Directed Studies Courses

Pathology has a series of Directed Studies courses that can be offered by faculty members to students, listed below:

PATH 548B (3 credits) Bioinformatics

(runs September – December) This is a graduate level course for students interested in machine learning driven analysis of DNA and RNA sequencing data for cancer. Course Coordinator: Dr. Ali Bashashati

Course Objectives:
    • Implement the steps in analyzing sequencing data
    • Employ bioinformatics tools to do quality control, alignment, variant calling, differential expression analysis, etc. and describe the working principles
    • Employ machine learning tools to draw insights from sequencing/genomics data

PATH 548B SSC Course Schedule Listing

PATH 548C (3 credits) The Pathology of Types I and II Diabetes

(runs January – April) This is a graduate level course for students interested in the physiology of pancreatic islets and the underlying mechanisms of glucose dysregulation in both types 1 and 2 diabetes. Course Coordinator: Dr. Dan Luciani

Course Objectives:
    • To teach the basic concepts of islet cell development and physiology.
    • To give the students a current picture of our understanding of the causes of type 1 diabetes and the dysregulation of immune function that accompanies its development.
    • To compare the pathophysiology of type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
    • By the successful completion of Path 548C, students will have a broad understanding of islet cell function, dysfunction and beta cell death which will assist them in developing their own research ideas on the underlying causes of diabetes and potential treatment options.

PATH 548C SSC Course Schedule Listing

PATH 548K (3 credits) Hemostasis Biochemistry

(runs January – April) A minimum of two, with a maximum of four students will be accepted into this course designed to understand the regulation of clot formation at a biochemical level. The subject matter will focus predominantly on the plasma proteins involved and some of the physical biochemical methods used to study macromolecular interactions. Course Coordinator: Dr. Ed Pryzdial

Course Objectives:
    • to learn advanced hemostasis biochemistry
    • to enhance literature review skills
    • to enhance oral and written communication skills

PATH548K SSC Course Schedule Listing

PATH 548L (3 credits) Experimental Design and Considerations for Data Collection, Presentation, Analysis and Interpretation

(runs April – June) This course will provide students with insight about study design, data collection, data presentation, data analysis, and data interpretation. Primary Course Coordinator: Dr. Helene Cote with Course Co-Coordinator: Andrew Roth

Course Objectives:
    • Design a study and an analysis plan
    • Identify sources of error, variability, and bias
    • Present data transparently and informatively
    • Perform simple statistical analyses using statistical software
    • Read the scientific literature critically
    • Know when and how to interact with a biostatistician

PATH 548L SSC Course Schedule Listing

PATH 548O (1 credit) Introduction to data clustering and dimensionality reduction

(runs September – November) This course explores core principles of high dimensionality data processing and their exploratory analysis with an emphasis on data manipulation and visualization. Course Coordinator: Thomas Sierocinski

Course Objectives:

By the end of this course, you will be able to:

    • Describe the principles and computational challenges in analyzing high dimensionality data
    • Describe various classes of clustering, dimensionality reduction, data visualization techniques and how they can be used in medicine and biology
    • Select a suitable approach for a given biological problem
    • Evaluate and compare above mentioned methods
    • Implement the steps in exploring and visualizing high dimensionality data
    • Employ software tools to perform the analysis and evaluate the results, describe the working principles
    • Possess basic working knowledge of the R programming language

PATH 548O SSC Course Schedule Listing

Historic Directed Studies Courses Not Currently Offered:

  • PATH 548P (6 credits) Genome Analysis (typically runs September – April).

New Directed Studies Course Proposals (Information for Faculty and Prospective Students):

Directed Studies Courses are intended to be an opportunity to offer current students training on subject matter not covered by other courses offered by the department. Similarly, training that would otherwise be occurring as part of the students own research experience and training in the lab (i.e. their own lab) and specific to their project, should not be converted to credits towards their graduate curriculum. If a course is to be established because the topic, objectives, and outcomes are not addressed elsewhere, we strongly encourage that the course be made available to other students to enhance learning opportunities for all.

Each student and faculty member will be required to review the guidelines below outlining the content and evaluation methods for creating a new Directed Studies Course and must complete a Directed Studies Information Sheet (found here).

The Faculty of Graduate Studies has expressed that the assignment of credits and evaluation of students requires a well-defined set of parameters to ensure consistency. The Curriculum committee have set the following guidelines in place, which we use as a point of review before recommending that a course be offered as a Directed Studies course for credit within our department.

They are the following:

  • The directed studies sessions require a time table and objectives for each teaching session as well as learning outcomes. This includes a detailed schedule and outline of the sessions and topics to be covered.
  • There must be comprehensive justification of the units and credits proposed, primarily through scheduling and workload.
  • The evaluation criteria for any assessment of the student is to be well defined, and in as non-subjective a manner as possible. The supervisor should not be involved in the evaluation of their own student, and typically not solely responsible for the evaluation to avoid any perceived conflict of interest. The method of the evaluation should also be appropriate: as an example writing a review paper is not an acceptable learning outcome for directed studies.

Note: If you are a faculty member the form must be filled out and returned to the Graduate Program Coordinator at least two months BEFORE the start of the semester to allow for sufficient time to review objectives and evaluation format, as well as to advertise new course offerings to new and continuing students. Each course proposal will be reviewed by the Associate Director, Curriculum and approved by the Graduate Program Director.