BMS 747 Syllabus

BMS 747 - Foundations for Contemporary Biomedical Research I

Fall 2019 Syllabus
(August 21 - October 9, 2019)

Catalog Description:

This course is the first of a two-part package that provides students with a foundation in cellular and molecular systems. It enables students to evaluate normal and pathological pathways while examining common issues that alter normal function. Students considering any research path directed toward human health and disease will find this course valuable.


Fall 2019

Course Format:

4-credit hours of Lecture and Recitation

Prerequisites: N/A


Dr. Michael Schaller
Health Sciences North 3123
Phone: (304) 293-9514

Dr. Scott Weed
Health Sciences South 1833
Phone: (304) 293-3016


In general, the schedule is as below, but consult the class schedule as the exact days of lectures and reviews will occasionally diverge from this general schedule.

Mondays (optional review)
9:00 - 9:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129

9:00 - 9:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129

9:00 - 9:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. - HSC-N 2940B

Thursdays and Fridays
9:00 - 9:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129
10:00 - 10:50 a.m. - HSC-N 3129

Student Presentations will be in HSC-N 2118 from 9:00 – 12:00 noon on September 12 and October 3

Exams will be in LC1/LC2/LC3 on
September 3 (Exam 1)
September 23 (Exam 2)
October 9 (Exam 3)
Exams are scheduled from 4 PM to 7 PM.

Office Hours:

By appointment. Please send an email to the relevant faculty member to schedule an appointment.

Course Objectives:

This course is the first of a two-part package. Its purpose is to impart a fundamental understanding of the functional components of a cell, and the basis for regulation of cellular processes and organ systems. The knowledge base is developed in an interactive faculty-student environment that requires interpretation and rational speculation to apply general concepts to specific situations and stimulate creative thought.

Expected Learning Outcomes:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to...


  • Construct a fundamental knowledge base.
  • Differentiate molecular, cellular and physiological concepts.
  • Demostrate relevance through clinical examples and via the literature.
  • Demonstrate critical thinking during peer engagement.

Assessable Skills

  • Summarize important concepts, their significance and demonstrate mastery.
  • Apply conceptual principles to novel situations.
  • Design and interpret experiments to test molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms.
  • Verbally articulate understanding of concepts during scientific discussion.
  • Demonstrate teamwork and problem-solving.

Required Text: N/A


3 Exams (weighted on content) - 70% 2 Student Presentations (10% each) - 20% Attendance and participation in professional skills development sessions - 10%

Grading Scale:

A traditional numerical scoring system will be used as a basis to generate a final letter grade:

100 - 90 - A
89 - 80 - B
79 - 70 - C
69 - 60 - D
59 - 0 - F


Examination questions will be weighted based on content and will be drawn from lectures, presentations as well as any additional resources assigned by faculty. They will consist of a combination of in-class and take-home formats. The in-class portions are scheduled on designated days. This course provides students the opportunity to earn bonus points from bonus exam questions. All bonus points earned are extra credit, and every point can improve examination grades (up to a total score of 100).

Make-up Examinations:

Students should notify the instructors to make arrangements for a make-up exam if he/she is not going to be able to take an examination during the scheduled time. The make-up examination must be taken within one week of the scheduled exam period, or before the exam, if appropriate. Any exceptions must be approved.


To foster cooperative learning and an in-depth study of a particular topic of interest, students will be responsible for participating in a group presentation on a content-relevant issue. Each group will consist of 3-5 students and the presentation should last 25-minutes with an additional 5-minutes for Q&A. Presentations will be graded for their content, the quality of preparation, and the extent to which the presentation engages the class in a meaningful discussion. Each group member is expected to contribute to the presentation.


Attendance is required. Some work will necessarily take place outside of class, but the exchange of ideas and energy that go on in classroom discussions are irreplaceable and cannot be made up. Instructors must be informed prior to any absence. If no effort is made to do so, the Assistant Vice President for HSC Graduate Education will be notified.


Students wishing to record a lecture or seminar must obtain permission to do so from the instructors in advance. In advance is deemed to mean one week in normal circumstances and never later than the working day before the event in question.


The West Virginia University community is committed to creating and fostering a positive learning and working environment based on open communication, mutual respect, and inclusion. If you are a person with a disability and anticipate needing any type of accommodation in order to participate in this class, please advise the course coordinators and make appropriate arrangements with the Office of Accessibility Services (304-293-6700). For more information on West Virginia University's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives, please see

Academic Integrity:

The integrity of the classes offered by any academic institution solidifies the foundation of its mission and cannot be sacrificed to expediency, ignorance, or blatant fraud. Therefore, we will enforce rigorous standards of academic integrity in all aspects and assignments of this course. For the detailed policy of West Virginia University regarding the definitions of acts considered to fall under academic dishonesty and possible ensuing sanctions, please see the West Virginia University Academic Catalog at Should you have any questions about possibly improper research citations or references, or any other activity that may be interpreted as an attempt at academic dishonesty, please see the instuctors before the assignment is due to discuss the matter.