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The Center for Cardiovascular Sciences (CCS)

Ph.D. Curriculum


 

FALL

SPRING

Year 1

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular/Cell Biology
  • Introduction to Scientific Integrity
  • Colloquium in Biomedical Sciences
  • Research Rotations
  • Cardiovascular Physiology
  • Respiratory/Renal Physiology
  • Elective - CCS
  • Cardiovascular Colloquium

Year 2

  • Molecular Basis of Cardiovascular Disease
  • Elective
  • Cardiovascular Colloquium
  • Thesis Research
  • Biostatistics
  • Discussions in Scientific Integrity 
  • Elective
  • Cardiovascular Colloquium

QUALIFYING EXAM

Year 3 and beyond

  • Cardiovascular Research Colloquium
  • Thesis Research
  • Cardiovascular Research Colloquium
  • Thesis Research

CANDICACY EXAM

Degree Completed by Defending Thesis Research

 

COURSES OFFERED BY THE CENTER FOR CARDIOVASCULAR SCIENCES


CCS 501 - Thesis Research

CCS 502 – Cardiovascular Sciences Research Colloquium

Course Director: Dr. John Schwarz

Fall and Spring Course

Description:

Fall- Students present a topic outside of their research project with the intent of teaching the audience an under-presented topic in the center.  Presentations include background material leading to the presentation of a recent paper from the literature

Spring -Students and postdoctoral fellows present their research in Cardiovascular Sciences for review and discussion.

 

AMC 608 - Cardiovascular Physiology - 3 credits

Course Director: Dr. Dan Loegering

Spring Course: Classes are at various times throughout the day for 3 weeks

Description: The course provides a solid foundation in the basic physiology of the cardiovascular system. The fundamentals of cardiac mechanics, hemodynamics, electrocardiography, and cardiovascular reflexes are integrated into understanding the control of cardiac output and tissue blood flow. The importance of these parameters is illustrated by discussion of exercise and the pathophysiological changes associated with valve defects and heart failure.

Classes consist of lectures, laboratories, clinical presentations, and problem-solving conferences. Grades for this course are based upon a final examination.

 

AMC 609 - Respiratory & Renal Physiology - 4 credits

Course Director: Drs. Donald Bell and Paul Feustel

Spring Course: Classes are at various times throughout the day for 3 weeks

Description: This course provides a solid foundation in basic physiology of the respiratory and renal systems. Basic concepts in gas exchange, pulmonary mechanics, ion transport processes, and nephron function are integrated into understanding the control of breathing and acid-base disorders.  Basic concepts are extended into understanding the pathophysiology of abnormalities in ventilation-perfusion and tissue oxygen delivery. The multiple transport processes within the kidney and their control are used to gain an understanding of a number of fluid and electrolyte disorders. There is a special emphasis on the quantitative analysis of clinical problems.

Classes consist of lectures, laboratories, clinical presentations, and problem-solving conferences. Grades for this course are based upon a final examination.

 

CS 601 - Molecular Control of Vascular Cell Cytoskeletal Proteins – 3 Credits

Course Directors: Drs. Harold Singer, and Peter Vincent

Spring Course:  Alternate years

Description: This course addresses the actin cytoskeleton and actin-myosin interactions in smooth muscle during contraction/relaxation and in endothelial cells during shape changes leading to altered vascular permeability. The signal transduction pathways responsible for regulating cytoskeletal interactions in these cells are compared. The course first focuses on the contractile and structural cytoskeleton in smooth muscle. This is followed by discussions of the regulation of actin-myosin interactions by kinases, phosphatases, and thin filament regulatory proteins during smooth muscle contraction. The focus of the course then shifts to non-muscle cells with emphasis on the regulation of fibroblast contraction in tissue remodeling and in the regulation of endothelial cell shape/monolayer integrity.  Topics of discussion with respect to non-muscle cells include: comparison of the cortical actin cytoskeleton versus stress fibers, the role of small GTPases, and regulation of actin assembly by thin filament binding proteins. Control of endothelial cell shape is discussed in the context of the association of cell-cell and cell-matrix junctions with the actin cytoskeleton.

Classes combine didactic presentations and student-led discussions of current journal articles. Grades for this course are based on the quality of the student-led discussions and on a paper to be handed in two weeks after the last lecture.

 

CS 602 – Nitric Oxide Reactive Oxygen Species: Biology and Pathophysiology – 3 credits

Course Directors: Dr. David Jourd’heuil

Spring Course: Alternate years

Description: Nitric oxide plays a crucial role in the homeostatic regulation of the cardiovascular, neuronal, and immune systems. This course focuses on the chemistry of nitric oxide (NO) in normal biological systems and its role in pathophysiology related to different models of inflammation. The course first focuses on the timing, location, and rates of NO production, as the concentration of NO is the primary determinant of the many chemical reactions that occur in different systems. The formation of reactive nitrogen oxide species derived from the interaction of NO with O2 and/or O2- is then discussed in the context of inflammation during sepsis, ischemia/reperfusion, gastrointestinal inflammation, and the acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS).

Classes combine didactic presentations and student-lead discussions of current journal articles. Grades for this course are based on the quality of the student-lead discussions and on a paper to be handed in two weeks after the last lecture.

 

CS 605 - Cellular and Molecular Basis of Cardiovascular Disease - 3 credits

Course Directors: Dr. John Schwarz

Fall Course:  Tues & Thurs 9:00-11:00 AM every year

Description: Cardiovascular diseases result from the complex interplay of metabolism, immunology, hemodynamics, and the particular biology of the cells of the cardiovascular system: vascular smooth muscle cells, endothelial cells, and cardiomyocytes. This course discusses the changes in their functions that contribute to the pathogenesis of cardiac and vascular diseases. Vascular topic areas include: changes in smooth muscle phenotype (contractile versus synthetic); control of smooth muscle proliferation and migration, the role of lipid metabolism and inflammation in atherosclerosis, and regulation of endothelial function. Each of these topics is discussed in the context of atherosclerosis, restenosis, or hypertension allowing comparisons of the similarities and differences in the cell biology leading to these diseases. The course ends with classes discussing the molecular and cellular basis of heart failure coupling investigation of the pathophysiology of heart failure and the potential for treatment using stem cells.

Classes combine didactic presentations and student-lead discussions of current journal articles.  Grades for this course are based on the quality of the student-lead discussions and on a paper to be handed in two weeks after the last lecture.

 

AMC 600 – Biostatistics – 2 credits

Course Directors: Dr. Paul Feustel and Dr. Peter Vincent

Fall Course: Mon & Thurs, 4:00-5:30 PM every year

Description: This course is designed to teach the student basic statistics so that they can perform appropriate statistical analysis of their research and so they can determine if appropriate analysis was performed when reading the literature in their field of study. The first part of the course will be lecture/exercise based sessions run by the faculty that will expose students to basic principles and tests commonly used in biostatistics, including sessions on what inferential statistics is and determining the statistical analysis as part of your experimental design. In the second part of the course students will bring in experiments and/or data from their laboratory and describe the experimental design and the statistical test that was used (or will be used) to analyze the data and how this allowed (or will allow) them to formulate a conclusion from the data.

 

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