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 Cell Biology (4 credits); This course will introduce first-year Ph.D. students to the basic practice of quantitative cell biology. The course will integrate theory and foundational knowledge, experimental design and techniques, quantitative data analysis (using Python; prior training not necessary but must have laptop), and statistical inference. The emphasis will be on in-class discussions and group problem-solving exercises.

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.

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