Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO
CCBIO/Harvard INTPART collaboration

CCBIO907, course in cancer-related vascular biology 2023

CCBIO907 is a 6 ECTS course covering topics such as basics of vascular biology, vascular biology related therapeutic approaches, biomarkers in vascular biology – from discovery to clinical application, lymphangiogenesis and vascular biology in non-cancerous diseases. Participants attending this course will benefit from the knowledge of researchers who have been in the frontline of vascular biology research for decades, and who are experienced lecturers at Harvard Medical School.

Art illustration of vascular biology.
DALL-E AI illustration by Eli V.

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Vascular biology course by Harvard lecturers at UiB

CCBIO907 was held for the first time fall 2018 / spring 2019 as an innovative collaboration between CCBIO/UiB and the Vascular Biology Program/Harvard Medical School, and is partially funded by the INTPART-II project: “Bergen-Harvard Cancer Studies phase 2: Continued Partnership for Responsible Education, Research and Innovation Excellence.”

The course will now be run for the benefit of a new batch of students, postdocs and researchers. Although the course is mainly intended for PhD students and Master students, admission is open for others who find this course or single lectures interesting. Teaching language is English. 

The course participants will meet researchers from Harvard who have been in the frontline of vascular biology research for decades, in addition to local experts. Confirmed lecturers are Bruce ZetterDiane R. Bielenberg, Michael S. Rogers, Steven Swendeman, Randolph Watnick, Ed Smith, and Dipak Panigrahy. Lectures on a wide variety of topics, including: Introduction to cancer and angiogenesis, history of angiogenesis research, tumor biology with a focus on tumor initiation and tumor metastasis, basic physiology of blood and lymphatic vessels, lymphatic vessel development and remodeling, tumor microenvironment including angiocrine signaling, molecular signaling in vascular biology: tyrosine kinases and GPCRs, tumor perfusion, measuring angiogenesis and vessel function, bridging the gap between science and medicine by disease-focused research, inflammation, axon guidance factors and nerve invasion, immune-angiogenic interaction, anti-angiogenic treatment in clinical practice. 

In addition you will have the opportunity to attend two seminars: ‘Metastasis without a tumor’ by Michael S. Rogers, and ‘Learning from tumor to treat stroke’ by Ed Smith. 

You will also have the opportunity to learn essential extra-curricular skills from the Harvard faculty. Diane Bielenberg ‘How to Craft Your Science Pitch, and Dipak Panigraphy will lead a session on the importance of mentoring in science-how to be a good mentor and mentee and how to make sure that expectations are met. You will also learn about the Fundamentals of Proposal Writing by Randolph Watnick.

For the evaluation you will participate on ‘proposal workshopping’ with the Harvard faculty, and work in groups on preparing brief (15 minutes) student presentations on new work on angiogenesis-related tumor biology. These presentations are to be evaluated by the Harvard faculty March 31st. In addition, you will be asked to perform a ‘peer review’ of your fellow student’s proposals (due April 3rd). 

Agnete Engelsen and Lars A. Akslen have the academic responsibility for this course. 

When: March 20–31, 2023. 

Program: See preliminary program here. You might also be interested in reading an earlier news article about the course.  As there are many lectures relevant for a wider audience, there will also be an opportunity to register in a "No ECTS"-link, for those who want to hop in and out of the lectures as they please and not participate in assignments. 

Where: auditorium at the campus Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen. In person attendance.

ECTS: This is a 6 ECTS course at the University of Bergen. 

Registration, 3 links: 

  • With ECTS, already UiB student: Students who are already registered at the UiB and need the ECTS, register for this course at StudentWeb. Deadline for this is February 1, 2023. You also need to attend the complete course, incl. group assignments and the exam.
  • With ECTS, not a UiB student: If you need the ECTS, you need to register as a guest student at the University of Bergen (UiB). Deadline for this is February 1, 2023. You also need to attend the complete course, incl. group assignments and the exam. 
  • No ECTS: Use this separate registration link if you are only interested in the lectures and want to hop in and out as you please (will not get ECTS). No need to join the group assignments or the exam. This registration will be closed at no notice when maximum is reached, otherwise no deadline. 

Cancer related vascular biology

This course provides broad theoretical and practical understanding of basic aspects of vascular biology, cancer-related vascular biology, and other processes and diseases where vascular biology is relevant. The course present knowledge about relationships between vascular biology, cancer progression, and diagnostic and treatment options directed towards the vasculature. Applied methods for studying vascular biology and biomarkers reflecting cancer-related vascular biology are taught. Also, the course aims to stimulate to scientific thinking, critical election and professional discussions. The students are given possibilities to extend discussion with world leading experts in the field of vascular biology.

Each course week is composed of lectures, group discussions with the international faculty, assignments and presentations, as well as time for self-studies. In the weekly assignments, the students present project ideas, ranging from hypothesis to suggestions on experimental design including funding proposals. The course is approved as a PhD course, and with possibility for Master students to earn course credits.

Upon completing this course, the candidate should have the knowledge regarding:

  • Basic vascular biology
  • Principles and challenges related to personalized medicine
  • Cancer-related vascular biology, and how knowledge from this is applied within cancer treatment today
  • Status of frontline research of vascular biology
  • Ways of exploiting knowledge of vascular biology in search for new treatment strategies
  • Cancer-related biomarkers in cancer diagnostics and treatment: Research and clinical practice

And the skills to:

  • Formulate hypotheses to plan and conduct studies on cancer-related vascular biology
  • Consider utility and limitations in use of cancer-related biomarkers
  • Be able to communicate relevant literature and methods concerning cancer-related vascular biology, with critical reflection

The students are also expected to learn to evaluate how knowledge about vascular biology can assist in understanding tumor biological processes and mechanism, and as a guide to improved diagnosis, targeted treatment and follow-up of cancer patients.

The candidates need to participate in 80% of the lectures to pass, prepare for and participate actively in the group assignments, and prepare a presentation together with the group.