PSL1034H - Advanced Topics: Metabolic Disorders

Course Coordinator: M. B. Wheeler

This is a graduate-only seminar-based course that covers recent advances (papers, methods and research topics) in the areas of endocrinology and metabolism. The objective of this course is to improve analytical and critical thinking skills of graduate students who have a keen interest and have a good background in at least one of the general topic areas (endocrinology or metabolism).

Student presentations: (Two 20 mins plus 20 mins of discussion) based upon current research papers in selected areas for each class. Original papers will be used for student presentations and discussion. Active participation in discussions will be an absolute requirement. For each presentation, selected student discussants in addition to the presenter will be assigned to review the paper in detail and asked to come to class with prepared questions. The quality of the questions and answers will be assessed by core faculty. 

Experimental Proposal: Students will prepare a written proposal (mini-grant-3 pages) that encompasses an experimental hypothesis, brief background and rationale, experimental design, anticipated outcomes and significance.  The core faculty and the student participants will critique/evaluate the proposal.

This course will focus upon selected topics as outlined below.  Students will be expected to make presentations based upon appropriate literature listed by the core faculty. Participation in discussions will also be required. There will be no formal didactic lectures. Presentation topics will be chosen from the following:

Topic 1: Physiology and Pathology of Insulin Secretion: What's New
Topic 2: Obesity and Diabetes
Topic 3: Hot Topics in Metabolic Disorders
Topic 4: Hunting for a Cure and Future Therapies

None, but a reasonable understanding of current biomedical research methodology is preferential.

a) Oral presentations of the papers (50%) - Each student is expected to present two original papers with each presentation being assessed by all faculty members in the classroom.

b) Written reports (30%) - A written original experimental proposal (3 single-spaced pages) will be required for each student (20%).  The students will also critique one of their classmate's proposals (10%).  Specific details on how to generate an experimental proposal and critique will be discussed in class.

c) Participation in discussions (20%) - Student participation in discussions will be assessed on the basis of his/her roles as discussants and general contribution to the in-class discussions.

Course Faculty Participants:
Dr. Michael B. Wheeler, Department of Physiology
Dr. Denise Belsham, Department of Physiology
Dr. Satya Dash, Department of Medicine

Each faculty member will organize and provide a list of key papers for discussion before the first class, and must be present in the classroom for the presentation of his/her selected paper(s). Core members are expected to participate in a majority of classes. Other faculty may be brought into the course as topic experts on an ad hoc basis.

Maximum: 12 Students