MEDSCI 302 : Cancer Biology
Medical and Health Sciences
2023 Semester Two (1235) (15 POINTS)
This course provides a strong foundation in both the basic and applied science of cancer biology. The following main topics are covered: DNA damage and repair; mechanisms of cell proliferation, cell death, differentiation, metabolic reprogramming, and cell stress response; tumour hypoxia and radiation biology; genomics, bioinformatics, and epigenetics; selected mechanisms of cancer development (inherited, viral and hormonal causes); basics of cancer immunology and metastasis; principles of an integrated cancer diagnosis.
There are four 3-hour interactive laboratories that provide an opportunity to practice selected laboratory methods and reflect on their use in cancer research. Laboratories address the following research areas: 1. Mechanism of apoptosis; 2. Radiation-induced cell killing; 3. Application of bioinformatic approaches to characterise cancer mechanisms; 4. Integrated characterisation of leukaemia pathology. There is also an online assignment on colorectal cancer - its pathology, detection, and treatment.
The following lecturers teach in this course: Dr Maggie Kalev (course director), Dr Rachelle Singleton (course coordinator), Assoc Prof Michael Hay, Assoc Prof Nuala Helsby, Dr Dean Singleton, Dr Cherie Blenkiron, Dr Annette Lasham, Dr Ana Ramachandran, Dr Jo Perry.
This course provides an introduction to opportunities for future postgraduate study in the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology in conjunction with the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre. Further information may be obtained from any of the lecturers involved in this course. For example, MedSci 714 and MedSci 713 provide a focused look at aspects of cancer biology and treatment targets respectively.
Capabilities Developed in this Course
|Capability 1:||Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice|
|Capability 2:||Critical Thinking|
|Capability 3:||Solution Seeking|
|Capability 4:||Communication and Engagement|
|Capability 5:||Independence and Integrity|
- Explain the basic science of the fundamental processes involved in carcinogenesis. (Capability 1)
- Understand the means by which the essential cellular controlling mechanisms are subverted in cancer. (Capability 1 and 2)
- Gain a basic understanding of multi-disciplinary approaches applied in cancer diagnosis, staging, prognostication, and in cancer research. (Capability 1 and 2)
- Be familiar with selected experimental approaches used to investigate mechanisms of cancer development. (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
- Demonstrate practical experience in selected methods applied in cancer research. (Capability 2, 3, 4 and 5)
|Assignment 1 - Lab 1 report||8%||Individual Coursework|
|Assignment 2 - Lab 2 report||8%||Individual Coursework|
|Assignment 3 - Lab 3 report/Online assignment||8%||Individual Coursework|
|Assignment 4 - Lab 4 report||8%||Individual Coursework|
|Assignment 5 - Lab 5 report||8%||Individual Coursework|
|Mid-term test||15%||Individual Coursework|
|Final Exam||45%||Individual Examination|
|Assessment Type||Learning Outcome Addressed|
|Assignment 1 - Lab 1 report|
|Assignment 2 - Lab 2 report|
|Assignment 3 - Lab 3 report/Online assignment|
|Assignment 4 - Lab 4 report|
|Assignment 5 - Lab 5 report|
You must pass the final examination and achieve satisfactory performance in your coursework in order to pass the course.
This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.
For this course, you can expect 3 hours of lectures or tutorials, 1.5 hours practical laboratories (3 hours every second week), 2 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3.5 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation per week.
Lecture attendance is expected for this course. We encourage you to use lectures as an opportunity to engage with your peers and your lecturers. Lecture recordings will be provided as an adjunct to support revision but these should not be relied on as the only method of learning. Recordings of other learning activities including labs and tutorials are NOT guaranteed.
The course will NOT include live online events including group discussions/tutorials.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.
Attendance on campus is required for the mid-semester test.
The final exam is currently delivered online.
Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).
Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.
At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.
Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.
Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.
BioSci 356 allows an alternative entry path to MedSci 302 for students who did not take MedSci 203, but it is not a true pre-requisite.
MedSci 302 is a part of the Cancer Biology and Therapeutics specialisation pathway. Other courses required for this specialisation are BioSci 356 (Developmental Biology and Cancer) and MedSci 319 (Molecular Pharmacology).
The two main post-graduate courses MedSci 302 leads to are MedSci 713 (Principles of Cancer Therapy) and MedSci 714 (Advanced Cancer Biology). Both are taught through the Department of Molecular Medicine and Pathology and Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre by the teaching staff which partially overlaps with MedSci 302. Students taking these courses are very positive about their learning experience. Multiple post-graduate research options are also available to students interested in cancer research.
The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.
Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.
All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.
Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz
If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.
If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.
This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.
Completing assignments and texts/exams is an essential part of this course to support learning. No more than one major in-course assessment may be awarded with an aegrotat or compassionate assessment. If you apply for more than one aegrotat for major assessments, aegrotat can only be applied to one of these. Once exam marking has been completed, we will perform an analysis and apply the most favourable outcome possible to one of those assessments.
In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.
The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.
Student Charter and Responsibilities
The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.
Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.
In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.