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Course Objectives

The principal objective of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the structural and functional organization of the human body at the cellular and subcellular levels.

The Cell Biology in Medicine course will deal in great detail with structure and function of cells and subcellular organelles. In this course we will study how groups of cells engaged in common functions associate to form organs with specialized functions. Such groups of cells are known as tissues, of which there are four basic types: epithelial, connective, muscular and nervous. The term "histology" comes from the Greek word meaning "the study of tissues".

The four basic tissues form associations in various ways to make all the organs of the body, which are in turn organized into systems. We will study organ systems in order to understand how the tissues are integrated, and in some cases modified, to perform specific coordinated functions.

The knowledge that you will derive from this course will extend what you have learned in Gross Anatomy. In addition, and very importantly, your study of cells, tissues and organs will correlate with information on their function that you receive in this and other courses. This course will also provide basic knowledge concerning the structure and function of normal cells, tissues and organs, which is a prerequisite for the study of their pathology.

Course Structure

1. Lectures

The topics studied in this course are generally addressed on two different levels. These are the tissue or organ in question in terms of its histological organization, and then the specific cellular and functional correlations often with some elements of clinical significance. In some instances cell biological, histological and clinical aspects of a given system are best suited for an integrated approach. In others, however, two lectures are presented; the first being introductory and given by members of our staff and the subsequent lecture utilizing the expertise of some of our clinical faculty at the New York University School of Medicine or faculty from other universities.

The invited speakers include the following faculty members of the New York University School of Medicine:
Richard Levin(Feb 10)     (Dept. of Medicine)
Guest lecturers from other institutions include:
Timothy Hoops(Mar 11)     (University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine)

Lectures are held in Schwartz Lecture Hall F.

2. Laboratory

Each Laboratory session is a 2-3 hour period during which you will examine and analyze the materials being studied that day using both microscope slides and electron micrographs of them.

To aid you in studying the histology slide set the Syllabus provides a list of slides to be examined for each tissue or organ system and a brief guide of "what to look for". Important terms are highlighted in bold text. New terms are listed in key words. In addition, a video microprojector and plasma display screen will sometimes be utilized by your instructors to point out how to locate specific features and to demonstrate slides with interesting features. The slides that may be demonstrated in this manner are indicated with an asterisk in the lab guide. The microprojector and plasma display screen may also be used to provide a focus for group discussion or student presentation of slides. Occasionally, special demonstration slides will be brought to the laboratory by your instructors.

To assist you in understanding the fine structure of cells and tissues, interactive computer modules consisting of light and electron micrographs for each topic are available on the Internet. They can be accessed from workstations in your laboratory section (Coles 201, 301-305) as well as on computer terminals throughout the medical school. While you will find the teaching staff very helpful, they will not allow you to become dependent on them for information easily available in the text, atlas and the syllabus which you should always bring to lab.

For laboratory study, the class will be divided into six sections. Your section assignment (l-6) is given elsewhere in this Syllabus (LA 1-2). Light microscopy will be done on the 2nd and 3rd floor labs of the Coles building. A microscope is essential for this course and you may either use your own or rent one from the school at a cost of $125.00 for the semester. If you wish to use your own, please have your instructor check it before the first lab for its suitability. A combination lock must be brought to the first laboratory session to secure your microscope and slide boxes in a locker.

3. Reviews

Review sessions have been scheduled prior to each exam. Their aim is to correlate material, to allow you to test your comprehension and to give you an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.

4. Student Assessment

Student assessment is both formal and informal. From a formal standpoint, students are examined for their competence in the subject as described below. Informally, students spend roughly 50 hours with their lab section faculty throughout the course. The faculty make a significant effort to understand strengths and weaknesses of each student as s/he works through the material, asks questions, interacts with colleagues and makes presentations to the class. This informal understanding of each student lends perspective to the student's performance on exams and allows the instructor to adjust classroom interaction so that all maximize their opportunity to complete the course to the best of their abilities.

5. Examinations

Five examinations will be given during the course:

The first exam, on Tuesday, January 18, will cover epithelium and connective tissue and will be integrated with the Cell Biology exam on that day.

The second examination, on Monday, January 31, will cover skin and the nervous system. It also will be integrated with the Cell Biology exam on that day.

The third examination, on Friday, February 25, will cover muscle, the circulatory system, skeletal tissues and the respiratory system. It will be integrated with the Physiology exam on that day. The lab practical exam will be held on Monday, 28th February.

The fourth examination, on Thursday, March 24, will cover urinary system, bone marrow and organs of the immune system, digestive glands and digestive tract. It will be integrated with the Physiology exam on that day. The kodachrome exam will be held in the afternoon.

The fifth examination, on Monday, April 18, will cover the endocrine glands and male and female reproductive systems. It will be integrated with the Physiology exam on that day. The lab practical exam will be held in the afternoon.

Each examination will consist of a "practical" and a "written" portion. Part of the practical exam will consist of the identification of Kodachrome slides of cells and tissues (all examinations). The other part of the practical will be conducted with microscope slides (only the third and fifth examinations) so be sure to have your microscope in the laboratory on those days. Passing the course requires passing grades for each of the practical and written portions of each exam. Note that a final grade of "incomplete" will be given to any students who fail to return their microscopes. A more detailed discussion of the material to be covered, the exam format and other details will be provided well in advance of each exam. Please refer to your course schedule (SC 1-4) for specific room assignments.

6. Web Access to the Histology Home Page

The Course Materials are available on the Histology Home Page at the URL: http://education.med.nyu.edu/Histology. Access to most of the information requires that you log in: for user name enter your Kerberos ID (e.g. something like "jonesd04") and your Kerberos password (also called your LDAP password). NOTE that if you can't log in, go to the LDAP Authentication web page and follow the instructions to set your password (you should only need to do this once).

The Syllabus available on line has been enriched with links to pertinent slides in the "Courseware" section (see below) and with interactive study questions that are found both at the end of each unit and compiled under "Courseware". Also, the web materials are updated continually throughout the time the course runs.

As of January, 2005, there are two annoying "gottchas" for people off-campus. First, if you access the curriculum web page http://education.med.nyu.edu/courses from off-site you will need to provide the old username/password ("student"/"nyumed") to get to it. Then, when you click on the material offered via the Histology link, you will have to log in again using your KID, as described above. The way to avoid this double login is to connect directly to the Histology web page. The second "gottcha" is that if you use Netscape 7, Mozilla or Firefox as your browser you will have a problem since these browsers don't allow you to do the second login (yes, it is a browser bug: Safari and Internet Explorer seem to be just fine). If you use these "Netscape-like" browsers you must stop then restart your browser and go directly to the Histology area (see above) and not via the general curriculum page.

Course Materials

1. Syllabus

The syllabus is intended to be a study guide. Each unit consists of an "Introduction", a list of "Objectives", a "Lab Guide" and a set of "Study Questions".

The "Objectives" are intended to indicate, in broad terms, what we expect you to learn and how we expect you to be able to use the information covered in each unit. The objectives are aimed at what we consider to be the maximum level of competence. Some of the information that we expect you to learn and be able to work with will be given in the lectures. Other information will be obtained from the recommended text and from suggested readings. The laboratory serves as a convenient place to synthesize all the information you have acquired.

The "Lab Guide" is intended to help you locate quickly the pertinent area of the section on your slide. It should not be used alone, but rather in conjunction with your text and atlas.

The "Study Questions" at the end of each unit are to enable you to practice putting information together and applying it. They also serve as a guide to the type of thought process or approach we expect you to be able to undertake. The answers to these questions may require information from multiple sources: text, lectures, lab and suggested readings and you should feel free to discuss your answers with the faculty in your lab. section. Note also the links to on-line study questions that are available for you to use in the on-line version of the syllabus.

In using the syllabus for any unit, you should first leaf through the pertinent pages. Look at the whole scope of the topic. With the total picture in mind you will be in a better position to assess how much preparation you must do prior to lecture and lab.

2. Courseware

Interactive computer modules are available on the Histology Home Page under the heading of "Courseware". The Histology Home Page can be accessed from any networked computer including, of course, computers in the Library, the Coles teaching laboratories (201, 301-305) and from your dormitory room or apartment. The computers located in the Coles laboratories are available for student use 24 hours a day. Students living off campus who lack a network connection with sufficient bandwidth to work comfortably, can check out a CD-ROM of the Histology modules from the Library Circulation Desk.

In this section the "on-line Histology Microscope slide collection" consists of a set of digitized images, largely taken from your slide boxes. You must have Java 1.4.2 (or better) on your computer in order to use this program, which is also available on the plasma screens in the laboratory. The "On-line Histology Modules" are interactive units of color transparencies and electron micrographs. The "Histology EMs" and "Histology 35mm slide collection" are images provided for your additional review and use in presentations. Also in the "Courseware" section you will find interactive study questions and introductions to each laboratory excercise. Make use of the "Lab. Intros" to get oriented before you go to lab. and use the study questions to review material you have learned once you are finished.

It is important to remember that studying the on-line visual material will supplement, but cannot replace, the time spent learning from the text and studying your slides with your microscope using an atlas as a guide.

3. Audio-visual Aids

The antecedents of the on-line units ("Histology 35mm slide collection" and "Histology Modules") were carousels of 35 mm color transparencies covering each subject. Although we recommend that you use the computers to look at the visual information on an individual basis as well as in small groups, these carousels may facilitate larger group study. They will be available at the Circulation Desk located on the Ground Floor of the Library. Each unit includes a study set, with an accompanying description, and a separate set of transparencies to be used as a self-test. The units remain in the Library for the duration of the course, so that you may use them at your leisure. Some carousels are available for overnight use.

Generally, the Library will be open from 8:30 am until 11:00 p.m. on weekdays, from 10:00 am until 6:00 pm on Saturdays and from 12:00 pm until 10:00 pm on Sundays. Medical students have sole access to the Library after 11:00 p.m. Additional slide projectors may be obtained from the Audio-Visual Department after 4:00 p.m. The projectors must be returned by 9:00 a.m. the following day. When taking the projector, the student is required to leave their medical school identification card with the Audio-Visual Department.

4. Lecture Outlines

As a general rule this course doe not offer outlines, although some lecturers may provide them. In all cases, however, after a lecture is completed the slides will be posted on the web for your review.

5. Books

A textbook is required reading. Do not fool yourself into thinking that the atlas, a review book and/or an outline provide sufficient knowledge. Before coming to the lecture or lab on a given topic, prepare yourself with select readings from the textbook and atlas using your course schedule as a guide. Review books are for review only and should not be used as a primary source.

The textbook for this course is: Histology, A Text and Atlas, 4th ed., Ross, Kaye and Pawlina (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2003). This is an integrated text and atlas that has been very well received by the classes that have used it so far. A benefit is that the atlas sections use many images taken from slides similar to those in your own microscope slide boxes.

Although you may use other texts, you should be aware that exams and on-line materials, such as quizzes and "Lab. Intros" reference the Ross text exclusively.

Other Textbooks & Atlases

In the past, the following other textbooks and atlases have been found useful by students. By all means study from any of the texts, but remember the comment made above. The atlases fall into a somewhat different category: there is a real benefit in having two or even three different atlases available at each bench in the lab. Discuss with your colleagues in lab and decide if you, collectively, would like to do this.

Basic Histology, 9th ed., Junqueira, Carneiro, and Kelley.
Bloom and Fawcett: A Textbook of Histology, 12th ed. D.W. Fawcett.
Essential Histology, D. Cormack.
Ham's Histology, 9th ed., D. Cormack
Text/Atlas of Histology, T. Lesson, C. Lesson and A. Paparo.

Color Atlas of Histology, 3rd ed., Gartner and Hiatt.
de Fiore's Atlas of Human Histology, 8th ed., V. Eroschenko.
Wheater's Functional Histology, 3rd ed., H.G. Burkitt , B. Vanguard and J.W. Heath.


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