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 – News Article
Students are required to write a 750-1000 word article appropriate for a non-academic magazine, explaining the purpose, achievements, and significance of the human genome project to the general population. Students must find and briefly describe at least two know genetic variations that have been previously mapped to a disease. Additionally, students must explain how knowing the sequence of the human genome will affect future research in this field.
Assessment 2 – Questions and Discussion Forum
There are two parts to this assessment. In part one, students are required to answer a series of questions based on the content presented in Modules 1 and 2 and submit via onQ. In part two, students will be divided into groups of four and placed into a discussion board. Students are required to answer a question about an island population, using their knowledge of population genetics and outside sources for support, and post their response on the forum. Each student is required to discuss a different factor of population genetics in their response. Additionally, each student must respond to at least one of their peer’s post explaining what they believe to be the most significant factor of population genetics influencing the island population.
Assessment 3 – Scientific Poster
Students are required to select a Mendelian disease from a list provided by the instructor and create a scientific poster. Students will use content from Module 3, as well as a recommended paper, to provide an overview of the disease, discuss the disease inheritance pattern, and state the chromosome area and/or gene the disease is mapped to. The poster must include five sections: introduction, inheritance, mapping, screening/treatment, and references.
Assessment 4 – Genomics Report
Students will review the genomics of a disease which has a genetic basis that is incompletely understood. Using their knowledge of complex diseases, students will individually prepare a review of the genomics of an assigned disease drawing on specific examples of various study types.
Assessment 5 – Group Debate
For this assignment, students will use their knowledge gained on a disease topic from Assessment 4 to debate in groups whether genetics/genomics has contributed to a better understanding of the disease. Students will be assigned a perspective on the question “Has genetics/genomics contributed to better understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of disease X?” Groups will use content from the module and outside sources to produce a strong argument supporting their assigned view. This assignment requires main arguments to be articulated in a narrated PowerPoint, as well as a written conclusion over the course of 2 weeks. At the end of this assignment, each group member is required to submit a reflection describing how their perspective may/may not have changed and what they learned during the assignment.
Four tutorials will be run by the instructor and/or teaching assistants (TAs) during the course, 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.