Medical Education

MBMG faculty members participate in two NJMS basic science courses. The Molecular & Genetic Medicine course is a first-year course, and the interdepartmental Infection and Host Response course is a second-year course taught jointly with the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Molecular & Genetic Medicine


This course was developed as part of the Jubilee Curriculum and first given in the fall of 2004, covers topics previously taught in the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and Human Genetics courses. The course integrates basic science with clinical medicine. Course faculty are drawn primarily from the Departments of Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics, with participation of the Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, Pathology and Surgery.


The goal of the course is to lay a foundation for a molecular understanding of normal and disease processes. The MGM course is designed to

  • give an understanding of normal cell and body functions, and of their perturbations in disease,
  • introduce the basic principles of biochemistry, molecular biology and genetics that underlie other basic and clinical disciplines, and
  • build a framework for appreciating biomedical advances that will inevitably have a profound impact on the practice of medicine in the future.

Molecular biology brings together biochemistry with genetics and is a cornerstone of all biology and medicine. Biochemistry has long influenced medicine (and vice versa), and advances in human genome research are bringing genetics into clinical practice at an accelerating pace. Cells and organisms develop and function under the direction of the genetic information encoded in their chromosomes and in response to environmental stimuli. Genes are expressed through biochemical pathways, and many of the stimuli are themselves biochemical. Developmental processes and homeostatic responses are implemented through biochemistry. Accordingly, the following topics are covered in the Molecular & Genetic Medicine course:

  • the major types of molecules and biochemical reactions that occur in living organisms
  • the flow of genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein
  • human genetics, chromosome structure and abnormalities
  • major metabolic pathways for the synthesis, storage, and breakdown of biological molecules
  • energy generation and nutrition
  • regulatory and homeostatic processes
  • the molecular basis of physiological, pathological, and pharmacological phenomena
  • the principles of genetic and laboratory techniques that are in current use and may guide future diagnostic and therapeutic procedures

M. Zafri Humayun, Ph.D.Course Director
M. Zafri Humayun, PhD
Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics
MSB E609
Telephone: 973-972-4411

Krista Blackwell, PhD
Krista Blackwell, PhD
Department of Department of Pharmacology & Physiology and Neuroscience
MSB H655
Telephone: 973-972-2863


Infection and Host Response

The Departments of Microbiology, Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics and Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine believe that NJMS medical students should become self-learners. As tomorrow's physicians, medical students must be capable of adding to their knowledge through a continuing process of self-education. Based on this premise, the teaching objectives are:

  • To present the basic facts, principles and concepts of contemporary microbiology, infectious diseases, immunology, immunopathology, and inflammation and provide a solid foundation for the continuous acquisition of new information and the intelligent practice of medicine.
  • To present a framework upon which students may build a comprehensive understanding of disease processes. Most disease states, especially those involving infectious agents, have an immunologic component as well as an inflammatory component and many of the new therapies involve treatments which influence the immune system. The advent of modern molecular techniques currently being applied to the analysis of microbial genomes has permitted a greater understanding and appreciation of mechanisms of microbial pathogenesis.
  • To heighten the student's awareness of the central importance of microbiological and immunological processes in disease states and to stimulate some students to pursue research careers in basic or clinical immunology and microbiology.
  • To foster the development of an inquiring, analytical and critical attitude, encouraging the student toward intellectual maturity and independence.

The Infection and Host Response course includes lectures, laboratory exercises, and case discussions. Laboratories emphasize the properties of infectious agents and provide a setting for informal discussion with the faculty. The small group discussions relate microbiological and immunological science to clinical cases. The first part of the course deals with bacterial morphology, normal flora, immunology, immunopathology and inflammation. The second part concerns genetic characteristics of prokaryotic organisms, the chemical basis of disinfection, chemotherapy and pathogen control, and infectious bacterial agents, the diseases they cause and the host's immune response to these infections. The third segment is devoted to the microbiology of eukaryotic pathogens (fungi, protozoa, parasitic worms, and viruses), the infections they cause and the host's immune response.