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    MCB 60. Cellular Biology and Molecular Medicine (fall course)

    This course provides an introduction to the principles of molecular and cellular biology and their connections to biomedicine. We explore how medical syndromes provide insights into biological processes and how biological mechanisms underlie human disease and physiology. Topics range from DNA repair, protein folding and vesicle transport to metabolism, cell migration and cancer. Lectures focus on the experimental evidence for key concepts, and the weekly sections comprise of a semester-long discovery-based research project investigating DNA damage response in yeast.


    The courses below will fulfill the intermediate course requirement, with all students taking MCB 60 and at least one other course within this selection. Two courses focus on biochemistry (MCB 63 and MCB 65) while the other three courses tackle cell biology (MCB 66, MCB 68, and MCB 80). Furthermore, two courses have a perspective closely linked to human health (MCB 63 and MCB 66), while others are more singly focused on fundamental science concepts (MCB 65, MCB 68, and MCB 80). Note that spring courses MCB 65, MCB 66, and MCB 68 do not require MCB 60, allowing students to start an intermediate course sequence in the spring.



    MCB 63. Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine (fall course)

    The course integrates an introduction to the structure of macromolecules and a biochemical approach to cellular function. Topics addressing protein function will include enzyme kinetics, the characterization of major metabolic pathways and their interconnection into tightly regulated networks, and the manipulation of enzymes and pathways with mutations or drugs. An exploration of simple cells (red blood cells) to more complex tissues (muscle and liver) is used as a framework to discuss the progression in metabolic complexity. Students will also develop problem solving and analytical skills that are more generally applicable to the life sciences.


    MCB 65. Physical Biochemistry: Understanding Macromolecular Machines (spring course)

    The course aims to develop fundamental concepts of biochemistry as they apply to macromolecules, including protein and nucleic acid structure, thermodynamics and kinetics, ligand interactions and chemical equilibria. The course will also emphasize how these concepts are used in studies of the structure and function of biological molecules, including examples from metabolism. In the weekly section, students will undertake a discovery-based laboratory research project in which they will apply these concepts toward understanding the structure and function of the ATPase domain from the ABC transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP).


    MCB 66. Pathological Cell Biology (spring course)

    Pathological cell states are at the heart of human disease: in this course, we view cell pathology as a window into the normal state of the cell; the robustness of its homeostatic mechanisms and the alternative modes a cell may adopt in order to contribute to multicellular structures as precise as a nervous system and as chaotic as a malignant tumor. The curriculum draws upon foundational courses in genetics and cell biology (e.g. LS1A, LS1B, MCB60 and related coursework) and supports further understanding of normal cell states through exploration of cell’s pathological states. The curriculum emphasizes advanced experimental approaches and current findings in oncogenic transformation and other pathologies.

  • MCB 68. Cell Biology Through the Microscope

    MCB 68. Cell Biology Through the Microscope (spring course)

    MCB 68 explores three fundamental fields of eukaryotic cell biology: chromosome segregation, cell motility, and neuroscience. Each topic is approached from a historic and technical perspective. Students will discover these systems as the scientific field did, learning how each successive advance in microscopy revealed new biological details. Students will come away with a theoretical and hands-on understanding of microscopy as well as a grasp of the biological findings each technology revealed.


    MCB 80. Neurobiology of Behavior (fall course)

    MCB 80 is  introduction to the ways in which the brain controls mental activities. The course covers the cells and signals that process and transmit information, and the ways in which neurons form circuits that change with experience. Topics include the neurobiology of perception, learning, memory, emotion, and neurologic disorders.




    Many upper level STEM courses can fulfill this requirement. You can check whether a course meets this requirement by speaking with an advisor during advising conversations or by emailing an advisor the course name/syllabus for confirmation.

  • MCB 91

    Laboratory research in topics related to the MCB concentration approved by the concentration advisor and/or head tutor in MCB. A final paper must be submitted to the laboratory sponsor and to the MCB undergraduate office for review. This course can be repeated once.

  • MCB 99

    Limited to students writing a thesis in MCB. Students are required to submit a written proposal to the MCB undergraduate office in the summer for enrolment that fall. Only those students whose thesis proposals are approved are eligible to enroll. Ordinarily may not be taken as a fifth course. Students must complete both terms of this course (part A and B) within the same academic year in order to receive credit.