Curriculum Outline

​ThIS abbreviated curriculum outline is subject to change in response to curricular changes at the SOM:

Topics in CTBS are organized into three threads for testing: physiology (54 hours), immunology (16 hours), and molecular cell biology (12 hours). The first three weeks of CTBS include physiology and immunology, weeks four and five include physiology and molecular cell biology, and weeks six and seven focus on physiology.

Concepts in these threads are presented predominantly through a combination of synchronous (by Zoom) and asynchronous (pre-recorded) lecture videos, but also via active learning through case studies, problem-solving and team-based learning in synchronous sessions (by Zoom).

The physiology thread includes topic in cardiovascular physiology, autonomic physiology and pharmacology and pulmonary physiology.

  • Cardiovascular Physiology (28 hours): anatomy; cardiac muscle physiology; cardiac cycle; ventricular function and cardiac output; cardiac electrophysiology; regulation of cardiac output, vascular physiology and hemodynamics; coronary blood flow.
  • Autonomic Nervous System (9 hours): anatomy; neurotransmitters and receptors; autonomic control of cardiovascular function; mechanism of action and physiologic effects of major drugs that target the autonomic nervous system.
  • Pulmonary Physiology hours): structure and function; ventilation and mechanics of breathing; oxygen and carbon dioxide transport and exchange; application of pulmonary function tests.
The immunology thread integrates basic immunology with selected application topics.
  • Immunology (16 hours): immune cells and organs; innate immunity; B and T cell differentiation, antigen presentation, activation and clonal expansion; antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses to generic bacteria and viruses; selected immunodeficiencies and vaccines.

The molecular cell biology thread focuses on molecular and cell processes that integrate cell proliferation and causes of mutagenesis with an application to cancer molecular basics.

  • Molecular Cell Biology (12 hours): DNA, chromosome and gene structure, and gene expression basics; cell cycle, regulation of cell proliferation, DNA replication and introduction to cancer; DNA damage and repair; hereditary cancer syndromes and basics of cancer chemotherapeutics and targeted therapy.

Study and exam strategies effective in mastering complex topics during the first-year SOM curriculum are discussed and practiced during CTBS.  

  • Study strategies are discussed in an initial scheduled session and reinforced during reviews and problem sessions. Strategies focus on active techniques effective with a very high information flow rate, including generation of organized study aids and active memorization, as well as effective use of practice questions.
  • Assessments (quizzes and exams) in each CTBS thread consist primarily of application questions that often integrate material from multiple lectures. Exam questions and many quiz questions are in a multiple choice format, consistent with those used in the same subjects during the first year of the SOM curriculum. Strategies for approaching and answering application questions on exams are discussed during problem and team-based sessions, and reinforced during informal quiz reviews.

Course faculty are available for discussion and review by Zoom outside of scheduled class time. Instructors assess student learning informally during in-class problem-solving and team-based learning sessions and formally during scheduled quizzes and examinations.