Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

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1 Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Two-Year Master s Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology A four-semester post-baccalaureate program designed to provide advanced training in the biochemical sciences and prepare students for a career in research. Program Overview This is a two-year thesis-requiring program for the study of biochemistry and molecular biology leading to a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. The program is designed to improve the academic credentials and scientific research experience of graduates. Our distinctive program emphasizes student development in five areas (coursework, laboratory skills, independent thought, presentation skills, and personal growth), allows students to broaden and strengthen their academic foundation, and equips students with basic and advanced lab skills for a career in academic or industrial research. Class size is approximately 15 students. Students will take Graduate Biochemistry, Cell Biology, and Biostatistics courses, with a strong emphasis on research application of biochemical and molecular knowledge. These courses are taken along with first-year PhD students at the Tulane School of Medicine. Additional courses include Structure and Function of Biomolecules and Chromosomal Instability and Cancer. All students will benefit from several other Biochemistry- or Molecular Biology-related courses, including a Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar series, a Biochemistry Workshop, and a course on Academic Writing and Critique. All courses are taught within the Tulane School of Medicine by full time faculty. In year two, students will perform bench research toward the master s thesis and experience all aspects of basic research under supervision of a faculty advisor, from the development of an idea and scientific rationale, to experimental design and execution, data analysis, and possibly the drafting of a manuscript. Admission Requirements Applicants for admission to the Master of Science degree program should have a baccalaureate degree. In general, applicants should have a minimum GPA of 3.5 and combined (verbal + quantitative) GRE score of 300. However, applicants with credentials slightly lower than the above are also encouraged to apply. We look for students with a strong background in chemistry and biology: students who have taken courses in organic chemistry, molecular or cellular biology, biochemistry, genetics, etc. Excellent letters of recommendation are important. Lab research experience, though not required, is valuable for our consideration of the applicant. Degree Requirements Students must take 30 credit hours of coursework by the end of the spring semester in year two, and they must complete and defend a master s thesis by the end of the summer in year two. Thesis research may commence at the beginning of year one, upon formation of the advisory committee. The student is expected to devote full time to research after the spring semester of year one, and until the thesis defense in the summer of year two. Master of Science Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Page 1

2 Program Calendar The Master of Science degree program curriculum is designed for completion within two years. Classes will start at the beginning of August and conclude by the end of May of the following year. Program Curriculum (30 credit hours) Students must complete a minimum of 30 credit hours from the courses listed below. Graduate Biochemistry (GBCH , fall semester, WF, 8:30-10:30 am, 4 credit hours, Course Director: William Wimley) The course objectives are to provide graduate level exposure to basic Biochemistry, including the structure and function of proteins, membranes and lipids, the basis of enzyme function and metabolic cycles, glycoconjugate biochemistry, and DNA/RNA structure and function. Grades are assigned based on three exams given over the semester. Advanced Cell Biology (BMSP , fall semester, TTh, 9:30-11:00 am, 3 credit hours, Course Director: Gil Morris) The course objective is to introduce students to cellular organization and the molecular mechanisms of protein localization, intracellular signaling, and growth regulation. Grades are assigned based on four exams given over the semester. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar (GBCH , days/times to be determined, 1 credit hour/semester, Course Director: Samuel J. Landry) Students are required to attend and participate in the seminars given by the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Students are also required to write a one-page summary describing the content and significance of each seminar. Academic Writing and Critique (GBCH , fall semester, Days/Times to be determined, 2 credit hours, Course director: Samuel J. Landry) Students will review the structure and syntax of papers from the primary literature and of grant proposals, investigate and report the validity of an advertised health claim, prepare a two-page grant proposal, and review a grant proposal. Review activities will be carried out in small groups with facilitation by the instructor. The grade will be based on class participation, student feedback, the report, and the proposal. Biochemistry Workshop [BMSP (fall semester, Friday, 10:30 am -Noon); BMSP (Spring semester, Friday, 9-10:30 am), 3 credit hours/semester, Course Director: Zachary Pursell] Students work in teams to present a seminar to the class on a selected research paper approved by the course instructor. Student teams will explain the topic background and specific hypothesis being tested, describe in detail the experimental design and results, and discuss the conclusions reached and whether or not they were justified. The student audience is expected to participate in class discussion following the presentation. In addition, each student is required to write a one-page summary explaining the hypothesis, content and significance of the findings for each presented paper. Biomedical Statistics and Data Analysis (GBCH , spring semester, TTh, 10:30-11:30 am, 2 credit hours, Course Director: William Wimley) The objective of this course is to provide biomedical graduate students with the knowledge needed to apply statistical tests and analyses to their own data and with the knowledge to understand the statistical analyses they are likely to encounter in the literature. Subjects include single and multiple parameter analyses for measured and counted variables, as well as linear and non-linear regression. Grades are based on exams that require students to apply what they learned to solving statistical problems. Biochemistry Workshop [BMSP (fall semester, Friday, 10:30 am -Noon); BMSP (spring semester, Friday, 9-10:30 am), 3 credit hours/semester, Course Director: Zachary Pursell] Students work in teams to present a seminar to the class on a selected research paper approved by the course instructor. Student Master of Science Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Page 2

3 teams will explain the topic background and specific hypothesis being tested, describe in detail the experimental design and results, and discuss the conclusions reached and whether or not they were justified. The student audience is expected to participate in class discussion following the presentation. In addition, each student is required to write a one-page summary explaining the hypothesis, content and significance of the findings for each presented paper. Elective Courses Chromosomal Instability and Cancer (GBCH , spring semester, MTh 1-3 pm, 4 credit hours, Course Director: Arthur Lustig) This is an analytical reading course in which students must present and critique data from papers that cover specified topics in molecular genetics. The student is exposed both to the topic of interest (genomic instability) and the basic cellular processes in biochemical genetic terms. Each pair of lectures will review a concept and then analyze how defects in the process lead to the disease state. Three "supertopics" will be covered: 1) Chromosomal Elements; 2) DNA Damage; 3) Cell Cycle. This course also provides students many of the concepts of molecular genetics. Exams consist of a critique of a specific paper. Research Methods in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (GBCH-7120, Days/Times to be determined, 2 credit hours/semester, Course Director: William Wimley) Each student will work in a laboratory to learn how different methods are used to carry out research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. At the end of the semester, the student is required to write a 2 to 3-page report describing the principle of the methods and the results of the work. The grade will be based on the feedback of the laboratory PI and the report. Structure and Function of Biomolecules (BMSP , spring semester, TTh 1-3 pm, 4 credit hours, Course Director: Samuel Landry, Ph.D.) The course engages the students in discussion and investigation of structure-function relationships in carbohydrates, proteins, and lipids. Instruction emphasizes experimental approaches with laboratory exercises and computational simulations that address concepts and practical application of biochemistry and biophysics. Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship (GBCH (fall), GBCH (spring), Days/Times to be determined, 3 credit hour/semester, Course Director: Hua Lu) Students are required to actively attend each of the Grand Rounds offered by either the Department of Medicine or the Department of Pediatrics and to give a one-page report post Grand Round. This report will summarize clinical and research topics, background knowledge, major experimental/diagnostic/therapeutic approaches discussed, key results, conclusions and significances of the studies presented in each Grand Round, as well as some critiques on the Grand Round. Grades are based on participation and reports. Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry (GBCH , Days/times to be determined, 5 credit hours, Course Director: David Franklin) The objectives and content of the Human Medical Cellular Biochemistry course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of cellular structure and function, and the manner by which cellular processes are normally integrated and regulated. This course stresses both the normal cellular function, and why disease states occur if normal cellular processes are disrupted. Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease (GBCH , Day/times to be determined, 5 credit hours, Course Director: David Franklin) The objectives and content of the Metabolic Biochemistry of Human Disease course are designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the metabolic pathways involving the four major metabolic compounds: carbohydrates, lipids, amino acids and nucleotides; and the manner by which metabolism is normally integrated and regulated. This course stresses both the normal metabolic function, and why disease states occur if normal metabolic processes are disrupted. Master of Science Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Page 3

4 Fall Semester Graduate Biochemistry GBCH credits Cell Biology BMSP credits Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar GBCH credit Biochemistry Workshop BMSP credits Responsible Conduct of Research INTD credits Elective Options Academic Writing and Critique GBCH credits Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship GBCH credits Independent Study GBCH-7130 up to 4 credits Spring Semester Biomedical Statistics and Data Analysis GBCH credits Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Seminar GBCH credit Biochemistry Workshop BMSP credits Chromosomal Instability and Cancer GBCH-7180 or 4 credits Structure and Function of Biomolecules GBCH-7220 Elective Options Medical Biochemistry Grand Rounds Externship GBCH credits Independent Study GBCH-7160 up to 5 credits Tuition Full time tuition for the academic year is specified at the university website: No tuition waivers or stipends are available for this program. Information on the possibility of financial aid loans can be found at the Tulane University Office of Financial Aid s website at Application Process The application for admission to the Master of Science degree program should be submitted to the Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences. Applications will be reviewed as they are received and applicants will be admitted on a competitive basis. Therefore early submission of applications is highly encouraged. 1) To apply to the program, an online application must be filled out which can be accessed at (click where it says "Apply to the BMS graduate program" at the bottom of the page) NOTE: Several Ph.D. and M.S. programs at Tulane use this application service. Be careful to indicate that you are applying for a MASTERS degree with BIOCHEMISTRY AND MOLECULAR BIOLOGY. You may also wish to send an to Dr. Samuel J. Landry (Program Director, or Dr. William Wimley, PhD (Program Co-director to notify us that you have submitted an online application to our program. In addition to the online application, you must also submit ALL of the following items: Master of Science Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Page 4

5 2) An application fee of $50.00 payable online to Tulane University at the time your application is submitted. This fee is non refundable. 3) GRE scores must be reported on the application. GRE scores will be verified through the ETS. International students must also have official TOEFL scores sent, and all application materials must be in English. 4) An OFFICIAL transcript from EACH college or university attended. 5) Three letters of recommendation from professors, preferably from your science classes. A link is provided on the website above. In lieu of letters of recommendation that have been prepared specifically for this application, recommendations on file from undergraduate career development offices may be submitted - but we need more than a single summary letter. This year you may submit letters online through CollegeNet the BMS website should explain this procedure. For the last two items, have your registrar and professors send the official transcripts and letters directly to the following address: Attention: Masters Applications c/o Kristy Catlin Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, #8543 Tulane University School of Medicine 1430 Tulane Avenue New Orleans, LA The fall 2014 application process opens on March 1, 2014 and closes on July 1, Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis for the fall All application materials must be received before the closing date. (See above) Rolling admissions basis mean there is no guarantee that there will be openings in the class up until the deadlines. For questions regarding the program, please contact Dr. Samuel J. Landry (Program Director, or Dr. William Wimley (Program Co-director, For administrative questions (online application, tuition, etc.): Master of Science Program in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology Page 5

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