BMED370, Genetics and Genomics, is an interdisciplinary course that will provide an introduction to the field of applied genomics for identifying genes underlying multifactorial traits, diseases and drug treatment outcomes. Basic principles of gene mapping studies will be covered in the context of recent advances in the field including statistical methods, high-throughput technologies and integrative analyses of biological datasets. The applications and implications of genome-wide studies will be discussed.
Minimum 3rd year (Level 3) standing and BCHM 218/3.0, or BCHM 270/3.0 or permission of the instructor
Method of Delivery
Online format with materials, communication, and assignment submissions all via BrightSpace (onQ).
After completing BMED 370, students will be able to:
- Assimilate the evolution and advancements in the field of genetics and genomics to understand how they permitted the mapping of genes contributing to human diseases, traits and drug response outcomes.
- Apply the basic principles of research methodology to develop biological hypotheses pertaining to the role or contribution of genetic factors in human traits and identify methodologies for testing such hypotheses.
- Reconcile the impact of genetic and genomic studies on the field to discuss the strengths and limitations of genetics studies and how this can affect progress in clinical outcome.
All assessments will be graded using marking rubrics.
Assessment 1 – Module Tests (40%)
Module tests will be conducted upon the conclusion of each module for a total of 4 tests worth 10% each. Tests will vary in format depending on the module that has just been finished. Module tests may include and short answer questions that will test the students’ overall understanding and application of the course material, rather than rote memorization. Module tests may take a more problem-solving approach, for example, using online databases to produce specific information about a gene. Tutorial sessions guided by a TA or the instructor will precede each module test to ensure students’ proper preparation for the upcoming test.
Assessment 2 – Group Debate and Discussion (30%)
Students will work in small groups to formulate a debate, which will be presented in tutorial groups headed by a TA. Students will be asked to take a stand on the question, “Has genetics/genomics contributed to better understanding, diagnosis and treatment of disease X?”, prepare a compelling argument for their stand and present their case as group to other members of the class. Following presentations by each group within a tutorial session, students will have heard arguments supporting or disputing this question. To prepare their arguments, students must use information from their class modules as well as search the scientific literature in the field. Group discussion will be imperative to form a cohesive argument.
Assessment 3 – Final Written Assignment (30%)
Students will be assigned a specific gene or gene variation that has been demonstrated to be associated with a certain disease. Using lesson modules, information gained from tutorial sessions, and independent research, students will be expected to write a report explaining the discovery and research history of the gene or gene variation, as well as how genomics research has contributed to our knowledge of a particular disease. Students will also need to address how current technologies would have been effective tools to use at the time of this gene’s or gene variation’s discovery.
Four tutorials will be run by the instructor and/or teaching assistants (TAs) during the course, one before each module test, providing students with an opportunity to clarify any concepts or questions.
9–10 hours a week in study (108–120 hours per term).
Textbooks and Materials
BMED 370 course notes via modules posted online and select readings made available by the instructor.