MCDB 440 - Cell Cycle Control and Cancer
Fall 2022, Section 001
Instruction Mode: Section 001 is  In Person (see other Sections below)
Subject: Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB)
Department: LSA Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology
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Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
Enforced Prerequisites:
Genetics (BIOLOGY 305) and Biochemistry (MCDB 310, CHEM 351, or BIOLCHEM 415).
This course counts toward the 60 credits of math/science required for a Bachelor of Science degree.
May not be repeated for credit.
Rackham Information:
Rackham credit requires additional work.
Primary Instructor:
Start/End Date:
Full Term 8/29/22 - 12/9/22 (see other Sections below)
NOTE: Drop/Add deadlines are dependent on the class meeting dates and will differ for full term versus partial term offerings.
For information on drop/add deadlines, see the Office of the Registrar and search Registration Deadlines.


Critical assessment of scientific literature and an ability to evaluate and critique media representations of new biomedical research in the field of cancer biology is an essential issue. This course is an examination of current genetic and cell biology research on the topic of cell cycle control and cancer biology.

This course involves introductory lectures, reading and analysis of current primary scientific literature and careful analysis of “pop-science” representations of such research. Each week will include group discussions of primary scientific literature, analysis of representations of that research in the media, and organized student presentations on topics of special controversial interest related to cancer.

The goal of this course is to equip students with the cell biology and genetic knowledge to rigorously analyze primary scientific cancer biology literature and provide perspective on how such research is presented in the media.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • How cells decide when and where to divide
  • How the cell cycle is misregulated in specific cancers
  • How can some genes be both tumor suppressors and oncogenes?
  • What is "oncogene addiction"?
  • What is the "cancer stem cell hypothesis" and how is it changing approaches to cancer treatment?

Course Requirements:

Grades are determined by class participation in discussions, quizzes, and weekly written critiques of a piece of current literature in the field of Cancer Biology. The emphasis is on a synthesis of new knowledge and understanding experimental design and data interpretation - not rote memorization or recall.

Intended Audience:

This course is designed for advanced undergraduates and graduate students and will benefit students planning to pursue advanced graduate degrees in all fields of natural science or medicine. The rigorous analysis of primary scientific literature is a valuable skill in a variety of fields and will be applicable across a broad spectrum of biology and biomedical research.

Class Format:

This class is a mix of introductory lectures and discussion seminars. Each week an introductory lecture will provide students with the scientific background needed to then rigorously analyse, debate and discuss the primary literature in the second class of the week.


MCDB 440 - Cell Cycle Control and Cancer
Schedule Listing
001 (LEC)
 In Person
TuTh 1:00PM - 2:30PM
8/29/22 - 12/9/22

Textbooks/Other Materials

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Syllabi are available to current LSA students. IMPORTANT: These syllabi are provided to give students a general idea about the courses, as offered by LSA departments and programs in prior academic terms. The syllabi do not necessarily reflect the assignments, sequence of course materials, and/or course expectations that the faculty and departments/programs have for these same courses in the current and/or future terms.

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