Cancer Biology: An Evolving Puzzle

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

Have you ever questioned why certain types of cancer are so difficult to treat or how basic science discoveries translate into clinical practice? This course will provide an introduction to cancer biology through hands-on laboratory exercises and interactive lectures. Students will have the opportunity to develop an independent research project and learn about the daily activities of basic cancer researchers, clinicians, and pharmaceutical development through guest lectures. Particular interest will be paid to the molecular and cellular basis of disease, thus highlighting the challenges in this field of research and the many avenues left to explore.

As advances over the last decade have increased the awareness and knowledge of cancer, today's discussions about this disease have changed. It is now recognized that cancer is not a single disease, but a collection of disorders with many manifestations that affect every tissue in the human body representing a challenging biomedical puzzle. The techniques of molecular biology have enabled researchers to uncover the normal mechanisms of cellular proliferation, growth, and differentiation enabling exquisite insight into the abnormal processes that occur during cellular transformation and progression to the cancerous phenotype. Despite the complexity of cancer, research has resulted in steady but incremental advances in prevention and therapy. We will explore the challenges associated with understanding the cellular and molecular changes leading to tumor formation and the promise of new scientific techniques to unravel the mysteries of this disease.

This course will be laboratory intensive with interactive lectures and class discussion. We will cover topics relating to the genetics of cancer, epigenetic control of gene expression, cancer stem cells, microanatomy of normal tissue and tumors, and tumor immunology. Each student will also design and complete an independent research project and present his or her findings to the rest of the class.

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to:

-Compare and contrast normal versus abnormal cellular growth
-Understand the molecular basis for changes in cellular and tissue organization that occur during tumor development
-Analyze and interpret scientific literature
-Disseminate complex scientific advances to the general public
-Understand the design of laboratory experiments

Prerequisites: Completion of a high school biology course is required.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEBI0960
  • Length: 3 weeks
  • Supplemental Fee: $250

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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