Molecular Pharmacology and Therapeutics

Required Courses

Molecular Pharmacology (PHAR G9600)

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to molecular approaches to target identification and drug development and delivery for cellular and subcellular processes that contribute to human disease. Material covered includes the principles of drug-receptor interactions; ion channels as molecular targets of neurohormones and drugs; structure and function of G-protein coupled receptors; cytoplasmic signaling molecules including receptor and non-receptor tyrosine kinases and serine-threonine kinases; neuro-psychopharmacology; the pharmacology of inflammation; and novel approaches to gene-targeted pharmacology. Integration of molecular processes and human disease including cancer, neuro degenerative disease; cardiovascular disease, and psychiatric disorders is stressed.. This course is a requirement for students in the Pharmacology graduate program, but is open to all interested students. Prerequisite: familiarity with basic biochemistry and molecular biology. Course Director: Susan Steinberg.

Biochemistry, Cell and Molecular Biology I (BCHM G6300)

This fall semester required for all first year students course covers basic biochemical and experimental principles, such as protein and nucleic acid structure and chemistry, thermodynamics and enzyme kinetics, and bioinformatics. Also included 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 in spring semester, this course is an Introduction to eukaryotic cell biology and covers such topics as membrane trafficking, the mitochondria, the nucleus, viral biology, 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.

Statistics for the Basic Sciences (PHAR G8012)

This spring semester course provides an introduction to the basic statistics commonly used in biomedical research laboratories. Students are provided with a statistical software package for use during the course. Exercises based on relevant experimental data sets use the software to reinforce the lecture material. Topics covered include the role of statistics in biomedical research, principles of statistical analysis, and selecting and applying the appropriate statistical tests. Course Directors: Arthur Palmer.

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

This spring semester course explores a variety of ethical and policy issues that arise during the conduct of 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 of this course. You will hear from your faculty speaking honestly about problems that you may face. You will find the discussions interesting. Course Directors: Arthur Palmer and Jaime Rubin.

Mechanisms of Human Disease (PATH G6003)

This course provides an in-depth analysis of several organ systems and diseases associated with each organ system. The course has four modules; each module describes the basic physiology, nutritional status and anatomy of the organ system, the genetics, cell and biochemical mechanisms and pathologies associated with the disease, as well as basic pharmacology and therapeutics to treat the disease. Course Directors: Ronald Liem and Steven Spitalnik.

Representative Elective Courses

Molecular Biophysics (BCHM G4250)

Methods and principles involved in studying the structure and function of proteins, nucleic acids, membranes, and their macro-molecular assemblies. Noncovalent forces and conformational analysis; ultracentrifugation, viscometry, circular dichroism, fluorescence, magnetic resonance; conformational changes in proteins and nucleic acids, topological properties of macromolecules. Course Director: Arthur Palmer.

Principles of Developmental Biology (GEND G4027)

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

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 sets on the current literature. Course Director: Tim Bestor.

Cellular and Molecular Biology of Cancer (PATH G4500)

An integrated and critical review of cancer biology, emphasizing recent research. Topics discussed include: natural history and epidemiology of cancer; morphology and behavior of cancer cells; DNA and RNA tumor viruses; oncogenes; tumor suppressor genes; signal transduction; the genetics of cancer; cancer and cellular differentiation; cancer causation: physical and chemical agents; multistage carcinogenesis; hormones, nutrients, and growth factors in cancer. Readings are largely original research papers and review articles. One 2-hour seminar per week. Course director: Richard Baer.

Structure and Function of Membrane Channels (G4600)

This course provides a detailed analysis of the biophysical and structural properties of ionic channels in biological membranes. In addition, the physiological role of such channels in regulating neuronal excitability is covered. Course Director: Steven Siegelbaum.

Molecular Toxicology (EHSC P8308)

Course Director: Greg Freyer