Master of Science in Biotechnology Curriculum

Semester I Module 1 (8 weeks)

  • Cell Biology - 3 credits
  • Critical Thinking & Communication - 2 credits
  • Research Ethics & Integrity - 2 credits

Semester I Module 2 (8 weeks)

  • Biochemistry - 3 credits
  • Introduction to Biostatistics - 3 credits

Semester II Module 3 (8 weeks)

  • Molecular Biology - 3 credits
  • Basic Laboratory Safety & Good Laboratory & Manufacturing Practices - 3 Credits

Semester II Module 4 (8 weeks)

  • Genetics - Epigenetics, Gene Organization & Expression - 3 credits
  • Two Electives (2 credit hours per elective course)

Semester III Module 5 (8 weeks)

  • Self Directed Research Internship - 5 credits
  • Two Electives (2 credit hours per elective course)

Total to degree completion: 35 credit hours

Program Educational Objectives

Knowledge

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge of biosciences in scholarly discussions and collaborations with colleagues.
  2. Demonstrate a broad understanding of core technologies needed for the support of research in biosciences.
  3. Demonstrate a deep knowledge of analytical methods to provide expert solutions to a focused range of problems encountered in biotechnology projects.
  4. Demonstrate a general knowledge and understanding of the science, business, and management components needed to support biotechnology enterprises.

Skills

  1. Use critical analysis to develop and test hypotheses, design experiments, and interpret solutions.
  2. Use oral, written, and verbal skills to effectively communicate with a broad range of scientists and other stakeholders.
  3. Apply quality assurance standards consistent with accepted statistical analysis techniques.
  4. Demonstrate the ability to engage a team of peer experts in scholarly, interdisciplinary investigations.
  5. Demonstrate the ability to accurately record and manage data as appropriate to the discipline.
  6. Demonstrate the ability to organize and lead research projects to effectively achieve goals and objectives of a biotechnology research & development (R&D) project.
  7. Integrate new emerging biotechnologies with existing methods.
  8. Demonstrate the ability to translate research discoveries into products or services that promote health equity.

Attitudes

  1. Demonstrate a commitment to the highest scientific standards and ethical conduct of biotechnology.
  2. Demonstrate a commitment to integrate new emerging biotechnologies with existing methods to translate research discoveries into products or services that promote health equity.

Cell Biology (3 credit hours) - Core

This course covers cell organization and subcellular structure.  Students examine the evolution of cells, chromosome and plasma membrane structures and behaviors, mechanics of cell division, sites of macromolecular synthesis and processing, transport across cell membranes, cell dynamics, organelle biogenesis, and cell specialization.  Students are also introduced to the experimental techniques used in cell biology to study cell growth, manipulation, and evaluation.

Critical Thinking & Communication (2 credit hours) - Core

This course develops students’ ability to evaluate possibilities, identify patterns, and look at the same data in new ways (i.e., critical thinking), as these skills create a formidable advantage in academic, personal, and professional spheres. Students will learn the theory of argumentation and construct argument maps. Students will also focus on scientific data analysis and evaluation of peer-reviewed publications.

Research Ethics & Integrity (2 credit hours) - Core

This course will present some of the most common ethical issues encountered in biomedical research and biotechnology. The objective of this course is to raise awareness of the ethical issues surrounding biotechnology and encourage critical and responsible consideration of research conduct. Topics covered will fall into three categories: 1) research integrity, 2) applied ethics in biological research and biotechnology, and 3) contemporary ethical issues arising from emerging biotechnologies. Each class will consist of lectures discussing specific examples relevant to topic categories and case studies presenting either a hypothetical scenario or a real-world event. Students are expected to identify opposing ethical perspectives, critically analyze each perspective, and suggest compromises and solutions when feasible, while using evidence to support their conclusions.

Biochemistry (3 credit hours) - Core

This course explores the roles of essential biological molecules focusing on protein chemistry, while covering lipids and carbohydrates. It provides a systematic and methodical application of general and organic chemistry principles. Students examine protein synthesis, structure & function, how they interact with other molecules, and the methodologies for the purification and characterization of these essential molecules. Enzymes kinetics and mechanisms are covered in detail. Metabolic pathways are examined from thermodynamic and regulatory perspectives. This course provides the linkage between the inanimate world of chemistry with the living world of biology.

Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credit hours) - Core

This course introduces statistical concepts and analytical methods as applied to data encountered in biotechnology and biomedical sciences. It emphasizes the basic concepts of experimental design, quantitative analysis of data, and statistical inferences. Topics include: probability theory and distributions; population parameters and their sample estimates; descriptive statistics for central tendency and dispersion; hypothesis testing and confidence intervals for means, variances, and proportions; categorical data analysis; linear correlation and regression model; logistic regression; analysis of variance; and nonparametric methods. The course provides students with a foundation to critically evaluate information, support research objectives, product claims and better understand statistical design of experimental trials for biological products/devices.

Molecular Biology (3 credit hours) - Core

This course provides a comprehensive overview of the key concepts in molecular biology. Topics to be covered include: nucleic acid structure and function; DNA replication; transcription; translation; chromosome structure; and remodeling and regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Extended topics to be covered include methods using in recombinant DNA technology, microarrays, and microRNA.

Basic Laboratory Safety & Good Laboratory & Manufacturing Practices (3 credit hours) - Core

This course is designed to cover best practices in laboratory management and a comprehensive overview of regulatory affairs. Regulatory affairs comprise the rules and regulations that govern product development and post-approval marketing. In the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) establishes and oversees regulations under several statutes in partnership with legislators, patients, and customers. Biotechnology products may be classified as small molecule drugs, biologics, or medical devices. Each type is regulated by a different center within the FDA. This course provides an overview of regulatory affairs and their effect on product development.  Topics include regulatory history, regulatory agencies, how to access regulatory information, drug submissions, biologics submissions, medical device submissions, Good Laboratory Practices, Good Clinical Practices, Good Manufacturing Practices, and FDA inspection.

Genetics - Epigenetics, Gene Organization & Expression (3 credit hours) - Core

Students use genetic analysis and molecular biology techniques to investigate chromosome organization, chromatin structure, functional genomics, and mechanisms of differential gene expression. Other topics include DNA methylation, silencers, enhancers, genomic imprinting, and microarray analysis. Prerequisites: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

 Self-Directed Research Internship (5 credit hours) - Core

This course is a required component of the Online MS in Biomedical Technology degree program. Each student will participate in an industry/agency-connected research internship or internship program that meets the learning objectives of this course. Each student will be required to complete a minimum of 150 hours working on-site, towards specified project objectives developed by the student, the on-site internship supervisor and the Morehouse School of Medicine, MS in Biomedical Technology Program. It is ultimately the student’s responsibility to establish the final arrangements for the position, including the specific work schedule, confirmation of the student’s role(s) on the project, and approval of the project by the on-site internship supervisor. The intern is responsible for communicating necessary contact information, i.e. phone, FAX and email information, so that the course instructor and on-site supervisor can communicate effectively regarding the student’s progress.

Introduction to the Biotechnology Industry (2 credit hours) – Elective

This course is designed to introduce students to the theory and practice of the biotechnology industry. In this course, students will be exposed to a variety of elements that make up the biotechnology industry.   This course will provide a historical and technical overview of the developments in biotechnology. This will include fermentation, recombinant methods, protein drug engineering and manufacturing, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and more. The approach taken for product and/or new venture launch will be covered to include:  development costs, patenting, product safety and regulatory affairs, valuation, venture capital, and marketing.

Funding a New BioVenture (2 credit hours) – Elective

This course is for aspiring or active entrepreneurs that want to understand how to secure funding for a new bioventure / biotech startup. This course will demystify key financing concepts to give students a guide to secure funding. The approaches used by investors and entrepreneurs to secure capital during the early stage investment phase, sources of capital for an early stage company (e.g., Friends & Family, SBIR/STTR grants, Angel Investors, etc.), steps in the funding process, and making the “pitch” will all be covered.

Making Medicines (2 credit hours) – Elective

This course is designed for students to gain deeper insights into the drug discovery and development process. In this course, students will explore the regulatory environment under which drugs are developed, learn how patient insights inform drug development and clinical trials, and identify key stakeholders, including healthcare providers, and their contributions to drug development.

Making Medical Devices (2 credit hours) – Elective

This course is intended to introduce students to the design process, tools and techniques to approach complex and multidimensional problems involving medical device development. Innovations from the laboratory go through multiple phases before, during, and after commercialization.  For each phase, stakeholders have certain agendas and values.  This course takes the students on a tour of stakeholder needs from the bench-top to final product launch. Students will learn how to understand and integrate the stakeholders’ perspectives and influence the decision-makers at each phase of development and commercialization.

Managing and Leading Biotechnology Professionals (2 credit hours) - Elective

This course will provide activities to help students develop problem-solving skills, learn basic negotiation and mediation strategies, and understand their own tendencies as leaders and team members. Using real-world examples, students will explore how strong leadership and teamwork can drive innovative solutions in the biotechnology industry. Students will implement the four functions of management (i.e., planning, organizing, leading, and controlling) into practice through a series of assignments, activities and case studies.

Project & Risk Management (2 credit hours) - Elective

Risk analysis is composed of three separate but integrated elements, namely risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. Risk communication is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinion on risk among risk assessors, risk managers, and other interested parties. Risk management is the process of weighing policy alternatives in the light of the results of risk assessment and, if required, selecting and implementing appropriate control options, including regulatory measures. Students will learn how to integrate risk assessment, risk management, and risk communication using case studies and understand the fundamentals of successful project management, which is the practice of initiating, planning, executing, controlling, completing, and reporting the work of a team to achieve specific goals at a specified time.

*Both programs are pending approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Executive MPH is pending approval from Council on Education for Public Health.