Curriculum for B.S./Ph.D. Combined Biology Degree For High School Students

Panama College of Cell Science

Fast Track Combination Bachelor of Science (B.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in General Biology and Stem Cell Science

5 Year program which you can enter right after High School

B.S./Ph.D.  5 year Fast Track Combination Program, featuring a Bachelor Degree in General Biology and a Doctoral Degree in Stem Cell Science

An undergraduate biology degree program with No General Education Requirements and No Second Language Requirements.

General education? That’s for High School. Instead of two years of worthless general education courses, we get you prepared and slide you into a doctoral program so that you graduate in 5 years with BOTH a Bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. degree in Stem Cell Biology!!

This program introduces the student to basic biology concepts and then proceeds into the doctoral program where the student will learn the basic science of stem cell biology, and also the practical applications to patient treatment today, through the exploration of international therapies using adult stem cells. The program is excellent for those that may be interested in not only a research career, but also a career in clinical medicine or pharmacology, biomedical engineering, or healthcare management.

We operate on a trimester schedule, which means that our academic year is divided into 3 segments of 4 months each. In each 4 month period, students take three courses. For some terms, or as determined by the University, students may be assigned courses in sequence, lasting about 1 month each. In that event, for any approximate one month period, a student will be studying one course.

Years 1 and 2 are Used for the Bachelor Degree Part of the Program

(See our note at the end relating to seat time)

Note: A Bachelor Degree is only issued upon completion of the entire 5 year program. We do not offer a B.S. Degree except in combination with the 3 year doctoral degree

Year 1

Year 2

Term 1

Term 1

Introduction to Biology – Provides an overview of biology systems, water ecology, waste water management, agricultural methods including plant grafting, plant biology, soil biology, deep water organisms, the six kingdoms of classification. 4 Credits Cell Biology– Presents study of the structure, function, and interaction of cells, cell cycles, cell death, and cell propagation in vitro. 4 credits
Biochemistry– The study of biological molecules and main biological interactions, including Amino Acids, Peptides, Proteins, Carbohydrates, Lipids and Membranes, Nucleic Acids, Glycolysis, Citric Acid Cycle, Photosynthesis, Lipid Metabolism, DNA/RNA Structure and Replication, Protein Biosynthesis. 4 Credits Plant Biology– Examines plant cell structure and growth, including elementary plant cell tissue culture in vitro. 4 credits
Digital Portfolio 1: Purpose– This course presents the purpose of each student developing a digital portfolio which presents and highlights their education, training, independent studies, relevant work experience and activities of interest relevant to their field of study. To qualify for graduation, each student must eventually publish their digital portfolio on the internet, which, for doctoral candidates may include a dissertation, or may be in lieu of a dissertation. 4 Credits Marine Biology– A study of common marine organisms, biological aspects of marine communities, properties of sea water, and fisheries biology.
4 credits
English Writing– The student will practice writing essays toward the goal of sharpening skills which are needed for any successful endeavor. 6 credits

Term 2

Term 2

Pond Water Biology – This course studies the fascinating world of pond water from various viewpoints. 4 credits Microbiology – Bacterial and viral classification, structure, physiology, genetics, molecular biology, pathogenicity and immunology, including clinical lab testing and batch preparation of bacteria for specialized protein harvesting. 4 credits
Biology Lab Techniques and Protocols- Presents an overview of the tools of biology including microscopy, cell counting and separation, immunoassays, review of laboratory glassware and equipment. Readings are well supplemented with video demonstrations, and home lab experiments and demonstrations may be included. 4 credits Forensic Biology– This course introduces students to biological aspects of forensic evidence including biochemical and physical attributes of blood and other body fluids. Common methods of body fluid identification utilized in forensic laboratories will be discussed, as well as investigation of relevance of insect life cycles. Other topics may include guidelines for evidence examination, documentation and report writing. 4 credits
Digital Portfolio 2:  Basic Blog Set-up in which each student creates their own professional website on the WordPress platform (for free) with staff guidance. 4 credits Digital Portfolio 4: Presentation. In this course the student finalizes their personal website with staff guidance. 4 credits

Term 3

Term 3

Biology Lab Techniques and Protocols II– home laborataory experiments are encouraged via kits. Home laboratory set-up is explored. Online video lab demonstrations are studied. 4 credits Biology Seminars- In the discretion of the Instructor, a presentation of various topics of interest in biology, may include review of career channels, and current hot topics.
4 credits
Introduction to Genetics– Fundamental principles of genetics, including an exploration of the principles of genetics as they apply to human beings, as well as population genetics, genetic engineering. 4 credits Biostatistics- Review of the scientific method, introduction to sampling, experimental design, analysis of data, and testing of hypotheses, with emphasis on methods applied to biological investigations. Descriptive statistics, analysis of variance, correlation and regression. 4 credits
Digital Portfolio 3: Create Portfolio Outline and learn deeper techniques for manipulating and improving the student’s personal website, with staff guidance.
4 credits
Independent Study– Students engage in independent research either in laboratory or home lab setting, or may elect to complete a literature review. Course is designed for the student to demonstrate an understanding of the scientific method. 4 credits

 

Note: Satisfactory Completion of the first two years of this program qualifies the student for   continuing into the 3 year doctoral program in stem cell biology and that 3 year program is detailed again here:

Curriculum for 3-Year PhD Degree in Stem Cell Biology

TOTAL: 72 TRIMESTER CREDITS

(Equivalent to the USA Minimum Requirement for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Degree)

Year 1

Year 2

Year 3

Term 1

Term 1

Term 1

Cancer Biology- Introduction to cancer biology with emphasis origin of cancer, growth signals, blood vessel growth, and metastases. The different theories of cancer causation are compared, including the new theory of the parasitic cause of cancer. 3 credits Fundamentals of Stem Cell Biology – The course covers fundamental properties of human stem cells, and their differentiation into specialized cell types. The course presents an overview of embryonic stem cells isolated from the developing mass of blastocytes, as well as adult stem cells and progenitor cells. Overview of bone marrow and umbilical cord blood sources, and creation and characterization of cloned cell lines. Self-renewal mechanisms, cell potency and potency definitions are also covered. 3 credits Commercial Sources Supporting Stem Cell Science: The practicalities of delivering stem cell therapy in the clinic setting are reviewed, with all emphasis on an examination and study of commercially available test kits, cell counting equipment, growth factors, tagging and culturing biologicals and equipment. The state of the practical applications of stem cell transplants is studied from the vantage point of commercial support. 3 credits
Human Embryology – Consideration of the development of a complete organism from a single fertilized zygote, with emphasis on human embryology and the development and identification of human stem cells. The course covers differentiation, types of early developmental cells, in vitro fertilization, the development of blast cells and germ layers, as well as the development of antigenic determinants as related to fetal stem cells. 3 credits Stem Cells (Embryonic) – The course looks at the isolation of human embryonic stem cells, cell culturing techniques, characteristics, development into the 3 primary germ layers, embryonic stem cell lines, difficulties of control, cell surface antigens and immunological considerations. 3 credits Research Methodology and Writing/ Select Thesis Topic: Using examples, this course will review the scientific method, the basic format of a research paper, the importance and use of controlled experiments, and scientific writing practice. In addition, potential thesis topics will be discussed and final thesis topic decided upon. 3 credits
Enzymology – The purpose of the course is to study enzymatic reactions, and components such as enzyme, substrate, cofactor, coenzyme, activators, and inhibitors. Also covered are reaction rates. Review of enzyme assays and enzyme purification techniques.
3 credits
Stem Cells (Adult and Fetal) – Tissue sources of human adult stem cells and fetal stem cells. Pluripotent vs multipotent cell types, and advantages in human treatment using multipotent stem cells. Comparison of autograft rejection to embryonic stem cell transplant. Characteristics of stem cell wall antigenic determinants. The development of antigenic determinants in umbilical cord blood and fetal tissue. Amniotic stem cells. A review of techniques for inducing pluripotent stem cells, and significance of the procedure. 3 credits Dissertation
Preparation I
.
3 credits

Term 2

Term 2

Term 2

Virology – Although the course touches upon bacteriophage and plant viruses, emphasis is on animal virology. Viral structure and replication, viral recombination, virus-host interactions, antriviral drugs, vaccines, relation to immunology, and other similar topics are covered.
3 credits
Stem Cell Laboratory Protocols – The course covers techniques for isolating, collecting, and culturing human stem cells. The goal of the course is to introduce the student to laboratory procedures and particularly the media used for growing stem cells, particularly culturing embryonic stem cells in vitro. Videos will be used to illustrate various laboratory techniques. 3 credits Dissertation
Preparation II.
3 credits
Molecular Biology – Course covers the synthesis, structure and function of proteins and nucleic acids, and fatty acids in various systems such as viruses, bacteria, and animal cells. Structure and function of mitochondrial DNA.
3 credits
Human Regenerative Biology – This course focuses on various methodologies relating to the repair and replacement of bodily tissues and organs. The two terms “regenerative biology” and “tissue engineering” are closely intertwined and are sometimes used interchangeably. Regenerative biology leans more toward techniques of using the bodies own repair mechanisms, such as stem cells, or hormones, to regenerate lost capability; tissue engineering relates more to creating artificial replacements for tissues and organs through the combination of biological processes with artificial bio- friendly materials. Since most of our program deals with stem cells in regenerative medicine, we will use this course to illustrate other aspects of regenerative biology and tissue engineering as well. 3 credits
Blood – Components, Separation, Labeling, and Cell Culture-Because of the importance of blood to the study and use of adult hematopoietic stem cells and mesenchymal stem cells in therapy, this course focuses on the component cells found in blood, isolation and separation of stem cells, cell labeling, and the cell culture of stem cells found in the blood.
3 credits
History of Medicine – The course is intended to review the history of past medical advances as compared to the new field of stem cell treatments for disease. The “new medicine” that is human autologous stem cell treatment is placed in context to prior advances. The history of the international development of autologous adult stem cell treatments which have occurred at a rapid pace is contrasted to the failure of the USA to embrace and adopt this new treatment modality. A pattern of suppression of non- prescription medicine cures will be investigated. 3 credits

Term 3

Term 3

Term 3

Physiology and Human Anatomy – The study of the human body and its parts. Structure and functions of organs and tissues, nerve and muscle feedback mechanisms, biological defense mechanisms, bone marrow and other sources of autologous stem cells. 3 credits Disease Treatment with Autologous Stem Cells – The course covers international treatments available using autologous stem cells (collected from the patient). The primary international treatment centers are reviewed. The mechanism of action is studied. The purpose of the course is to bring to light the many curative techniques being used internationally, such as the repair of severed spinal cord using neural stem cells isolated from the patients nose. It is hoped that the student can gain insight to the fact that these current international treatments are no longer “hypothetical”, and hopefully will inspire the students to generate their own ideas for future work in their careers. 3 credits Dissertation Completion and Presentation. The student, with the guidance of the Faculty, will prepare an independent work suitable for publication. Additional information concerning the dissertation can be found at our web site by clicking on “Dissertation” which appears on the pulldown menu at “Academic Program”. Clicking Here will take you to that link. 6 credits
Immunology – The physical, chemical, and physiological characteristics of the human immune system, in vitro, in situ, and in vivo. Humoral and cellular immune response, autoimmune disease, hypersensitivities, immune difficiency, and transplant rejection. Also covered is the immunology of fetal stem cells and fetal cell transplantation, the immunology aspects of autologous stem cell transplantation and embryonic stem cell transplantation. 3 credits Fetal and Embryonic Stem Cell Treatment – A review of the techniques of using stem cells derived from human fetal tissue, and what diseases can be particularly controlled or cured. The course also includes a review of the current status of human embryonic stem cell treatments, why the international medical community has abandoned its interest in using embryonic stem cells, and also covering the two major drawbacks to embryonic stem cell therapy: Tendency toward proliferation (differentiation), making stem cells almost impossible to control once injected into another body, resulting in a differentiated cell ball of many types referred to as a teratoma; and the problem of cell rejection due to having “foreign” cell membrane antigenic determinants requiring a patient to take immune suppressing drugs. 3 credits
Hormonal Rejuvenation – Review and discussion of the hypothesis that aging is a disease. Characteristics and role of hormones in regulating human bodily function, with emphasis on hormone replacement therapy and bio-identical hormones. The relationship between hormones and stem cell production and maturation is also explored. 3 credits Growth Media, Cell Tagging, Cell Separation – This course is directed toward an understanding of laboratory equipment and techniques used for “expanding” autologous stem cells collected from a patient. Emphasis is placed on Growth Factors, as well as the new techniques using autologous serum and plasma components. Current expansion procedures will be reviewed, and a consideration of theoretical new equipment that could be adapted or designed to make expansion more affordable will be offered. 3 credits

 

Note Concerning Undergraduate Degree and “Seat Time”:

As we have stated before, we drop “seat time” from each and every one of our programs. All of our students must demonstrate “Proficiency” with regard to the subject matter of their studies. Consequently, our programs are shorter.

“Seat time”, which is the foundation of “accreditation” in the USA, is the old fashioned, outdated requirement that a student spend a required amount of time and/or take required general studies courses in order to receive a Bachelors Degree. Even the USA Department of Education in its “National Education Technology Plan 2010” has recognized that “seat time” has got to go. At Page 12 of the report: “One of the most basic assumptions in our education system [accreditation] is time-based or “seat-time” measures of educational attainment…. [colleges and universities should be organized] around competence rather than seat time and others that enable more flexible scheduling that fits studentsʼ individual needs rather than traditional academic periods and lockstep curriculum pacing.”

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The program concludes with the completion of the Dissertation (Click on Dissertation section of Academic Program in above navigation bar).

New Lab Based Research Option Available

The Panama College of Cell Science now offers an exciting laboratory-based option to students who prefer to complete a dissertation based on actual stem cell research. Up to now, our graduate students have done elegant “reviews” to meet their dissertation requirement. These review papers have been published in peer reviewed journals as well as through other outlets such as Amazon. In a “review”, the student selects a very current topic within the stem cell field and proceeds to summarize the most prominent and latest articles, not only establishing the current consensus but more importantly describing where that aspect of the field is now and synthesizing where it is likely to be proceeding. New hypotheses and ideas for future experiments are presented. The purpose of the dissertation—to demonstrate a command of stem cell science and ability to think independently—is thus accomplished.

Review papers are still of course permitted, but now, through the generosity of US Stem Cell Inc., one of the premier regenerative medicine companies in the US, a lab based research option is available, that would allow some graduate students to perform actual stem cell research in connection with their dissertation requirement. Lab based research is not required, however. You can read more about this program in our announcement: Lab Based Dissertation Option 

In addition, students are encouraged to seek out training sessions, and various stem cell lab projects which occur from time to time in their home countries. Such hands-on lab training is certainly beneficial, and if completed during the student’s study with the College, is added to the official academic record of the student. Lastly, although we have no laboratory, we do train students in laboratory procedures.Here is a Sample Assignment Concerning Growth Media of one of our students discussing the procedures and equipment for expanding adult stem cells ex vivo. We are confident that our graduates can be comfortable and capable of discussing stem cell issues in any environment.