Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization (CMMS)

CMMS Curriculum

CMMS students will establish competencies in the required subjects by taking core courses or receiving credit by examination for the required courses. Core courses provide a common base of knowledge in biomolecular structures and functions and state-of-the-art analytical techniques. Additional required and elective course work and research training of each student are monitored by the student's Dissertation Committee and the CMMS coordinating committee according to the guidelines, requirements, rules and regulations of the home doctoral program, the CMMS, and the CSU Graduate College.

Core and elective courses are designed to satisfy CMMS requirements as well as some home program requirements. Ultimately, the student demonstration of the required competencies is determined by the Dissertation Committee based on the student’s performance in courses, formal exams, and informal discussions. The Dissertation Committee and the rules of the home program also govern transfer of credits from other universities towards satisfying CMMS requirements.

Students will be required to demonstrate competencies in the following graduate level subjects:

BIO and CHM students: Bioethics, Graduate Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics, Cell Biology or Physiology or Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics (prior to Spring 07, these requirements also applied to BME)

BME students: Bioethics, Tissue Engineering, two of the following: Physiology, Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Genetics

Example curriculum for biology and chemistry students who elect the Specialization


Graduate Biochemistry, 3 credits

Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics, 3 credits or Cell Biology, 3 credits Research rotations, 6 credits * or Physiology (now Spring), 3 credits Required courses in doctoral program, 3-6 credits

Cellular and Molecular Medicine Seminar**


Molecular Biology and Genetics, 3 credits

Required courses in doctoral program, 3 credits

Research rotations, 6 credits *


Cellular and Molecular Medicine Seminar**​​​​​​​

* required or optional according to rules of the home program
** as recommended by advisor(s)

For subsequent years, elective courses will be selected based on both the student’s interest and the advisor’s recommendation.

Proposed core courses for satisfying required competencies in Cellular and Molecular Medicine Specialization:
(Courses are presently being offered in the three doctoral programs or will be designed as team-taught courses)

  1. Graduate Biochemistry; (BIO 504/704 or CHM 653/753) It provides the introduction for an understanding of macromolecular structure, physical properties and function of proteins and nucleic acids. Pre-requisites: as listed for the courses or by permission of instructor.
  2. Molecular Biology and Genetics; (BIO 610/810) Structure and function of nucleic acids.  Replication, modification, and recombination of DNA. Transcription, translation and regulation of transcription and translation,  Pre-requisites: BIO 504/704 or equivalent.
  3. Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics; (CHM 661/761) Basics and application of analytical techniques to the study of macromolecular structure and dynamics, including protein and RNA folding, protein and nucleic acid structure and function. Spectroscopic examination of biomolecules including the use of optical techniques, NMR methods, FTIR, EPR, mass spectrometry and X-ray methods. Separation techniques including gel electrophoresis, HPLC, and CE. Pre-requisites: undergraduate organic chemistry and physical or analytical chemistry, or permission of the instructor.
  4. Cell Biology; (BIO 604/804) Examination of basic cellular processes including structure and function of organelles and biomembranes, intracellular transport, cell motility and shape, and cellular signaling events as they relate to proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and the integration of cells into tissues. Heavy reliance on the experimental basis for the understanding of these phenomena, with extensive use of the primary literature.
  5. Physiology;. (e.g., BIO 624/824 Fundamentals of Biomedical Physiology)
  6. Bioethics; (PHL 529), or (PHL 540) Moral reasoning and Bioethics, or (PHL 541) Clinical issues in Bioethics, or (PHL 543) Bioethics & the Law.
  7. Special topics in Molecular Medicine;1,2 or 3 credits, as determined by the host department hosting the course; course numbers will be treated in each department as appropriate.

A sequence of seminars will be designated Cellular and Molecular Medicine Seminars for each semester. These seminars will be selected from seminars offered by the home departments and by CC.  Attendance at these seminars will be based on recommendation of the student’s advisor(s).

Additional electives/special topic courses or workshops to be taken as recommended by advisor: (These electives can be courses already offered at CSU or courses to be created and one-time, special topics courses; they may be team-taught or taught by CSU/CC faculty; 1 semester, 1-3 credits. Course numbers will be created in the different home departments as appropriate)

Topics for future courses or special topics offerings include:    

  • Biostatistics/Epidemiology
  • Biological Applications of NMR/ Mass Spectrometry/EPR
  • Macromolecular Crystallography
  • Gene Chip Technology/ Proteomics
  • Computational Methods in Biomedical Research/BioInformatics
  • Molecular Imaging/ Chemical Imaging Techniques
  • Separation Techniques: CE, HPLC, 2 dimensional gel separation

Existing courses include:

  • Pharmacology (e.g., BIO 606/806)
  • Clinical Chemistry (e.g., CHM 651/751, 652/752)
  • X-ray Crystallography (e.g., CHM 618/718)
  • Advanced Mass Spectrometry (e.g., CHM 615/715)
  • Tissue Engineering (e.g., CHE 753)
  • Biomechanical Engineering (e.g., CHE 755)
  • Biomaterials (e.g., CHE 755)
  • Medical Device Design (e.g., CHE 757)

Additional courses are listed in the Graduate Bulletin under each doctoral program.