CDB Courses - Courses for Graduate or Advanced Studies

The coursework leading to a Ph.D. in Cell & Developmental Biology has been developed to allow maximum flexibility in choosing a research field while still providing students with a broad background in current concepts in cell and developmental biology, biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology. As a student planning to enter the program in Cell & Developmental Biology (CDB) you will of course be a PIBS student in the first year. 

In CDB, you will enroll in our Seminar in Cell & Developmental Biology course 801, you will also select additional program courses, cognates, and electives from the offerings of the University of Michigan. A minimum of 18 credits is required for candidacy. The preliminary examination consists of an NIH-style grant specific aims page that students write over a four-week period. Teaching in the student’s area of interest is also expected as part of the Ph.D. program.

530 Cell Biology (3 credits); Fingar, fall– This graduate course is designed to present basic information as well as the most recent developments in key areas of cell biology. The course consists of both lectures by faculty in their areas of expertise and small discussion groups that delve more deeply into lecture material and discuss primary literature. Both will expose students to current experimental approaches in cell biology. Students will be expected to demonstrate their knowledge of course material by participation in discussion groups and examinations. For more information see the course syllabus.

450/550 Histology: Through the Looking Glass - From Stem Cells to Tissues and Organs (4 credits); Hortsch, winter - The broad objective of the course is to develop a comprehensive understanding of the microscopic structure and function of tissues and organs of the body. Through lectures and laboratory work students should gain a basic understanding of: 1) How structural specializations of cells reflect their functions; 2) How cells work together to perform their specialized functions; 3) How groups of cells associate to form organs; 4) How this organization enables each organ system to carry out its function; and, 5) How stem cells contribute to tissue formation and regeneration. Students are evaluated via biweekly quizzes as well as a midterm and a final examination, all of which are online and open-book. Graduate students (CDB550) have to submit two additional question-writing assignments.

560 - Quantitative Fluorescence Microscopy and Image Analysis (3 credits) Joglekar, winter -This course trains new graduate students and upper level undergraduates in the basic theory and practice of quantitative fluorescence microscopy. Fluorescence microscopy is an indispensable technique of the Biomedical Sciences. Students have to turn to microscopy at one point or another during their graduate career, and they commonly learn it on the fly. CDB560 is designed to impart a working understanding of the key principles of fluorescence and fluorescence microscopy, as well as the quantitative analysis of fluorescence and digital image processing. Students also learn to apply this knowledge by analyzing raw microscopy data from landmark studies to replicate key results. With this training, students are expected to become proficient in rationally designing a microscopy-based assay and then devising an appropriate method to analyze the images quantitatively.

581 Developmental Genetics (3 credits); Allen, fall - This course is an active, participation-based class covering developmental biology and genetics, with extensive connections to stem cell/regenerative biology, genomics, evolution, and human disease.  Three learning styles are combined in this class: (1) short faculty lectures; (2) intensive group dissections of research papers; and (3) student presentations.

582 Organogenesis:  Stem Cells to Regenerative Biology (2 credits) or 583 (3 credits); Wellik, winter – This course covers multiple aspects of organogenesis including morphological and molecular events underlying organ formation in vitro and in vivo, experimental systems, parallel pathways for organ formation in various model organisms, adult organ structure and pathology, organ regeneration and repair, stem cell systems, cell and tissue engineering, and carcinogenesis. Two modules make up the course: a) organogenesis of an organ (the organ system changes each year (2 credits)); and b) with an exercise in writing a scientific proposal (3 credits).  Course objectives are: a) to provide students with a current in depth, multidisciplinary view of the processes of organogenesis; b) to highlight target areas of future research; c) to read and discuss significant papers in the field; and d) to practice the design and preparation of a research grant by writing a mini-proposal. Students who wish to take the course for a grade should enroll in CDB 583 for 3 credits.  Alternatively, the course can be taken S/U without pursuit of the proposal-writing portion of the course as a 2 credit course (students interested in this option should enroll in CDB 582).

595 Biology of Regeneration (3 credits); Lucas, Engel, Winter - The objective of this course is to present basic information on the mechanisms through which mammalian tissues sense and respond to injury to regenerate. We will also discuss current approaches to study and improve regeneration. The course consists of lectures focused in the regeneration of specific organs as well as discussions of primary research literature. The course is geared towards Juniors and Seniors. Students must have completed Biology 172 or 174 or genetics (BIO305) or Biochemistry (MCDB310, CHEM351 or BIOLCHEM415) or histology (CDB450).

598 Directed Readings in Cell and Developmental Biology (1-4 credits); faculty.  Undergraduate or graduate level.

599 Directed Research in Cell and Developmental Biology (1-8 credits); faculty.  Undergraduate research credit.

801 Graduate Seminar (1 credit); Giger, fall, winter - The graduate student seminar is currently a student-run seminar that meets once a week at lunchtime, with lunch provided. Students give presentations of their laboratory work or present literature pertinent to that work, and feedback is given by the audience. This seminar format allows students to share their findings and receive criticism and advice from their peers in a casual setting. Students also discuss graduate student affairs and give updates on the activities of the various departmental and university committees in which they participate. Additionally, this time may be used for the students to meet as a group with members of the faculty to discuss and plan departmental events, such as recruiting weekend and preliminary exams.

990 Dissertation Research, Pre-Candidate (1-8 credits); faculty

995 Dissertation Research, Candidate (1-8 credits); faculty