Our Electives

In collaboration with the Institute of Management & Innovation, MBiotech offers its students—and students across the IMI portfolio of professional graduate programs—a rich vein of electives from which to choose when completing their degree requirements. Whatever courses you select to take, all of our electives are designed to offer advanced learning opportunities at the interface of traditional disciplines, such as Business, Data Science and the Life Sciences, and serve as capstone experiences for our graduates as they launch their careers.

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One of the goals of the electives program at IMI is to create learning environments for students across the different professional graduate programs. The following table illustrates which elective offerings are available to you, depending on your particular program and or home department.

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Pharmacology &

Course Descriptions

All of the electives offered by MBiotech are described in this section.

flag-21x0BTC2110H  Topics in Biotechnology: Structural Biology in Drug Development & Biotechnology { Elective }

Session: Winter/Spring, 2022
Credits: 0·5 (E)
Open To: UofT Graduate Students, with priority given to the following programs—

  • MBiotech Year 2 BioPh Stream
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology
  • Medical Biophysics
Course Instructor: Prof. Mark Currie

Mark CurrieMark Currie is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at the University of Toronto Mississauga. He received BSc and PhD degrees in Biochemistry from Queen’s University and completed postdoctoral research in the Department of Cell Biology at Harvard Medical School. His lab employs structural biology, biochemistry and cellular model systems to answer both fundamental and translational questions related to genome organization and epigenetic gene regulation.

Course Description:
Biological, disease, and drug mechanisms are all determined by the three-dimensional arrangement of atoms within biological macromolecules. Therefore, knowledge of molecular structure is fundamental to protein engineering and the development of new therapeutics and vaccines. This course will cover the application of structural biology methods to drug development and biotechnology. Students will be introduced to the modern tools of protein structure determination including Cryo electron microscopy, X-ray crystallography and NMR through lectures and group activities. Lectures will focus on theory, techniques, data collection, analysis, and interpretation, model building and validation, and the advantages and limitations of each method. The applications of these methods to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries including protein engineering, target selection and drugability, lead identification and optimization, rational drug design and drug mechanism of action will be explored through group presentations, case studies and discussions.

flag-21x0BTC2120H  Topics in Biotechnology: Decision Analytics in Business, Healthcare & Management { Elective }

Session: Winter/Spring, 2022 • TBD
Location: TBD
Credit: 0·5 FCE (elective)
Course Enrolment: 12-15 maximum
Open To: UofT Graduate Students, with priority given to the following programs—
  • MBiotech Year 2 BioPh or DHT Streams
  • Master of Management of Innovation (MMI)
Course Instructor: Prof. Ningyuan Chen

Mark CurrieNingyuan Chen is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Management at the University of Toronto Mississauga and cross-appointed to the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. Before joining U of T, he was an assistant professor of HKUST. He received his Ph.D. from the Industrial Engineering and Operations Research (IEOR) department at Columbia University. He studies how to leverage data-driven approaches in retailing and revenue management.

Course Description:
Data analysis and decision making are two core components in many industries. In this course, we will walk through major techniques in both components, including descriptive and exploratory data analysis, predictive analytics, causal inference, optimization and simulation. The students are expected to conformably answer the following questions upon the completion of the course: how to visualize and present data to your clients or managers, how to predict patterns in the future from the historical data, how to measure the effectiveness of a policy, how to make best decisions under uncertainty based on the available information.

flag-1860BTC1860H  Generations of Advanced Medicine: Biologics in Therapy (GAMBiT) { Elective }

Session: Winter
Credits: 0·5 (E)
Open To: U of T Graduate Students, with priority given to the following programs—

  • MBiotech Year 2 BioPh Stream
  • Master of Management of Innovation
  • Immunology
  • Pharmacy
  • Pharmacology & Toxicology
Course Instructor: Prof. Leigh Revers


Leigh Revers is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Chemical & Physical Science and Director of the Master of Biotechnology (MBiotech) Program at the University of Toronto, Canada. He came to the program with an extensive background in biotechnology entrepreneurship, and he has over 25 years of experience working in the life sciences sector, both in world-class academic institutions and in industry. Trained as a chemist and molecular biologist in the Dyson Perrins Laboratory, he first came to Canada in 1996 as the recipient of a Leverhulme Scholarship to work with Professor Harry Schachter on developmental enzymes involved in human diseases at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. His research interests in complex carbohydrates as mediators of events at the cell-surface led to his interest in cancer. He joined Professor Jean Gariépy’s research team in 1999 to work on novel biologic toxins capable of exploiting cancer-related carbohydrate signals. A long-held interest in entrepreneurship led in 2000 to his becoming a co-founder of Molecular Templates Inc. (MTI), a private biotechnology company focused on the development of novel toxin-based cancer therapeutics. In May 2006, he was appointed Assistant Director with the MBiotech Program at the University of Toronto. In 2007, Dr Revers co-founded a consulting practice, which provides specialist scientific and financial services to small and medium- sized enterprises in the life sciences. In 2009, he participated in a USD$2M Series A financing of MTI led by Santé Ventures, which saw the company relocate to Austin, Texas. Shortly afterwards, he co-founded a new Canadian company, D5Pharma Inc., based out of the Sunnybrook Research Institute, which is presently focused on developing aptamer and other biomacromolecular technologies for diagnostic and therapeutic applications. Over the past eight years, he has spoken widely to healthcare professionals across Canada, and around the world, on the subject of biologics and biosimilars in the context of haematology, rheumatology and oncology. In September of 2017, his company MTI was listed on the NASDAQ (MTEM). Dr Revers holds Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Doctoral degrees in Physical Sciences from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

Course Description:
In this course, we focus exclusively on the dominant role of biologic therapies in modern medicine. In 2017, seven of the top 10 drugs by revenue were molecules of biologic origin, namely those manufactured primarily by biosynthetic rather than chemical means, with sales of the top selling therapy, the anti-TNFα monoclonal antibody adalimumab, cresting the $12.5 billion mark. The lucrative preeminence of biologics is set to continue, bolstered by the introduction of innovative molecular delivery strategies, such as antibody-targeted conjugates, fragments and fusions, as well as by the robust staying power of market leaders. The latter phenomenon is an inevitable consequence of the higher-than-usual regulatory hurdles faced by conventional generic manufacturers seeking to make biosimilars: intended copies of off-patent biologics that, having undergone a strict comparability exercise, are approved by regulatory agencies such as the EMA and the FDA.

This course will survey this changing landscape within an historical framework and will highlight critical scientific and process parameters unique to biologics, that set them aside from conventional small-molecule medicines, including their molecular architecture and mechanisms of action, manufacturing considerations, analytical and functional lot release assays and clinical trial design. We will explore some of the pitfalls by examining a roster of clinical case studies. The capacity of payers to afford these increasingly high-cost therapies in the face of current economic trends will be discussed.

The broad goals of the course are as follows:

  • A detailed understanding of the complexities associated with biologic drugs;
  • A broad familiarity with biologics manufacturing and its inherent variability;
  • A critical understanding of the aspects of biosimilarity; and
  • A familiarity with the clinical implications emerging from the use of biologics.

flag-1889BTC1889H Deep Learning in Health { Elective }
Session: Winter
Instructor: Nicholas Mitsakakis
Credits: 0·5 (E)

1889 • The Russian ’flu pandemic begins in modern-day Uzbekistan, now thought to be a human coronavirus.

Course Description:
This is an advanced course in machine learning that is focused on the application of neural networks in a health context. The course assumes a strong foundation to create machine learning models in the coding language R. Basic foundations of neural networks are reviewed. Students will learn about the limitations and the appropriate use of neural networks by working on health and biological related data sets.

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flag-2040BTC2040H Change Management { Elective }
Session: Winter
Instructor: Ann Armstrong
Credits: 0·5 (E)

Course Description:
Managing change well has long been considered a key leadership skill. Many organizations are experiencing significant rates of change now! Knowing about change management will provide you with a significant competitive advantage in your careers.
In this course, you will learn about some current models of change management as well as examples of change management done well and not. The course is interactive. Central to the course and your learning is participation in a sophisticated change simulation, used by universities, corporates, and non-profits, to let you experience change. You will create—and implement—a change plan that will help you develop not only your understanding of change models but will provide you with tactics that you can use in any future change management work.

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flag-imiIMI3001H  Biocommercial­isation I: Analysis of Technology Driven Innovation { Elective }
Session: Fall
Instructors: Duncan JonesTim Lee
Credits: 0·5 (E)

Course Description:
In this course through a series of lectures and case discussions, students learn about the formation, financing, and management of early-stage ventures especially as it relates to the (bio)technology and associated medical device space. Topics include opportunity identification and assessment, preclinical and clinical phases, regulatory procedures and pathways, legal issues including patents and venture finance. Students will each be required to select a young, publicly-traded company in which to complete an in-depth analysis, presentation and report.

Classes will be held every Monday from 6:30-8:30PM commencing on 13-Sep, 2021 and ending on 13-Dec, 2021. There will be no class on Monday, 11-Oct (Thanksgiving) nor on Monday, 15-Nov (Reading Week). Recommended preparation for this course: Three essays by Paul Graham, http://www.paulgraham.com/

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flag-imiIMI3003H  Biocommercial­isation II { Elective }
Session: Winter
Instructors: Duncan JonesTim Lee
Credits: 0·5 (E)

Course Description:
This course is a compliment to IMI3001, in which student teams are given the opportunity to learn more about the issues and opportunities facing early-stage (bio)technology ventures through direct experiences working on real projects for select early-stage firms within the community. This experiential learning involves working in teams on select, negotiated work packages in conjunction with the company founders in addition to mentoring by the instructors or TAs. This project work is supplemented with lectures covering practical and applied topics such as project management, client communications, research methods, patent searching and analysis, market research, competitive intelligence and financial modelling. The final assessment involves a presentation and client report.

Classes will be held Monday from 6:30-9:30PM commencing on 10-Jan, 2022 and ending on 4-Apr, 2022. There will be no class on Monday, 21-Feb (Family Day).

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How To Enrol

Graduate students who wish to enroll in this course must—

  1. Complete a Course Add/Drop Form,
  2. Have the completed form authorized by the Graduate Coordinator of your home department, and
  3. Submit the signed form via email to Julian Gaspini, MBiotech, julian.gaspini@utoronto.ca.

Students CANNOT register directly on ROSI.

MBiotech students are also eligible to take any graduate-level elective course offered at U of T. Elective course specifics would be available from the host department and some elective courses require specific course prerequisites.

Follow our step-by-step guides for subscribing to MBiotech’s live course calendars.

calOption 1
Apple Calendar on iPhone & iPad

1 In your iOS browser, open this page and tap-and-hold the desired Apple Calendar icon.
2 Chrome users select Copy Link. Safari users scroll down and select Copy.
3 Open your calendar app of choice in iOS.
4 For Apple’s Calendar app, at the bottom of the screen, select Calendars and then choose Add Calendar followed by Add Subscription Calendar. Paste the copied link into the Subscription URL field and tap Subscribe.
Calendars added in this manner will now appear in the Apple Calendar app on your iPhone or iPad.

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calOption 2
Apple Calendar on macOS

1  On your Mac, using your browser, open this page and right-click on the desired Apple Calendar icon. Chrome users select Copy Link Address. Safari users select Copy Link.
2  On your Mac, launch Apple’s Calendar app.
3 From the File menu, select New Calendar Subscription… or type  + + S on the keyboard.
4 Paste the copied link into the Calendar URL field and click Subscribe.
Calendars added in this manner will now appear in the Apple Calendar app on your Mac and can be synced to your mobile devices.

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googlecalOption 3
Google Calendar on Desktop, iOS Device or Android

1 On your Mac or PC, using your browser, open this page and right-click on the desired Google Calendar icon. Chrome users select Copy Link Address. Safari users select Copy Link.
2  Open a new tab or window and log in to your Google account online.
3  Click Calendar from the Google apps palette at the top right of the browser window.
4  In the left-hand menu, click ‘+’ next to Other Calendars and choose From URL.
5 Paste the copied link into the URL of calendar field and click Add calendar.
Calendars added in this manner will now appear in the Google Calendar app on your mobile device.

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Option 4
Microsoft Outlook on Desktop, iOS Device or Android

Direct subscriptions to our calendars are currently not recommended. Subscribed calendars may be successfully added in the browser version of Outlook 365 by clicking Add Calendar on the calendar page, followed by Subscribe from web, but real-time synchronisation with Outlook in this manner has not proved reliable. Our fully tested work-around is as follows:
1  Follow the steps in Option 3, above, and subscribe to all of the desired calendars in Google Calendar using your browser.
2  Open a new browser window and log in to your UTmail account online.
3  Click Calendar icon from the pallet on the left (second icon down).
4  Click Add Calendar in the calendar pane, followed by Add personal calendars, in the pop-up dialogue window.
5  Click on Google to add synchronised calendars from your Google account.
All of your Google calendars will now be displayed in Outlook 365 and in your Outlook app on your mobile device.

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