Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

Course Descriptions


The following is a list of specific Cancer Biology course descriptions. Please see the First Year Program in Biomedical Sciences for other required courses as well as the other graduate program pages for elective options.


CAB 710 – Cancer Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

This is an entry-level lecture course designed to introduce students to the major concepts and principles of cell growth deregulation in cancer with a major emphasis on molecular mechanisms. Topics include: oncogenes, tumor suppressors, mechanisms of uncontrolled cell growth, receptors and intracellular signal transduction pathways.

CAB 701 – Student Seminar

This course (required of 2nd and 3rd year students) offers instruction on the fundamental elements of scientific speaking. The ability to communicate effectively is essential for scientists. All CAB students are required to present their research each year as a 25 min (2nd year students) or 55 min seminar (3rd year and above). Students who are 4th year+ give seminars but are not enrolled.

CAB 705 – Tumor Boards

In the Fall and Spring of their second year, students attend Tumor Boards at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. During these meetings, clinicians with expertise in different disciplines, review and discuss the medical conditions and treatment options of patients. These meetings provide an opportunity for students to interact with physicians and learn how pathologists, surgeons, medical oncologists and radiation oncologists review specific cases, create and coordinate customized treatment plans. Examples of cases include patients with solid tumors (i.e., breast, colon, liver, prostate), hematologic tumors (i.e., leukemia, lymphoma), and sarcomas (i.e., osteosarcoma, soft tissue). Students are expected to attend 10 different tumor board or site disease group meetings, a minimum of 5 must be attended during the Fall semester.

Special Topics in Cancer Biology

These modules provide second and third year graduate students with an overview of basic and translational cancer research concepts. The full spectrum of the Research Programs of the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is represented in these modules. The modules highlight how unmet clinical needs are translated into scientific questions and subsequent research programs. Discussions include new therapeutic approaches and emerging research opportunities.

CAB 712 – Viral Oncology and Tumor Immunology

This module emphasizes state of the art knowledge of each discipline, student participation in a problem-based learning context. Topics include viral carcinogenesis and epidemiology, Hepatitis Viruses, Herpes Viruses, Epstein Barr Virus, Human Papillomavirus, Kaposi’s Sarcoma, viral-induced lymphomas, viral oncolysis, and mechanisms of anti-tumor immunity.

CAB 713 – Molecular Cancer Therapeutics

This module explores the signal transduction pathways critical for cancer cell proliferation and survival that may provide new therapeutic targets, approaches for identification and validation of molecular targets within these pathways. Students are introduced to the strategies used in the discovery, design of biological and drug-based therapies, and the implementation of clinical trials.

CAB 714 – Cancer Epidemiology, Prevention and Biobehavioral Oncology

The overall philosophy of this module is to introduce students to the basic principles of biobehavioral oncology and cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention and control. The course will explore cancer epidemiology approaches used to identify the molecular and genetic mechanisms of cancer risk and progression and how these are used to develop predictive models in treatment response. Methods for identifying social, environmental, and biological reasons for cancer disparities among different populations will also be covered. Sections on bio- behavioral oncology include: health behavior change processes in persons at risk for and diagnosed with cancer; methods to improve adaptation to cancer diagnosis and treatment, psychosocial intervention research techniques and bio-behavioral processes explaining their effects on health and quality of life (QOL), translation of behavioral and psychosocial intervention to the community, symptom/treatment side effects management approaches, predictors of late effects of cancer treatment and development of preventative interventions.

CAB 715 – Breast and Prostate Cancers

This module highlights key aspects of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of breast and prostate cancers as well as providing an overview of cancer detection, diagnosis and therapy. Emerging research opportunities are identified. Topics include estrogen receptor and androgen receptor signaling, cancer progression, endocrine therapies and resistance. Key signaling pathways and the biology of metastasis are discussed.

CAB 720 – Dialogues with Cancer Clinicians

This module features Physician Mentors of the Cancer Biology Graduate Program who discuss clinical aspects of cancer treatment with an emphasis on continuity of care of newly diagnosed patients between disciplines, unmet clinical needs, and research. Mentors provide clinical perspectives on their areas of specialization as it relates to patient care including diagnosis, staging, therapy, and outcomes.

CAB 750 – Logic and Reasoning in Translational Cancer Research: Bench to Bedside/Bedside to Bench

An important facet of the Cancer Biology PhD Program is the training of students in the interrelationships between basic research and clinical medicine, i.e., translational research. The goal of this advanced course is to expose students to the scientific reasoning and logic underlying problem solving in clinical cancer research. This course is designed to help students integrate information and develop the thought processes necessary to critically evaluate information in the literature and experimental approaches, conceptualize problems in the field and identify areas for scientific exploration. Students learn how the knowledge obtained from basic research laboratories is applied to clinical problems including prevention, diagnosis, prognosis, and therapeutic treatment of cancer. Specific examples of translational research, i.e., laboratory to clinic/ clinic to laboratory are emphasized. Students also learn the key role of clinical observation in identifying basic research problems.

Prerequisites: MDB665, CAB605, CAB 610, CAB620 & two CAB Special Topics modules

CAB 830 – Dissertation Research-Pre-Candidacy

Required for all PhD candidates. The student will enroll for credits as determined by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies but not less than a total of 24. No more than 12 hours of research may be taken in a regular semester, and no more than six in a summer session.

CAB 840 – Doctoral Dissertation-Post Candidacy

Required for all PhD candidates. The student will enroll for credits as determined by the Office of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies.

CAB 850 – Research in Residence

Student must be registered in the semester they plan to defend. Used to establish research in residence for the PhD after the student has been enrolled for the permissible cumulative total in appropriate doctoral research. Credit is not granted. Student may be regarded as full-time residence as determined by the Dean of the Graduate School.