120.621.01 | AY 2012-2013 - 3rd Term | 4 Credit(s)
TTh 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Terry Brown
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • Explain the molecular mechanisms by which steroid hormones activate nuclear receptors to provoke their biological effects
    • Explain the molecular mechanisms by which peptide hormones activate cell surface receptors to provoke their biological effects
    • Describe how androgens and estrogens are involved in cancers, as in the prostate and breast respectively
    • Explain how the actions of peptide hormones (e.g. insulin) are involved in diseases (e.g. diabetes)
    • Construct pathways of the endocrine systems that link control and production of hormones in specific tissues with the actions of these hormones in their respective target organs
  • Course Description
    Presents molecular biology as applied to endocrinology. Topics include the molecular biology and endocrinology of sexual differentiation, hypothalamic and pituitary regulation, ovarian follicular development, steroidogenesis, breast and prostate cancer, androgen, estrogen and thyroid hormone action, diabetes and insulin action, endocrine effects on immunity, G-protein coupled receptors and hormonal regulation of gene expression. Examines steroid and peptide hormone action via paracrine, autocrine, and endocrine mechanisms; transmembrane and intracellular signal transduction; and regulation of nuclear gene transcription.
  • Methods of Assessment
    Student evaluation based upon class participation, short on-line quizzes related to assigned readings from the current literature, a written mini-review based upon student selected papers from the current literature, and two examinations (mid-term &final)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    There will be mid-term and final exams in a short essay format based upon the lecture material and the supporting readings for each topic.

    This is a graduate level seminar-type course and the expectation is that all students will attend class and participate in discussions during class. The course grade will be based upon the mini-review of the current literature (20%), the cumulative on-line quizzes (20%), and the mid-term (30%) and final (30%) examinations. Active participation in the course is expected.


    Each student is also expected to write a mini-review. The mini-review should be no more than 5 double-spaced pages in length.  It should address a topic in molecular endocrinology selected by the student and should be based upon the reading of three primary (NO REVIEW ARTICLES) research papers from the most current literature.  Each mini-review should be submitted in hard-copy accompanied by the title /abstract page from each of the three papers.  The mini-reviews are due on or before March 1 (there will be NO extensions!).  Do not attempt to choose articles that are simply reviews of the literature, clinical reports or that do not challenge your understanding of molecular endocrinology; your grade may reflect your selection of papers that should come from top quality journals and represent the work, approaches and concepts of at least two different research groups.  The mini-reviews should be organized with an Introduction, an overall statement of Rationale and Purpose, a Summary and Evaluation of Research Findings, and a Personal Assessment of the Scientific Area covered by the papers.  Please do not simply paraphrase or reiterate exactly what is in the papers; you should provide evidence that you have assimilated the information.  A “book report” style of writing is inappropriate for this assignment.   Anyone who fails to complete the mini-review will receive an incomplete in the course.


  • Prerequisites

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Biology background with introduction to general principles of molecular biology and/or cell biology.

  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    There are NO REQUIRED textbooks for this course; however, students who would like to read about specific areas of endocrinology addressed in the Molecular Endocrinology course are referred to the following reference materials:

    The Welch library provides electronic access to several endocrinology textbooks through WelchWeb eSources (  Three specific texts are highly recommended as resource material:

    1.  Basic & Clinical Endocrinology, 8th edition; David Gardner and Dolores Shoback (eds), McGraw-Hill, 2007.

    2.  Endocrinology, 2nd edition, Shlomo Melmed (ed), Humana Press, 2005

    3. William's Textbook of Endocrinology, 11th edition; Henry Kronenberg  (ed), Saunders, 2008.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Course topics

    2013 Molecular Endocrinology Course  3:30-4:50 PM

    Tues Jan 22               Introduction/Overview                     Terry Brown

    Thurs Jan 24              Androgen Action & Sex Differentiation     Terry Brown

    Tues Jan 29               G-Protein Coupled Receptors     Roberto Salvatori

    Thurs Jan 31              GnRH-Hypothalamus-Pituitary       Andrew Wolfe & Sally Radovick

    Tues Feb 5                 Estrogens and Carcinogenesis      James Yager

    Thurs Feb 7                Prostate Cancer       William Isaacs

    Tues Feb 12               Steroidogenesis      Barry Zirkin

    Thurs Feb 14             Mid-term Exam

    Tues Feb 19              Insulin Action & Diabetes     David Cooke

    Thurs Feb 21             Receptor Tyrosine Kinases      Dan Leahy

    Tues Feb 26              Breast Cancer and Estrogen Receptors      Ben Park

    Thurs Feb 28             Ovarian Follicular Development        Charles Chaffin

    Tues Mar 5                Endocrine Aspects of Immunity - Gender Differences     Sabra Klein

    Thurs Mar 7               Thyroid Hormone Action        Fred Wondisford

    Tues Mar 12              Steroid Hormones and Brain Sex Differentiation        Margaret McCarthy

    Thurs Mar 14             Final Exam

  • Course Objectives(from old syllabus)

    Learning objectives specific to each lecture topic will be posted in Courseplus immediately following each lecture.  These learning objectives highlight the areas important for understanding the molecular endocrinology of topics discussed in this course.  They wil provide the basis upon which questions for the mid-term and final examinations are formulated.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at