Course descriptions

EPI213: Epidemiology of Cancer

The aim of this course is to present an overview of the basic concepts and issues central to cancer epidemiology. We consider the descriptive epidemiology of cancer with a focus on patterns of cancer across the world. We discuss a range of risk factors for cancer, taking into account the underlying biology and pathology of disease. We present topics both with respect to key cancer exposures, including smoking, radiation, nutrition, and hormones, and also highlight selected malignancies.

EPI224: Cancer Prevention

The course will help students develop a framework for analyzing and designing cancer prevention interventions to reduce the burden of cancer. Approaches to cancer prevention will be reviewed with the principal emphasis on primary prevention. The lectures and readings will examine different theoretical and practical issues around effectiveness, feasibility, and sustainability of interventions, including theories of behavior change, population vs. high-risk approaches, risk perception and communication, and barriers to implementation. Through problem-based learning exercises, students will review the strategies for cancer prevention in the areas of tobacco control, physical activity and obesity, and screening and vaccines, in addition to other topics. We will emphasize the timing of prevention in the context of the natural history of disease etiology (e.g. breast cancer) and consider population-based approaches to prevention (e.g. skin cancer). Strategies for prevention on multiple levels will also be examined. Levels of intervention from action by health care providers (e.g., counseling and screening), regulatory policy, social structural changes, and individual behavior changes will be emphasized. Key components necessary for prevention policy will include an adequate knowledge base, social strategies, and political will. Students will have homework assignments to collect and summarize information based on case studies, which will be used to develop a cancer prevention intervention as a final project. Grades will be based on class participation, short homework assignments and a final project paper and presentation. View Syllabus

EPI240: Biomarkers in Cancer Epidemiology

The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of the issues pertinent to the collection, measurement, and statistical analysis of biomarker data. The course aims to address general principles within the context of relevant examples. Topics to be covered include study-design considerations, sample storage, sources of laboratory variability, assay evolution and use of pooled samples, among others. View Syllabus

EPI246: Applied Biomarkers in Cancer Epidemiology

The focus of this course is on application and interpretation of cancer studies using biomarkers. Topics include biomarkers of exposure, biomarkers related to metabolism/activation and other biological pathways, intermediate/surrogate endpoints, markers of early cancer detection and prognosis. Examples are discussed in each topic to demonstrate different issues in the interpretation of results. Class will be split into one lectures and one hour discussions of assigned readings. Having taken EPI240 is encouraged but not required.  View Syllabus

EPI249: Molecular Biology for Epidemiologists

Molecular Biology for Epidemiologists, taught by Dr. Immaculata De Vivo, offers an overview of fundamental molecular biology concepts and techniques commonly used in the laboratory and in epidemiological research. During the term, we will cover a broad range of topics including, but not limited to, the mechanisms and regulatory processes involved in different steps of the central dogma of molecular biology, how cellular mechanisms go awry and how these cells can be repaired, Mendelian and non-Mendelian genetics, meiosis, mitosis, and both novel and classical molecular biology tools. This course will be of most interest to those who have not taken a recent college-level course in molecular biology, or equivalent.

EPI257: Hot Topics in Cancer Epidemiology Seminar

This course is an advanced seminar in current cancer research. The goal of this course is to present an integrated view of current issues central to cancer epidemiology. We will build on knowledge gained in other courses and cover cancer sites not typically discussed in other courses. The course will take a global perspective on cancer epidemiology, and will emphasize the integration of knowledge from other courses. The course is intended for graduate students who have a research focus in, or a strong interest in cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention. Meetings are expected to be participatory discussions about the current status and future directions for research in the selected areas. Previous enrollment in EPI213 Cancer Epidemiology is recommended. View Syllabus.

EPI508: Pathology for Epidemiologists

This course provides student an introduction to pathology as a tool to understand the pathogenesis of disease, with a focus on pathology of cancer and pre-neoplastic conditions. Students will be exposed to the systems of classification of tumors and other processes through review of histology slides. In addition, they will be introduced to immunohistochemistry and other molecular pathology techniques used in epidemiology research.

ID214: Nutritional Epidemiology of Cancer

This course will examine several current nutrition and cancer research areas with a focus on critical evaluation of recent publications, discussion of methodologic issues, and mechanistic studies. The different components of putting together a research grant will also be discussed. View Syllabus 

EPI269: Epidemiologic Research in Obstetrics and Gynecology

This course will provide an overview of the current research in reproductive epidemiology. The course will cover epidemiologic research in the areas of contraception, infertility, pregnancy, menopause, and both benign and malignant gynecological conditions. Students will be introduced to methods used in reproductive epidemiology and learn how to critically evaluate results from epidemiologic studies in obstetrics and gynecology. An overview of the clinical and physiological underpinnings of particular topical areas will be provided.

EPI510: Global Cancer Epidemiology

This course provides students an introduction to the global epidemiology of cancer as a tool to understand the worldwide pattern of cancer, the main risk factors operating in different regions, and the main approaches for cancer prevention and control. Emphasis is given to cancer in low- and medium-resource countries, including cancers of the liver, esophagus, cervix, and stomach.

EPI507: Genetic Epidemiology

Introduces the basic principles and methods of genetic epidemiology. After a brief review of the history of genetic epidemiology, methods for the study of both high penetrance and low penetrance alleles, as well as other high throughput genomic data will be described and discussed. Methods of analysis of genome-wide association studies are a particular focus. Examples of the contribution of genetic analysis to major diseases will be reviewed.

SBS 201: Society and Health

Analyzes major social variables that affect population health: poverty, social class, gender, race, family, community, work, behavioral risks, and coping resources. Examines health consequences of social and economic policies, and the potential role of specific social interventions. Reviews empirical and theoretical literature on mechanisms and processes that mediate between social factors and their health effects, and discusses alternative models for advancing public health.

EH 205: Human Physiology

As an introduction to the principles governing function in the human body, this course is designed to provide a framework in physiology for future public health researchers and professionals who have not taken college level physiology courses. Emphasis is placed on the concept of homeostasis and on integrative aspects of physiology. Examples of pathophysiology and environmental physiology will highlight these processes.