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Biology

Biology

Courses

Introduction to the Life Sciences
Biology 100 Roeder, Schmidt
4 credits
This course provides a comprehensive overview of the fundamental concepts, methods of observation, and major currents of thinking in the life sciences today. The three major topics are the molecular basis of cellular function, animal life strategies and evolution, and the flow of matter and energy in the biosphere. Students enrolled in this course must participate in the laboratory, and there is a laboratory fee. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered every semester.
All About Food; Current Issues in the Western Food Culture
Biology 172 McMullin
4 credits
Food choice in the United States is an increasingly complex issue. To make informed decisions, individuals must have knowledge of basic biology, ecology, and nutrition. Food production methods vary in efficiency, food safety, and moral principles. Increasingly, consumers must consider the implications of new technologies such as food processing, genetic engineering, and the use of feed additives such as hormones or antibiotics. Finally, food quality and availability vary dramatically by region and economic status. This course will build on a foundation of the basic biology of food production and use in both natural ecosystems and the human ecosystem. Topics will include an exploration of standard and alternative food production methods, including the use of genetic engineering, nutrition and the rise of “metabolic syndrome” and the economics of food production and availability in the United States. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once a year.
General Botany
Biology 200 Roeder
4 credits
This course is an introduction to the plant kingdom, emphasizing major evolutionary trends and the relationship between form and function in plants. Elements of economic botany, plant ecology, physiology, and ecology are incorporated. Prerequisite: Biology 100 or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once a year.
Cell Biology
Biology 201 Staff
4 credits
Understanding biological phenomena depends on critical analysis of form and function. Cell Biology is a lecture and laboratory course designed to introduce the chemical and molecular basis of cells, the structure and function of the cell membrane, the acquisition and utilization of energy by cells, cellular activities, and biosynthesis. Laboratory work emphasizes acquiring skills in microscopy to identify cellular structures and processes and in electrophoretic separation of proteins and DNA fragments. Prerequisites: Biology 100 and high school chemistry, or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once a year (in the spring).
Genetics
Biology 202 McMullin
4 credits
Modern genetics spans theories and techniques ranging from classic transmission or Mendelian genetics to molecular genetics and genomics, population genetics to genotyping, forensic science to medical and clinical applications. We will approach this vast breadth of knowledge by focusing on the fundamental principles of genetics and genomics, the molecular biology of the gene, population genetics and molecular phylogenetics, and heredity in humans. Through readings, laboratory experiments, lectures, and discussions, students in this course examine the experimental evidence leading to currently accepted concepts and critically analyze the implications of various findings in human genetics. Exams and scientific writing are used in evaluating student learning. Prerequisite: Biology 201 or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once a year (in the fall).
Invertebrate Zoology
Biology 203 Schmidt
4 credits
This course is an introductory survey of the morphology, biology, ecology, and evolution of the major groups of invertebrate animals. Emphasis is placed on synthesis of variation of form and function in an evolutionary framework. Laboratory work stresses observation of representative forms and collection and identification of local species. Lectures, discussions, laboratory, and field trips are required. Prerequisite: Biology 100 or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F10.
Vertebrate Zoology
Biology 204 Schmidt
4 credits
This course is an introduction to the biology of the vertebrates, surveying the natural history, behavior, ecology, and evolution of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Laboratories familiarize students with the structure and diversity of vertebrates and emphasize observation. Field trips emphasize local terrestrial and aquatic species. Lectures, discussions, laboratory, and field trips are required. Prerequisite: Biology 100 or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S11.
Marine Mammal Biology
Biology 205 Staff
3 credits
Cetaceans, sirenians, pinnipeds, and some carnivores spend all, or part of their lives, living in the ocean. The study of marine mammals integrates many subdisciplines of biology, including anatomy and physiology, behavior, biochemistry, biogeography, conservation, ecology, evolution, genetics, and taxonomy. An overview of marine mammal life will introduce students to each aspect of their study, with emphasis on hypothesis construction and observational research methods. Field trips will provide first-person experiences with local pinnipeds and cetaceans (additional fee). No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F09.
General Microbiology
Biology 206 Roeder
4 credits
This course introduces the biology of microorganisms with an emphasis on bacteria. It consists of lectures, discussions of current topics in microbiology, and laboratory work. Topics covered include diseases caused by microorganisms, immunology, microorganisms in the biosphere, treatment of waste water and drinking water, and microbial uses in the food and dairy industry. There is a laboratory fee.
Last taught S12.
Mycology
Biology 207 Roeder
4 credits
Mycology is the study of the kingdom Fungi. We will survey the entire kingdom including the simple one-celled yeasts, the molds, some water molds, and plant pathogens (rusts, smuts), as well as the larger sac fungi (Ascomycetes) and the true mushrooms (the Basidiomycetes). Laboratory work will include the culture of fungi, propagation of edible species, and identification of wild forms. Each student will be required to develop a collection of local species and research the use of a particular fungus used in medicine. While weather permits, there will be weekly field trips in the surrounding area. Prerequisites: Biology 100 or a good biology background.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F11.
Molecular Techniques
Biology 210 Mechanic-Meyers
3 credits
This is primarily a laboratory course designed to give students a working knowledge of techniques currently used in recombinant DNA technology. Laboratory exercises will include investigating nucleosome structure, restriction endonuclease mapping, sequence analysis, DNA hybridization, PCR, and a long-term cloning project. In addition, the current literature in this dynamic field will be reviewed with emphasis on analyzing research methods. This course will equip students to undertake more complex laboratory projects in molecular biology and will prepare them for advanced or graduate study in the field. Four hour lab, one hour lecture per week. Prerequisites: Biology 201 or Biology 202, Chemistry 100 or higher (corequisite).
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F10.
Human Osteology
Biology 211 Naamon
3 credits
With rare exceptions, the only direct evidence we have pertaining to the anatomy, health, and evolution of past human populations must be derived from preserved skeletal remains. Increasingly there is a need to identify and determine age, sex, ancestry, and other information from contemporary human remains. Detailed knowledge of the human skeleton is therefore central to a broad range of functional, population, and taxonomic studies in archaeology, paleontology, forensic medicine, dental, and medical research. Students will learn about the external and internal structure and physiological properties of bone, how to interpret growth and development of bone, how bone structure evolves given different environments, how various diseases and trauma modify bone, and last but not least, students will learn how to recognize and identify every bone in the human body, and many key muscles, and other structures, that are associated with the bones. Classes will consist of a combination of lecture days and laboratory days.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S11.
Disease and Community Ecology
Biology 212 Naamon
3 credits
This course will provide a survey of the patterns of health and illness from the Paleolithic era to the present. The first portion of the course will explore prehistoric humans’ interactions with the environment. This will be followed by a study of the origins of both agriculture and urban environments in the Neolithic era, and of the diseases that became evident in such environments since then. Areas of particular concern will be the cities of Africa, Asia, and medieval Europe. The industrial period in Europe and later worldwide foreshadowed new patterns of urban settlement that became the sites of new health problems and ways of dealing with them. The final portion of the course will scrutinize the contemporary urban environment in developed and developing nations. No prerequisites.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught S09.
Death: A Biocultural Process
Biology 214 CP Naamon
3 credits
Death is not merely the absence of life—it is a process that is integral to life. This course is an interdisciplinary exploration of biological, philosophical, and social processes of death and dying. Some of the questions we will examine include the following: Who or what dies when a body ceases to function? Is there a limit to how long a person, or any biological organism, lives? What determines such a limit? What are legal definitions of death in different societies? What are the limits of human exposure to extreme environments and what can this teach us about human adaptation, whether we live or die? How do various cultures around the world view death from a biological perspective? What are the origins of our beliefs about death? How do dying people wish to be treated? What happens to the body after death? Should we assist people in dying? At the conclusion of the course, the student will be better able to view death as a process of biology that is interpreted by a variety of societies. This course does not offer credits toward the Science requirement.
This course is generally offered once every three or four years. Last taught F09.
Medical Anthropology
Biology 220 CP Naamon
3 credits
Medical anthropology studies cross-cultural medical practices, the relationship between society and disease processes, and social and cultural aspects of health and health care. This course is an introduction to medical anthropology that employs a holistic framework to further our understanding of both non-industrial and industrial societies. We will explore contemporary theories and methods of medical anthropology while looking at health, illness, disease, ecological approaches, the therapeutic process, aging, the critical-interpretive approach, and medical ethics. The student should gain an understanding of medicine and sociocultural phenomenon. This course does not offer credits toward the Science requirement.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S12.
Physiology
Biology 306 Staff
4 credits
Physiology is the study of biological function: The manifestation of dynamic interactions of many specialized cell types as they perform as tissues, organs, and systems. This course presents a mechanistic examination of mammalian physiology, integrating classical physiology with a molecular and cellular approach. Emphasis will be placed on essential homeostasis, regulatory pathways, tissue organization, and the organ systems of the human body. Comparative vertebrate models will be employed in laboratory activities. Laboratory required; laboratory fee. Prerequisites: Biology 201, Chemistry 101, or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught S10.
Animal Behavior
Biology 309 Schmidt
4 credits
This course, involving both lectures and field experience, takes an ethological approach to animal behavior, examining the physiological, ontogenetic, and evolutionary bases of behavior. Topics include sensory capacities, orientation, motivation, instinct, learning, communication, social behavior, and the evolution of behavior. Prerequisite: (one of these courses) Biology 202, Environmental Studies 200, Biology 306, Biology 307, Psychology 100, Psychology 205, or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F11.
Evolution
Biology 310 Schmidt
4 credits
This course covers the concepts and consequences of organic evolution. Topics include the history of the concept of evolution, nature of variation in species and populations, origin of species, and the process of speciation. Also covered are such topics as the origin and history of life on Earth, new theories of evolution such as punctuated equilibrium and nonequilibrium thermodynamics, and cladistic methods for reconstructing historical relationships. Prerequisite: At least one 200-level biology course.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F10.
Biochemistry
Biology 312 Myers
4 credits
This course is designed to demonstrate how the chemistry of living systems is a natural extension of the basic principles of inorganic and organic chemistry. Recent advances in biochemical research will be incorporated with background from the text and papers of fundamental value to the field. Topics include: Biosynthesis of proteins, nucleic acids, lipids, steroids, carbohydrates; protein structure and enzyme catalysis; bioenergetics and metabolic pathways; and biochemical evolution. Laboratory fee. Prerequisites: Chemistry 303 and Biology 201, or permission of the instructor.
This course is generally offered once every two years. Last taught F13.
Histology
Biology 316 Mechanic-Myers
4 credits
Histology is the study of the microscopic anatomy of cells. This course is designed to prepare students who are interested in careers in the health sciences with a rudimentary working knowledge of the cellular organization of human tissues and organs. This Histology course will primarily emphasize the structural aspects of mammalian cells, tissues and organs. It will also covers the basic functions of these structures. The laboratory portion of this course provides the student with the opportunity to use the light microscope to study stained and mounted sections of mammalian tissues, which they will prepare. Students will learn how to fix, embed, and section tissue blocks. In addition, we will learn about and use different staining techniques. Active participation in the laboratory part of the course should provide students with a basic, contemporary understanding of the material presented in lecture. Prerequisite: Biology 201.
Biology Tutorial
Biology 300/400 Staff
4 credits
Under these course numbers, juniors and seniors design tutorials to meet their particular interests and programmatic needs. A student should see the prospective tutor to define an area of mutual interest to pursue either individually or in a small group. A student may register for no more than one tutorial in any semester.