CCB701 BIOC701 Syllabus

Biochemical and Oncogenic Signaling (CCB701/BIOC701)

Fall Semester, 2019

Tuesday/Thursday, 10:00-11:20 AM

HSC North 3050 (Physiology & Pharmacology Conference Room)

Course Coordinator: Dr. Jun Liu (

Course Description.

This course is a 3 credit, designed for advanced graduate student. The course will focus on the principles that define the biochemical signaling mechanisms employed by all cells, including cancer cells. Material covered in this course includes structures, functions and regulations of signaling molecules including proteins, steroids, vitamins and lipids. This course consists of eleven topics covering a variety of signal transduction pathways utilized by normal and cancer cells. Each topic starts with lecture(s) followed by paper(s) for discussion.

Course Objectives.

This course aims at providing students an in-depth understanding of the principle of signaling pathways; the control of cellular behaviors by the signaling pathways in malignant and non-malignant cells; and typical approaches to study signaling pathways.

Expected Learning Outcomes.

By successful completion of this course, students are expected to describe the molecular mechanisms that control cellular communications to achieve an excess of cellular responses; to develop an understanding of the contemporary research literatures in signaling networks relevant to biochemistry and cancer biology; and to develop critical thinking and analytical skills.

Course Materials.

1. PowerPoint Files: Lectures will be presented as PowerPoint slide shows. The PowerPoint files will be available on the Health Sciences Center educational website (SOLE) for viewing and downloading before each lecture. 2. Textbook: The Biology of Cancer, Second Edition, by Robert A. Weinberg. 3. Additional Materials: Research papers and review articles for paper discussion, and additional material to assist student preparation for lectures will be posted on the SOLE site.

Exams and grading.

Class participation will count as 20% of final grade. Participation grades will be given in each block. Faculty will evaluate student class participation on a scale of 0-5 (5 is the highest). There will be two take-home exams. Each of the exams will count as 40% of the final grade.


The following scale is a guide for how grades are usually assigned:

A = 90 – 100%
B = 80 – 89.9%
C = 70 – 79.9%
F < 70%


Dr. Yehenew Agazie
Room: 3151 HSC-N
Phone: 293-7756

Dr. Linda Vona-Davis
Room: G114 Byrd Biomedical Building
Phone: 293-1280

Dr. Alexey Ivanov
Room: 218 Byrd Biomedical Building
Phone: 293-4936

Dr. Roberta Leonardi
Room: 3143A HSC-N
Phone: 293-7591

Dr. Jun Liu, Course Coordinator
Room: 3080A HSC-N
Phone: 293-1503

Dr. Peter Mathers
Room: 310 Byrd Biomedical Building
Phone: 293-0271

Dr. Michael Ruppert
Room: 3103A HSC-N
Phone: 293-5246

Faculty Consultation.

Course instructors are available for consultation at any time. Students should contact instructors by email to schedule an appointment.

Attendance policy.

Attendance is mandatory for the lectures and the paper discussions. If a student is sick or attends scientific meetings that prevent attendance of more than 10% of class activities, the student should consider to withdraw or request incomplete. Students should contact the professor scheduled to lecture and course coordinator when an excused absence is necessary. Each unexcused absences will result in a drop of grade.

Participation in paper discussions

Students are required to participate in the discussion of assigned scientific papers each week. Class participation will count as 20% of your course grade. Evaluation of students’ performance will be based on the quality for preparation of assignment(s), i.e. whether students have critically read paper(s) before class and made significant contribution to paper discussion. Faculty members will oversee the paper discussions and will be responsible for the progress of the discussion. Students should demonstrate thorough familiarity with the paper. Contributions to the discussion include descriptions of the methodology, data, results, conclusions and significance of the paper presented. Contributions to the discussion should be accurate, logical and contribute to the progress of the discussion. Students will be expected to respond thoughtfully to ideas and questions from the faculty member and other students. These discussions can also be used to address questions to the faculty members to gain a further understanding of the methods and concepts described in the assigned papers.

Social Justice Statement

"West Virginia University is committed to social justice. I concur with that commitment and expect to maintain a positive learning environment based upon open communication, mutual respect, and non-discrimination. Our University does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, age, disability, veteran’s status, religion, sexual orientation, color or national origin. Any suggestions as to how to further such a positive and open environment in this class will be appreciated and given serious consideration.

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 coordinator and make appropriate arrangements with the Office of Disability Services (293-6700).

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, I 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 Student Conduct Code 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 me before the assignment is due to discuss the matter.