Students complete degree requirements over two academic years, augmented by coursework during August at the beginning of the program and during both January terms. Students have the summer free between Year 1 and Year 2 to pursue an internship, most likely in the life sciences or biotech space.

 

First Year

 

August

Harvard Business School Online CORe

Harvard Business School
As with all MBA candidates, MS/MBA students take a short test to determine whether they are required to complete Harvard Business School Online CORe prior to matriculating in August of Year 1. CORe, an online program requiring about 150 hours of work over roughly ten weeks, covers basic business analytics, microeconomics for managers, and financial accounting.

Lab Essentials

Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology
Lab Essentials, an intense hands-on lab-based exposure to some of the most important modern technologies, including DNA sequencing, CRISPR, and stem cells, all done by a “case method” around an important biomedical problem.
 

Fall Term

Interpersonal Skills Development Lab

Harvard Business School
Interpersonal Skills Development Lab engages small teams in interactive workshops—held in flexible classrooms called "hives"—that reshape how students think, act, and see themselves. Through team feedback and self-reflection, participants deepen their emotional intelligence and develop a growing awareness of their own leadership styles.

Finance 1

Harvard Business School
This course examines the role of finance in supporting the functional areas of a firm and fosters an understanding of how financial decisions themselves can create value. Topics covered include: Basic analytical skills and principles of corporate finance; functions of modern capital markets and financial institutions; and standard techniques of analysis, including capital budgeting, discounted cash flow valuation, and risk analysis.

Financial Reporting and Control

Harvard Business School
Recognizing that accounting is the primary channel for communicating information about the economics of a business, this course provides a broad view of how accounting contributes to an organization..

Leadership & Organizational Behavior

Harvard Business School
This course focuses on how managers become effective leaders by addressing the human side of enterprise. It examines teams, individuals, and networks; looks at successful leaders in action; and introduces a model for strategic career management.

Marketing

Harvard Business School
The objectives of this course are to demonstrate the role of marketing in the company; to explore the relationship of marketing to other functions; and to show how effective marketing builds on a thorough understanding of buyer behavior to create value for customers.

Technology & Operations Management

Harvard Business School
This course enables students to develop the skills and concepts needed to ensure the ongoing contribution of a firm's operations to its competitive position. It helps them to understand the complex processes underlying the development and manufacture of products as well as the creation and delivery of services.

NextGen Biotechnology

In this course, students discuss classical and contemporary papers fundamental to the current biotechnology revolution (such as those underpinning the use of monoclonal antibodies, stem-cell transplantation, neural stimulation and regeneration, and gene therapy).

More on the MBA Required Curriculum

 

January

Data Analytics and Technology

Joint Course
This course begins with a module on Data Analytics. During the second half of the course, students will participate in the HBS-led module of Technology Venture Immersion. Modeled on the HBS Startup Bootcamp, the Technology Venture Immersion employs a learning-by-doing approach, with students working in teams on their own startup concepts and on problems provided by instructors to build skills with human-centered design and lean experimentation methods.
 

Spring Term

Interpersonal Skills Development Lab

Harvard Business School
Interpersonal Skills Development Lab engages small teams in interactive workshops—held in flexible classrooms called "hives"—that reshape how students think, act, and see themselves. Through team feedback and self-reflection, participants deepen their emotional intelligence and develop a growing awareness of their own leadership styles.

Business, Government, and the International Economy (BGIE)

Harvard Business School
This course introduces tools for studying the economic environment of business to help managers understand the implications for their companies.

The Entrepreneurial Manager

Harvard Business School
This course addresses the issues faced by managers who wish to turn opportunity into viable organizations that create value, and empowers students to develop their own approaches, guidelines, and skills for being entrepreneurial managers.

Field Global Immersions

Harvard Business School
Field Global Immersion requires student teams to develop a new product or service concept for global partner organizations around the world. Students travel to their global partner organizations at the end of Term 2.

Finance II

Harvard Business School
This course builds on the foundation developed in Finance I, focusing on three sets of managerial decisions: how to evaluate complex investments; how to set and execute financial policies within a firm; and how to integrate the many financial decisions faced by firms. The Finance II course is divided into four blocks of material: tools of financial analysis, financial policy choices of firms, financial market imperfections, and deals and transactions.

Leadership and Corporate Accountability

Harvard Business School
In this course, students learn about the complex responsibilities facing business leaders today. Through cases about difficult managerial decisions, the course examines the legal, ethical, and economic responsibilities of corporate leaders. It also teaches students about management and governance systems leaders can use to promote responsible conduct by companies and their employees and shows how personal values can play a critical role in effective leadership.

Strategy

Harvard Business School
The objective of this course is to help students develop the skills for formulating strategy. Particular attention is paid to competitive positioning; understanding comparative costs; and addressing issues such as cannibalization, network externalities, and globalization.

Ethical Dilemmas in Biotechnology

Monthly seminars designed to challenge students to consider unmet medical need from a diverse perspective. For example, what are the implications of enhancements that increase heath-span but are counter-balanced by an increased lifespan in a debilitated condition? What is the correct approach for modifying the human genome, including germline modifications? What are ways companies can tackle orphan diseases that affect a small number of patients?

More on the MBA Required Curriculum

 

Summer

Students are free to pursue an internship of their choosing during the summer between years of the programs. Internships could be in a variety of fields related to biotechnology and life sciences including pharmaceutical companies, start-up biotechnology and life science companies, consulting with a focus on biotech/life sciences, policy/ government, or investing focused on biotechnology and life sciences.

 

Second Year

 

Fall Term

Frontiers in Therapeutics (SCRB 197)

This course offers a deep dive into the most important unsolved medical issues and how fundamental and clinical sciences are brought to bear (for example, therapeutic modulation, safety and pharmacokinetics, immune-oncology, autoimmunity, depression, and molecular dynamics).

Science Elective

The MS/MBA Program requires a total of three graduate-level courses that form a coherent area of expertise. Below are representative sets of graduate-level science courses in specific depth areas that can be taken at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. Specific course offerings will vary each year. Students will select their courses going into the second year, with the advice of their academic advisor.

Bioethics

Introduction to Clinical Ethics

This core bioethics course covers major principles and themes in clinical ethics (e.g., futility, physician-assisted suicide, advance directives). Each session includes case-based lecture and discussion and practicum modeled around the experience of a clinical ethics committee, with small groups working through a case and crafting an interpretation and set of recommendations.

Neuroethics

This seminar undertakes a survey of the ethical issues related to current and future neurotechnologies, addressing such topics as consciousness, selfhood, and free will; human-computer interaction (including AI and deep learning); brain-computer interfaces; the use of neuroscience in the courts; and cognitive enhancement. The course covers topics related to medical care for patients with neurological disorders.

Research Ethics

This course will introduce students to the interplay of philosophical, scientific, and practical considerations that characterize the field of research ethics. Real-life ethical issues such as undue influence and coercion of research participants, concerns about privacy and confidentiality of clinical trial data, concerns about unjust research trials in low resource countries, and uncertainty about the value of genetic testing in drug development and study design will be explored.

Health Law, Policy and Bioethics

This course is an introduction to legal topics in health policy and bioethics. Topics covered include legal aspects of the doctor-patient relationship, medical malpractice, privacy issues, health care finance, end-of-life issues, organ donation, disability, mental health, public health, medical product regulation, food regulation, and intellectual property.

Global Health Ethics

This course will examine foundational normative problems and pragmatic ethical challenges facing those who work to improve health outcomes for very poor populations living under conditions of severe resource scarcity. Conceptual ideas such as the nature and root sources of “resource scarcity” will be combined with specific practical concerns, such as resource allocation dilemmas and how to conduct ethical responsible research on and with socially and economically disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

Theological and Religious Perspectives in Bioethics

This course reflects on the role and contributions of theological positions and various religious traditions to the interdisciplinary field of bioethics. Attention is given to the unique influence of theological voices on the development of bioethics in the North American context, identifying some of the principles embraced by these approaches and how they guide decisions in health care.

Pediatric Bioethics

Pediatric bioethics addresses the complexities of a developing child and the role of the parent in health care decision-making for children. The course will examine bioethical considerations at different times (e.g., infancy, adolescence, end-of-life) and in different locales (e.g., intensive care unit, nursery, outpatient clinic) in pediatric health care and investigate fundamental ethical dilemmas through the lens of pediatrics (e.g., considerations of disability, gender, and treatment refusal).

Ethics in Reproductive Medicine

The course will examine the ethical issues that arise in reproductive medicine and women’s health, specifically addressing ethical questions that arise in the context of providing assisted reproduction services, family planning services, pregnancy care, and surgical services to women and their families. Questions addressed include ethics surrounding the abortion and fetal tissue research debate; multiple cases in assisted reproduction, including sex selection, savior siblings, and age restrictions in IVF; and genetic engineering in assisted reproduction.

Ethics in Genomics

This course offers an in-depth exploration of key ethical challenges and controversies surrounding recent developments in genomics. Topics include the appropriate informed consent for genomic testing and direct-to-consumer offers of personal genomic testing, including the return of incidental findings.

Bioethics Advocacy

This January course seeks to highlight bioethical issues and dilemmas relevant to the national discourse about health care and then develop strategies and ideas for how to research these issues and promote awareness among health care professionals and the general public. Topics include the impact of social, economic, political, and environmental factors on health; human rights (including health care personnel involvement in interrogation and torture); and advocacy on behalf of vulnerable populations.

Health and Human Rights

This course examines health and health care in the context of human rights: if people have a right to health, and if that includes the right to care or the right to medications; and the systematic obstacles to obtaining care. The course also examines social determinants of health, including education, poverty, the social safety net, and the profit-driven elements of the American health care system. Health at the interface of global conflict is also explored.

Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharm

Principles of Molecular Biology

This course covers fundamental aspects of DNA and RNA structure, their function, and their interactions with proteins. The physical and chemical properties that drive the interactions of proteins with nucleic acids underpins course discussions of DNA replication, DNA repair, gene regulation, transcription, and translation, with emphasis on how protein structure defines function in the processes and pathways that are introduced.

Behavioral Pharmacology

Introduction to behavioral pharmacology of CNS drugs (e.g., psychomotor stimulants, antischizophrenics, opioid analgesics, antianxiety agents), with emphasis on behavioral methodology (i.e., model and assay development) and pharmacological analysis (i.e., receptor selectivity and efficacy). Special attention is given to tolerance, drug dependence/addiction/treatment, and basic behavioral processes.

Molecular Medicine

This course introduces students to a variety of topics in molecular medicine. The course is conducted as a seminar to study various human diseases and the underlying molecular, genetic or biochemical basis for the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of the clinical disorders. Lectures are presented by faculty experts engaged in current research in these fields, and seminars are conducted by the students with tutorials and supervision by faculty. Cross listed with GSAS: BCMP 218. Molecular Medicine.

Principles and Practice of Drug Development

Critical assessment of the major issues and stages of developing a pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical. Drug regulation, drug development cases, financing drug invention, incentives for drug development, manufacturing and the value chain, and the future of personalized medicine will be discussed.

Cellular Metabolism and Human Disease

This course explores cellular and organismal metabolism, with focus on interrelationships between key metabolic pathways and human disease states. Genetic and acquired metabolic diseases and functional consequences are covered. Interactive lectures and critical reading conferences are integrated with clinical encounters.

Modern Drug Discovery: From Principles to Patients

This course explores concepts surrounding pharmacokinetics (PK) and the intersection of PK and medicinal chemistry—ideas central to modern drug development and evaluation. The course will cover drug-target interactions, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics, with a focus on modern approaches to therapeutic development for small molecules, protein-based therapeutics, nucleic acid–based drugs, and antibacterial compounds as well new frontiers in therapeutic discovery.

Biophysical and Biochemical Mechanism of Protein Function.

This course focuses on the molecular mechanisms that underlie essential biochemical processes. Major topics include biochemical thermodynamics and conformational equilibria, protein structure and folding, receptor pharmacology, allostery, and enzymatic mechanisms of signaling.

Translational Pharmacology: The Science of Therapeutic Development

This intensive two-week course covers principles of pharmacology and their translation into new drug development. Students participate in project groups composed of graduate students, medical students, and post-graduate M.D. fellows to propose a drug development strategy from target choice through clinical trials. Course instruction includes panel discussions and case studies presented by Harvard faculty and faculty from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Cell Fate Decisions in Development and Disease

This quarter course offers an in-depth examination of current knowledge regarding mechanisms of cell fate decisions. These processes will be explored in the context of developmental cell plasticity, cellular reprogramming, and cancer. Concepts involving the instructive role of lineage-specific transcription factors, transcription factor cross-antagonism, gene regulatory networks, and cellular reprogramming will be explored.

Biostatistics

Statistical and Quantitative Methods for Pharmaceutical Regulatory Science

This course provides students with the tools in quantitative skills and systems-thinking required to understand and participate in drug development and regulatory review processes, demonstrating the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of drugs and devices over a product's life cycle from a regulatory perspective. Case study examples derived from FDA decision-making and regulatory assessments are used to highlight and describe each phase of the regulatory process, illustrating regulatory science in action and practice.

Cell Biology

Principles of Cell Biology

This course covers critical concepts in cell biology, addressing current and quantitative approaches in cell biology research. Topics include the molecular basis of cellular dynamics, chromosome biology and epigenetics, regulated ubiquitin-proteasome pathways, cell cycle regulation, cytoskeleton and motor dynamics, signal transduction, cell-cell interactions, and programmed cell death.

Vertebrate Developmental, Stem Cell, and Regenerative Biology

Analyzes the developmental programs of frog, chick, zebrafish, and mouse embryos, emphasizing experimental strategies for understanding the responsible molecular mechanisms that pattern the vertebrate embryo. Signaling pathways controlling morphogenesis, organogenesis, stem cells, and regeneration will be discussed in detail.

Molecular and Systems Level Cancer Cell Biology

The course examines the molecular basis of cancer formation, including topics such as cancer epigenetic, tumor heterogeneity, systems biology proteomic approaches to study cancer, immune therapies in cancer, and therapeutic development.

Biology of the Cancer Cell: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Implications

A molecular approach to the basis of human cancer. The course will cover cancer genetics and epigenetics, tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes, signal transduction, DNA damage and repair, cancer stem cells, and tumor immunology and immunotherapy. Lectures will be delivered by experts in the various fields to provide an integrated perspective on past, current, and future approaches in cancer biology research.

History and Philosophy of Experimentation in Biology

How did developments in philosophy of science, technology, and statistics relate to practices in biology over time? Tracing the influence of particular philosophical arguments concerning science that have developed over the last 500 years, this course offers a foundation for exploring how today’s dominant scientific method relates to scientific research, medicine, and society’s popular understanding of science.

The Epidemiology and Molecular Pathology of Cancer

This January course will explore multiple types of cancer, including breast, colon, lung, prostate, and brain, through a series of lectures and hands-on practice tutorials that address training in molecular pathology techniques, state of the art image analysis of human biomarkers, tissue processing, immunohistochemistry, and tumor histology. The epidemiology, genetics, and relevant signal transduction pathways of cancer will be highlighted.

Advanced Experimental Design for Biologists

This course will focus on the theory and practice of experimental design. The emphasis is on project planning and vetting, individual experimental design, and troubleshooting. Special focus will be placed on methods to avoid experimental bias, potential sources of inappropriate interpretation, and the importance of system validation.

The Basics of Translation

This course will focus on how a novel therapeutic modality using antisense nucleotides (ASOs) has grown from a scientific curiosity to a promising and proven therapeutic approach, discussed in the context of an ASO that has been efficacious in addressing spinal muscular dystrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It will also address the critical issue of clinical trials, including their design and the criteria of success.

Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Chemical Biology Towards Precision Medicine

The course teaches students principles of modern organic synthesis, chemical biology, and human biology relevant to the discovery of safe and effective small-molecule therapeutics, exploring patient-based “experiments of nature” that illuminate disease, including cancer, diabetes, infectious disease, and psychiatric disease. Students will propose research for the development of novel small molecules that affect biological systems.

The Chemistry and Biology of Therapeutics

This course will cover the chemical and biological principles that govern small molecule therapeutics. We will discuss small molecule conformational analysis, chemical forces that drive small molecule-protein interactions, and small molecule binding to proteins to affect disease states. We will also discuss how protein targets are identified and the frontiers of modern small molecule therapeutics. Protein targets include, but are not limited to kinases, proteases, GTPases, scaffolding proteins, epigenetic modifiers, metabolic enzymes and transcription factors. This course will teach students how to use modern computer modeling applications to perform structure-based design of small molecule ligands.

Chemical Biology

Applying chemical approaches to problems in biology. Topics include protein engineering and directed evolution; genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics; genome editing; gene regulation; modern drug discovery; chemical genetics; glycobiology; cancer chemical biology; and synthetic biology.

Genetics

Principles of Genetics

An in-depth survey of genetics, beginning with basic principles and extending to modern approaches and special topics. The course draws on examples from various systems, including bacteria, yeast, Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish, mouse, and human.

Genetics in Medicine – From Bench to Bedside

This course will focus on translational medicine: the application of basic genetic discoveries to human disease. Each class will focus on a specific genetic disorder and the approaches used to speed the transfer of knowledge from the laboratory to the clinic, including a clinical discussion and a patient presentation if appropriate. Lectures will highlight current molecular, technological, bioinformatics, and statistical approaches.

Human Biology & Translational Medicine

Pathology of Human Disease

This course provides a comprehensive overview of human pathology, with emphasis on mechanisms of disease and modern diagnostic technologies. Topics include general mechanisms of disease (inflammation, infection, immune injury, host response to foreign materials, transplantation, genetic disorders, and neoplasia); pathology of major organ systems; and review of diagnostic tools from invasive surgical pathology to non-invasive techniques such as diagnostic imaging and molecular pathology.

Tumor Microenvironment & Immuno-Oncology: A Systems Biology Approach

This course focuses on the critical role that the tumor microenvironment plays in the growth, invasion, metastasis, and treatment of solid tumors. Students will develop a systems-level, quantitative understanding of angiogenesis, extracellular matrix, metastatic process, delivery of drugs and immune cells, and response to conventional and novel therapies, including immunotherapies. Discussions will address challenges and future opportunities in research on cancer and in establishment of novel therapeutic approaches and biomarkers to guide treatment.

Principles of Human Disease: Physiology and Pathology

This course covers the normal physiology and pathophysiology of selected organs. Human biology is emphasized, with some examples also drawn from model organisms. Recent therapeutic approaches, including RNAi, gene therapy, and genome editing, will be covered.

Immunology

Advanced Topics in Immunology

A comprehensive core course in basic immunology, providing an in-depth examination of the cells and molecules of the immune system. Special attention is given to the experimental approaches that led to the discovery of the general principles of immunology.

Immune and Inflammatory Diseases

This course explores fundamental principles of immunology in the context of immune and inflammatory diseases, surveying a broad range of diseases in which the immune system is essential. Topics will include not only diseases that mobilize classical immunity but also conditions to which the immune systems contributes.

Autoimmunity

This course will focus on basic immunological mechanisms of autoimmune diseases, with an emphasis on recent advances in the field. Each session will focus on a particular topic and discuss three important publications.

Neuro-Immunology in Development, Regeneration and Disease

The nervous and immune systems share parallel molecular pathways, and communications between neurons and immune cells play significant roles in homeostasis and disease. This course will investigate current topics in neuro-immunology, with a focus on molecular mechanisms shared by the immune and nervous systems and the molecular cross-talk between these two systems.

Cancer Immunology

This course will explore recent developments in the cancer immunology field. Multiple therapeutic approaches have shown efficacy against diverse types of cancer, and this course will emphasize new mechanistic insights, including mechanisms of spontaneous protective anti-tumor immunity; key effector cell populations of anti-tumor immunity; innate immune pathways in tumor immunity; inflammation and tumor microenvironment; immunosuppressive mechanisms in tumor immunity; targeting of inhibitory receptors; and cancer vaccines.

Therapeutic Human Antibody Engineering

This quarter course will focus on all aspects of therapeutic antibody (Ab) engineering from bench to bedside with an emphasis on translational research. Topics will include in vitro microbial discovery platforms; engineering strategies such as chimeric, humanized, and human Abs; human Fc engineering; and nanobodies, antibody drug conjugates, and immunotoxins and chimeric antigen receptors.

Strategies to Achieve Durable Anti-Microbial Host Defense

This course will focus on broadly neutralizing and protective anti-viral antibody responses and how critical epitope selection on viral glycoproteins can help to achieve long-term immunity, exploring principles that can be used to design vaccines and anti-viral antibodies. The course will address modern molecular techniques such as NGS and Ab RepSeq. Numerous viruses will be discussed, including HIV and emerging influenza, coronaviruses, flaviviruses, alpha viruses, Ebola, among others.

Medical Sciences

Human Functional Anatomy

Lectures, detailed laboratory dissections, and prosections provide a thorough exploration of the gross structure and function of the human body. Fundamental principles of embryology and bioengineering promote analytical approaches to understanding the body’s design.

Microbiology

Molecular Biology of the Bacterial Cell

This course is devoted to bacterial structure, physiology, genetics, and regulatory mechanisms. The class consists of lectures and group discussions emphasizing methods, results, and interpretations of classic and contemporary literature.

Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Host Immune Response

This course focuses on molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and the host response to infection, addressing themes of pathogenesis, methods, results, and interpretations of classic and contemporary literature. The subjects covered provide a view of activity both from the pathogen’s perspective and from a host-centric view. Additional sessions are spent examining current methods of antibiotic discovery and vaccine development.

Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis

The mechanisms of bacterial, mycoplasmal, fungal, and viral pathogenesis are covered. Topics cover the spectrum of pathophysiologic mechanisms of the infectious process, with emphasis on pathogenesis at the molecular level.

Microbial Sciences: Chemistry, Ecology, and Evolution

This interdisciplinary graduate-level and advanced undergraduate-level course explores topics in molecular microbiology, microbial diversity, and microbially mediated geochemistry. Topics include the origins of life, biogeochemical cycles, microbial diversity, and ecology.

Social Issues in Biology

This course covers historical and contemporary readings about controversial issues related to biology and social responsibility of scientists, providing students with tools to anticipate and consider present and future ethical and social implications of biology. Topics include scientific racism as a determinant of population health inequities; pros and cons of DNA use in forensics; and controversies in biology and medicine regarding issues of race, ethnicity, and gender.

The Human Microbiome: Comprehensive Experimental Design and Methodologies

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the study of human microbial communities and their functions relevant to human physiology. Topics covered include metagenomics, mechanistic interactions of the microbiome with metabolism, the immune system, and the gut-brain axis.

Neurobiology

The Discipline of Neuroscience

This course will endow students with the broad conceptual fluency in the discipline of neuroscience required to relate genes to circuit function, metabolism to neurological disease, and cell biology to neural computations. Students will learn to design, quantitatively analyze, and interpret experiments that address a variety of questions spanning molecular to systems neuroscience.

The Molecular Pathology and Current Therapies for Retinal Diseases

This course examines current knowledge regarding retinal diseases, molecular pathology, and therapy, with an emphasis on recent breakthroughs and key studies. Seminal papers selected from both the basic science and clinical ophthalmology will be used to teach basic concepts of ophthalmology and familiarity with advanced imaging tools and animal models of retinal diseases. As the retina has long served as a standard model for studying the CNS, the class will discuss the implications of these studies in other disease mechanisms and therapy.

Human Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology

This course will cover human neuroanatomy in depth, with an emphasis on the functional implications of structure and medical implications of lesions.

Neurobiology of Psychiatric Disease: From Bench to Bedside

This course provides clinical insight and critical analysis of basic and translational science necessary for students to approach psychiatric disorders as scientific problems. Lectures will focus on a range of psychiatric disorders, neural systems underlying behavior, and translational approaches to novel interventions, providing insight on disease characteristics; current, novel and translationally informed treatments; gene vs. environmental risk factors; animal models; and gaps in knowledge across the field.

Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology

Stem Cell Therapeutics: Exploring the Science and the Patient Experience

Stem cells are the basis for tissue maintenance and repair and thus are essential elements of normal organ and tissue physiology. Stem cells are also targets for disease processes and, through transplantation, can act as important therapeutic agents. This course will explore how stem cells and tissue regeneration impact human disease pathogenesis and how stem cells might be exploited to advance new therapies for disease.

Understanding Aging: Degeneration, Regeneration, and the Scientific Search for the Fountain of Youth

This lecture and discussion course will explore the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern organismal aging and contemporary strategies to delay or reverse this process.

The Translational Science of Stem Cells

Through a series of lectures and assigned papers, students will be introduced to a broad view of the ways in which stem cells can be used for translational research. This will include human disease modeling, identifying drugs that target endogenous stem cells or otherwise promote tissue repair, and regenerative medicine (cell-based therapies).

Systems Biology

Synthetic Biology: From Ideation to Commercialization

This course provides an introduction to synthetic biology, with an emphasis on medical applications. Topics will include design principles of cells, organisms, and complex proteins; and commercialization of biotechnology and synthetic biology, including conceptualization of research, financing, IP strategies, licensing, and the progression through pre-clinical and clinical research and development.

Science and Business of Biotechnology

This MIT course covers the new types of drugs and other therapeutics in current practice and under development, the financing and business structures of early-stage biotechnology companies, and the evaluation of their risk/reward profiles. Includes a series of live case studies with industry leaders of established and emerging biotechnology companies as guest speakers, focusing on the underlying science and engineering as well as core financing and business issues.

Analysis Foundations for Quantitative Biologists

The bedrock foundation of quantitative biology is controlling assumptions and errors in empirical measurement. This course focuses on developing "street-fighting” capabilities in quantitative analysis: statistical concepts that every biologist needs to ensure that they can interpret their data correctly. The course introduces estimators, the origin and consequences of key distributions in biology, error propagation, hypothesis testing, multiple hypothesis correction and the perils of p-hacking. Concepts are reinforced through problem sets, and team-based analysis of new experimental methods. This course can be taken alone, or as the start of SB221 that extends to cover: high-dimensional data analysis; statistical inference; and how molecular biological systems measure their surroundings in the face of thermal noise and limited energy resources.

Virology

Introduction to Virology

This lecture course reviews the basic principles of virology and introduces the major groups of human viruses.

Virology

This course focuses on several specific areas of virology: epigenetic regulation; RNA virus replication mechanisms; innate responses to viral infection; and inhibition of viral infection. Students will review virus structure, replication, pathogenesis, evolution, emerging viruses, chronic infection, innate and adaptive immunity, and anti-viral drugs/vaccines. Special emphasis will be placed on preparing students to critically evaluate the literature, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments.

Medications and Evidence

Prescription drugs are the most commonly used and effective interventions in all of medicine, but their use can raise important questions about adverse effects and affordability. This course will integrate clinical, epidemiological, and policy perspectives, examining how evidence on medications is generated and used in health care from pre-approval trials and epidemiologic studies to drug pricing and cost-effectiveness.

(2) HBS Electives

Harvard Business School

This is a sampling of MBA program electives that will help prepare aspiring leaders of biotechnology or life sciences organizations. Specific course offerings will vary each year. Students will select their second-year electives with the advice of their academic advisor.

  • Becoming a General Manager
  • Building & Sustaining a Successful Enterprise
  • Business Analysis and Valuation Using Financial Statements
  • Business at the Base of the Pyramid
  • Creating Shared Value: Competitive Advantage through Social Impact
  • Developing Mindsets for Innovative Problem Solving
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Entrepreneurial/Intrapreneurial IQ
  • Field Course: Lab to Market
  • Field Course: Transforming Health Care Delivery
  • Financial Management of Smaller Firms
  • From Data to Decisions: The Role of Experiments Globalization and Emerging Markets
  • Good Strategies in Flawed Markets
  • Leadership Execution and Action Planning
  • Making Markets
  • Managing Human Capital
  • Managing International Trade and Investment
  • Managing with Data Science
  • Managing, Organizing, & Motivating for Value
  • Mastering Strategy Execution
  • Negotiation
  • People Analytics: Leading in a Data-Driven World
  • Strategic IQ
  • Supply Chain Management
  • U.S. Healthcare Strategy

All HBS Elective Courses

NextGen Biotechnology

In this course, students discuss classical and contemporary papers fundamental to the current biotechnology revolution (such as those underpinning the use of monoclonal antibodies, stem-cell transplantation, neural stimulation and regeneration, and gene therapy).
 

January

Thesis Seminar 1

Students will be required to submit a thesis at the end of the spring semester of year two that challenges them to perform an in-depth structured scientific and business analysis of a new biotechnology opportunity.

 

Spring

Thesis Seminar and Capstone Project

The thesis will serve as a capstone project for all coursework. Students will receive guidance on their work from faculty mentors and present their work to their classmates and joint-degree program faculty at the conclusion of the course, as well as one of the external faculty who have participated in NextGen Biotechnology and Biotechnology Case Studies.

(2) HBS Electives

Harvard Business School

This is a sampling of MBA program electives that will help prepare aspiring leaders of biotechnology or life sciences organizations. Specific course offerings will vary each year. Students will select their second-year electives with the advice of their academic advisor.

  • Becoming a General Manager
  • Building & Sustaining a Successful Enterprise
  • Business Analysis and Valuation Using Financial Statements
  • Business at the Base of the Pyramid
  • Creating Shared Value: Competitive Advantage through Social Impact
  • Developing Mindsets for Innovative Problem Solving
  • Entrepreneurial Finance
  • Entrepreneurial/Intrapreneurial IQ
  • Field Course: Lab to Market
  • Field Course: Transforming Health Care Delivery
  • Financial Management of Smaller Firms
  • From Data to Decisions: The Role of Experiments Globalization and Emerging Markets
  • Good Strategies in Flawed Markets
  • Leadership Execution and Action Planning
  • Making Markets
  • Managing Human Capital
  • Managing International Trade and Investment
  • Managing with Data Science
  • Managing, Organizing, & Motivating for Value
  • Mastering Strategy Execution
  • Negotiation
  • People Analytics: Leading in a Data-Driven World
  • Strategic IQ
  • Supply Chain Management
  • U.S. Healthcare Strategy

All HBS Elective Courses

(2) Science Electives

The MS/MBA Program requires a total of three graduate-level courses that form a coherent area of expertise. Below are representative sets of graduate-level science courses in specific depth areas that can be taken at Harvard Medical School and the Harvard Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology. Specific course offerings will vary each year. Students will select their courses going into the second year, with the advice of their academic advisor.

Bioethics

Introduction to Clinical Ethics

This core bioethics course covers major principles and themes in clinical ethics (e.g., futility, physician-assisted suicide, advance directives). Each session includes case-based lecture and discussion and practicum modeled around the experience of a clinical ethics committee, with small groups working through a case and crafting an interpretation and set of recommendations.

Neuroethics

This seminar undertakes a survey of the ethical issues related to current and future neurotechnologies, addressing such topics as consciousness, selfhood, and free will; human-computer interaction (including AI and deep learning); brain-computer interfaces; the use of neuroscience in the courts; and cognitive enhancement. The course covers topics related to medical care for patients with neurological disorders.

Research Ethics

This course will introduce students to the interplay of philosophical, scientific, and practical considerations that characterize the field of research ethics. Real-life ethical issues such as undue influence and coercion of research participants, concerns about privacy and confidentiality of clinical trial data, concerns about unjust research trials in low resource countries, and uncertainty about the value of genetic testing in drug development and study design will be explored.

Health Law, Policy and Bioethics

This course is an introduction to legal topics in health policy and bioethics. Topics covered include legal aspects of the doctor-patient relationship, medical malpractice, privacy issues, health care finance, end-of-life issues, organ donation, disability, mental health, public health, medical product regulation, food regulation, and intellectual property.

Global Health Ethics

This course will examine foundational normative problems and pragmatic ethical challenges facing those who work to improve health outcomes for very poor populations living under conditions of severe resource scarcity. Conceptual ideas such as the nature and root sources of “resource scarcity” will be combined with specific practical concerns, such as resource allocation dilemmas and how to conduct ethical responsible research on and with socially and economically disadvantaged and vulnerable populations.

Theological and Religious Perspectives in Bioethics

This course reflects on the role and contributions of theological positions and various religious traditions to the interdisciplinary field of bioethics. Attention is given to the unique influence of theological voices on the development of bioethics in the North American context, identifying some of the principles embraced by these approaches and how they guide decisions in health care.

Pediatric Bioethics

Pediatric bioethics addresses the complexities of a developing child and the role of the parent in health care decision-making for children. The course will examine bioethical considerations at different times (e.g., infancy, adolescence, end-of-life) and in different locales (e.g., intensive care unit, nursery, outpatient clinic) in pediatric health care and investigate fundamental ethical dilemmas through the lens of pediatrics (e.g., considerations of disability, gender, and treatment refusal).

Ethics in Reproductive Medicine

The course will examine the ethical issues that arise in reproductive medicine and women’s health, specifically addressing ethical questions that arise in the context of providing assisted reproduction services, family planning services, pregnancy care, and surgical services to women and their families. Questions addressed include ethics surrounding the abortion and fetal tissue research debate; multiple cases in assisted reproduction, including sex selection, savior siblings, and age restrictions in IVF; and genetic engineering in assisted reproduction.

Ethics in Genomics

This course offers an in-depth exploration of key ethical challenges and controversies surrounding recent developments in genomics. Topics include the appropriate informed consent for genomic testing and direct-to-consumer offers of personal genomic testing, including the return of incidental findings.

Health and Human Rights

This course examines health and health care in the context of human rights: if people have a right to health, and if that includes the right to care or the right to medications; and the systematic obstacles to obtaining care. The course also examines social determinants of health, including education, poverty, the social safety net, and the profit-driven elements of the American health care system. Health at the interface of global conflict is also explored.

Biological Chemistry & Molecular Pharm

Principles of Molecular Biology

This course covers fundamental aspects of DNA and RNA structure, their function, and their interactions with proteins. The physical and chemical properties that drive the interactions of proteins with nucleic acids underpins course discussions of DNA replication, DNA repair, gene regulation, transcription, and translation, with emphasis on how protein structure defines function in the processes and pathways that are introduced.

Behavioral Pharmacology

Introduction to behavioral pharmacology of CNS drugs (e.g., psychomotor stimulants, antischizophrenics, opioid analgesics, antianxiety agents), with emphasis on behavioral methodology (i.e., model and assay development) and pharmacological analysis (i.e., receptor selectivity and efficacy). Special attention is given to tolerance, drug dependence/addiction/treatment, and basic behavioral processes.

Molecular Medicine

This course introduces students to a variety of topics in molecular medicine. The course is conducted as a seminar to study various human diseases and the underlying molecular, genetic or biochemical basis for the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of the clinical disorders. Lectures are presented by faculty experts engaged in current research in these fields, and seminars are conducted by the students with tutorials and supervision by faculty. Cross listed with GSAS: BCMP 218. Molecular Medicine.

Principles and Practice of Drug Development

Critical assessment of the major issues and stages of developing a pharmaceutical or biopharmaceutical. Drug regulation, drug development cases, financing drug invention, incentives for drug development, manufacturing and the value chain, and the future of personalized medicine will be discussed.

Cellular Metabolism and Human Disease

This course explores cellular and organismal metabolism, with focus on interrelationships between key metabolic pathways and human disease states. Genetic and acquired metabolic diseases and functional consequences are covered. Interactive lectures and critical reading conferences are integrated with clinical encounters.

Modern Drug Discovery: From Principles to Patients

This course explores concepts surrounding pharmacokinetics (PK) and the intersection of PK and medicinal chemistry—ideas central to modern drug development and evaluation. The course will cover drug-target interactions, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics, with a focus on modern approaches to therapeutic development for small molecules, protein-based therapeutics, nucleic acid–based drugs, and antibacterial compounds as well new frontiers in therapeutic discovery.

Biophysical and Biochemical Mechanism of Protein Function.

This course focuses on the molecular mechanisms that underlie essential biochemical processes. Major topics include biochemical thermodynamics and conformational equilibria, protein structure and folding, receptor pharmacology, allostery, and enzymatic mechanisms of signaling.

Translational Pharmacology: The Science of Therapeutic Development

This intensive two-week course covers principles of pharmacology and their translation into new drug development. Students participate in project groups composed of graduate students, medical students, and post-graduate M.D. fellows to propose a drug development strategy from target choice through clinical trials. Course instruction includes panel discussions and case studies presented by Harvard faculty and faculty from the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.

Cell Fate Decisions in Development and Disease

This quarter course offers an in-depth examination of current knowledge regarding mechanisms of cell fate decisions. These processes will be explored in the context of developmental cell plasticity, cellular reprogramming, and cancer. Concepts involving the instructive role of lineage-specific transcription factors, transcription factor cross-antagonism, gene regulatory networks, and cellular reprogramming will be explored.

Biostatistics

Statistical and Quantitative Methods for Pharmaceutical Regulatory Science

This course provides students with the tools in quantitative skills and systems-thinking required to understand and participate in drug development and regulatory review processes, demonstrating the safety, efficacy, and effectiveness of drugs and devices over a product's life cycle from a regulatory perspective. Case study examples derived from FDA decision-making and regulatory assessments are used to highlight and describe each phase of the regulatory process, illustrating regulatory science in action and practice.

Cell Biology

Principles of Cell Biology

This course covers critical concepts in cell biology, addressing current and quantitative approaches in cell biology research. Topics include the molecular basis of cellular dynamics, chromosome biology and epigenetics, regulated ubiquitin-proteasome pathways, cell cycle regulation, cytoskeleton and motor dynamics, signal transduction, cell-cell interactions, and programmed cell death.

Vertebrate Developmental, Stem Cell, and Regenerative Biology

Analyzes the developmental programs of frog, chick, zebrafish, and mouse embryos, emphasizing experimental strategies for understanding the responsible molecular mechanisms that pattern the vertebrate embryo. Signaling pathways controlling morphogenesis, organogenesis, stem cells, and regeneration will be discussed in detail.

Molecular and Systems Level Cancer Cell Biology

The course examines the molecular basis of cancer formation, including topics such as cancer epigenetic, tumor heterogeneity, systems biology proteomic approaches to study cancer, immune therapies in cancer, and therapeutic development.

Biology of the Cancer Cell: From Molecular Mechanisms to Therapeutic Implications

A molecular approach to the basis of human cancer. The course will cover cancer genetics and epigenetics, tumor suppressor genes and oncogenes, signal transduction, DNA damage and repair, cancer stem cells, and tumor immunology and immunotherapy. Lectures will be delivered by experts in the various fields to provide an integrated perspective on past, current, and future approaches in cancer biology research.

History and Philosophy of Experimentation in Biology

How did developments in philosophy of science, technology, and statistics relate to practices in biology over time? Tracing the influence of particular philosophical arguments concerning science that have developed over the last 500 years, this course offers a foundation for exploring how today’s dominant scientific method relates to scientific research, medicine, and society’s popular understanding of science.

Advanced Experimental Design for Biologists

This course will focus on the theory and practice of experimental design. The emphasis is on project planning and vetting, individual experimental design, and troubleshooting. Special focus will be placed on methods to avoid experimental bias, potential sources of inappropriate interpretation, and the importance of system validation.

The Basics of Translation

This course will focus on how a novel therapeutic modality using antisense nucleotides (ASOs) has grown from a scientific curiosity to a promising and proven therapeutic approach, discussed in the context of an ASO that has been efficacious in addressing spinal muscular dystrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). It will also address the critical issue of clinical trials, including their design and the criteria of success.

Chemistry & Chemical Biology

Chemical Biology Towards Precision Medicine

The course teaches students principles of modern organic synthesis, chemical biology, and human biology relevant to the discovery of safe and effective small-molecule therapeutics, exploring patient-based “experiments of nature” that illuminate disease, including cancer, diabetes, infectious disease, and psychiatric disease. Students will propose research for the development of novel small molecules that affect biological systems.

The Chemistry and Biology of Therapeutics

This course will cover the chemical and biological principles that govern small molecule therapeutics. We will discuss small molecule conformational analysis, chemical forces that drive small molecule-protein interactions, and small molecule binding to proteins to affect disease states. We will also discuss how protein targets are identified and the frontiers of modern small molecule therapeutics. Protein targets include, but are not limited to kinases, proteases, GTPases, scaffolding proteins, epigenetic modifiers, metabolic enzymes and transcription factors. This course will teach students how to use modern computer modeling applications to perform structure-based design of small molecule ligands.

Chemical Biology

Applying chemical approaches to problems in biology. Topics include protein engineering and directed evolution; genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics; genome editing; gene regulation; modern drug discovery; chemical genetics; glycobiology; cancer chemical biology; and synthetic biology.

Genetics

Principles of Genetics

An in-depth survey of genetics, beginning with basic principles and extending to modern approaches and special topics. The course draws on examples from various systems, including bacteria, yeast, Drosophila, C. elegans, zebrafish, mouse, and human.

Genetics in Medicine – From Bench to Bedside

This course will focus on translational medicine: the application of basic genetic discoveries to human disease. Each class will focus on a specific genetic disorder and the approaches used to speed the transfer of knowledge from the laboratory to the clinic, including a clinical discussion and a patient presentation if appropriate. Lectures will highlight current molecular, technological, bioinformatics, and statistical approaches.

Human Biology & Translational Medicine

Pathology of Human Disease

This course provides a comprehensive overview of human pathology, with emphasis on mechanisms of disease and modern diagnostic technologies. Topics include general mechanisms of disease (inflammation, infection, immune injury, host response to foreign materials, transplantation, genetic disorders, and neoplasia); pathology of major organ systems; and review of diagnostic tools from invasive surgical pathology to non-invasive techniques such as diagnostic imaging and molecular pathology.

Tumor Microenvironment & Immuno-Oncology: A Systems Biology Approach

This course focuses on the critical role that the tumor microenvironment plays in the growth, invasion, metastasis, and treatment of solid tumors. Students will develop a systems-level, quantitative understanding of angiogenesis, extracellular matrix, metastatic process, delivery of drugs and immune cells, and response to conventional and novel therapies, including immunotherapies. Discussions will address challenges and future opportunities in research on cancer and in establishment of novel therapeutic approaches and biomarkers to guide treatment.

Principles of Human Disease: Physiology and Pathology

This course covers the normal physiology and pathophysiology of selected organs. Human biology is emphasized, with some examples also drawn from model organisms. Recent therapeutic approaches, including RNAi, gene therapy, and genome editing, will be covered.

Immunology

Advanced Topics in Immunology

A comprehensive core course in basic immunology, providing an in-depth examination of the cells and molecules of the immune system. Special attention is given to the experimental approaches that led to the discovery of the general principles of immunology.

Immune and Inflammatory Diseases

This course explores fundamental principles of immunology in the context of immune and inflammatory diseases, surveying a broad range of diseases in which the immune system is essential. Topics will include not only diseases that mobilize classical immunity but also conditions to which the immune systems contributes.

Autoimmunity

This course will focus on basic immunological mechanisms of autoimmune diseases, with an emphasis on recent advances in the field. Each session will focus on a particular topic and discuss three important publications.

Neuro-Immunology in Development, Regeneration and Disease

The nervous and immune systems share parallel molecular pathways, and communications between neurons and immune cells play significant roles in homeostasis and disease. This course will investigate current topics in neuro-immunology, with a focus on molecular mechanisms shared by the immune and nervous systems and the molecular cross-talk between these two systems.

Cancer Immunology

This course will explore recent developments in the cancer immunology field. Multiple therapeutic approaches have shown efficacy against diverse types of cancer, and this course will emphasize new mechanistic insights, including mechanisms of spontaneous protective anti-tumor immunity; key effector cell populations of anti-tumor immunity; innate immune pathways in tumor immunity; inflammation and tumor microenvironment; immunosuppressive mechanisms in tumor immunity; targeting of inhibitory receptors; and cancer vaccines.

Therapeutic Human Antibody Engineering

This quarter course will focus on all aspects of therapeutic antibody (Ab) engineering from bench to bedside with an emphasis on translational research. Topics will include in vitro microbial discovery platforms; engineering strategies such as chimeric, humanized, and human Abs; human Fc engineering; and nanobodies, antibody drug conjugates, and immunotoxins and chimeric antigen receptors.

Strategies to Achieve Durable Anti-Microbial Host Defense

This course will focus on broadly neutralizing and protective anti-viral antibody responses and how critical epitope selection on viral glycoproteins can help to achieve long-term immunity, exploring principles that can be used to design vaccines and anti-viral antibodies. The course will address modern molecular techniques such as NGS and Ab RepSeq. Numerous viruses will be discussed, including HIV and emerging influenza, coronaviruses, flaviviruses, alpha viruses, Ebola, among others.

Medical Sciences

Human Functional Anatomy

Lectures, detailed laboratory dissections, and prosections provide a thorough exploration of the gross structure and function of the human body. Fundamental principles of embryology and bioengineering promote analytical approaches to understanding the body’s design.

Microbiology

Molecular Biology of the Bacterial Cell

This course is devoted to bacterial structure, physiology, genetics, and regulatory mechanisms. The class consists of lectures and group discussions emphasizing methods, results, and interpretations of classic and contemporary literature.

Mechanisms of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Host Immune Response

This course focuses on molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis and the host response to infection, addressing themes of pathogenesis, methods, results, and interpretations of classic and contemporary literature. The subjects covered provide a view of activity both from the pathogen’s perspective and from a host-centric view. Additional sessions are spent examining current methods of antibiotic discovery and vaccine development.

Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis

The mechanisms of bacterial, mycoplasmal, fungal, and viral pathogenesis are covered. Topics cover the spectrum of pathophysiologic mechanisms of the infectious process, with emphasis on pathogenesis at the molecular level.

Microbial Sciences: Chemistry, Ecology, and Evolution

This interdisciplinary graduate-level and advanced undergraduate-level course explores topics in molecular microbiology, microbial diversity, and microbially mediated geochemistry. Topics include the origins of life, biogeochemical cycles, microbial diversity, and ecology.

Social Issues in Biology

This course covers historical and contemporary readings about controversial issues related to biology and social responsibility of scientists, providing students with tools to anticipate and consider present and future ethical and social implications of biology. Topics include scientific racism as a determinant of population health inequities; pros and cons of DNA use in forensics; and controversies in biology and medicine regarding issues of race, ethnicity, and gender.

The Human Microbiome: Comprehensive Experimental Design and Methodologies

This course is a comprehensive introduction to the study of human microbial communities and their functions relevant to human physiology. Topics covered include metagenomics, mechanistic interactions of the microbiome with metabolism, the immune system, and the gut-brain axis.

Neurobiology

The Discipline of Neuroscience

This course will endow students with the broad conceptual fluency in the discipline of neuroscience required to relate genes to circuit function, metabolism to neurological disease, and cell biology to neural computations. Students will learn to design, quantitatively analyze, and interpret experiments that address a variety of questions spanning molecular to systems neuroscience.

The Molecular Pathology and Current Therapies for Retinal Diseases

This course examines current knowledge regarding retinal diseases, molecular pathology, and therapy, with an emphasis on recent breakthroughs and key studies. Seminal papers selected from both the basic science and clinical ophthalmology will be used to teach basic concepts of ophthalmology and familiarity with advanced imaging tools and animal models of retinal diseases. As the retina has long served as a standard model for studying the CNS, the class will discuss the implications of these studies in other disease mechanisms and therapy.

Human Neuroanatomy and Neuropathology

This course will cover human neuroanatomy in depth, with an emphasis on the functional implications of structure and medical implications of lesions.

Neurobiology of Psychiatric Disease: From Bench to Bedside

This course provides clinical insight and critical analysis of basic and translational science necessary for students to approach psychiatric disorders as scientific problems. Lectures will focus on a range of psychiatric disorders, neural systems underlying behavior, and translational approaches to novel interventions, providing insight on disease characteristics; current, novel and translationally informed treatments; gene vs. environmental risk factors; animal models; and gaps in knowledge across the field.

Stem Cell & Regenerative Biology

Stem Cell Therapeutics: Exploring the Science and the Patient Experience

Stem cells are the basis for tissue maintenance and repair and thus are essential elements of normal organ and tissue physiology. Stem cells are also targets for disease processes and, through transplantation, can act as important therapeutic agents. This course will explore how stem cells and tissue regeneration impact human disease pathogenesis and how stem cells might be exploited to advance new therapies for disease.

Understanding Aging: Degeneration, Regeneration, and the Scientific Search for the Fountain of Youth

This lecture and discussion course will explore the fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern organismal aging and contemporary strategies to delay or reverse this process.

The Translational Science of Stem Cells

Through a series of lectures and assigned papers, students will be introduced to a broad view of the ways in which stem cells can be used for translational research. This will include human disease modeling, identifying drugs that target endogenous stem cells or otherwise promote tissue repair, and regenerative medicine (cell-based therapies).

Systems Biology

Synthetic Biology: From Ideation to Commercialization

This course provides an introduction to synthetic biology, with an emphasis on medical applications. Topics will include design principles of cells, organisms, and complex proteins; and commercialization of biotechnology and synthetic biology, including conceptualization of research, financing, IP strategies, licensing, and the progression through pre-clinical and clinical research and development.

Science and Business of Biotechnology

This MIT course covers the new types of drugs and other therapeutics in current practice and under development, the financing and business structures of early-stage biotechnology companies, and the evaluation of their risk/reward profiles. Includes a series of live case studies with industry leaders of established and emerging biotechnology companies as guest speakers, focusing on the underlying science and engineering as well as core financing and business issues.

Analysis Foundations for Quantitative Biologists

The bedrock foundation of quantitative biology is controlling assumptions and errors in empirical measurement. This course focuses on developing "street-fighting” capabilities in quantitative analysis: statistical concepts that every biologist needs to ensure that they can interpret their data correctly. The course introduces estimators, the origin and consequences of key distributions in biology, error propagation, hypothesis testing, multiple hypothesis correction and the perils of p-hacking. Concepts are reinforced through problem sets, and team-based analysis of new experimental methods. This course can be taken alone, or as the start of SB221 that extends to cover: high-dimensional data analysis; statistical inference; and how molecular biological systems measure their surroundings in the face of thermal noise and limited energy resources.

Virology

Introduction to Virology

This lecture course reviews the basic principles of virology and introduces the major groups of human viruses.

Virology

This course focuses on several specific areas of virology: epigenetic regulation; RNA virus replication mechanisms; innate responses to viral infection; and inhibition of viral infection. Students will review virus structure, replication, pathogenesis, evolution, emerging viruses, chronic infection, innate and adaptive immunity, and anti-viral drugs/vaccines. Special emphasis will be placed on preparing students to critically evaluate the literature, formulate hypotheses, and design experiments.

Medications and Evidence

Prescription drugs are the most commonly used and effective interventions in all of medicine, but their use can raise important questions about adverse effects and affordability. This course will integrate clinical, epidemiological, and policy perspectives, examining how evidence on medications is generated and used in health care from pre-approval trials and epidemiologic studies to drug pricing and cost-effectiveness.

Ethical Dilemmas in Biotechnology

Monthly seminars designed to challenge students to consider unmet medical need from a diverse perspective. For example, what are the implications of enhancements that increase heath-span but are counter-balanced by an increased lifespan in a debilitated condition? What is the correct approach for modifying the human genome, including germline modifications? What are ways companies can tackle orphan diseases that affect a small number of patients?