Molecular Biology for the Auditory System

Course Info

Course Number/Code: HST.730 (Fall 2002)
Course Title: Molecular Biology for the Auditory System
Course Level: Graduate
Offered By: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
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Department: Health Sciences and Technology
Course Instructor(s): Prof. Anne Skvorak Giersch
Prof. Stefan Heller
Prof. Doug Cotanche
Dr. Marley Kenna
Prof. Charlie Liberman
Prof. Heidi Rehm
Prof. Bill Sewell
Prof. Chen Zheng-Yi
Course Introduction:
Syllabus During the semester we will cover the exciting advances in the genetics and molecular biology of the inner ear. For the non-molecular biologists in the class, we will begin with a few lectures on basic molecular biology and genetics, covering both theory and techniques. We will also include an inner ear physiology review. We will study techniques for identifying "deafness genes" as well as genes and proteins recently identified as being critical for proper inner ear function. We will cover topics relating to inner ear development and hair cell regeneration. Additional lectures will explore recent advances in the field, studying such topics as syndromic and nonsyndromic hearing loss and the molecules that are responsible for hearing loss, such as connexins, myosins, transcription factors, extracellular matrix proteins and ion channels. We will also discuss techniques, such as the use of embryonic stem cells, used to further investigations into inner ear function. The lead faculty will deliver approximately half of the lectures, with the remaining lectures given by inner ear/deafness research experts from the Boston area.

The course this year will include a hands-on laboratory component, in which each student will perform basic molecular biology techniques for gene discovery. The students' research projects will be presented in class at the end of the semester. In addition, each student will present for discussion papers that cover in depth some of the topics discussed in class.

Lab The course this year will include a hands-on laboratory component, in which each student will perform basic molecular biology techniques for gene discovery. Each student will have his/her own mini-research project. Results of students' research projects will be presented in class at the end of the semester. Student Lead Discussion Sessions Twice during the semester, each student will present for discussion papers that cover in depth the topics discussed in class. These presentations are designed to familiarize students with techniques and strategies used by investigators to study the molecular biology of the auditory system. Grades Grades will be assigned based upon student participation in class, student presentations of lab work and journal articles, and a final exam. Recommended Text For coverage of basic molecular biology, we recommend Molecular Biology of the Cell by Bruce Alberts et al., 2002, Garland Science.