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 following thematic areas of our curriculum: public health, prevention and health promotion, behavioral sciences, biomedical informatics and ethics. The coverage of the material is not meant to be comprehensive but sufficient to prepare you for the subsequent organ/system based blocks. As you progress through the curriculum, you 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 underlying molecular, biochemical and genetic mechanisms responsible for life and disease.
  • Recall the properties of the human genome and how its complexity may be analyzed.
  • Cite specific examples and 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 and describe their distinguishing molecular features and how these determine susceptibility to anti-microbial agents and their impact on 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.
  • Define precision medicine and provide examples of its role in diagnostics and patient care.
  • Discuss diagnostic procedures, reason deductively and collaborate to arrive at provisional diagnoses during simulated patient care exercises.
  • Document simulated patient data and communicate them effectively and collaboratively with the team.
  • Demonstrate awareness of ethical and social issues and assess information in educational resources during simulated patient exercises.
  • Show integrity in all interactions with peers and professional colleagues.