MSc in Medicine with a Specialization in Translational Medicine Courses

MED 602-608 are courses offered to graduate students, teaching the principles of Translational Medicine, i.e., the process that brings a molecular discovery to actual patients and populations.

  • MED 602 Translational Research Training Program, Module I (offered Fall 2025)
    • The course aim is to understand principles of preclinical research and models of human disease that promote translation to early phase clinical trials.
  • MED 604 Translational Research Training Program, Module II (offered Winter 2024)
    • The course aim is to understand the principles in the conduct of early-phase versus large clinical trials and the requirements for successful translation of preclinical research. Traditional and novel trial designs, endpoints, statistical challenges, regulatory and funding challenges, structure of translational teams and knowledge translation will be discussed.
  • MED 606 Translational Research Training Program, Module III (offered Fall 2024)
    • The course aim is to recognize the role of biomarkers in clinical research, including early phase trials and clinical care. Principals for the discovery of novel biomarkers at the preclinical and clinical level will be discussed.
  • MED 608 Translational Research Training Program, Module IV (offered Winter 2025)
    • The course aim is to discuss the principles of candidate drug targets in disease and drug design. The importance of drug target validation at the cellular level, at preclinical level, and in clinical studies will be discussed.


Our graduates will be able to:

  • identify and effectively navigate through the regulatory and quality control steps from bench to bedside, including emerging ethics issues in both animal and clinical research.
  • display skills and attitudes required for collaboration within multidisciplinary professional groups.
  • analyze and use modern statistical methods commonly used in both basic and clinical research.
  • determine the relative financial and social cost implications of new therapies from basic science to health policies and succeed in team grant writing as well as several forms of modern fundraising.
  • design basic science experiments with a specific therapy in mind and execute animal experiments in a manner that will optimize their translational potential to early phase human clinical trials.
  • conceive and design early-phase or outcomes clinical trials and studies in a manner that efficiently uses the knowledge obtained from animal studies and facilitate translation into clinical practice and policies.
  • master the general principles of molecular biology and genetics required to better design and execute health policies and select the most promising preclinical findings for advancement into the Personalized Medicine corridor.

Outline of a Typical Session


All students will have access to and will be expected to read one or two reviews provided on the topic that will allow them to understand the basis of the clinical case discussed. In addition, these reviews will often offer some overview (without details) of the research challenges and future directions in the field. The student presenting will be expected to search literature for support to the points he/she will present. Specific questions and tasks are given to the student for each session, as seen in the weekly sessions schedule. The student will also post the papers he/she finds most helpful in the program's CLOUD, so all students can review or have access to them during the session. Students will interact with each other and with the presenting faculty member before (and after) the session as needed.


Sessions will feature two speakers, each presenting for 15 minutes: one faculty member and one student.

  • The faculty member will summarize the essentials of the clinical case discussed. The focus is to provide a real-life clinical perspective, vs. teaching clinical medicine. He/She will answer the questions as outlined, according to their expertise and background. Overall the emphasis will be on the description of the basic or clinical research in their field and preparing the grounds for the discussion that would follow, in which solutions will be discussed.
  • The student will follow with a 15-minute presentation in response to the task that he/she has been given. The emphasis will not be on the collection of facts. Rather, the student will be expected to use creativity and apply common logic to respond to the tasks, which are based on skills learned in applied translational research. Often the tasks are based on hypothetical research platforms and questions and do not require previous knowledge of the field or extensive review of the subject. Broad concepts should be presented with an emphasis on research rationale, originality and creativity, rather than known facts.

Discussion and Post-Session

The main objective of the discussion is to synthesize the information presented and discuss an optimal pathway needed to optimize translation from preclinical to the clinical stage, focusing on a continuum of the molecule-animal-patient-populations-health services model. For example, how does preclinical research and clinical trial design need to be modified to promote translation, and what kind of teams need to be put in place to achieve this. A student will be assigned for each session and, after the discussion, will draft a 250-word executive summary of the discussion, post it on the CLOUD, and finalize it a week later. Eventually the program will have these executive summaries for all the diseases discussed with the potential for subsequent publication of the curriculum.


The following table summarizes how students will be evaluated for MED 602 - 608:

Class Participation Presentation Final Examination
30% 30% 40%

*Note: The final examination will be an in-class open book exam. It will focus on research concepts learned during the sessions, rather than on disease-specific details.

Presentation points will be based on the student's in-class presentation(s). Students are evaluated on organization of material into a clear and concise presentation, response to questions, and articulation of the major issues in the field.

Class participation will be based on demonstration of the student's insight into the issues facing researchers in the topic areas, including successes and challenges of performing research in that area: 

  • Successes refer to recent major discoveries which have significantly changed thinking about the disease/field.
  • Challenges refer to methodologic, administrative or ethical issues which must be overcome in order to advance translation of findings from animal to human research or to health policies.

All grades are reviewed by the Translational Medicine Steering Committee.

Course Materials

Graduate students will access all materials through eClass, including the recommended reading as shown in the weekly sessions schedule.

Challenge Evaluation

Graduate students must achieve a grade of at least a C+ (65-69%)

More about Evaluation Procedures and Grading System for graduate students can be found at Academic Regulations of the Office of the Registrar.

Policy about course outlines can be found in §23.4(2) of the University Calendar.

The University of Alberta is committed to the highest standards of academic integrity and honesty. Students are expected to be familiar with these standards regarding academic honesty and to uphold the policies of the University in this respect. Students are particularly urged to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Code of Student Behaviour (online at and avoid any behaviour which could potentially result in suspicions of cheating, plagiarism, misrepresentation of facts and/or participation in an offence. Academic dishonesty is a serious offence and can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.