GMS 6064 – Tumor Biology

Course Director

Satya Narayan, Ph.D.
Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
University of Florida
1333 Center Drive
P.O. Box 100235
Gainesville, FL 32610-0235
Phone: (352) 273-8163
Room: Academic Research Building, R4-224

Academic Program Coordinator for the Course

Mark Zakshevsky
Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
1333 Center Drive
P.O. Box 100235
Gainesville, FL 32610-0235
Phone: 352-273-9647
Room: Cancer & Genetics Building, 497
Office hours:  Monday-Friday 8-5 PM

Course objectives

This is an advanced graduate course, which will provide a modern view of molecular mechanisms of tumor development.  Tumor development is considered as a genetic mechanism, in that, a defect in the genomic DNA is the key event for deregulated growth of cancer cells.  Mostly, the origin of the cancer is clonal in nature.  After transformation the affected cell acquires a malignant potential.  The successive cell division of the malignant cell produces hyperplasia, dysplasia, and finally metastasis.  During the process of transformation of normal cell into an invasive metastatic tumor, a series of molecular and biochemical events are initiated within the cell, whose contribution(s) serve as determining factor(s) for tumor development.  The goals of this course are to guide students in a systematic manner with the general concept of tumor development and an extensive overview of specific aspects of tumorigenesis.  There will be lectures presented to provide students a guideline for organizing their study.  The course will deal with the latest findings on the cancer research and thereby rely heavily on group discussions.

Topic Outline

  • Intro/Perspective, Course Introduction
  • Gene regulation and cancer
  • Cell cycle control and cancer
  • Oncogene and Cancer
  • Tumor suppressor genes and cancer
  • DNA repair and cancer
  • Apoptosis and cancer
  • Molecular basis of invasion and metastasis
  • Structure-based designing of drugs
  • Gene therapy approach in cancer management


60% Oral Presentation and Group Discussion – A selected published paper on the related topic will be presented and discussed in the group.  The presenter will be mostly responsible to defend the author’s point of view, but not limited to contribute his/her own thoughts and ideas on the topic.  This format of study is designed to enhance student’s group discussion ability concluding with evaluation of individual knowledge acquisition.

40% Class Participation and Assignment – The Assignment will include one short (4-page) scholarly papers on discussing a topic of his/her own choosing, which is covered in this course.  The papers will consist of specific aims, background and significance, research design and methods, and references.  List of references are excluded from the 4-page limit of the text.  It is expected that the student will identify an interesting question(s) in tumor biology, suggest a series of “aims” to address the selected question and then justify both the question and the background and significance section.  The purpose of this topic is to reinforce students the qualities required to become a logical thinker, critical evaluator, and skilled writer.  This requires the ability to review the literature critically and to integrate information into a format that is useful for self-education and for implanting information to peers.  The papers can be submitted at any time prior to the last day of the course.

The grading on oral presentation and assignments will be A-E.  A minimum ‘C’ grade will be required for graduation.  The following scale will be used:

Grade% RangeGrade% RangeGrade% Range
A93 – 100B-80 – 82D+67 – 69
A-90 – 92C+77 – 79D63 – 66
B+87 – 89C73 – 76D-60 – 62
B83 – 86C-70 – 72E<60