and excitability. Structure and function of DNA and proteins and their translation to molecular and Mendelian genetics are discussed. Influences on the cell and the individual are discussed in terms of pharmacology and pharmaco-genetics. The topic areas progress from an overall view of the molecules that constitute the cell, to basic cellular functions, to mechanisms that allow cells to function as tissues and then to the organism's response to external influences and its susceptibility to outside factors. Their clinical relevance is highlighted throughout the presentations. The course can be described as a brief journey through human life starting from embryonic development to adulthood including aging and death and exploration of various scientific aspects of this journey. The course is introductory in nature, emphasizing basic concepts rather than facts. The topic areas relating to the basic sciences will be expanded and reinforced in subsequent components of the curriculum, especially in the organ systems portion during the second year.

There will be three major activities for each theme. One activity involves problem-solving in small groups, which will generally consist of three two-hour sessions per week focusing on clinical cases. The second activity will be lecture presentations emphasizing concepts in basic science that impact heavily of the practice of medicine. The third activity is laboratory based learning activities relevant to that week's theme. The remaining time assigned to this course will be study time. Review activities, formal and informal, as well as discussions with expert faculty can also be scheduled during this time. Whenever possible, the themes touched upon in the Molecules, Cells, and Tissues course will be coordinated with those addressed in the Practice of Medicine 1 course.

We anticipate that students have ample time to: (a) study course materials prior to the lectures in order to flesh out the concepts presented; (b) prepare and study the clinical cases; and (c) integrate the knowledge obtained from these two sources.

Student assessment is directed at testing both their progress in developing problem-solving skills and their acquisition of basic knowledge.

upated April 2014




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