Inside Cancer: How Genes Influence Cancer Development

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Course Date: 01 September 2014

Price: free

Course Summary

An ideal introduction for those interested in understanding how genetics influences the development and spread of cancer.


Estimated Workload: 3 hours pw

Course Instructors

Dr Momna Hejmadi

A member of University of Bath’s cancer research group, Dr Momna Hejmadi has also received awards for excellence in teaching and has carried out work in open education resources.

Profile Dr Momna Hejmadi

A member of University of Bath’s cancer research group, Dr Momna Hejmadi has also received awards for excellence in teaching and has carried out work in open education resources.

Course Description

As an ‘Inside cancer’ student, you will learn about the fundamental biological concepts that inform our current understanding of the molecular genetics of cancer development and its spread within the body. The course will be delivered by some of the University of Bath’s leading cancer researchers and clinical oncologists.

Cancer cells form part of complex tissues, containing different cell types, each with their own unique set of rules of behaviour. As a class, we will explore this unique genetic landscape of cancer cells. We will introduce the concept of DNA mutations and the emerging area of epigenetics and identify how they confer a selective advantage to cancer cells with unstable DNA, leading to uncontrolled cell division and tumour growth.

The course will give an overview of the main molecular genetic pathways that are disrupted in cancer cells, starting with the 3 ‘Ds’:

  • the complex cellular signals controlling cell Division (via oncogenes and tumour suppressor genes)
  • cell Death (apoptosis)
  • cell Differentiation (formation of specialised cell types).

We will also introduce the concept of cancer stem cells.

Other key cancer pathways of angiogenesis (stimulating new blood vessel growth) and metastasis (tumour spread) will also be covered. Finally, we will discuss how our understanding of these pathways has informed the design of new treatments for cancer and some of the emerging challenges in the future.

You can use the hashtag #FLgenesbath to join and contribute to Twitter conversations about this course.

If you’re interested in studying this subject area further, then the University of Bath offers a range of opportunities at all levels. Visit the websites for the Department of Biology and Biochemistry or the Department of Pharmacy and Pharmacology to find out more about the programmes available and the research that is being carried out.

This course will also give you the opportunity to purchase a Statement of Participation.

Course Workload

3 hours pw

Course Prerequisites

Those who successfully complete this course may be interested in continuing their studies with the University of Glasgow course “Cancer in the 21st century” that builds on this subject matter.

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