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Personalized Medicine, MSBS 5090S

Course Director:   Dr. Jim Millonig

Dept. of Neuroscience and Cell Biology


Course Description


This class will focus on how state-of-the-art- omics approached are being leveraged to understand the biological basis of common human diseases and to develop new treatments for these diseases. –omic approaches for DNA, the epigenome, RNA. Protein and metabolites will be discussed. Common human diseases have a multifactorial basis with environment and genetic susceptibility contributing to risk. Evidence for the multi- factorial basis of common diseases will be covered as well as –omic approaches to identify common and rare DNA variants that contribute to disease. How these genetic variants interact with the environment to increase risk will be discussed. The mapping of these risk variants to noncoding protein sequence variants interact with pharmaceuticals to influence treatment. Proteomic, epigenomic and metabolomics approaches are being leveraged to develop personalized medicine approaches for cancer and autism.




The course will employ: PPT presentations by the faculty, assigned readings and PPT presentations by the students. Each student will be required to participate in class when papers are discussed and to present one paper as a PPT presentation


Learning goals


After taking the course students should be able to:

  • Understand how common human diseases are due to both genetic and non-genetic factors
  • How generic variants interact with non-generic environmental factors and drugs to affect phenotypes and treatment outcomes
  • Understand how these genetic variants may affect gene function and regulation
  • How –omics approaches can be leveraged to understand the biological basis of these diseases and to develop new treatments


Required Readings


Two papers from the primary literature will be required for each class. PPT presentations by the faculty will introduce the concepts for each class




Primary literature readings, class participation and student PPT presentations