Bioscience of Health and Disease

Programs of Study - Bioscience of Health and Disease

The Bioscience of Health Disease Research Group offers a comprehensive thesis based graduate program leading to the M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees. The group is made up of 10 core scientists from the Division of BioMedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine.

The research interests of the members are in the Molecular and Cellular Biology of health and diseases and offer graduate students the opportunity to gain strong research skills and experience. Fundamental cell and molecular biological questions are addressed, with investigative approaches focusing on cancer biology and genomics, cellular growth and differentiation mechanisms, developmental biology, skeletal biology and mineral metabolism, stem cell biology, visual science and, biomedical imaging and spectroscopy. Colleagues from the Division of Community Health, clinicians, clinician scientists, and our forensic scientist bring a great deal of experience and interest in, oncology, clinical trials, forensic anthropology, endocrinology and imaging diagnosis and participate in courses offered by the Bioscience of Health and Disease research group.

Training new scientists in these highly specialized fields is an extremely important part of our work. One of our initiatives is an endowment fund targeted solely to funding trainee awards.

Please consider donating to the “Bioscience of Health and Disease Graduate Training Program Endowment Fund” to support our next generation of scientists studying health and disease here.
(Under designation, choose “other” then enter “Bioscience of Health and Disease Graduate Training Program Endowment Fund” in the dropdown box).

Admission requirements
Candidates must first identify and be accepted by a faculty supervisor in order to commence the Bioscience of Health and Disease program. Candidates admitted to the M.Sc. program must have, at least, a bachelor of Science degree with a second class standing. Students entering the Ph.D. program must have completed M.Sc. program equivalent requirements. Applicants are reminded that any applicant files for which there is no commitment from a supervisor or incomplete files will be closed by the Office of Research and Graduate Studies after one year. A supervisory committee will be chosen in consultation with the supervisor. For each student, the supervisory committee meets on an annual basis to guide research and academic progress. The specific topic for research is selected by the student and the supervisor in consultation with the supervisory committee. All students are required to attend, for credit, and participate in the Bioscience of Health and Disease Research Seminars (Medicine courses 6400-6403 or 6410-6413) for a minimum of four semesters. One other graduate course selected from the list below is required for M.Sc. students and recommended for Ph.D. students. These are minimum requirements; other courses may also be required in individual cases.

Ph.D. program students are expected take the comprehensive examination before the end of the seventh semester according to the General Regulations governing graduate studies at Memorial. The comprehensive exam will consist of a written and an oral component. The specific areas to be examined will be chosen by an examination committee in consultation with the student's supervisor.

All the courses listed below have as a prerequisite, successful completion of a B.Sc.

Medicine 6400, 6401, 6402, 6403 -- Bioscience of Health and Disease Seminars for M.Sc. Students
Medicine 6410, 6411, 6412, 6413 -- Bioscience of Health and Disease for Ph.D. Students
The Bioscience of Health and Disease Research Group holds a weekly seminar series (corresponding to Medicine 6400-6403 or 6410-6413 courses) during both fall and winter semesters. These sessions are devoted to, but not limited to, special topic presentation of current literature related to the molecular and cellular biology of health and diseases, or ongoing research and technical workshops. Both faculty and graduate students will lead a discussion on issues of importance to any aspect of bioscience of health and disease research, and offer student both exposure to a broad selection of research-related issues, and experience in oral presentations. Registration and participation in this course for four (4) semesters (i.e. students must register in four semesters in any order) is required of all students.

Medicine 6578 and 6579 -- Human Gross Anatomy I & II (New courses soon to be offered)
These courses provide advanced graduate students with in-depth anatomical training and teaching preparation for future instruction in the anatomical sciences. The content is divided into two sequential courses – Human Gross Anatomy I (Fall) and Human Gross Anatomy II (Winter & Spring), with two primary components comprising the courses: lectures and hands-on laboratories. The laboratories provide students with the best opportunity to have practical experience with the anatomy by using prosected cadavers, wet and plastinated specimens, bones, diagrams, virtual resources (e.g., Anatomage table), and models to understand the physical arrangement of the structures discussed in lecture. Objectives include 1) gaining knowledge of human anatomical structures, their location in the body, and their spatial/functional relationships, 2) developing an appreciation for variation in anatomical structures among humans, 3) learning the fine dissection skills necessary to identify, isolate, and preserve the delicate structures encountered throughout the course, 4) learning how to integrate this anatomical knowledge with clinical and research applications, and 5) gaining experience preparing anatomy-related teaching materials including lectures and cadaver presentations.

Medicine 6580 -- Molecular Biology of Cancer
This a hybrid learner course taught by both basic science and clinical Faculty. Learners include Discipline of Oncology postgraduate trainees, Medicine graduate trainees or trainees in other graduate programs. Subjects covered but not necessarily limited to are: The etiology and biology of cancer including DNA structure and stability (mutations and cytogenetic aberrations versus repair), regulation of cell cycle progression and cell growth through gene expression (growth factor signaling pathways/oncogenes, tumor suppressors and cell death), role of stem cells and differentiation in cancer, metastasis, immunological aspects and cellular markers of cancer; cancer treatments as well as cancer clinical trial design.

Medicine 6590 -- Imaging and spectroscopy for biomedical science
This course is intended for those who require grounding in non-invasive measurement using electromagnetic (e.g. x-ray, NMR/MRI, gamma) and acoustic (US) radiation. The course will explore the principles of acquiring data and some of the features and limitations of the data.

Medicine 6591 -- Current Approaches to Biomedical Research (cross-listed as, Biology 6591) The purpose of this course is to explore current methods used in molecular medicine and to apply this information through presentations and assignments.  A team of instructors will lead students through the basics of informatics, imaging, gene expression and protein analysis, sequencing technologies, cellular and animal models for disease modeling, cellular signaling and genome editing techniques.

Visiting Speaker Series
Bioscience of Health and Disease Research Speaker Program -- Throughout the year, our research group invites world class researchers from Canada and elsewhere to present their work in order to promote scientific exchange and to inform students and faculty of ongoing work in other institutions. This forum may, from time to time, be included in the yearly BioMedicine Symposium held by the BioMedical Sciences Division of the Faculty of Medicine.

Baseline University Fellowships -- University fellowships are awarded on a competitive basis to outstanding full-time students by the School of Graduate Studies upon the recommendation of the Faculty of Medicine. Currently, M.Sc. fellowships are valued at $9,000 and Ph.D. fellowships are valued at $11,000 per annum. These fellowships are supplemented by the supervisor funds for a total minimum stipend of $14,500 for M.Sc. students and $17,500 for Ph.D. students.

Faculty of Medicine Awards

Internal and External Graduate Studies Awards

Current Program Awards
Mary Pater and Mary O’Neill Awards for excellence in Bioscience of Health and Disease Research -- Awarded to the graduate students enrolled in our program who gives the best presentations during our annual research forum. The presenters are judged both on their research results and quality of their presentation.

Teaching Assistantship

Graduate students can gain teaching experience by applying for remunerated positions of teaching assistant for the Anatomy and Vision laboratories part of the undergraduate medical education programs.

Program contact
Inquiries concerning the Bioscience of Health and Disease Program may be directed to:
Barbara Hynes, Academic Program Assistant
Phone: (709) 864-4963; Email:
Fax (709) 864-6007

Participating Faculty

  • Andronowski, JM., Ph.D.: Bone adaptation, quality, and fragility; High-resolution 3D bone imaging (e.g., µCT, SRµCT); Forensic anthropological applications of bone histology.
  • Belbin, Thomas, Ph.D.: Apoptosis and Cancer, Bioinformatics, Cancer Diagnosis and Detection, Cell Signaling and Cancer, Genomics, Head and Neck Cancer.
  • Church, J., Ph.D.: Mechanisms of EGF-medicated signal transduction; EGF-mediated growth inhibition; Breast cancer and communications research.
  • Dore, Jules, Ph.D: Regulation of Cell Growth.
  • Dorward, Ann M., Ph.D.: Mouse models of reproductive disorders and cancer; genetic and epigenetic regulation.
  • Esseltine, JL., Ph.D.: Cell-cell communication in human stem cells; modelling NL genetic diseases using stem cells.
  • Gendron, Robert, Ph.D.: Research on health and disease using the vertebrate eye as a model system.
  • Kendall, Edward, Ph.D.: Biomedical imaging and spectroscopy.
  • Kao, Kenneth R ., Ph.D.: Effect of sex hormone modulation on the initiation of prostate cancer.
  • Kovacs, Christopher, M.D.: Regulation of mineral and bone metabolism during pregnancy, lactation, and fetal development.
  • Leitges, Michael, Ph.D.: Protein kinase C and D signalling during tumorigenesis and beyond.
  • Paradis, H., Ph.D.: Ocular Health and Aging.