PSL424H - Cellular and Molecular Basis of Endocrine Disorders


Explore how researchers uncover the cellular and molecular basis of endocrine disorders. Learn about experimental design, state-of-the-art research tools, and data interpretation. Topics include disorders in: hormone regulation, secretion and action; circadian rhythms; and sexual development and reproduction. Each week students engage in active learning sessions related to research seminars delivered by faculty.

Course Coordinator: Dr. Denise Belsham

Course topics: The following topics will be explored via faculty research seminars, student oral presentations and active learning:

  • Beta cell: intracellular pathways
  • Restoring beta cell function
  • Gene regulation in beta cells
  • Female infertility
  • Male infertility
  • Disorders in sexual development:
  • Circadian rhythm disruption
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals and health

Active learning: Each week engage interactive lectures and small group activities related to the topic of the week. Activities will include: developing new research questions based on current knowledge, designing experiments and critiquing primary papers.

Oral presentation: Describe a research tool/model used in learn more about the causes of endocrine disorders. The presentation will include how the tool/model is used, its strengths and weaknesses and an example of its use (question asked and research result).

Written assignment: Write a research proposal describing a series of experiments aimed at addressing a current gap in our understanding of an endocrine disorder. The description will include relevant background, specific aims, research approach, expected results, significance and a description of a tool or model that might be developed in the next five years that would assist in addressing the specific questions addressed in the proposal.