Experimental Pathology (PATH) PATH Course Descriptions

icon_note   Note: Click on course titles to access the description. Key: I = Fall, II = Spring, III = Summer, A = Annual, B = Biennial. To view the Basic Biomedical Science Curriculum (BBSC), click here.


Experimental Pathology Course Descriptions

PATH Special Topics (PATH 6000)

Study of special topics in Experimental Pathology. Topics are selected and study programs arranged on an individual basis with staff member.

Prerequisites: Consent of Instructor
Hours per week: Conference or discussion, 2
Terms offered: I, II, III
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: Staff


Research Rotations (PATH 6012)

It is the goal of research rotations to provide exposure to the breadth of research opportunities in Experimental Pathology and to ensure that students receive diverse training. Rotation policies are flexible and responsive to students background and interest. The number and types of rotations are determined by the SEAC, which will take the student's experience and interests into consideration. Three rotations in combination of BBSC and Pathology Rotations are recommended for most students. Rotations within an area of interest should be representative of the different types of research within that area and ensure that students are exposed to diversity in approaches, thought and techniques. Students can request a waiver from the required rotations in writing to the SEAC, and the request must include justification for that waiver. The SEAC can grant such waivers based upon the justification and records submitted in support of such a waiver request supplied by the student. The purpose of this course is to provide introductory laboratory experiences that will help students choose their areas of specialization and assist in the selection of a supervisory professor for their subsequent dissertation research. A student works on an individual basis with a member of the faculty for all or part of a term (8 or 16 weeks), either independently performing a short project designed by the faculty member, or jointly working on some facet of ongoing research.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
Hours per week: Conference 1
Lab, up to 20
Terms offered: I, II, III
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: McBride


Research in Pathology (PATH 6097)

This course varies in credit according to the work performed. The student concentrates on a problem of his or her own choosing with faculty advisor.

Grading is S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory)
Prerequisite: None
Terms offered: I, II, III
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: McBride


Thesis (PATH 6098)

Once admitted to candidacy, it is required for students pursuing a Master of Science or Master of Arts degree to enroll in this course. This course is for the formal research and writing leading to the preparation and completion of the thesis for the Master of Science or Master of Arts degree while under the direction of the student’s supervisory committee. The student will pursue the proposed research and present a progress report and/or agreed upon objectives to the mentor and/or supervisory committee for approval and recommendations. Grading will be based upon the student’s level of performance as reported by the chairperson of the student’s supervisory committee and will be assigned as Satisfactory (S), Needs Improvement (N), or Unsatisfactory (U).
Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy
Terms offered: I, II, III
Year Offered: Annually
Hours per week: Variable 3-9

Dissertation (PATH 6099)

Once admitted to candidacy, it is required for students pursuing the Doctor of Philosophy degree to enroll in this course.  This course is for the formal research and writing leading to the preparation and completion of the dissertation for the Doctor of Philosophy degree while under the direction of the student’s supervisory committee. The student will pursue the proposed research and present a progress report and/or agreed upon objectives to the mentor and/or supervisory committee for approval and recommendations. Grading will be based upon the student's level of performance as reported by the chairperson of the student's supervisory committee and will be assigned as Satisfactory (S), Needs Improvement (N), or Unsatisfactory (U).
Prerequisites: Admission to candidacy
Terms offered: I, II, III
Year Offered: Annually
Hours per week: Variable 3-9

Biology of Arthropod Disease Vectors (PATH 6112)

The goal of this course is to introduce students to arthropods that are vectors for a wide variety of infectious agents that cause human diseases. The unique biology of hematophagous arthropods that has evolved to facilitate the coexistence between the vectors, pathogens, and the vertebrate host will be illustrated in both lectures and practical sessions. The curriculum will build upon a general introduction to arthropods. Then, using specific examples, the processes of infection, development, and transmission of pathogens will be discussed. This will include vector behaviors involved in location of the host, physiological adaptations to facilitate blood feeding and digestion, and factors that influence the vector-pathogen relationship. Options for controlling vector-borne diseases will be discussed from a historical perspective, with a consideration of how modern molecular approaches might be used in the future. Evaluations are based on full-term examination (80%) and laboratory practical (20%).

Final examination: Students will be evaluated based on multiple-choice questionnaires, short essays and the demonstration of practical knowledge. Grading is Standard (A-F)
Prerequisites: consent of instructor
Hours per week: 2; Term offered: III
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: Thangamani


Experimental Pathology Trainee Work in Progress (PATH 6115)

This course provides a forum for graduate student research in progress updates and is required for all graduate students in Experimental Pathology. The objective of this course is to enable students to gain experience by orally presenting their current research and future studies, and responding to questions from the audience. Attendance is required at the weekly Experimental Pathology seminars. Attendance at weekly Pathology Grand Rounds, other weekly clinical conferences, interdepartmental infectious disease conferences, and immunology or toxicology seminar offerings I voluntary, but strongly encourages. Grading is Standard (A-F) and grades will be determined based on submission of written evaluations (2nd year), attendance, and completion of one annual research presentation. (The written evaluations must be turned in to the Program Coordinator within 1 week of the seminar. Evaluations submitted after 1 week will automatically be reduced by one grade and those submitted 2 weeks late will not be accepted or receive a grade of F.) Attendance at 90% of seminars is required for year 2 trainees, and 80% for trainees in years 3-5. However, it is strongly recommended that graduate students attend all trainee seminar series, particularly those of their fellow students. Grades in the third year and beyond are based on attendance. Attendance records for the trainee workshop are maintained by the Program Coordinator.

Prerequisites: Consent of program director
Hours per week: Conference 1
Terms offered: I, II
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: McBride


Clinical Microbiology Practicum (PATH 6123)

This course is designed to provide graduate students with an opportunity to gain both understanding and practical, hands-on experience in the policies, procedures and regulatory/safety standards of the clinical microbiology laboratory, and its role in infectious disease diagnostics. It serves as an introduction to the field of clinical microbiology, for those students interested in pursuing this area as a career choice. The student will rotate through different sections of the clinical microbiology laboratory. Bench-level rotations will expose the student to laboratory subspecialties including bacteriology, virology, serology, mycology, mycobacteriology and parasitology. The student will be given simulated specimens on which to perform bacterial identification and susceptibility testing under the guidance of microbiology technologists. Throughout the rotation, students will participate in weekly Microbiology Plate Rounds and are encouraged to attend the weekly Adult and Pediatric Infectious Disease Case Conferences.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
Hours per week: Conference or discussion 2
Lab, up to 30
Grading is based on a written and oral assignment. Final grade will be assigned as either Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U)
Terms offered I, II, III
Year offered: Annually
Instructors: Williams-Bouyer/ Loeffelholz


Foundations of Virology (PATH 6140)

Discoveries and discoverers, inventors and inventions, developers and technologies -- the historic bases for the state of virology research today and the larger context in which laboratory, field, and public health virology contribute to the prevention and control of viral diseases. I will use the tabular material and the 800 slide Powerpoint slide sets http://www.utmb.edu/ihii/virusimages/index.shtml to provide an overview of the history of medical virology, emphasizing as stated, "the discoverers and discoveries, the inventors and inventions, the developers and their technologies." In producing these materials I have accumulated quite a bit of information, enough to provide in lecture / discussion format a sense of the context of the discoveries, and in key instances lots of detail that everyone is sure to find exciting. 16 lectures will each cover an "era," starting with key events forming the base for the rise of microbiology in the 19th century, continuing with the discovery of the first viruses and the rise of the science in France, Germany and the United States in the early years of the 20th century, continuing with the discovery of most of the important human pathogens throughout the 20th century (and continuing today), and setting the stage for the molecular virology revolution that also continues.

Grading is S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory). Pass/fail will be determined by attendance and participation in class discussions.
Term offered: II
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: TBD


Colloquium of Frontiers of Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine (PATH 6145)

Frontiers in Infectious Diseases is an Experimental Pathology course that uses the Colloquium of Infectious Diseases and Immunity for its didactics. The colloquium is organized and sponsored by the Center for Biodefense and Emerging Infectious Diseases (CBEID), the Center for Tropical Diseases (CTD), and the Departments of Microbiology & Immunology (M&I) and Pathology at UTMB. This colloquium was created to offer faculty, staff, and trainees the opportunity to hear about the latest research of recognized experts in the fields of infectious diseases, microbiology, and immunity. Invited speakers are almost always from academic institutions throughout the United States and occasionally from international institutions. The Colloquium offers a wide range of topics within the fields of infectious diseases, microbiology, and immunity, including epidemiology, vaccine development, pathogenesis, pathophysiology, molecular biology, cellular microbiology, etc. Students registered for this course will have the opportunity to meet the speaker in a separate small-group session called "meet the professor". This is a great opportunity to learn not only about the details of the speaker's research, but also about their motivations in science, their life experiences, and their advice as it relates to professional and academic advancement. Grading is S/U (satisfactory or unsatisfactory) and depends on attendance.

Specific requirements are the following: First year students will register for this course for the fall and spring semesters, and they must attend more than 80% of the seminars offered during those semesters
Second year students will register for this course for either the fall or the spring semester, and they must attend more than 80% of the seminars offered during the selected semester
Registered students must attend more than one third of the "meet the professor" post-seminar meetings
Terms offered: I,II
Year Offered: Annually
Instructor: McBride


Introduction to Vaccinology (PATH 6161)

Vaccines for the 21st Century is a five-week introductory course designed to provide the basic scientist with an understanding of vaccine development from conceptualization through development, testing and utilization. The course Objectives are to learn:

1. The history of the development of vaccines and their impact on society.
2. The identification of pathogens & diseases for which vaccines are needed.
3. The principles of the development, availability and use of vaccines.
4. The pathophysiologic approach to developing vaccine strategies.
5. The application of traditional and new technologies to vaccine development.
6. The importance of the regulatory process to vaccine development, including "proof of principle", pre-clinical and clinical testing.

The course will be taught in lecture format with a small number of expert lecturers. There will be assigned reading in preparation for each session. Reading materials will be provided. Each session will be 1 hour (total 15 contact hours). Course performance will be determined by take home midterm & final examinations (50% each).

Prerequisite: Consent of Instructor
Term offered: I
Year offered: Annually
Instructors: Milligan/Barnett


Seminar in Pathology (PATH 6195)

This course requires attendance at, and participation in, weekly Pathology Grand Rounds, where the staff and guests from other departments and other educational institutions present current research or relevant topics of interest.

Prerequisites: None
Hours per week: Seminar I
Grading is S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory)
Terms offered: I II, III
Year offered: Biennial
Instructor: Forrester


Fundamentals of Pathology (PATH 6203)

The objective of this course is to introduce students to basic and functional histology of specific organ systems including cardiovascular, respiratory, genitourinary, gastrointestinal, hematopoetic and central nervous system through lecture and laboratory sessions. Areas of emphasis will be gross anatomy and embryology, functional histology, gross and microscopic pathology of infectious disease, toxicology and hemodynamic disorders, and animal models used in experimentation, including development, evaluation and validation. Experimental design and research techniques used in pathology will be emphasized and demonstrated in laboratory sessions, including histochemistry, immunohistochemistry, laser capture microdissection, laser confocal microscopy, electron microscopy, in vivo imaging and image analysis.

Prerequisites: None
Grading is Standard (A-F)
Term offered: III
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: Olano


Workshop in Phylogenetics (PATH 6211)

Phylogenetic methods are becoming increasingly popular for studies of microbial systematics, molecular epidemiology and evolution, pathogen emergence, predicting host and vector relationships, inferring biochemical and drug sensitivity similarities, etc. Although user-friendly algorithms are now widely available, proper analyses require a theoretical understanding of the assumptions underlying the algorithms used, and the statistical methods for determining the stability of phylogenetic trees generated. This course is designed to provide students with a basic practical and theoretical knowledge of phylogenetic methods for analyzing nucleotide and amino acid sequences. Upon completion of the course, the student will be able to make sound decisions on the best methods for analyzing their own sequences, run a variety of algorithms on a UNIX workstation and Macintosh personal computer, and interpret results to reach valid, statistically-supported conclusions.

The course will meet for one session of two hours each week. The first hour will be devoted to theoretical discussions of methods, and demonstrations using a laptop computer and projection system. The second hour will be a computer laboratory session where students will be given hands-on training with phylogenetic algorithms. Grading is S/U (satisfactory/unsatisfactory) and based on a class project involving phylogenetic analysis of the students' sequences (either their own sequences from a research project or GenBank sequences of interest) as well as completion of a mock research paper suitable for submission to a journal. The results of class projects will also be presented to the class in typical scientific meeting format. Requirements for a passing grade include both publication quality data and writing, and a presentation of quality suitable for a national meeting. The final grade will be based 75% on the written class project (mock research paper) and 25% on the oral class presentation.

Prerequisites: Consent of Instructor
Hours per week: 2
Term offered: I
Year Offered: Annually
Instructor: Forrester


Cardiovascular Toxicology (PATH 6242)

This course addresses the present state of knowledge concerning injury by exogenous chemicals to the heart and blood vessels. Examples of cardiac toxins will include those classified as (1) arrhythmogenic, (2) necrotizing and (3) contractile. Modes of toxin action and secondary phenomena are also discussed. With regard to the vascular system and myocardium, an initial review of the structural components of blood vessels will be made prior to addressing examples of toxins that induce (1) endothelial injury and (2) medial injury. A small-group teaching approach is used, including paper review and literature review, with assigned presentations by individual students. The basis for grading is discussion in class (30%) and written and oral presentations of assigned specific topics (70%).

Pre-requisites: None
Term offered: II
Year offered: Biennial - Odd Years
Instructor: Boor


Basic Human Pathobiology-Toxicology (PATH 6276)

The objective of this course is to introduce the principles of toxicology. This is achieved by presenting specific clinically-relevant examples of toxic injury and exploring the biochemical, cellular and pathogenetic mechanisms that underlie these examples. Mechanisms of toxin-induced cellular injury discussed could include injury by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species, xenobiotic adduction and metabolism, and receptor/signal disruption. Grading is based on contributions to class discussion (40%) and a final examination (60%).

Grading is Standard (A-F)
Hours per week: Lecture I, Conference I
Term offered: II
Year offered: Annually
Instructors: Boor/Khan


Introduction to Competitive Grant Writing (PATH 6279)

This course will provide an introductory and interactive experience to competitive grant writing. Topics to be covered include understanding the review process, and planning, organizing, writing a successful hypothesis driven application. Students will be required to write a two year grant application, provide written critiques, and participate in a final mock study section review. Grading is Standard (A-F) and will be based on class participation (30%), written assignments (40%), and quality of the final application (40%).

Prerequisites: Consent of Instructor
Term offered: I
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: Dr. Vasilakis


Cellular Microbiology & Disease (PATH 6289)

This advanced course provides as in-depth examination of the molecular mechanisms of host-bacterial interactions to understand the bacterial strategies for evading or surviving the host defense systems. All topics are conceptual overviews of the principal mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis. Topics include molecular mechanisms of bacterial adherence to host cells and bacterial signaling host cells through adhesion molecules, bacterial subversion of endocytic pathways, bacterial manipulation of the host cell cytoskeleton, bacterial secretion systems, immune evasion mechanisms and persistent infection, and bacterial genomes and reductive evolution. Emphasis is given to diseases with prototypic pathogenic mechanisms. Instruction involves lectures, class discussions and readings in contemporary or classic literature. Grading is based on attendance (20%), class discussions and participation (30%), and one final examination (50%). The format of final exam will be for students to choose 5-6 out of 10-12 questions.

Grading is Standard (A-F)
Hours per week: Lecture 4, Conference 1
Term offered: II
Year offered: Annually
Instructors: Dr. Aguilar, Dr. Sahni


Principles of Biodefense (PATH 6310)

This course provides an introduction to the principles underlying defense against bioterrorism, It also provides a basic description of the major biothreats, including microbiology, medical protection, epidemiology, and pathogenesis.

Grading is Standard (A-F)
Hours per week: Lecture 1, Conference 2
Term offered: I
Year offered: Annually
Instructor: Dr. Peters


Tropical Diseases (PATH 6318)

This course is designed to provide graduate students with an overview of tropical diseases and related current research. The course is not designed to be comprehensive, but will sample representatives of major infectious tropical diseases. Emphasis is placed on the ecology, epidemiology and control of tropical diseases. The class meets two (2) times a week for 90 minutes; each session includes a 45 minute lecture by a faculty member, followed by the presentation of a pertinent paper and discussion questions. Students are expected to submit their selected reference and at least 5 discussion questions to the lecturer one week in advance.

Grading is Standard (A-F)
Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
Hours per week: Lecture 3
Term offered: II
Year offered: Annually
Instructors: Dr. Melby, Dr. Travi


Functional Histology and Pathobiology (PATH 6436)

This 16-week course will provide a fundamental background for students who are interested in pursuing experimental pathology. This course will include, but is not limited to, general pathobiology, basic functional histology, and organ development of humans. Pathobiology topics will include cell injury/death, acute inflammation, immunopathology, neoplasia, coagulation, and genetic diseases. Functional histology will include the following organ systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, hematopoietic, gastrointestinal/hepatic, and urinary. For each system, normal functional histology and the main categories of diseases will be discussed (infectious, neoplastic, environmental, hemodynamic, etc.). Supplemental lectures on experimental techniques used in pathology research will also be included: histology/immunohistochemistry, electron microscopy, flow cytometry, and laser capture microdissection. Topics will be discussed as didactic lectures and use of glass slides/virtual imaging for demonstration of histology slides. Seven journal club sessions will take place during the course and will be related to the topics discussed during the course. Grading is Standard (A-F) and will be based on two mid-term exams and one final exam. Participation during journal clubs will also be graded. (Examinations: 20% + 20% + 20%; Journal Club: 20%; Attendance: 20%.

Prerequisites: Consent of instructor
Hours per week: Lecture 4
Term offered: II
Year offered: Annually
Course Directors: Dr. Hawkins, Dr. Olano