Curriculum Overview

Students in the MSTM program will enroll as full-time students in both the Henry E. Riggs School of Applied Life Sciences at Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) and the Irell & Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences 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. City of Hope and KGI will grant a joint MSTM degree upon completion of all of the necessary requirements. Of the 60.0 total units, students must complete 12.0 units of core courses, 3.0 units of professional development courses, 12.0 units of advanced technical and general elective courses, 3.0 units of Independent Research, and 30.0 units of the Master’s Thesis Research.
 

First Year - Fall

Students will be exposed to the conceptual foundations of biotechnology and the role played by discoveries and applications of molecular biology principles in advancing biotechnology horizons. This is a case-based course in which students will read landmark original papers and patents that shaped biotechnology, and discuss these in the class.  The case-based approach will follow the first few weeks of background material where a more standard lecture style will be used so as to bring students with different backgrounds en par with modern molecular biology.
 
This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of how pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies discover new drugs.  This course will focus on the discovery of small molecule drugs, the process of pharmaceutical drug discovery from selection of targets to discovery of a product candidate, and the characterization of that drug necessary for initiation of clinical trials. 
 
The course will provide the terminology, timelines and practical examples for successfully understanding the challenges in progressing an idea for a drug from the earliest discovery stages through to product approval and launch. Case studies from industry will be presented detailing companies and products that utilize state-of-the-art discovery technologies and advanced drug delivery systems.
 
This course provides a basic primer in statistical methods commonly used in the design of clinical trials. Topics covered are expected include data reporting and descriptive statistics, probability, estimation, hypothesis testing (parametric, non-parametric, and categorical), multisample inference, regression and correlation. Sample size and power estimation methods will be developed for various hypothesis testing scenarios.
 
This course delves into a few ground-breaking original research papers that have shaped the concepts and technologies of modern biomedical research, with a special focus on cancer. The goal is to understand the logic and principles of doing biological experiments: the importance of models and hypotheses, testable versus untestable hypotheses, controls, the limits of interpretation dictated by the results, how changing paradigms influence the progress of science.
 
This course is designed around four broad themes: effective writing, oral communication, teamwork and leadership. Classes will be a blend of interactive lectures from faculty and industry executives, and workshops. Students will participate in faculty and peer reviews to help each other improve professional skills.
 
This course offers an introduction to the terms, concepts and applications of statistical analysis, and re‐enforces the necessary algebraic skills. Topics covered include data types, single variable regression, normal distributions, and significance tests. Students will apply concepts to practical examples in the life sciences using MS Excel software and gain proficiency in the visual interpretation and communication of data.
 
ALS 493a Independent Research (City of Hope)
 
The goal of this course is to enable students to go through rigorous hands-on training on how to use various instruments and computational technologies within City of Hope Share Resource Facilities and apply these technologies to their thesis studies.
 
General Elective Course(s) (KGI)
 

First Year - Spring

This course examines the role of genes, proteins and RNA in causing or combating diseases, and emphasizes the current conceptual and analytical tools that are brought to bear, and their limitations, on our understanding.
 
This course will focus on the opportunities presented by the growing contribution of human evolutionary and population genetics, and of human genomic information and technologies to interdisciplinary approaches in the study of variable responses of humans to drugs and toxic agents, and how research may benefit the individual. The course will provide an in depth analysis of salient examples where genetical thinking has impacted pharmacological sciences, including issues on genetic variability in biochemistry and physiology of drug action, drug uptake and metabolism, the opportunities for discovery and design of new therapeutic agents.
 
This course should provide students with a deeper knowledge of drug pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, as well as with a deeper understanding of how pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies discover new drugs, and how larger companies manage their drug discovery portfolios. 
 
This course delves into a few ground-breaking original research papers that have shaped the concepts and technologies of modern biomedical research, with a special focus on cancer. The goal is to understand the logic and principles of doing biological experiments: the importance of models and hypotheses, testable versus untestable hypotheses, controls, the limits of interpretation dictated by the results, how changing paradigms influence the progress of science.
 
ALS 493b Independent Research (City of Hope)
The goal of this course is to enable students to gain a comprehensive understanding of the recent biomedical research advances and Phase I clinical studies at City of Hope through roundtable discussions with the City of Hope faculty, mini-laboratory rotations and City of Hope Phase I/Early Therapeutic Disease Team meetings. Students will also have the opportunity to shadow clinicians through our clinical mentorship program to gain a better understanding for how to link research at bench side to bedside. By the end of the course, students are expected to identify thesis research topic and thesis mentor
 
General Elective Courses (KGI)

 

 

First Year - Summer

ALS 495 Master’s Research Thesis (City of Hope)
The goal of this course is to enable students to conduct rigorous primary research that discovers fundamental mechanisms of diseases and develops novel therapeutic strategies leading to the completion of a master’s thesis at a research laboratory at City of Hope.
 

Second Year - Fall

ALS 495 Master’s Research Thesis (City of Hope)
The goal of this course is to enable students to conduct rigorous primary research that discovers fundamental mechanisms of diseases and develops novel therapeutic strategies leading to the completion of a master’s thesis at a research laboratory at City of Hope.
 
In two four‐hour intensive workshops and a selection of modules, students learn how to build their professional presence, gain insight into the process and timing of finding employment, learn skills that will improve their competitiveness, and develop expertise at showcasing their accomplishments.
 

Second Year - Spring

ALS 495 Master’s Research Thesis (City of Hope)
The goal of this course is to enable students to conduct rigorous primary research that discovers fundamental mechanisms of diseases and develops novel therapeutic strategies leading to the completion of a master’s thesis at a research laboratory at City of Hope.
 
This course explores the ethical challenges for commerce in healthcare systems and biosciences industry as it will be increasingly important for healthcare and bioscience leaders to consider the ethical ramifications of their work. The class will focus more on the practical application of ethical principles through real-world case studies, rather than emphasizing theories.