Course review: Frontiers in Translational Medicine (part 1)

Hello! We have just finished our exams for the first part of Frontiers in Translational Medicine (FTM) and I thought it is the perfect time for a course review. This is the second course of the Master’s program in Biomedicine and takes up almost the entire first semester; time-wise (14 weeks) and credit-wise (22 hp).

After a month of Applied communication in Biomedicine, I was waiting to listen to scientific lectures and the course also began with my favorite subject (Immunology). Needless to say, I was very excited about it. The schedule was quiet hectic with full day classes almost every weekday. There was breaks in between to prepare for Journal club and exams.

We began with the introduction to techniques in biomedicine (1 week). We later moved on to Infectious Medicine and then to Cardiovascular Medicine (2 weeks each). Although there was a very brief mention of the basics, the syllabus mostly covered the recent advances in the field. Each topic was taught by researchers at KI and most of them also included findings of their own laboratories which I thought was extremely interesting. They are also eminent in the field so don’t be surprised if you find your idol, whose articles you have been reading, shows up to teach you 🙂

In the Infectious medicine section, we learnt about the role of various immune cells in diseases and about potential therapeutic targets. There was emphasis on the challenges involved in the treatment of infectious diseases and vaccination design. During the cardio vascular weeks, there was a huge focus on different aspects of atherosclerosis.

If you read the course outline, it says “Inflammation is a common theme”. To break it down, it means, even though the topic says cardio vascular diseases, it mostly focuses on diseases from the immune system’s perspective. So it is a good idea to brush up on your immunology basics beforehand. However, if you have not done lot of Immunology in your bachelor’s please don’t freak out. The initial lectures give us a brief understanding about the subject and you will also get referred to enough articles. Just going over the articles after classes will help strengthen your basics immensely. The KI library has access to almost every journal in the world and as a student you will get free access to it (all you need is your log-in ID and there are thousands of articles accessible from your computers!).

There are no prescribed text books for the entire course and I was apprehensive about it. Having been used to a different study methodology, I thought I would have some difficulties coping up with all the topics. However, the professors referred to the articles that they had used to prepare the presentations. So it was always possible to get hold of study material if we needed more information. We could even mail the professors if we had questions later on. I have done this on a few occasions and have always gotten a response.

Also, most of the presentations were made available to us beforehand. I did not think much of this initially, since I preferred the conventional way of writing down information in note books. When I later began using the slides and just typed in the relevant information next to each slide, not only was it convenient while studying, I also realized that I could remember better. So with some minor changes in my study techniques, I was able to cope up with the entirely new way of gaining information from lectures without the aid of text books.

The course evaluation is quiet simple. You must actively participate in the lab work and pass all the exams and journal clubs. So there is no performance pressure. Try to gain as much information about the topics as possible and read as many articles as you can. If you have been confused about which subject to specialize in, you will have a definite answer at the end of this course.

 

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