Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate Studies

Course Descriptions


The following is a list of specific Human Genetics and Genomics 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.


HGG 601 – Seminar & Journal Club

All active HGG students participate in the Seminar/Journal Club each semester. Sessions rotate between seminar, journal club, and research-in-progress. Twice per month, students attend the HGG seminar speaker series. Once per month, students present their own work in short research-in-progress talks. Once per month, students participate in a journal club, featuring student-led discussions of published papers.

HGG 621 – Design and Analysis of Human Genomic Studies

This course covers study designs and analytic approaches commonly used in human genetic and genomic studies. Major topic areas include 1) study designs for genetic epidemiology; 2) experimental designs for assessing variation in DNA sequence, RNA expression, and epigenetic marks; 3) analytic approaches for genetic association, gene expression, and epigenetic data; 4) evaluation of epistasis, gene-environment interaction, and application of systems biology approaches to high-dimensional genomic data. Class sessions will feature a mixture of lecture, discussion of primary literature, and hands-on computational workshops.

HGG 630 – Variation and Disease (Offered in Spring A)

This course provides an overview of the science of genetics, including historical and modern approaches, with emphasis on the underlying mechanisms of human genomic variation and their relation to human disease. After taking this course, the student will be able to list the different types of human genomic variation, explain the mechanism by which each occurs, and discuss the consequences of the variations. Where appropriate, specific examples of human disorders will be related to the variations.

Topics include: chromosomal, biochemical, and DNA sequence variation, mitochondrial genome variation and epigenetic effects. The course structure consists of a combination of lectures and discussion of primary literature along with a computer lab.

It is recommended that students in the umbrella program complete HGG 630 during the spring semester of their first year in order to be on track to graduate in five years.

HGG 631 – Genes in Populations

This class is a survey of topics in population and statistical genetics. Basic concepts and methods will be covered including: Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, sources of variation, population substructure (drift, fixation, differentiation, inbreeding and F statistics), relatedness and heritability, quantitative and qualitative trait loci, selection (natural and artificial), and molecular evolution. The course is lecture-based, but will include readings from the text and primary literature.

HGG 640 – Family Studies and Genetic Analysis (offered in Spring B)

The focus of this course is the use of families in the study of genetic disorders and traits. Both qualitative and quantitative phenotypes will be studied. Major topics covered include: heritability, heterogeneity, segregation analysis and linkage analysis. By the end of the course, the student will be able to design and carry-out a family based mapping study. The course consists of didactic lectures and a computer lab during which students will obtain practical experience in running the relevant computer programs using data from various studies.

Prerequisite: HGG 630 or permission of instructor.
It is recommended that students in the umbrella program complete HGG 640 during the spring semester of their first year in order to be on track to graduate in five years.

HGG 650 – Advanced Topics in Molecular Genetics

Each spring, the HGG faculty will offer a course on an advanced topic in molecular genetics, typically within specific areas of research interest. Topics will include human microRNAs, the neurobiology of aging, structural variation, modern genome technology, among others. The course structure will consist primarily of discussions and analysis of primary literature.

Prerequisite: HGG 630 or permission of instructor.

HGG 660 – Bioinformatics Theory and Practice

This course covers a gradient of basic to advanced bioinformatics theory, data mining, and analysis. Each class will include a lecture to explain the concepts, followed by a hands-on lab session with worksheets and exercises. Early lectures will cover in-depth searching of the major databases, alignments, and motif discovery. These themes will recur with the applications of these and other algorithms to gene expression analysis, next generation sequencing data and its analysis, and analysis of variation. Freely available web resources will be used wherever possible, and the students will learn how to use Python for some bioinformatics applications.

REGISTRATION NOTE: All students must have permission from the HGG Program Office to register for this course.

HGG 680 – Genome Ethics and Public Policy

This course will explore current and future applications of human genetics as they pertain to the health and identity of individuals and society. Topics will include the ethical dilemmas facing clinicians, researchers, and the public pertaining to the use of genetic information in healthcare; the role of the media and other extemporaneous factors in influencing the use of human genetic information, and responsible conduct of research specifically with regard to issues unique to genetics. The emphasis will be on real examples and experiences, with a primary goal of helping students explore how their role as a researcher, clinician, and/or citizen will influence and be influenced by genetic information. The course is lecture-based, but will include readings from the text and primary literature.

HGG 681 – Human Genetics Clinical Rotations

After defending the dissertation proposal, HGG students participate in medical genetics clinic pre-clinical rounds, observe clinical evaluation and counseling, and participate in weekly didactic sessions with faculty and residents.

HGG 689 – Teaching Practicum

HGG students serve one semester as a teaching assistant for a core course. This experience will include giving at least one lecture, leading small group discussions, and holding regular office hours to discuss student questions.

HGG 690 – Advanced Topics

Contemporary subject matter offerings based upon expertise of faculty. Subtitles describing the topics to be offered will be shown in parentheses in the printed class schedule, following the title “Advanced Topics”. Mini-Courses to be offered will be announced prior to each semester.

HGG 699 – Special Projects

This course involves special work, lecture or laboratory or a combination as determined by the student’s advisor in accordance with student’s individual interest.

Prerequisite: Permission of advisor and Graduate Program Director.

HGG 830 – Dissertation Research (Pre-Candidacy)

Students begin their dissertation research at the end of the first year and complete their course requirements in the second year. In subsequent years, students devote their efforts to original dissertation research. Prior to the oral defense of the dissertation proposal (and admission to candidacy) students register for HGG 830.

HGG 840 – Dissertation Research (Post-Candidacy)

Students begin their dissertation research at the end of the first year and complete their course requirements in the second year. In subsequent years, students devote their efforts to original dissertation research. After successful defense of the dissertation proposal, students are admitted to candidacy and register for HGG 840.

HGG 850 – Research in Residence

After completing all requirements for the HGG degree (but prior to defending the dissertation) students register for Research in Residence during the semester in which they anticipate scheduling their dissertation defense (final semester) before graduating.

*Please refer to the Program Handbook for more detailed information regarding the complete curriculum.