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The educational objectives of the Department of Cell Biology are to provide students with the basics they will need to become excellent physicians in general or specialty practice, research or academic medicine. The College of Medicine is in the process of modifying, sequentially, all four years of its medical school curriculum. The Department of Cell Biology, which oversees the disciplines of Embryology, Gross Anatomy, Histology and Cell Biology, and Neuroanatomy, is the major contributor to the first year curriculum. The new first year curriculum, which was implemented in the fall of 1998, uses a multidisciplinary systems-based approach to teach the normal structure and function of the body. The first year is organized into blocks based on organ systems. Each block incorporates various teaching modalities, including lectures, and many small group learning experiences which include case-based learning sessions, laboratories and conferences. The Department of Cell Biology plays a major role in each block. Listed below is a brief outline of each block.

GENES TO CELLS

This is an introductory block and covers basic aspects of biochemistry, cell and molecular biology and molecular and human genetics.

SKIN AND CONNECTIVE TISSUE

This block teaches the structure and function of epithelium and connective tissue and uses it as the basis for a discussion of skin. Students begin using their microscopes in the accompanying histology laboratories.

MUSCULOSKELETAL SYSTEM

During this block, students begin gross anatomy and learn about the structure, function and interrelationship of muscles, nerves, bones and joints.

BLOOD / HEMATOPOIESIS / LYMPHOID AND HEAD / NECK

In this block students learn the basic elements of blood, blood cell development and the mechanism of clotting and gas exchange. They study the structure and function of the immune system. The gross anatomy of the head and neck are learned at this time so the student has the necessary anatomical knowledge needed in subsequent blocks (e.g. cardiovascular and respiratory).

CARDIOVASCULAR SYSTEM

This block presents an integrated view of the anatomy, embryology, histology, cell biology and physiology of the cardiovascular system. The genetic basis of some cardiovascular diseases and the use of gene therapy are discussed.

RESPIRATORY SYSTEM

In this block the anatomy, embryology, histology, cell biology and physiology are again integrated to teach the normal structure and function of the airways and lungs. The regulation of breathing, and exchange of gases at the periphery and in the lungs are discussed.

GASTROINTESTINAL SYSTEM, ABDOMEN AND PELVIS / INTERMEDIARY METABOLISM

This block has two components. The Department of Cell Biology plays a role in the first section teaching the gross anatomy, histology, and cell biology of the gastrointestinal tract and the gross anatomy of the abdominal and pelvic organs.

URINARY SYSTEM

Through a variety of teaching modalities this block teaches the normal structure and function of the kidney, ureters, bladder and urethra.

ENDOCRINE AND REPRODUCTIVE SYSTEMS

In this block students learn the anatomy, histology, cell biology, physiology and biochemistry of the endocrine and reproductive organs through lectures, conferences and small group case-based learning sessions.

NEUROSCIENCE

This block focuses on the anatomy and physiology of the central nervous system, including organizational principles, major systems and brain-behavior relationships.