Master in Biopharmaceutical Sciences

Oncobiology and Stem Cell Biology



Learning outcomes

The development of novel therapeutic strategies is highly influenced by the basic and translational knowledge of oncobiology and development biology. This curricular unit will provide students with adequate training required to understand the mechanisms of origin of different cell and tissue types during development, as well as the processes that cause and regulate tumor development, progression and impact on response to therapeutics. At the end of the curricular unit, the student should understand modern concepts and basic definitions in oncobiology and development biology, apply experimental methodologies to study these processes, and be familiarized with recent research in the area, from maintenance and differentiation of stem cells to regulation by small non-coding RNA molecules in cancer and development.


Cell proliferation and death, cell specification and determination, and cell migration, are key mechanisms underlying cancer development, progression and therapy response. Convergence of information from Genomics, Proteomics, RNAomics and Bioinformatics, together with translational state of the art research, are shedding light into how tumor cells overcome regulatory pathways, or how stem cells may be used therapeutically. Based on active research in these areas, this UC will cover functional aspects of oncogenes, tumor suppressors, apoptotic genes, microRNAs and other relevant players, their expression and function in cancer, and their modulation as therapeutic approaches.  In parallel, the molecular mechanisms that regulate development will also be studied, from pathways by which different cell types and tissues arise during development, to how its misregulation may lead to human diseases. Finally, attention will be given to emerging areas of drug development and systems biology.


Practical classes will allow the student to critically discuss and provide solutions to theoretical and experimental problems related to the course topics, in seminar format, to better frame acquired knowledge on its diverse applications.


The laboratory work component comprises laboratorial classes to perform experiments and techniques within the syllabus frame, including live cell-based assays, microscopy and state of the art biochemistry and molecular biology techniques, including xCELLigence and Real-time RT-PCR.