University of Pittsburgh


Foundations of Medicine

Tissues in Health and Disease

December 17, 2018-January 25, 2019
19 half days

Course Director
Marie C. DeFrances, MD, PhD
Associate Professor
Department of Pathology

Course Director
Gerard Apodaca, PhD
Department of Cell Biology


Course Description

This 4-week course builds on the student’s recently-acquired knowledge of cell signaling and development to introduce them to the structure and function of specialized cells in normal and disease states. The organization and function of major tissue types and core principles of pathology are presented. A primary focus is placed on the unique cellular and molecular responses of specialized cells and tissues to changes in their environment and injury.

The goals of the course are:

  • introduce students to core principles and the terminology of tissue biology and pathology.
  • Introduce students to the structure and function of epithelia, connective tissues, muscle, and peripheral nervous tissue
  • encourage students early in their medical school career to integrate basic and clinical science.
  • enable students to assess normal and disease states at gross anatomical and histological levels and to understand the molecular and cellular basis of disease.
  • introduce students to cell adaptation, cell injury, cell death, inflammation, repair, neoplasia, hemostasis, and hemodynamics

Approximately 30 faculty members are involved in the course and come from 4 medical school departments including Cell Biology and Physiology, Pathology, Medicine (Divisions of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Gastroenterology and Rheumatology, Renal-Electrolyte), and Neurobiology.

Educational Methods


Lectures Histology workshops        
Laboratory exercises Pathology workshops        



Evaluation for this course is based on performance on exams (an MCQ exam and image exam), an early quiz on histology, a TBL, attendance at required labs and workshops and a final MCQ and image exam.

Grading: This course comprises 30% of the grade for the Foundations of Medicine Block, Section 2. Grading for the block is Satisfactory or Unsatisfactory.

Faculty Note

Gerard Apodaca, PhD, is a recipient of a Medical Scientist Training Program Mentor of the Year Award. Cynthia Lance-Jones, PhD, is a recipient of the AAMC Robert J. Glaser Distinguished Teacher Award, the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award, the Sheldon Adler Award for Innovation in Medical Education, and the Kenneth E. Shuit Master Educator Award. Jack Schumann, PhD, is a recipient of the Kenneth E. Shuit Master Educator Award, the Sheldon Adler Award for Innovation in Medical Education and the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award. Recipients of Excellence in Education Awards include Drs. Lance-Jones, Dr. Nine and Schumann. Members of the UPSOM Academy of Master Educators include Drs. Apodaca, Lance-Jones, and Schumann.