Evolutionary Biology of Cancer | Arts and Science Online

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Evolutionary Biology of Cancer

BMED 380/3.0

Evolutionary Biology of Cancer is a third-year online course designed to introduce students from various biological sciences and allied health backgrounds to cancer as an evolutionary problem. The course focuses on the effect of the local tumour environment on the progression of cancer and uniquely emphasizes the impact of the immune system in fighting cancer while at the same time shaping tumour cell evolution. In addition, the course will cover the effect on malignant progression of other factors present in the tumour environment, such as oxygenation levels.

NOTE: A maximum of 6.0 units from courses offered by other Faculties and Schools may be counted towards the Program and/or Plan requirements of any degree in the Faculty of Arts and Science

Learning Outcomes

After completing BMED 380, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize the impact of cancer on society and major milestones in cancer research to appreciate the successes of therapies and to assess the need for further development.
  2. Acquire a basic understanding of the evolutionary nature of cancer to recognize and evaluate the contribution of tumour heterogeneity and plasticity to cancer progression.
  3. Analyze the tumour microenvironment to define its role in tumour invasion and its link to metastasis.
  4. Characterize the role of immunity and inflammation in cancer and to define their contributions to cancer control or progression.
  5. To apply an understanding of therapeutic selectivity to identify and evaluate the potential benefits and adverse effects of different therapeutic interventions in cancer.


This online course is designed to introduce students to cancer as an evolutionary problem. The material is unique in that it emphasizes the impact of the immune system in fighting cancer while at the same time shaping tumour cell evolution. Students will need to synthesize the impact of factors present in the tumour microenvironment.


Winter 2019
Course Dates: 
Jan. 7 - Apr. 5, 2019
Exam Dates: 
Apr. 11 - 27, 2019




Section Quizzes


Multimedia Presentation


Case Study


Discussion Questions


There is no final exam in BMED 380

**Evaluation Subject to Change**

All assignments will be graded using marking rubrics.

Live Sessions

This course has required live sessions (e.g. webinars, synchronous activities). Please consult the Timeline in the first week of class.



Dr. Charles Graham (grahamc@queensu.ca)

Time Commitment

Students can expect to spend approximately 9 - 10 hours a week in study, practice and online activity for BMED 380.


Course Resources


SOLUS is Queen’s Student On-Line University System. You’ll have access to a SOLUS account once you become a Queen’s student. You’ll use SOLUS to register for courses, add and drop courses, update your contact information, view financial and academic information, and pay your tuition.

About OnQ

onQ is Queen's online learning platform. You'll log into onQ to access your course. All materials related to your course—notes, readings, videos, recordings, discussion forums, assignments, quizzes, groupwork, tutorials, and help—will be on the onQ site.

About Credit Units

Queen’s courses are weighted in credit units. A typical one-term course is worth 3.0 units, and a typical two-term course is worth 6.0 units. You combine these units to create your degree. A general (three-year) BA or BSc requires a total of 90 credit units.

Computer Requirements

To take an online course, you’ll need a high speed internet connection as well as a microphone and speakers to be able to watch videos, hear sounds, and participate in interactive online activities. A webcam is recommended but not necessary.

System Requirements:

  • Laptop or Desktop computer purchased within the last 5 years. (mobile devices are not supported)
  • Windows Vista SP2/Mac OSX 10.9 or higher
  • Up to date versions of Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari. Please note that Google Chrome is not recommended for use in our courses.
  • Most recent version of Adobe Reader and Adobe Flash

 See also Getting Started.


The deadlines for new applications to Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are in our Upcoming Application Dates section.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees vary depending when you start, your year, faculty, and program. Fees for Summer Term 2018 first-year Distance Career Arts & Science Domestic students are as follows: for a 3.0-unit course, $685.90; for a 6.0-unit course, $1371.80 See also Tuition and Fees.

Grading Scheme

The information below is intended for undergraduate students in the Faculty of Arts and Science. Academic Regulations in other Faculties may differ.

Letter Grade Grade Point

GPA Calculators
Have your SOLUS grade report handy and then follow the link to the Arts and Science GPA calculators.

How does this affect my academics?
See the GPA and Academic Standing page.

Follow the link above for an explanation of how the GPA system affects such things as the Dean’s Honour List, requirements to graduate, and academic progression.

Frequently Asked Questions on the Grading Scheme
Please follow this link to the FAQ's

Campus Bookstore

All textbooks can be purchased at Queen’s Campus Bookstore.

Non-Queen’s Students

All Queen’s Arts and Science Online courses are open to students at other universities. Before applying as a visiting student, request a Letter of Permission from your home university that states that you have permission to take the course and apply it to your degree. See also Apply.

Academic Integrity

Please see Queen’s policy statement on academic integrity for information on how to complete an online course honestly.