CB 399: Cancer and Stem Cells Fall 2014

Cancer and Stem Cells

Nanocourse Faculty: Fernando Camargo PhD, Carla Kim PhD, and David Langenau PhD
Curriculum Fellows: Abha Ahuja PhD (Abha_Ahuja@hms.harvard.edu) and Megan Mittelstadt PhD (megan_mittelstadt@hms.harvard.edu)

Course Description: An active area of research in Cancer Biology is to determine the cellular origins of tumors and to understand the functional impact of tumor cell heterogeneity, especially as these concepts may pertain to tumor progression, metastasis, and therapy response and resistance.  Cancer stem cells are defined by their unique ability to propagate the tumor; these tumor-propagating cells have stem cell-like features including self-renewal.  The similarities and differences between normal tissue-specific stem cells and cancer stem cells are under active investigation. This course aims to cover the fundamentals and current controversies surrounding cancer stem cells.  We will address the concepts of cancer stem cell biology, cells of origin of malignancy, and tumor cell evolution, as well as different models to study the concept of tumor cell heterogeneity.

Schedule: (First session is open to public, second is for registered students only)

First Session: Monday, December 8th, 2014 11 AM – 2 PM
Location: New Research Building, Room 350

Day 1 Lecture Schedule:

11am: Carla Kim (Historical/Background, cell of origin question, melanoma controversy)

12pm: Dave Langenau (Clonal heterogeneity, plasticity, and clonal evolution)

1pm: Fernando Camargo (Intersection of stem cell biology and cancer – a focus on the reutilization of pathways and cellular mechanisms in various cancers)

 Second Session: Friday, December 12th, 2014 1 – 4 PM

Location: TMEC 447

Assignment for Day 2: Enrolled students will be asked to prepare three questions related to the material presented. These questions can be based on what you heard in the lectures on Day 1 or from your readings, and should be thoughtful and aimed at stimulating and insightful discussion. You may also choose to prepare an experimental design question for how you might approach answering a current research question in the field. Please submit questions via email to Abha_Ahuja@hms.harvard.edu by 1pm on Thursday 12/11. On Friday 12/12 (Day 2 of this nanocourse), you should come prepared to discuss your questions first in small groups led by one faculty member, then as a class. 

DROP DEADLINE: Monday, December 1, 2014