M.S. in Translational Medicine Curriculum Overview

Students in the MSTM program will enroll as full-time student at City of Hope throughout the entire two-year program. Students will complete a total of 60.0 units over the course of two years of study. 

TM 100 Introduction to Biomedical Research Technologies  

This course introduces students the state-of-the-art instruments and technologies available at City of Hope, and how to apply them effectively in both laboratory and clinical research settings. Through a combination of lectures, instrumental demonstrations, and hands-on exercises, students will learn to utilize cutting-edge equipment and methodologies, including high-quality flow cytometry instrumentation for analyzing and interpreting cell populations; mass spectrometry analysis of biomolecules; high resolution light microscopy and digital imaging for tissues and live-cell imaging; animal handling techniques for conducting ethical and humane research; sophisticated surgical catheterization models for metabolic phenotyping using live animals; integrated islet distribution program; 3D oncological imaging for cancer diagnosis and treatment planning. Students will complete HIPAA training during this course.  

TM 200 Preclinical Models for Diseases  

This course introduces the use of animal models in biomedical research. The course covers a wide range of topics, including the natural history and origin of animal models, repositories and sources, breeding systems, nomenclature, normative biology, specific techniques, infectious agents and diseases, laboratory animal pathology, and animal model specific topics. Through weekly lecture presentation, the course explores the applications of the various animal models in biomedical and translational research, as well as the strengths and limitations of different animal models. In addition to lectures, students will engage in critical analysis of selected literature and publications related to the use of animal models in biomedical research.  

TM 300 Introduction to Biomedical Data Science  

The course provides a unique opportunity for students to work with authentic genomic data and opensource tools under the guidance of experienced bioinformatics and computational biology experts. With hands-on experience, students will develop critical big data analytics skills, enabling them to proficiently analyze diverse genomics data types, including RNA-seq, whole exome sequencing, and single cell RNAseq data. By the end of the course, students will have the confidence to conduct advanced data analysis in genomics and possess a profound understanding of the underlying concepts and methodologies. Through this course, students will also learn the core concepts and techniques of machine learning, including supervised and unsupervised learning, deep learning, and reinforcement learning. Furthermore, the course aims to equip students with the necessary skills to leverage modern technologies to conduct population-based research, addressing the intersection of environmental and genetic factors affecting health equity.  

TM 400 The Science of Health Disparities  

This course provides a comprehensive exploration of health disparities, drawing on literature, discussions, and written evaluations to facilitate the development of innovative ideas in this field. Over a century of research has highlighted the significant disparities in health that exist throughout America, with differences in incidence, prevalence, mortality, and burden of diseases and other adverse health conditions being evident when comparing specific population subgroups. These disparities are not random but are systematically distributed according to different levels of social advantage, which can include social, societal, and genetic/epigenetic factors. Through presentations and discussions, students will examine the fundamental factors that contribute to disparities in health, with a particular focus on cancer disparities. The course will be structured around three key topics: social determinants of health (SDOH), genes and the environment, and precision medicine in health equity.  

TM 500 Pharmaceutical Discovery and Development  

The course on Drug Discovery and Development is designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the processes involved in discovering and developing new drugs. It explores the multidisciplinary nature of the field, combining principles from chemistry, biology, pharmacology, and pharmaceutical sciences. Throughout the course, students will learn the structure activity relationship and drug design principles, assay design, high throughput screen, medicinal chemistry strategies for optimization, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics studies.   

TM 520 Introduction to Biostatistics  

This course introduces the basic concepts and methods of biostatistics, the application of statistical techniques to problems in biology, public health, and medicine. The course will cover the fundamentals of statistical inference, study design, and data analysis, as well as statistical tools used in biostatistical research. Students will learn to apply these concepts to real-world data through a series of case studies, including clinical trials, epidemiological studies, and genetic studies. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to describe and implement the PPDAC problem-solving cycle, different types of data, various graphical and statistical methods; and understand how randomness is quantified by probability and how to summarize possible outcomes.  

TM 550 Introduction to Clinical Research Development  

This course introduces the essential principles and practices involved in the development and conduct of clinical trials. Students will learn about the key components of clinical trial development, including clinical statistics and study design, protocol development, patient recruitment, data collection, analysis, and reporting of results. The course will also cover the regulatory requirements and guidelines governing clinical trials, as well as the importance of good clinical practice. Through interactive lectures and case studies, students will gain a comprehensive understanding of the different phases of clinical trials.   

TM 600 Fundamental Papers in Applied Medicine  

The course is structured around student presentation and discussion of peer-reviewed research articles, with the goal of developing students' abilities to read and evaluate scientific literature, and to develop their critical thinking and communication skills. They will gain a deeper understanding of the research methodologies and approaches used in different fields and will develop a broader perspective on current trends and issues in the discipline. Each student will be expected to present once per year.  

TM 620 Current Topics on Disease Mechanisms  

This course provides an in-depth exploration of current topics in disease mechanisms, drawing on the latest research and cutting-edge techniques to develop a comprehensive understanding of the molecular and cellular processes underlying disease. Through faculty presentations, literature studies and roundtable discussions, students will explore a range of diseases, including cancer, diabetes infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders, among others. Students will examine the latest research at City of Hope in disease mechanisms, with a particular focus on the key molecular and cellular pathways that contribute to disease development and progression. Through this course, students will identify areas of research interests for laboratory rotations.    

TM 650 Clinical Genomics & Precision Medicine  

This course offers a unique opportunity for students to learn directly from City of Hope's clinical faculty, who are world-renowned experts in cancer diagnosis and treatment. With a focus on recent developments in best practices for cancer diagnosis, targeted and personalized molecular and immunological treatments, and other cutting-edge techniques used in cancer research and treatment, the faculty will deliver engaging lectures and presentations to share their wealth of knowledge and expertise with students. Through this course, students will gain valuable insights into the identification of cancer biomarkers and the use of these biomarkers in developing personalized treatment plans. In addition, students may choose to shadow City of Hope's clinical faculty, observing firsthand how they work with patients to develop treatment plans tailored to individual's unique needs.  

TM 700 Scientific Communications  

This course is designed to provide students with the necessary tools and techniques to write clearly, concisely, and effectively in a scientific context. The course will cover various aspects of scientific writing, including understanding the structure and format of scientific papers, developing a clear and concise writing style, presenting data and results, and writing effective abstracts and summaries. The course provides students with the experience of writing longer scientific documents and having their work critiqued. The class format includes lectures together with in-class assignments and discussions.  

TM 720 Professional Development  

Professional development is an essential aspect of a successful career in any field, including those related to science and technology. This course is designed to provide Master’s students with the necessary skills, tools, and knowledge to prepare for and succeed in their future careers. The course will cover career exploration and planning, professional communication, project management, leadership and teamwork and ethics and professionalism.  

TM 750 Scientific Rigors and Ethics  

This course aims to provide an overview of the fundamental principles and best practices for conducting research responsibly and ensuring the rigor and reproducibility of scientific research. The course covers a wide range of topics related to research ethics, including responsible authorship, plagiarism, data management, research misconduct, conflicts of interest, and the use of human and animal subjects in research. Students will learn about the importance of maintaining integrity and accountability in research, and the consequences of failing to do so. The course is delivered through a combination of lectures, discussions, case studies, and interactive exercises. Students will have the opportunity to engage in critical thinking and reflection on the ethical challenges that arise in research, and to develop practical strategies for addressing these challenges. 

TM 800 Independent Research  

The Independent Research course is designed to offer students the chance to explore different research areas and labs, develop experimental skills, and broaden their knowledge and research perspective. During the course, students are required to complete three lab rotations, each last for 4 weeks. The rotation mentor plays a critical role in the course, helping the student to understand how their experiments fit into the laboratory's overall approach to the biomedical problem under investigation. The mentor provides guidance and support in co-developing a research project, which the student conducts under the mentor's supervision. The research facilities and resources required for the project are provided by the mentor. The Laboratory Rotation course takes the form of individual learning in a research laboratory, providing students with hands-on experience and exposure to the research process. Through this course, students develop a deeper understanding of the research process, gain valuable research experience, and build a strong foundation for their future research work.

TM 900 Thesis Research  

The Master Thesis Research course is designed to provide students with the necessary skills, knowledge, and tools to carry out independent research and produce a high-quality master's thesis. The course aims to train students in developing the ability to design, execute and communicate a research project in their chosen field. The course will begin with defining research questions, identifying relevant literature, and selecting appropriate research methodologies. Throughout the course, students will engage in critical analysis of existing research in their field and learn how to effectively synthesize and integrate research findings to develop new insights and contribute to the knowledge base of their discipline. Students will also learn how to collect and analyze data using appropriate statistical and qualitative research methods. The course will emphasize the importance of ethical considerations in research, including the responsible conduct of research, data protection, and the proper use of research materials. Students will also learn how to effectively present and communicate their research findings through various media, such as written reports, presentations, and posters.