Curriculum Outline

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

Topics in CTBS are organized into four threads for testing: physiology (52 hours), immunology (26 hours), molecular cell biology (12 hours) and for medical students, anatomy and histology laboratory (8 hours). The physiology thread runs throughout the course, averaging about two hours per day. The immunology thread parallels the physiology thread for the first four weeks, and transitions into the molecular cell biology thread for the later weeks.

Concepts in the physiology, immunology and molecular cell biology threads are presented predominantly through lectures, but also via active learning through case studies, problem-solving sessions, team-based learning sessions, and the presentation of patients by clinical faculty. Short videos created by CTBS instructors enhance understanding of selected topics, and some are used to "flip" a few topics to allow class time to focus on problem solving.

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

  • Cardiovascular Physiology (32 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 (10 hours): anatomy; neurotransmitters and receptors; autonomic control of cardiovascular function; mechanism of action and physiologic effects of major drugs that target the autonomic nervus system.
  • Pulmonary Physiology (10 hours): structure and function, ventilation and mechanics of breathing, oxygen and carbon dioxide transport and exchange, application of pulmonary function tests.
  • Immunology (26 hours): immune cells and organs; innate immunity; B and T cell differentiation; antigen presentation, B-cell and T-cell activation and clonal expansion; antibody- and cell-mediated immune responses; hypersensitivities; vaccines; tolerance and organ rejection.

  • Molecular Cell Biology (22 hours): DNA and chromosome structure; gene expression and its regulation; mutations and mutation analysis; cell cycle and its regulation, DNA replication, damage and repair; hereditary cancer syndromes and diseases.

During weekly laboratory sessions, students investigate gross and microscopic structure of tissues and learn selected basic clinical skills. (This thread is not required for pharmacy students.)

  • Anatomy and Histology (8 hours): gross and microscopic structure of the cardiovascular and immune systems; basic clinical skills such as auscultation of heart sounds and measurement of blood pressure.

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 include effective note-taking, generation of organized study aids and active memorization techniques, as well as time management.
  • Examinations in each CTBS subject consist of application questions 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 exam reviews.

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