Course Description

The Molecular Basis of Life and Disease (MBLD) is an integrated block that encompasses introductory elements from all the biomedical sciences and also introduces the thematic areas of our curriculum, namely: public health, prevention and health promotion, behavioral health, biomedical informatics, health care transformation and ethics. The coverage of the material is not meant to be comprehensive but sufficient to prepare the student for the subsequent organ/system-based blocks. As the student progresses through the curriculum, he/she will recognize that there will be additional organ/system-specific coverage of many of the topics that were touched upon in MBLD.

Learning Objectives

Educational program objectives are a subset of more broadly defined physician competencies, which represent general domains of performance for which the profession and the public hold physicians accountable.

Upon completing the Molecular Basis of Life and Disease, students should be able to:

  • Recognize the molecular and genetic basis of life and disease.
  • Recall the properties of the human genome and how its complexity may be analyzed.
  • Citing specific examples, explain how genetic defects result in human diseases.
  • Describe the normal structure and function of a typical animal cell.
  • Describe how cells interact with each other to form tissues and organs during human development.
  • Define the basic principles of pharmacology, including pharmacokinetics, drug response, drug metabolism and pharmacogenomics.
  • Recall and apply the basic principles of histology to normal tissues and how histology is indicative of pathology.
  • Recognize the different classes of microbes that affect human health and disease.
  • Identify components of the innate and adaptive immune response and describe host defenses to pathogen challenge in normal and immunocompromised individuals.
  • Cite examples of the clinical importance of immunologic mechanisms and define immunological methods used in laboratory medicine and treatment modalities for immune-related diseases.
  • Define neoplasia and describe the transformation of cells by explaining the action of oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes.
  • Discuss the role of the behavioral sciences in health and disease.
  • Describe the basic parameters and importance of public health, population medicine and prevention.
  • Identify and apply the basic principles of epidemiology and biostatistics.
  • Recognize the role of bioinformatics in the translation of biological advances into clinical advances.
  • Identify and articulate fundamental ethical issues in medicine and genetics.