A unique curriculum has been designed to provide training to span the disciplines of translational environmental health sciences. This curriculum takes the place of the Graduate Group electives and is designed not to delay the time to attain the PhD degree. Upon completion of the didactic curriculum, trainees will have completed the requirements for the Certificate in Environmental Health Sciences. Upon completion of their thesis, trainees will receive the Certificate in Environmental Health Sciences and a PhD from their graduate group
The curriculum of the Certificate Program in Environmental Health Sciences is shown below:
Curriculum for Certificate Program in Environmental Health Sciences
Experimental Genome Science (PHRM 534 | 1 c.u.)
Cell Biology & Biochemistry (BIOM 600 | 1 c.u.)
Required Graduate Group Courses (2 c.u.)
PHRM 590 – Molecular Toxicology (Spring 2020) Schedule (PHRM 590 | 1 c.u.)
Biological Data Analysis (BIOM 611 | 0.5 c.u.)
Required Graduate Group Course (1 c.u.)
Lab Rotation (1 c.u.)
Introduction to Epidemiologic Research Methods (EPID 811 | 0.5 c.u.)
Epidemiology or Community-based Lab Rotation (2 c.u.)
Occupational & Environmental Health (PUBH 503 | 1 c.u.)
Statistical Methods and Data Analysis (BSTA 630 | 1 c.u.) – NOTE: Students can substitute MTR 600: Introductory Biostatistics (1.0 c.u.) in lieu of this class
Required Courses, Electives or Lab Rotation (2 c.u.)
Electives or Pre-thesis Research (2 c.u.)
Thesis Proposal Candidacy Examination (2 c.u.)
Enter Thesis Laboratory
Lab Rotation (2 c.u.)
Third to Fifth Year
Students are required to do three rotations. One rotation can be taken in the summer before matriculation. One rotation must involve a mentored community-based experience or epidemiology/population based study. Rotations must be done in the lab of a CEET investigator.
Cell Biology and Biochemistry: BIOM 600 (Mandatory) Course Director: R. Assoian
This survey course covers basic biochemistry and topics of cell biology including: cell structure, compartmentalization and trafficking, signal transduction, cytoskeleton, membranes and membrane transport and provides an essential base knowledge to understand the effects of toxicants at the molecular and cellular level.
Experimental Genome Science: PHRM 534 (Mandatory) Course Directors: J. Hogenesch and J. Murray
This course serves as an introduction to the main laboratory and theoretical aspects of genomics and computational biology. The main topics discussed center around the analysis of sequences (annotation, alignment, homology, gene finding, variation between sequences, phylogeny reconstruction/estimation), and the functional analysis of genes (expression levels, proteomics, screens for mutants), together with a discussion of gene mapping, linkage disequilibrium, genetics of complex diseases, and integrative genomics.
PHRM 590 – Molecular Toxicology (Spring 2020) (Mandatory) Course Director: T. M. Penning
Exposures to foreign compounds (drugs, carcinogens, pollutants) can disrupt normal cellular processes leading to toxicity. This course will focus on the molecular mechanisms by which environmental exposures lead to end-organ injury and to diseases of environmental etiology (neurodegenerative and lung diseases, reproduction disruption and cardiovascular injury). Students will learn the difficulties in modeling response to low-dose chronic exposures, how these exposures are influenced by metabolism and disposition, and how biological reactive intermediates alter the function of biomolecules. Mechanisms responsible for cellular damage, aberrant repair, and end-organ injury will be discussed. Students will learn about modern predictive molecular toxicology to classify toxicants, predict individual susceptibility and response to environmental triggers, and how to develop and validate biomarkers for diseases of environmental etiology. Students are expected to write a term paper on risk assessment on an environmental exposure using available TOXNET information.
Biological Data Analysis: BIOM 611 (Mandatory) Course Director: TBA
BIOM 611 is a 1⁄2‐unit course required for all 1st year BGS students (except GCB students). It will provide an introduction to important topics in biostatistical concepts and reasoning and instructions on practices in data analysis. Specific topics include tools for describing and summarizing data; inference methods on population means and proportions; statistical hypothesis testing; group comparisons; simple linear regression; categorical data analysis; time to event data analysis; power and sample size in study designs. Labs will help students learn and implement the methods using R. Though there are some formulae and computational elements to the course, the emphasis is on interpretation, concepts, and applications.
Introduction to Epidemiologic Research Methods: EP 811 (Mandatory) Course Director: J. Holmes
This course is a series of lectures introducing basic principles of epidemiologic research design. Lectures include the following topics: definitions of epidemiology; measures of disease frequency; measures of effect and association; epidemiologic study designs, both experimental and non-experimental; data collection methods; and an overview of analysis of epidemiologic studies.
This course satisfies the epidemiologic research methods requirement for the Certificate Program.
Fundamentals of Biostatistics: EP 812 (Mandatory) Course Director: TBA
This course is designed for collaborative researchers and will provide an overview of the fundamental concepts of biostatistics for those unfamiliar with statistical analysis. Topics covered include descriptive statistics, confidence intervals, and parametric and nonparametric hypothesis testing. Emphasis is placed on the proper selection and application of statistical methods appropriate to clinical data and will include exercises using STATA to organize and analyze data.
Environmental and Occupational Health: PUBH 503 (Mandatory) Course Directors: M. Howarth, R. Pepino
This course will provide a broad introduction to the scientific basis of environmental and occupational health. Content will address issues in the ambient, occupational and global environments as well as the tools, concepts and methods used in environmental health. Each student will develop skills through completion of an in-depth critical scientific analysis of a current environmental health problem. Topics covered include: evaluation and risk assessment of environmental hazards, the ambient environment (chemical releases, radiation, air, water and soil pollution, hazardous waste, pesticides and food additives) and impacts on health, remediation of such hazards, occupational environment and global environmental changes and affects on health; and vulnerable populations.
Statistical Methods and Data Analysis: BSTA 630 (Mandatory) Course Director: TBA
This course focuses on the analysis of continuous data. Topics include descriptive statistics (measures of central tendency and dispersion, shapes of distributions, graphical representations of distributions, transformations, and testing for goodness of fit); populations and sampling (hypotheses of differences and equivalence, statistical errors); one- and two-sample t tests; analysis of variance; correlation; nonparametric tests on means and correlations; estimation (confidence intervals and robust methods); and regression modeling (simple linear regression, multiple regression, model fitting and testing, partial correlation, residuals, multicollinearity). Examples of medical and biologic data will be used throughout the course, and use of computer software demonstrated. This course satisfies the biostatistics requirement for the CEET Certificate Program.
The following electives are highly recommended:
Introduction to Superfund Sites and Health Effects of Hazardous Waste: PHRM 657 / ENVS 657 Superfund hazardous waste sites are prevalent in our nation and the exposures to toxicants from these sites raises, immediate public health concerns. The aims of this course are to educate students about these sites and provide a scientific basis for hazard identification, hazard characterization, risk communication and risk management. The course will describe the effect of these hazardous chemicals on the ecosystem and vice-versa and remediation and mitigation approaches. These environmental science issues will lead into the environmental health aspects of exposures including: bio-monitoring (external and internal dose, biomarkers and the exposome), toxicological properties of contaminants and mode-of-action. The course will be complemented with visits to two Superfund sites in the region: Ambler (Asbestos) and Palmerton (Heavy Metals).
Methods for Statistical Genetics in Complex Human Disease: BSTA 787
This is an introductory course for graduate students in Biostatistics, Statistics, Epidemiology, Bioinformatics and other BGS disciplines which will cover statistical methods for the analysis of family and population based genetic data. Topics covered will include allele frequency estimation, classical segregation and linkage analysis, multipoint linkage tests, general pedigree analysis, family-based association analysis and population based haplotype analysis. Students will be exposed to the latest statistical methodology and computer tools on gene mapping in complex human disease. They will also read and evaluate current statistical human genetics literature.
Mechanisms of Disease: BIOM 502
During BIOM 502, several human diseases will be studied, focusing on the mechanism of the disease, the clinical presentation and how our understanding of the disease mechanism affects current treatment regimens and well as offers research opportunities for new approaches to treatment. The specific diseases studied change yearly. Some of the diseases studied in prior years include diabetes, breast cancer, colon cancer, HIV / AIDS, and atherosclerosis. Student obtain background information via the medical school “Virtual Curriculum” and read and discuss papers weekly. Grading is based on a presentation at the end of the course demonstrating the connection between mechanism, clinical presentation and treatment in a disease of the student’s choice.
Neuropharmacology/Neurochemistry: PHRM 510
Course provides a general overview of the signaling properties of the nervous system. Also provides in-depth information on neurotransmitter and associated signaling systems. Emphasis is placed on the wealth of new molecular information that is being gathered to examine how cells of the nervous system function and communicate.
MTR 535 – Introduction to Bioinformatics. Course directors: Benjamin F. Voight, PhD and Casey S. Greene, PhD. This course provides broad overview of bioinformatics and computational biology as applied to biomedical research. A primary objective of the course is to enable students to integrate modern bioinformatics tools into their research activities. Course material is aimed to address biological questions using computational approaches and the analysis of data. Areas include DNA sequence alignment, genetic variation and analysis, motif discovery, study design for high-throughput sequencing, RNA and gene expression, single gene and whole-genome analysis, machine learning, and topics in systems biology. The relevant principles underlying methods used for analysis in these areas will be introduced and discussed at a level appropriate for biologists without a background in computer science. However, a basic primer in programming and operating in a UNIX environment will be presented, and students will also be introduced to Python, R, and tools for reproducible research. This course emphasizes direct, hands-on experience with applications to current biological research problems.