MD Education Program

Molecules to Cells and Tissues (7 credits; 16 weeks)

In the Molecules to Cells and Tissues course, medical students gain knowledge of fundamental concepts in molecular, cell and tissue biology, and in clinical genetics to enable them to explain the molecular, biochemical and cellular underpinnings of health and various disease states.

Course Objectives

The following course objectives align with the IU School of Medicine MD Curriculum Competencies and Institutional Learning Objectives. This alignment enables faculty and students to understand how current student learning prepares them for the next stage in training and for their ongoing practice and maintenance of certification.

Describe the subcellular structure of mammalian cells, the function of the different subcellular organelles, including cell membranes and associated proteins, and their relevance to human health and disease.

Describe how cells divide, differentiate, control their shapes and activities to produce basic tissue types and explain how their microscopic characteristics produce the functions of these tissues and their specialized subtypes.

Describe the molecular and cellular events of human development from fertilization through formation of the notochord and body plan, including the molecular basis of various developmental abnormalities and methods for their detection.

Use knowledge of protein structure, folding and assembly, including the role of co-factors, to explain how altered protein structure can have pathological consequences.

Describe how protein function is regulated and how dysregulation contributes to human disease.

Describe the organization, function, maintenance, and regulation of the human genome; explain how these processes or their dysfunction contribute to health and disease at the individual, family and population levels, and apply genetic methods for calculating/assessing risk of disease occurrence.

Describe how the metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, nucleotides, and proteins generate the energy and intermediates necessary for cell and organ homeostasis and how dysregulation of these processes (inborn and acquired) contributes to human disease.

Distinguish the various mechanisms of cell-to-cell communication and describe how dysfunction in these processes contributes to human disease.

Describe the genetic, molecular and cellular events and the environmental factors linked to the initiation, progression, and metastasis of cancers and describe how these elements may impact risk assessment and point to targets for therapeutic intervention, prevention, and/or risk reduction for particular types of cancer.

Identify gaps in their understanding of cell and molecular biology; locate, analyze and appraise information required to fill those gaps; and integrate new information to extend medical knowledge.

Behave in a professional manner by demonstrating compassion, honesty, integrity, respect, responsibility, and self-discipline in relationships with all individuals, regardless of gender, age, culture, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability, socioeconomic status, native language or role.

Describe how the evolving insight into the molecular basis of disease affects ethical considerations in the diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Modify communications demonstrating sensitivity to differences, values, and needs of others, with attention to one’s personal communication style and the context and purpose of the conversation.

Share information accurately in academic and clinical settings both in oral presentations and written documentation including in the medical record.