Cancer Biology: Discovering Molecular Mechanisms & Novel Therapeutic Strategies

Course Description

This Course-based Research Experience (CRE) class will provide you with the opportunity to research a topic of interest related to cancer biology, and to propose a novel question and experimental design in the format of a grant proposal.

Have you ever questioned why certain types of cancer are so difficult to treat? Or how basic science discoveries translate into clinical practice? This intensive course will introduce you to fundamental concepts in cancer biology and to the experimental techniques commonly used in Cancer Research. The first week of the course will consist of lectures on basic topics in cancer biology, and will teach you how to perform a literature review and develop a novel research question. As the course progresses, we will delve into more advanced topics related to cancer metabolism, cancer stem cells, and therapeutic resistance. You will work individually and collaboratively in small groups to develop a hypothesis and experiments for your research proposal.

This course will utilize a blended format where you will work at your own pace to complete online assignments by a given due date, while also attending live sessions twice weekly. The online portion will feature short pre-recorded lectures, video clips, and analysis of unpublished research data. Assignments are designed to promote discussion between participants. The live sessions will primarily focus on small group activities related to the development of the research proposal. Live optional open office hours will be offered several times a week to answer questions related to online material.

As a result of completing this course, you will have learned or will be able to:
• Critically read and analyze primary scientific literature
• Illustrate how basic research translates into novel therapeutic approaches
• Analyze unpublished scientific data and present your findings
• Develop a novel research question and experiment
• Write a short research proposal in the style of a scientific grant proposal.


This course is ideally suited for advanced students 16 years of age and older who are rising juniors, seniors, or will have recently graduated. Coursework in biology/chemistry is required. Additional coursework in Honors or AP biology/chemistry would be useful but is not required. The investigation of real-world medical problems using critical thinking, hypothesis-driven experiments, and data analysis requires students to have a strong desire to learn how to conduct independent research. Students should be highly motivated and resilient.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 27, 2022 - August 05, 2022
Duration: 6 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Blended with required live sessions every Tuesday from 7:00PM - 8:00PM Eastern Standard Time (EST)
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): Jennifer Sanders
John Santiago
Course Number: 10399