For detailed course descriptions on a quarterly basis, please see the Registrar’s Office class description browser.
NEW COURSE OFFERINGS FOR WINTER 2019:
BIOL_SCI 397- Honors Colloquium is a new course which will be offered for the first time in the Winter 2019 term. Taught by Dr. Gary Galbreath it will be required registration for students writing Honors Theses. It should be taken the Winter of your Senior Year. There will be individual meetings with the instructor with beneficial guidance on what is necessary to write an excellent thesis. No other BIOL_SCI 398 or BIOL_SCI 399 should be taken during the Winter Quarter. BIOL_SCI 397 qualifies as a "300-level Elective" for the Biological Sciences major.
NEW COURSE OFFERINGS FOR SPRING 2019:
BIOL_SCI 307: The Brain: Structure, Function, and Evolution – This course will provide an overview of the evolution of the nervous system and cognition, from the origin of neurons to the structure/function human brains. Taught by Dr. Tracy Hodgson, this course will be comprised of a combination of lectures, active learning/discussion sessions, and 2-3 laboratory sessions examining human, sheep, and possibly shark brains! Prerequisites: BIO 217 and at least one of the following: Bio 302; 325; 342; 344; 391.
BIOL_SCI 319: Biology of Animal Viruses - This course will be taught by Dr. Robert Lamb and will cover virus structure, synthesis of viral nucleic acids and proteins, the interaction of the viral and cellular genomes in animals. Prerequisites: 215; 219; 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 396-0: Evolution and Diversity: Mushroom Genetics & Genomics - This course will provide an overview of how the occurrence of natural genetic variation is the raw material with which evolution has sculped every species that has ever existed. Among these species are the fungi. In this laboratory-based course, taught by Dr. Rick Gaber, students are immersed in the world of a widespread and biologically famous mushroom-forming fungus. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 and 222.
DESCRIPTION OF COURSES:
BIOL SCI 101-6 – First-Year Seminar
This first-year seminar course is based on an introduction to some particular area of life science, varying with instructor and quarter. The emphasis is on improving writing skills, and thus there will be multiple writing assignments.
BIOL SCI 103-0 – Diversity of Life
This course constitutes a comparative survey of organisms, emphasizing adaptation and phylogenetic relationships. The gradual evolution of lineages of living things is treated chronologically. The evolution of Animals is covered in special depth. The mechanism of evolution via natural selection will be covered, in terms of both evidence and logic. The course is taught via lectures and reading assignments, with multiple short exams for evaluation.
BIOL SCI 104-0 – Plant-People Interactions
Biology and history of the interaction of humans and flowering plants.
BIOL SCI 109-0 – The Nature of Plants
This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of the ecology and general biology of plants. Students will learn how and why plants look as they do and live as they do. The course will examine the interactions of plants with other sorts of organisms, such as pollinators, herbivores, and fungi, and how plants play a key role in ecosystems across the globe. Adaptations that plant groups have evolved for living in extreme environments, including deserts and mountain tops, will be covered. Throughout, there will be consideration of practical aspects of plants, as we study how humans use them for food, fiber, medicines, and more.
BIOL SCI 115-6 – First-Year Seminar
Science is a process by which people make objective sense of the world. Integral to this process are the methods scientists use to collect and analyze data, and the ways in which they work together to interpret evidence and draw conclusions. In this class, there will be a multidisciplinary approach to examining biological thought and action, and their social ramifications. We will seek to understand science as a social pursuit: the work of human beings with individual, disciplinary, and cultural differences, and requiring tremendous investments in training and equipment. Does it matter that participation in science is more accessible to some than to others? How do biases, assumptions, uncertainty and error manifest in scientific work? What is the history of scientific values such as objectivity and reproducibility? The course will conclude by investigating current topics of public debate, including stem cell research and global climate change.
BIOL SCI 116-6 – First-Year Seminar
This course will provide students with the skills and training necessary to be successful in research environments. Under the guidance of faculty, graduate mentors, and peer facilitators, students are expected to develop an independent research project, write a research funding proposal, give an oral presentation on a project, and develop basic laboratory skills.
BIOL SCI 150-0 – Human Genetics
This course covers the basics of human inheritance. Students will follow the inheritance of genes through consideration of human pedigrees. Student will learn the basis for variation in the human population, the extent to which that variation is attributable to genetic differences, and how that variation impacts behavior and disease. We will examine how genes are mapped in humans, and the implications of the Human Genome Project and genome editing for human health. We will also examine genetic variation between human populations, their ancestors, and closely related species. At the end of the course, a student should be able to critically assess articles on human genetics published in newspapers and non-specialized journals.
BIOL SCI 160-0 – Human Reproduction
Basic biology of reproduction; relation between hormones, emotions, intelligence, and behavior; related policy issues.
BIOL SCI 164-0 – Genetics and Evolution
This course is designed to help students build a foundational understanding of genetics and evolution. The intent is to produce an awareness of science and biotechnology in the modern world, to critically evaluate the presentation of science in the mainstream media, and to understand the mechanisms of evolution. Topics include means of inheritance, DNA replication and repair, and the genetic basis of disease. These topics will then be used to better understand both Darwinian evolution and genetic engineering. Ultimately, this course will provide a platform to aid students in understanding, and developing informed opinions about, some of today's most advertised controversies.
BIOL SCI 213-0 – Undergraduate Laboratory
Teaching Assistantship (0 units) Prerequisite: consent of instructor.
BIOL SCI 215-0 – Genetics and Molecular Biology
This course examines: principles of inheritance in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes; methods used to study gene function; mechanisms by which DNA is replicated, transcribed into RNAs, and translated into proteins; genetic variability; the basics of the process of natural selection that has produced the diversity of living things. There will be lectures and weekly discussion sections. Prerequisites: CHEM 102, 131, 151, or 171.
BIOL SCI 217-0 – Physiology
This course examines the fundamental mechanisms promoting the functioning of major organ systems in mammals. Emphasis will be placed on molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying physiological processes, and on integration among the major organ systems to achieve homeostatic and sensorimotor function. Topics will include neural, autonomic/somatic motor, cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal physiology. There will be lectures and weekly discussion sections. Prerequisites: CHEM 102, 131, 151, or 171.
BIOL SCI 219-0 – Cell Biology
This course examines cellular structure and function. The course covers mechanisms a cell uses to compartmentalize and transport proteins, to move, to regulate cell division and cell death, and to communicate with the cellular environment. Types and functioning of organelles will be discussed. How an imbalance or mutation in normal cellular processes can lead to cancer and other disease states, will be considered. There will be lectures and weekly discussion sections. Prerequisites: CHEM 102, 131, 151, or 171.
BIOL SCI 220-0 – Genetic and Molecular Processes Laboratory (.34 units)
This course teaches laboratory techniques and experiments in fundamental aspects of transmission genetics and molecular biology. It covers scientific inquiry skills such as experimental design, writing of research proposals, data collection, data analysis/interpretation, and professional presentation of results. Students examine protein folding, using the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans as a model organism. Transgenic worms containing the poly-Q repeats from the Huntingtin gene fused with yellow fluorescent protein (YFP) provide a sensor for protein folding, and students work in teams to study the toxicity of poly-Q repeats. Prerequisite: CHEM 102, 131, 151, or 171.
BIOL SCI 221-0 – Cellular Processes Laboratory (.34 units)
This course teaches laboratory techniques and experiments in fundamental aspects of cell biology. It covers scientific inquiry skills such as experimental design, writing research proposals, data collection, data analysis/interpretation, and professional presentation of results. Students use macrophages in cell culture as a model system to study phagocytosis. The macrophages are treated with anti-inflammatory and pro-resolving compounds (Resolvins) to enhance the efficacy of phagocytosis. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 220.
BIOL SCI 222-0 – Investigative Laboratory (.34 units)
This course is the culminating life-science lab experience in the sophomore-year series. Students design and generate reagents that can be used in larger experiments. The topic varies from year to year, but typically revolves around the sub-cloning of a specific gene fused to a reporter for detection. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 221.
BIOL SCI 240-0 – Molecular and Cell Biology for ISP
This course is designed to be an introduction to molecular and cell biology for students in the ISP program. Students will gain an understanding of fundamental topics in molecular biology and cell biology: the central dogma, the replication and decoding of genetic information, the regulation of gene expression, organelle structure and function, cytoskeletal dynamics, and the cell cycle and cell division. Prerequisite: ISP standing.
BIOL SCI 241-0 – Biochemistry for ISP
Biochemistry is an integrated science that seeks to understand the chemical basis of life by combining knowledge from mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology. This course focuses on the structure and function of biological macromolecules, aspects of biological transport and signaling, the chemical logic of metabolic reactions, pathway design principles, and explicit cellular pathways associated with the chemical turnover of fatty acids and sugars such as glucose. A focus will be on how the naturally-selected chemical design of biological macromolecules enables them to fulfill their specific functions, and on why the chemical engine that sustains life has been built in certain ways. The course takes an approach that emphasizes conceptual understanding and problem solving. Voluntary weekly discussion sections provide students with a toolkit to approach science learning and study in general. Prerequisite: ISP standing.
BIOL SCI 301-0 – Principles of Biochemistry
This biochemistry class coves topics such as structure and function of biologically relevant macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids), membrane structure, membrane transport, signal transduction, chemical logic in metabolic transformations, and carbohydrate metabolism. The course emphasizes conceptual understanding. Active participation in all course elements is encouraged; students are expected to move past memorization of facts, to a fully interconnected and integrated understanding that allows them to apply knowledge to solve complex problems. This course will also be helpful in preparing students for biochemical aspects of MCAT and GRE exams. Prerequisite: CHEM 210-2 or 212-2.
BIOL SCI 302-0 – Fundamentals of Neurobiology
This course explores structure and function of the central nervous system at the molecular and cellular level. It provides an introduction to neurobiological concepts, with emphasis on: ion channels; neurons and glia; ionic basis of the membrane potential, grade potential, and action potential; synaptic physiology neuro-modulation and the neuronal network; and neuroplasticity, including learning and memory. The course method is a combination of lectures and active learning/discussion sections. It makes use of a NEURONS IN ACTION simulation program to add further understanding of concepts such as the membrane potential, action potential, and synaptic interaction. Assessments include several exams, an assignment based on the simulation program, and a short research paper. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 303-0 – Molecular Neurobiology
This course will be part lecture course, part seminar. It will explore how the fields of neurobiology and molecular biology have converged to answer questions about the function of the central nervous system in health and disease, as well as ethical considerations in the use of molecular biology techniques. Topics include: the CrisprCas9 system, gene editing and gene driving; transgenic animals; molecular techniques employed to understand and treat neurological diseases such as Parkinson's Disease and schizophrenia; optogenetics and optical recording techniques; and, stem cells. The teaching method includes lectures based on the primary literature, small group and class discussions, and student presentations of journal articles. Assessment include several exams, participation in small-group and class discussions, and journal club presentations. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 302 or NEUROSCI 311.
BIOL SCI 305-0 – Neurobiology Laboratory
This course gives students hands-on experience in the performance, analysis, and presentation of data from experiments in the physiology of the nervous system. Topics will be explored in multi-week projects. Experiments may include: intracellular recording of the membrane potential in crayfish muscle; electroretinograms recorded from fly photoreceptors; and use of optogenetics to study synaptic plasticity at the neuromuscular junctions of transgenic flies. The course structurally consists of a one hour discussion period to orient student to the week's experiments, and a multi-hour laboratory, each week. Assessment is via class participation and either a lab report or a group presentation of a project at the end of the quarter. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 222; either BIOL SCI 302 or NEUROSCI 311.
BIOL SCI 307-0 – Brain Structure, Function, & Evolution
This course provides an overview of the evolution of the nervous system, from the evolutionary origins of neurons, to the structure and function of the vertebrate brain and the evolution of cognition. Teaching techniques include lectures, active learning/discussion sessions, and three laboratory sessions examining human and sheep brains. Assessment includes several exams, a lab practical, a short research paper, class participation, and a short group presentation on cognition in non-human animals. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 302, 325, or 344.
BIOL SCI 315-0 – Advanced Cell Biology
This course begins where BIOL SCI 219-0 ended, covering more specialized aspects of the structure and functioning of cells. It emphasizes readings in both the textbook and professional journals. Topics include cellular aspects of tissue organization, control of cell signaling pathways, assembly of signaling complexes, integration of signals and gene controls, asymmetric cell division, cell polarity, ligand production and control, post-transcriptional regulation of gene function, and special aspects of the regulation of cell growth and death. Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 215-0, BIOL_SCI 219-0; BIOL_SCI 301-0 or BIOL_SCI 308-0.
BIOL SCI 319-0 – Biology of Animal Viruses
Virus structure, synthesis of viral nucleic acids and proteins, the interaction of the viral and cellular genomes. Prerequisites: 215; 219; 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 323-0 – Bioinformatics: Sequence and Structure Analysis
Bioinformatics is an empirical science that harnesses the power of statistics and probability to advance discoveries in the life sciences. Approaches developed by pioneers of this field will be explored in depth to lay a strong conceptual framework. Contemporary approaches by leaders in the field will be layered atop this foundation. Students will develop a conceptual understanding of commonly used computational tools and approaches for sequence alignment, database searches, molecular phylogenetic studies, and protein secondary, tertiary, and quaternary structural and functional predictions, all these being cornerstones for contemporary molecular and structural biological research. In addition to gaining an appreciation for the algorithmic aspects of these tools, and their limitations, students will learn to code in Python, to design and perform experiments, and to critically evaluate results. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 241, 301, or 308.
BIOL SCI 325-0 – Animal Physiology
This course is designed to explore advanced concepts relevant to the physiology of major organ systems of animals, with an emphasis on comparisons among vertebrate groups, and between vertebrates and invertebrates. The main objective for students is to better understand those organ systems in the context of evolution and naturally-selected adaptations to particular environments. Teaching methods include lectures, plus group learning/discussion/problem solving activities. Assessment is via several exams, plus a short summary of a small group discussion on a bioethical/environmental physiology topic discussed in class. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 217.
BIOL SCI 326-0 – Neurobiology of Learning and Memory
How does the brain learn? This course examines what neurobiologists know about how brain cells, synapses, and circuits process experiences to produce lasting changes in behavior. Lectures will involve in-depth consideration of original research findings, from classic studies in invertebrates to the latest molecular, electrophysiological, and behavioral studies in mammalian systems. Along the way, students will learn to think logically about the design and interpretation of neurobiological experiments. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 302 or NEUROSCI 311.
BIOL SCI 328-0 – Microbiology
The core goal of this class is to introduce students to microbiology, the study of how microbes interact with their environments, including interactions with humans. Fundamental principles underlying microbial diversity, and basic methodology used to study microbes, will be introduced. By the end of the class, students will have developed familiarity with a diversity of microbial structures, functions, and interactions. Student should become comfortable locating and reading primary scientific literature on relevant topics, and assembling this information into cohesive reviews. Students will develop an appreciation for appropriate experimental design and the scientific method, and improve their skills in scientific communication, both oral and written. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, 222, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 332-0 – Conservation Genetics
Genetic diversity is one of the principal components of biodiversity, along with species and ecosystem diversity, but it is often not prioritized when developing conservation policies. In this course, students learn how basic evolutionary and genetic principles can guide policies about the conservation and management of wildlife and plant populations. They will read and discuss current research i the primary literature, including both molecular and quantitative genetic examples, and compare them with institutional policies that incorporate conservation genetics into their planning. We will examine current practices using case studies, including managing seed-banks and zoo populations, reintroducing plants and animals to the wild, changes in wild harvested populations, consequences of habitat fragmentation, benefits of habitat corridors, and documented responses to climate change. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 215 or ENVR SCI 202.
BIOL SCI 334-0 – Soils and the Environment: The Earth's Critical Zone
Soil development and morphology; physical, chemical, hydrologic, and biological properties of soils. Prerequisite: 215 or ENVR SCI 202.
BIOL SCI 336-0 – Spring Flora
This class merges aspects of plant evolution and identification (with an emphasis on learning about the local flora) with plant ecology (with an emphasis on ecological interactions and adaptations). The course takes a field-based approach to learning the process of identifying major components of the local flora. Understanding vegetative and reproductive structures of plants, and use of this knowledge to identify plants via taxonomic keys, will be emphasized. Ecological interactions, adaptations, and related conservation issues will also be discussed. Lectures are at Northwestern's Evanston campus on Mondays; the field component of the class is centered at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Transportation will be arranged if needed and the instructor will reach out to students about this before class starts. Students should be prepared to spend Wednesday class periods outside, rain or shine. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 215 or ENVR SCI 202.
BIOL SCI 337-0 – Quantitative Methods for Ecology and Conservation
This is a biostatistics class geared toward students interested in any area of biology. The course uses the software R for quantitative methods. The course has as objectives: (1) Students will gain hands-on experience managing and visualizing datasets, conducting exploratory and formal statistical analyses, and presenting results. (2) Students will use R for all quantitative methods practiced in class and become confident in the ability to use it for future statistical needs. (3) Students will become familiar with a variety of statistical approaches, methods, and techniques that are useful for analyses in biology, ecology, evolution, and conservation. (4) Students will apply their knowledge of statistical methods and use their skills with R to conduct an analysis of the student's own dataset; each student will develop a documented, reproducible analysis, and present results in class. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 or ENVR SCI 202, and a course in statistics.
BIOL SCI 339-0 – Critical Topics in Ecology and Conservation
This course will provide students with a conceptual and theoretical framework within the field of plant ecology and conservation. This seminar-style class is based on reading and discussion of historical and contemporary primary literature. It will provide the opportunity to think critically and for discussion within a structured but informal setting, and will provide students with a basic background in critically reading and writing scientific papers. Students will become more comfortable presenting and discussing papers with peers, and become more familiar with topics in plant science and conservation biology. Each student will write a critical review of a a manuscript written by a colleague, and write a review paper on a topic of the student's choosing. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 215 or ENVR SCI 202.
BIOL SCI 341-0 – Population Genetics
Change in the genetic composition of populations over time is the basis of evolution. The field of population genetics describes this genetic change, both as replacement of genes within populations, and as diversification among populations that may become species. This course reviews the dynamics of genetic variation in populations through evidence from natural history, experimentation, and theory. Topics include: natural selection, genetic drift, inbreeding, mutation, and geographic structure of populations, based on single-locus models, molecular sequences, and quantitative traits. More specialized topics such as sexual selection, kin and group selection, and the evolution of sexual reproduction and recombination, will be covered as time allows. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 or ENVR SCI 202, and a course in statistics.
BIOL SCI 342-0 – Evolutionary Processes
Evolution occurs when mutation introduces new alleles that end up replacing existing alleles in populations. Replacement can occur by chance (genetic drift) or by encoding a superior phenotype (natural selection). Natural selection produces one of the major features of the living world, adaptation. This class will examine several adaptations (life history, sex, and cooperation) in depth. When populations are separated from one another geographically, they take different evolutionary paths; it is in this manner that most species form. Change within lineages, and diversification among lineages, are processes that have been iterated over vast periods of time, producing life's diversity. We will familiarize ourselves with the history and diversity of life by examination of the fossil recored, and by inferring relationships among species using phylogenetic methods. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 and 219, and a course in statistics.
BIOL SCI 344-0 – Anatomy of Vertebrates
Vertebrate phylogeny illustrated via comparative morphology; anatomical/ functional and ontogenetic considerations; dissections. Prerequisite: 103, 164, or 215; 220.
BIOL SCI 345-0 – Topics in Biology
Topics vary but always deal with an area of advanced study in the life sciences. With laboratory. May be repeated for credit with different topic. Prerequisites: 215, 219, 222.
BIOL SCI 346-0 – Field Ecology
This course is an intensive hands-on experience in ecological field research. About half the meetings are outdoors and half indoors, determined partly by weather. Outdoor labs are conducted on local Cook County Forest Preserve properties; transportation is provided. These labs are for the purpose of collecting data that students subsequently analyze. Indoor meetings are for data analysis, discussion of primary literature, presentations, and so forth. Projects are based on analysis of data collected in the field. Topics addressed may include competition, parasitism, pollination, ecological succession, biodiversity metrics, impacts of exotic species, effects of ecological restoration management, etc. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 and a course in statistics.
BIOL SCI 347-0 – Conservation Biology
Conservation biology is an integrated science based primarily on ecology, with important contributions from genetics, evolutionary biology, and biogeography, and from nonbiological disciplines such as economics, political science, and ethics. The first half of this course addresses the definitions, origins, and patterns of biological diversity; explores why the maintenance of biodiversity in ecosystems is fundamentally important to the well-being of humans and other species; and examines the context and causes of extinction. The second half deals with strategies and tactics for ameliorating the loss of biodiversity and restoring ecosystem function. Specific topics include: the biology of small populations (including population viability analysis); the selection, design, and management of protected areas; ecological restoration; and conservation design, legislation, and other higher-level strategies. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 or ENVR SCI 202, and a course in statistics.
BIOL SCI 348-0 – Plant Population Genetics
Evolutionary processes at the plant population level. Prerequisite: 330.
BIOL SCI 349-0 – Plant Community Ecology
Community ecology is the study of species that live together in the same place. This discipline aims to understand how these species arrived, how they are able to survive and coexist, and how they interact with one another. This course focuses on the dynamics, structure, and function of vegetation. Readings, discussions, lectures, and other activities will address how plant communities are organized, how they interact with their biotic and abiotic environments, how they are studied, and how they are influenced by anthropogenic impacts. Course topics include the history and structure of the field, types of species interactions, community assembly, ecological networks, coexistence theory, and trait-based approaches. Finally, the course addresses global change drivers, their effects on plant communities, and the restoration of communities negatively impacted by such change drivers. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 330 or 339.
BIOL SCI 350-0 – Plant Evolution and Diversity
This course has lecture and laboratory components, and examines the origin, evolution, and diversity of land plants, with a focus on evolutionary innovations and the structure and function of plants in the terrestrial environment. The class introduces principles of plant structure, classification, phylogeny, and paleontology in an evolutionary framework. Laboratories focus on diversity and structural characteristics of each group, and their fossil histories. Field trips to Garfield Park Conservatory, and the Field Museum, complement lecture and lab activities. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 330 or 339.
BIOL SCI 353-0 – Molecular Biology Laboratory
Project-based approach to learning lab skills in eukaryotic molecular biology. Prerequisites: 215, 219, 222; 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 354-0 – Quantitative Analysis of Biology
This course covers some of the landmark studies and results in quantitative biology. Each module (of which there will be five or six) will end with analysis of a data set acquired from the authors of the studies, with re-analysis and re-plotting of a central result therefrom. En route to this, the course covers the mathematics, physics, and statistics required to produce the plots. The landmark papers include studies in gene regulation, developmental biology, gene sequencing, etc. There will also be aspects of coding, image analysis, random genetic processes, gene expression, cell adaptation, the cell cycle, developmental morphogens, and phylogenomics. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 and 219, and PHYSICS 130-2 or 135-2; or, permission of instructor.
BIOL SCI 355-0 – Immunobiology
The overall goal of this course is to introduce students to the immune system, and to how immune responses protect the animal body from infection. By the end of this class, students should have developed familiarity with how the various organs, cells, and molecules of the immune system interact with foreign substances, and then with each other and other cells and tissues of the body, to produce specific responses. Students should be able to predict the consequences of a deficiency of one particular component of the immune system, and to explain how abnormal immune functioning can cause disease. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, 222, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 356-0 – Endocrinology
Physiology and biochemistry of hormones and glands of internal secretion in vertebrates; endocrine glands. Prerequisite: 325.
BIOL SCI 358-0 – Advanced Physiology Laboratory
Several themes will run through this course. Students will learn about techniques and instrumentation for physiological measurements, basic techniques of quantitative data analysis, and data presentation in written and oral formats. These are concepts and tools that apply beyond the experiments performed in this class. The experiments utilize several species, cover several preparations in physiological experimentation, and will provide data that can be analyzed in various ways. In several cases, two weeks will be needed for a set of experiments, so that students can become familiar with an experimental setup and then devise different experiments during the following week. Experiments will include: ion transport across amphibian skin, cardiovascular function in the amphibian heart; and the diving reflex in humans. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 217 and 222.
BIOL SCI 359-0 – Quantitative Experimentation in Biology
This course is taught as four modules, in which students replicate experiments from some of the landmark papers in the history of quantitative biology. Groups of students will work together and learn how to perform experiments in a wet lab setting, perform live imaging, conduct sequencing-based studies, analyze their own data, and present results in a professional manner. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 354, or permission of instructor.
BIOL SCI 360 – Principles of Cell Signaling
The ability to sense external and internal signals, and to dynamically respond to them, lies at the core of cellular homeostasis, and is one of the most important properties of living matter. In this course, general principles of molecular signaling through which cells capture, process, store, and send information, are presented and discussed. The emphasis of this course is on the design principles, components, and molecular mechanisms that are common to different signaling systems. Modern experimental strategies for studying cellular signaling, as well as the implications of disruption of cell communication pathways in disease, will also be described. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 and 219.
BIOL SCI 361-0 – Protein Structure and Function
The relationship between the three-dimensional structure of proteins and their function, is central to understanding biology. This course first covers basic principles of protein architecture, and then proceeds to focus on the detailed relationship between protein structure and function. Types of proteins discussed include enzymes, DNA binding proteins, membrane proteins, and nucleotide binding proteins. Methods for determining protein structures are also covered briefly. Finally, students will learn how to display and examine three-dimensional macromolecular structures on a computer. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 363-0 – Biophysics
This course is designed to be an introduction to biophysics, and will provide both theoretical and practical perspectives for students, including both those in the Biochemistry & Biophysics Concentration, and those simply with an interest in this fundamental area of biology. Students will gain an understanding of commonly used biophysical techniques. In addition, students will be introduced to the primary scientific literature in this field. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 378-0 – Functional Genomics
This class covers how and why one sequences genomes, how to analyze their content, and how the understanding of genomes from across the Tree of Life (i.e., comparative genomics) can illuminate fundamental questions in biology. By the end of the class , students will have a solid understanding of the following topics: (1) methods of sequencing, assembling, and annotating eukaryotic genomes; (2) the structure, content, and organization of eukaryotic genomes; (3) the origin diversification, and evolution of functional elements within genomes; and (4) the application of genomics to evolutionary biology, population genetics, ecology, and biomedical research. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, and a course in statistics.
BIOL SCI 380-0 – Biology of Cancer
This course focuses on the molecular/cellular mechanisms underlying cancer initiation and progression. Students are expected to have acquired a thorough understanding of molecular and cell biology, via prerequisites, before taking this class. Various mechanisms controlling cell proliferation, signal transduction, DNA damage repair, cell fate decisions, and cell-cell communications, will be discussed. Topics will also include nature and hallmarks of cancer, and current strategies for cancer treatment. The goal of this course is to have a rich intellectual exchange of ideas, while taking an in-depth look at the molecular causes of cancer. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 390-0 – Advanced Molecular Biology
This course emphasizes coverage of molecular genetic mechanisms in eukaryotic organisms. Topics include basic concepts and techniques of molecular biology, the organization of genetic information, the flow of genetic information, regulation of the flow of genetic information, and various applications of molecular biology in biomedical research. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 391-0 – Development and Evolution of Body Plans
Molecular mechanisms underlying early embryonic development, including establishment of the body and organogenesis. Discussion of original literature. Prerequisites: 215; 219; 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 392-0 – Developmental Genetics Laboratory
Development of independent projects alongside classic readings and experiments exploring key concepts in developmental biology. Prerequisites: 215, 219, 222; 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 393-0 – Biomedical Genetics
Recent advances in human ancestry research and clinical medicine have underscored the importance of having a working knowledge of genetic principles. Biomedical genetics, as covered in this course, will dive deeply into the logic and methods of transmission and regulatory genetics, including complementation, recombination, genetic modifiers, chromosomal aberrations, genetic screens, and the “genetic toolbox” in diverse species, including humans. Other topics will include genome-wide association studies, linkage analysis, and the roles of both rare and common genetic variation in human disease. There will be lectures provided, but emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and active discussion. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215, 219, and either 301 or 308.
BIOL SCI 395-0 – Molecular Genetics
Recent advances in genetics and molecular biology have revolutionized the fields of gene expression, cell regulation, and functional genomics. This course will explore this revolution directly, through the primary research literature. The required reading materials will be provided, and will consist of several classic papers, plus a larger number of recent papers from major journals. Representative topics include how genes are manipulated, how gene expression is regulated in vivo, how molecular/genetic analysis of model organisms like yeast can be used to advance understanding of genetics of animals and plants, how human disease genes are discovered, and how every gene in a genome can be analyzed simultaneously. We will delve deeply into epigenetics (chromatin modification and its consequences) and into recently developed methods that allow rapid and simple engineering of the genome of almost any organism. Prerequisite: BIOL SCI 378, 390, or 393.
BIOL SCI 396-0 – Evolution and Diversity: Mushroom Genetics & Genomics
Utilizing a mushroom-forming fungus, Schizophyllum coummune, students in this laboratory-based course will undertake scientific investigations designed to discover new knowledge. Under the guidance of the instructor, each student will be provided with specimens from a nation-wide collection of wild S. commune specimens, with which they will carry out molecular, genetic, and genomic experiments and analyses. Students will also analyze Schizophyllum specimens that she/he has collected in the local environment. Experiments will include generating new mutations, determining the molecular sequences of the genes that control mushroom mating, and performing molecular “barcoding” to establish phylogenetic relationships among members of the Schizophyllum population. Prerequisites: BIOL SCI 215 and 222.
BIOL SCI 397-0 – Senior Thesis Colloquium
Supervision while writing a Senior Thesis. Discussion of students' research. Instructor feedback on thesis drafts. Continued student research. Enrollment limited to Senior Biological Sciences majors hoping to graduate with Program Honors and/or to produce a Senior Thesis. Registration required for all Honors candidates.
BIOL SCI 398-0 – Tutorial in Biology
Supervised reading and discussion or supervised laboratory work. P/N only.
BIOL SCI 399-0 – Independent Research
Supervised independent research project. Prerequisite: 398 or previous 399.Back to top