Academics Curriculum

The Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences (MSBMS) Program at Mercer University School of Medicine is a two-year, research-based graduate program. Students will work closely with research mentors in the Division of Biomedical Sciences either on the Macon Campus or in the Department of Biomedical Sciences on the Savannah Campus. Seventy-five credit hours in biomedical sciences, including both classroom instruction and research comprise the MSBMS Program.

The MSBMS Program will prepare graduates for further postgraduate and professional studies in the biomedical sciences, employment in academic research and/or teaching, and research in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. Following successful completion of a research thesis, students will be awarded the degree of Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences with a concentration in one of the disciplines represented by the Basic Sciences faculty on the Macon and Savannah campuses.

Year 1

Fall Semester (15 credit hours)

  • BMS 610: Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics
  • BMS 622: Microbial Pathogenesis
  • BMS 612: Molecular Cell Biology

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

  • BMS 620: * Human Physiology
  • BMS 621: * Human Development
  • BMS 611: * Human Immunity
  • BMS 626: * Biomolecular Engineering (Savannah only)
  • BMS 711: Research Seminar
  • BMS 625: Introduction to Research I

Summer Semester (12 credit hours)

  • BMS 630: Introduction to Research II
  • BMS 712: Research Seminar

*Students will choose one of these courses based on their particular research interests; MSBMS Program students completing their thesis research on the MUSM Savannah campus will take BMS 626.

Year 2

Fall Semester (16 credit hours)

  • BMS 710: Independent Research I
  • BMS 713: Research Seminar I

Spring Semester (16 credit hours)

  • BMS 720: Independent Research II
  • BMS 721: Thesis Preparation

Course Descriptions

BMS 610: Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in biochemistry and molecular genetics is for students to understand the chemical and biomolecular composition of the human body, the importance of buffering and solute concentrations in physiological function, the metabolic processes that provide energy to sustain tissue viability, the structure and dynamics of genetic material, the regulation of gene expression, and the principles of genetic inheritance. The learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and laboratory experiments that illustrate principles in biochemistry and genetics.

BMS 611: Human Immunity (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in the human immune system is for students to understand the development and organization of the human immune system, the genetic and molecular mechanisms of immunity, the role of inflammation in immunity, the initiation and detection of immune responses, and the use of vaccines to support human immunity. The learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and laboratory experiments that illustrate principles in immunology.

BMS 612: Molecular Cell Biology (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in molecular cellular biology is for students to understand the fundamental structure of human cells, the function of intracellular organelles, the dynamics of organelles in different cell types, the cellular interactions within tissues to support tissue function, and the biomolecular interactions required for cellular function. This learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom, discussion of medical cases and research literature, and laboratory experiments that illustrate principles in cellular and molecular biology.

BMS 620: Human Physiology (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in human physiology is for students to develop an understanding of the function of the human body, building upon their prior knowledge of human biology, physics, chemistry and mathematics. This course deals with body fluid compartments 86 and body systems organization and function, including the nervous, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary, digestive, and endocrine systems. Students will examine the concepts of homeostasis and regulatory mechanisms as they are applied in the various body functions. The learning goal will be achieved through a combination of interactive lectures, group discussions, problem-solving exercises, and medical case-based activities. (Prerequisites – BMS 610, 611, and 612)

BMS 621: Human Development (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in human development is for students to understand the process of human development, the determinants of embryonic development, the differentiation and organization of cells into functional tissues and organs, the maternal contribution to embryonic and fetal development, the environmental and physiological risks to human development, and the basic functional anatomy of the human body. This learning goal will be achieved by students through classroom discussion, interaction with animated programs depicting developmental processes, histological analysis of human tissues, and interaction with animated programs and with plastinated models of human anatomy. (Prerequisites – BMS 610 and 612)

BMS 622: Microbial Pathogenesis (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in microbial pathogenesis is for students to understand the structural and genetic differences between human cells, bacteria, fungi, parasites and viruses, the variations in structure among members of pathogenic species, the metabolic and genetic properties of microbes that facilitate their adaptation to different environments, the commensal relationship between humans and microbes, the mechanisms of microbial and viral pathogenesis, and the basic laboratory culture conditions and tests for human microbial pathogens. This learning goal will be achieved by students through problem solving in the classroom and discussion of medical cases and research literature that illustrate clinical application of microbiology principles. (Prerequisites – BMS 610, 611 and 612)

BMS 626: Biomolecular Engineering (5 credit hours)

The goal for the instruction in bimolecular engineering is for students to understand the principles and techniques resulting in directed biological alteration at the molecular and cellular scale. This course introduces students to bioengineering methodology spanning advanced recombinant DNA technology and delivery methodology, protein engineering leading to altered structure and function (proteomics), genetic and genomic editing (genomics), bioimaging, biosensing, chip technology, and cell-based assay systems. Students will examine bimolecular engineering concepts as they relate to medical and commercial applications in health care, biomedical, pharmaceutical, biomaterials, and other biotechnology related industries. This learning will be achieved by students through classroom and group discussion of relevant research literature and student presentations that illustrate concepts in biomolecular engineering. This course is offered only on the MUSM-Savannah Campus. (Prerequisites – BMS 610 and BMS612)

BMS 625: Introduction to Research I (10 credit hours)

Students will be introduced to their thesis research in this class, which will consist primarily of directed study by their individual research mentors as they begin to develop the individual competencies required for their discipline. The course will also include general introductions to topics such as bioinformatics and genomics.

BMS 630: Introduction to Research II (11 credit hours)

Prerequisite: BMS 625) Continuation of BMS 625. BMS 631. Scientific Analysis (1 credit hour) Students will be introduced to the scientific literature, data-handling and analysis (e.g., statistical evaluation of research data), and the responsible conduct of scientific research, including responsible authorship.

BMS 710: Independent Research I (15 credit hours)

Thesis research

BMS 711/BMS 712: Research Seminar (1 credit hour)

One of the most important skills for a scientist is public speaking. In this course, students will listen to presentations by faculty and invited speakers.  In addition, students will present their research to an audience consisting of BMS faculty and their fellow students. The objective of this course is to prepare students to be competent scientific communicators.

BMS 720: Independent Research II (15 credit hours)

Thesis research

BMS 721: Thesis Preparation (1 credit hour)