NS 219 GEMS Introduction to Human Biology and Medicine

Module: 2
Sponsoring Program: GEMS
Administrator: Lucita Nacionales

Course Number: NS 219
Course Name: GEMS: Introduction to Human Biology and Medicine
Units: 3
Grading Option: S/U
Course Director: Eric Huang

Additional Course Director(s):
Room Number: TBD
Campus: Parnassus
Schedule: April 20-May 8: MTWThF
Prerequisites: none
Maximum Class Size: none

Course Description: (Counts as 2 for BMS students) This minicourse is designed to introduce graduate students in the life sciences to normal human tissue and organ biology, and to its dysregulation in disease. While we cannot make you fluent in the extensive language of clinical medicine, we will provide a useful working vocabulary centered on the rudiments of human anatomy and physiology, and illustrate how this knowledge, when integrated with molecular studies, can illuminate disease pathogenesis and treatment. Armed with this knowledge, you will be better positioned to connect your basic science research to clinical problems in need of solutions. At a minimum, we hope that this course instills in you a desire to always ask, “how might my work be applied to advance human health?”

The course begins with an examination of human blood as a tissue, including a detailed consideration of normal hematopoiesis. We then discuss its derangement in leukemia and myeloproliferative neoplasms, and discuss hematopoietic stem cell transplants as an example of stem cell biology in the clinic.  We later discuss congenital and acquired problems of bleeding and clotting (thrombosis) in terms of human diseases, the underlying pathobiology, the role and shortcomings of clinical tests, and the pros and cons of the current pharmaceutical armamentarium available to treat these disorders.

The course also includes an overview of the circulatory system and its regulation, including basic physiology and pathophysiology of the cardiac, pulmonary, and renal systems. We also present an overview of energy metabolism, including its neural and endocrine regulation and its derangement in diabetes and obesity. Neuroanatomy and neurophysiology provide the foundation for discussions of two common neurologic disorders, epilepsy and multiple sclerosis. A discussion of the biology of the liver and biliary system is linked to a presentation of common liver problems and their treatments, both medical and surgical. And, a section on fetal/maternal medicine explains the development of the placenta, and discusses common disorders such as eclampsia, placental infections, and endometriosis to provide an overview of various remarkable biological process and how they can become derailed.  

Each topic will include lectures that provide basic and clinical information. To the extent possible, the course includes patient interviews to help students better understand the biology, pathology and the areas of clear need for future basic biomedical research.  Moreover, each presenter is charged with outlining specific areas in need of critical research in their respective field, something that we hope will help stimulate student thinking and career focus.