New Electives

MBiotech offers its students an unprecedented array of new electives, listed below. For more information, and to enroll, contact Ortensia (Tessa) Qendro at ortensia.qendro[at]utoronto.ca • Enrol Now

BTC2110H • Topics in Biotechnology: Structural Biology in Drug Development & Biotechnology

MoleculeCourse Details
Session: Winter/Spring, 2021 • Tuesdays, 6-9 p.m.
Location: Remote delivery
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 Stream
  • Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology and 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.

BTC2120H • Topics in Biotechnology: Decision Analytics in Business, Healthcare & Management

Course Details
Session: Winter/Spring, 2021 • Tuesdays, 6-8 p.m.
Location: Remote delivery
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.

BTC1860H • Generations of Advanced Medicine: Biologics in Therapy (GAMBiT)

Course Details
Session: Winter/Spring, 2021 • Thursdays, 6-9 p.m.
Location: Remote delivery
Credit: 0.5 FCE (elective)
Course Enrolment: 12-15 maximum
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

GAMBIT

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

A copy of the previous GAMBiT course outline is available here for viewing.


How To Enrol

Graduate students who wish to enroll in this course must complete a Course Add/Drop Form, have it authorized by the Graduate Coordinator at your home department, and submit the signed form via email to Ortensia Qendro, MBiotech, ortensia.qendro@utoronto.ca.

Students can NOT register directly on ROSI.

MBiotech students are also eligible to take any grad-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.