Universtiy of Miami Miller School of Medicine Graduate and Postdoctoral Programs

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

The Journal Club is a reading/discussion course led by a designated HGG program faculty. Students read new, original papers on a theme, and meet on the 2nd and 4th Mondays during the fall and spring semesters to discuss and critically evaluate the papers. This course is ongoing and required throughout the entire program.

The Human Genetics and Genomics Seminar Series is on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month during the fall and spring semesters (unless otherwise notified). Upcoming seminar announcements are published on the calendar of events as well as university-wide electronic newsletters. This course is ongoing and required throughout the entire program.

HGG 621 – Fundamentals of Genetic Epidemiology

This class is a survey of introductory topics in genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics. Basic concepts and methods will be covered including introduction to genetic linkage and genetic association, candidate gene analysis and genome-wide studies, gene-environment interactions, quantitative trait analysis, and rare variant analysis. The course will consist of a combination of lectures and computational laboratory assignments, with some discussion from the primary scientific literature.

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

Bioinformatics is the quintessential transdisciplinary field that merges biology with the computational sciences in a way not seen previous to the current era of biomedical research. The aim of this course is to introduce the students to the theories and practices of bioinformatics, particularly as applied to biomedical research in the genomics arena. As such, most classes will include a lecture that explains the concepts, followed by a hands-on lab session with worksheets and exercises. Basic methods for database mining, sequence alignments and motif discovery will recur as the application of these methods has evolved into algorithms for gene expression analysis, next generation sequencing data analysis, and functional genomics analysis of variation. Freely available web resources will be used whenever possible, and the course will include an introductory tutorial to a scripting language such as perl or python.

Prerequisites: Familiarity with genome structure, and the methods and approaches of molecular biology. You will be required to register for and attend a Python workshop and a CCS HPC workshop as part of the 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. Prior to the oral defense of the dissertation proposal (and admission to candidacy) students register for HGG 830. 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.