​Genetics and Development

Genetics and Development candidates must successfully complete the required courses, listed below, with grades of B- or better. Anyone receiving a C+ grade or below may be required to repeat a course at the discretion of the training committee. A cumulative GPA of B+ in required courses must be maintained to remain in good academic standing. Course requirements are usually met within the first two years. Additional courses may be required by the training committee for individual students, depending on the student’s interests and background.

Required Courses

Advanced Eukaryotic Molecular Genetics (GEND G4050)

Advanced treatment of the principles and methods of the molecular biology of eukaryotes, emphasizing the organization, expression, and evolution of eukaryotic genes. Topics include reassociation and hybridization kinetics, gene numbers, genomic organization at the DNA level, mechanisms of recombination, transposable elements, DNA rearrangements, gene amplification, oncogenes, recombinant DNA techniques, transcription, and RNA splicing. Students participate in discussions of problems set on the current literature. Course Director: Tim Bestor.

Genetic Approaches to Biological Problems I (GEND G6210)

This course is designed to illustrate how genetic systems have played a fundamental role in our understanding of basic biological problems. Topics include mitosis and meiosis, chromosomal linkage and mapping, consequences of chromosomal rearrangements, mechanisms of recombination and gene conversion, the use of mutants to study gene structure, regulation and the cell cycle, uses of recombinant DNA in genetic analysis, and the genetic analysis of development in Drosophila.


Genetic Approaches to Biological Problems II (GEND G6211)

Basic principles and current areas of interest in mouse and human genetics. Topics include an introduction to mouse genetics, X-chromosome inactivation and genomic imprinting, genetic manipulation of the mouse, genetics of mouse coat color, genetics of sex determination, human linkage analysis, somatic cell genetics, physical mapping of the human genome, cytogenetics, mitochondrial genetics, and disease. Course Directors: Michael Shen and Wayne Frankel.

Principles of Developmental Biology (GEND G4027)

This course emphasizes the molecular control of vertebrate embryogenesis and is divided into three main areas: early embryogenesis, developmental neurobiology, and the development and differentiation of specialized organs or lineages. Course Director: Andrew Tomlinson.

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology I (BCHM G6300)

This fall-semester course is required for all first-year students and covers basic biochemical and experimental principles, such as protein and nucleic acid structure and chemistry, thermodynamics and enzyme kinetics, and bioinformatics. Also discussed are biochemical processes common to all cells, such as genome replication and repair, regulation of gene expression, cell cycle control, and cell membrane and receptor biochemistry. Course Director: Stavros Lomvardas.

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology II (CMBS G6301)

Required for all first-year students, this spring-semester course is an introduction to eukaryotic cell biology and covers such topics as membrane trafficking, mitochondria, nuclei, viral biology, and apoptosis, as well as the cytoskeleton and its role in various cellular processes, including mitosis, cell migration, cell polarity, and cell adhesion. Course Directors: Gregg Gundersen and Ai Yamamoto.


Molecular Genetics (CMBS G4150)

Offered in the fall semester, this course is required for all first-year students and covers aspects of molecular biology and genetics from prokaryotes to mammals, including regulation of gene expression, molecular genetics of bacterial viruses, plasmids, and transposable elements, as well as modern molecular genetic approaches to complex biological phenomena. Format: four to five hours of lecture and discussion per week. Course Director: Jonathan Dworkin.

Responsible Conduct of Research and Related Policy Issues (CMBS G4010)

This spring-semester course explores a variety of ethical and policy issues that may arise during basic and clinical scientific research. Course sessions include lectures, discussion periods, and analyses of case studies. Columbia requires that all graduate students share in the discussions. Course Directors: Arthur Palmer and Jaime Rubin.