Advanced Seminar: Cellular and Biomolecular Engineering
TBD, U. A. Whitaker, Room 1214
Instructors: Thomas H. Barker, Ph.D. Philip J. Santangelo, Ph.D.
Office: UAW 2108 Office: UAW 2107
Reading material will be assigned or recommended from current research papers with
supplemental information from book chapters and review articles to provide the necessary
supporting information or topical examples of the principles of the course.
Prereqs: IBS 555 & 556 and BMED 6782
Purpose: This course serves as the Advanced Seminar course for the Cellular and Biomolecular
Engineering Thrust within the Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. curriculum. The course
focuses on cutting edge technologies and methodologies for both the manipulation and
detection of molecular and cellular events. The content of the course is intended to
promote basic background knowledge and critical review of “state-of-the-art” molecular
scale technologies by students toward the identification and understanding of their
strengths and limitations. The primary topics to be discussed focus on specific
Objectives: The key learning objectives of this course are:
1. Understand the fundamental variance of biological systems
2. Gain a basic knowledge of the fundamental physics and biology of detection and
3. Comprehend current limitations in the integration of physical methods with living
4. Design novel approaches to understanding and overcoming current limitations in
Topics: The following list of topics to be discussed this semester.
1. Basic cell and molecular biology
2. Microscopy and optical physics
3. Sub-diffraction limited microscopy
4. Advanced methods for tracking spatio-temporal dynamics of molecules
5. Molecular probes for gene expression
6. Cellular delivery strategies
7. Genetic engineering and gene delivery
9. Biomolecular mechanics
10. Protein structure and protein engineering.
11. High-throughput cell signaling and signaling networks.
12. Methods for detecting protein activity.
13. Engineering cell phenotypes
Grading: Journal presentations 30%
Research Proposal 50%
Presentations: Students will be required to present a summary of ~2 journal articles throughout the
semester. These will be evaluated on clarity of verbal and visual presentation and the
ability of the presenter to lead a critical discussion of how the main findings of the
paper relate to the themes of the course. See oral presentation rubric for details of
Participation: This portion of the grade will be determined by factors such as class attendance and
ability to ask relevant and critical questions about assigned articles.
Proposal: Students will construct a full proposal that addresses a current, novel and testable
hypothesis based on one of the topics discussed in class. The topic CANNOT be the
student’s own research or related to work performed in the student’s lab. The
proposal structure will conform exactly to the NIH guidelines for R01 proposals. All
proposals will be reviewed in a mock-study section review. The grade will be based
on evaluation criteria in the mock reviews as well as scoring by both professors.