Cancer Biology: An Evolving Puzzle

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Course DatesLengthMeeting TimesStatusFormatInstructor(s)CRN
June 28, 2021 - August 11, 20216/28 - 8/116 WeeksOnlineWaitlistedOnlineJennifer Sanders
John Santiago

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? 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. 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.

This on-line course will employ a flipped classroom with a focus on active learning. This will include short video lectures with discussion, small group collaboration, video clips and virtual laboratories. Emphasis will be placed on critical thinking, research design and presentation skills. Each student will research a topic of their choosing and design an experimental research project. Theoretical research data will be provided for analysis.

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

Program Information


Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences for students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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