Major

The nine biology courses required for the major include two introductory courses numbered between 120 and 129 and seven upper level courses. To encourage introduction to a broad range of biology topics, it is recommended that students who complete two introductory biology courses at Dickinson enroll in one course from the following: 122, 125, 126 or 127 and one course from the following: 120, 121, 123, 124, or 129. The nine biology courses required for the major must include one of the following upper-level courses in botany: 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, and one of the following upper level courses in zoology: 318, 321, 330, 333, 334. In addition, CHEM 241 and 242 are required.

The nine biology courses required for the major may not include more than one course in independent study or research unless the student has received advanced placement beyond the introductory level (any two 120-level Biology courses); then two courses of independent study or research may be counted toward the major. Of the nine biology courses required for the major, at least four must be upper-division laboratory courses (exclusive of independent study-research) taken in residence at Dickinson. No more than two courses numbered between 120 and 129 will be counted toward the major requirements, and students majoring in biology are discouraged from enrolling in more than two introductory biology courses.

All biology majors must include a research experience as part of their undergraduate program. (See RESEARCH EXPERIENCE section)

Two semesters of mathematical sciences (Calculus and/or Statistics), and two semesters of physics are strongly recommended for students intending graduate study toward an advanced degree in biology or the health professions. Students should consult with their faculty advisors about taking additional courses in other sciences that might be important to their career plans.

Minor

Six courses, including two introductory courses numbered between 120 and 129 and four upper level courses. The upper level courses must include one of the following courses in botany: 320, 322, 323, 324, 325, and one of the following courses in zoology: 318, 321, 330, 333, 334. In addition, CHEM 141 is required.

Suggested curricular flow through the major

The Biology major is designed so that students may explore the breadth of Biology offered by the department and choose courses that focus on his/her specific interests within this discipline, and to provide flexibility for those students who study abroad. Two semesters of mathematical sciences (Calculus and/or Statistics) and two semesters of Physics are strongly recommended for students intending graduate study toward an advanced degree in Biology or the health professions.

First Year
Two 100-level BIOL courses
CHEM 131/132, or 141; based on chemistry placement test results

Sophomore Year
Two of the following: BIOL 216, 313, 314, 321, 322
CHEM 241/242

Junior Year
Two or three 300- or 400-level courses not already completed

Senior Year
Two or three 300- or 400-level courses not already completed
Fulfillment of the research experience

Independent study and independent research

All biology majors must include a research experience as part of their undergraduate program. All biology majors will be required to present the results of their research experience in on campus symposia or at regional or national conferences. This requirement may be satisfied by the successful completion of any one of the following:

  1. an independent research project OR a student/faculty collaborative research project for biology credit;
  2. an off-campus internship with significant research component;
  3. 412 - Seminar;
  4. a research experience not covered by the above but deemed equivalent. Proposals should be submitted to the student's faculty advisor who will determine whether or not the completed experience satisfies the research requirement.

Honors

The biology faculty will award Honors to a biology major based on the candidate's entire undergraduate biology program. This includes all courses required for the major, the student's grades and the successful completion of a two semester (or summer and semester) research project. A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required in all courses that count toward the major, including CHEM 141, 241, and 242 (or their equivalent) and transfer courses that receive biology credit. The Honors research project should be distinguished by the originality and definition of the research problem, the sophistication of the experimental design and its execution, and the analysis and presentation of the results. The Honors thesis represents the culmination of the process and typically should be of publishable or near publishable quality.  See the department's web page for additional guidelines.

Opportunities for off-campus study

Field Biology Courses at the School for Field Studies. Dickinson is an affiliate of the School for Field Studies (SFS), which offers courses and on-site fieldwork in ecology, behavior, and conservation biology. Students can spend a semester at one of five permanent campus centers to study coastal ecology (British Columbia), wetlands ecology (Mexico), rainforest ecology (Australia), wildlife management (Kenya), or marine ecology (Turks and Caicos Is., Bahamas). A typical semester program would receive two biology and two general Dickinson credits. SFS also has summer courses. The SFS programs afford a unique opportunity for intensive study and active biological research in diverse environments.

Marine and Ecosystem Studies. Dickinson is an affiliate of the Semester in Ecosystem Studies at the Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole, MA) and of the Duke University Marine Laboratory. These programs offer specialized, full-semester options with field and lab courses for biology students.

The Dickinson Science Program in England. Biology students have the opportunity to study for a semester or a year in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in Norwich, England. This Dickinson program is overseen by an on-site Dickinson faculty member who advises students and teaches courses. UEA has an excellent biology program which was recently awarded the highest rating possible for teaching and research by the British government.

The Dickinson Science Program in Australia.  Biology students have the opportunity to study for one semester at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane, Australia. The University of Queensland offers a variety of outstanding science programs ranging from premedical studies to marine education. Examples of programs in which Dickinson students have participated include ecology of the Great Barrier Reef, human anatomy, and tropical rainforest ecology. UQ was recently selected as "Australia's University of the Year."

Courses

120 Life at the Extremes: A Survival Guide
The Weddell Seal holds its breath for 40 minutes while routinely diving to a depth of 1,500 feet in -1.6°C water and Bar Headed Geese migrate at thousands of feet above the summit of Mt. Everest. How do these animals accomplish these seemingly amazing tasks? Questions of survival and more will be addressed in this study of comparative physiology. We will seek explanations of these phenomena by first evaluating the physical nature of these hostile environments and then exploring the mechanisms of survival. We will also investigate our own physiology and human limits of performance. Lecture will be enhanced by laboratory experiences in experimental physiology and vertebrate dissection.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

121 Alien Worlds w/Lab
The possibility of life elsewhere in the universe is now widely accepted, but what kind of life can we expect it to be? This course considers what we know, and don't know, about the nature of life and the way it has evolved on Earth, to make a best guess about 'alien' life. Our strategy will be to investigate how biologists use theory and data to answer questions. Challenging introductory texts, news media, and scientific journals will be our major resources for discussion and laboratory studies. On finishing this course you should approach any biological news or issue with a more analytical eye, but ideally with increased fascination as well.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

122 The Biochemical Basis of Metabolic Disorders
An introductory course focusing on the various types of molecules found in living systems and the ways they function and interact in both normal and abnormal cellular metabolism. Topics include genetic and enzymatic regulation of metabolic processes, energy capture and transformation, and a series of case studies dealing with the biochemical basis of metabolic disorders. We will also compare and contrast the treatment of scientific issues in the popular press with that found in the scientific literature. The course is intended to provide students with a basic understanding of some of the principles and methodology of modern biology, and to develop their ability to distinguish between legitimate science and pseudoscience.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

123 Interactions of Plants, Animals and Fungi
Plants, animals and fungi have vastly different strategies for obtaining food, reproducing, and finding places to live. Many of the most important adaptations in each of these three groups involve fending off, partnering with, or exploiting members of the other two groups. This course considers the ways in which the three groups interact and the many consequences of these interactions for our ecosystems and for humans. In laboratory/greenhouse/field studies, lecture, and discussion we will develop an understanding of how biologists approach questions and design experiments concerning interactions, how their findings should or should not be interpreted, and how the findings are disseminated to general and scientific audiences.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

124 Biology of Behavior w/Lab
This course explores the biological basis of animal behavior. We will use an evolutionary framework to consider why behaviors arise within animal species (including humans) and ask how neural systems shape, constrain and execute the types of behaviors that we observe in nature. Topics will include animal navigation, communication, mating systems and sociality. We will read selections from the primary research literature of behavioral biology as models of scientific thought and discourse. Laboratory and fieldwork will emphasize construction of good experimental questions, refinement of hypotheses, quantitative analysis of data and effective communication of research results.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

125 Understanding Cancer w/Lab
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. In the year 2000, over half a million Americans died of cancer and over one million new cancer cases were diagnosed. Virtually everyone who is 18 years old or older knows someone who has battled cancer. This course explores the biology of the complex array of genetic diseases known as cancer. What is cancer, why does it occur, how is it treated, and what would it mean to our society to find a cancer cure, are just a few of the questions that will be addressed. In the laboratory, the unique characteristics of cancer cells will be investigated and treatments designed to revert these characteristics to those of normal cells will be explored. By understanding cancer, cancer research, and the promise of new cancer treatments, students should complete the course with a greater appreciation for the scientific process and the role science plays in human health.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

126 Infectious Disease versus Immune Defense
Given the variety and virulence of the hundreds of pathogens we are exposed to every day, it seems miraculous that any of us survives into adulthood. This course will consider the biology of pathogens and the immunological defense systems which help counteract them. Both a human-based and comparative approach will be employed. Lecture, discussion and lab segments will emphasize the application of knowledge, the interpretation of scientific and popular information, and the demystification of disease and immunity. Students finishing this course should have a new found appreciation of the molecular, genetic and cellular mechanisms underlying disease and defense.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

127 This Is Your Life w/Lab
This course provides an overview of the human life cycle. Topics of discussion include the molecular and cellular building blocks of which humans and every other living organism are constructed, human development from a single cell through birth of a multi-cellular individual, with specialized tissues and organs, and birth defects and disease. Recent molecular advances that have the potential to improve human health will also be introduced. In the laboratory portion of the course, we will perform experiments with model organisms that use the techniques and approaches that are utilized to investigate human development and health.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

128 BioDiscovery Topics

129 Changing Ocean Ecosystem W/Lab
An introduction to the biology of marine communities, including salt marshes and mangroves, intertidal zones, reefs, and deep-sea vents, among others. For each community, the physical characteristics of the environment as well as the physiological adaptations of the resident species will be examined. We will also focus on how marine communities are changing in response to anthropogenic stresses in light of concepts such as diversity indexes, keystone species, and disturbance theory. Selected readings from the primary literature and the popular press are required. Laboratory projects will emphasize experimental design and hypothesis testing.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. This course fulfills either the DIV III lab science distribution requirement or QR graduation requirement.

216 Genetics
A study of Mendelian genetics, linkage, and mutation. An introduction to basic DNA structure and function including replication, transcription, and translation. Laboratory exercises involve both classic and molecular approaches to genetic analysis utilizing prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125.

313 Cell Biology w/Lab
An introduction to the structure and function of cells, with emphasis on the molecular mechanisms of cellular processes. The course will involve discussion-oriented lectures and readings from the current literature. The laboratory will stress the discovery approach in applying state of the art techniques to cell biological experiments.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125and NRSC 200.

314 Ecology w/Lab
Study of the interactions of organisms with each other, and with their environment, at the level of the individual, the population, the community, and the ecosystem. Lectures and readings consider both the theory of ecology and data from empirical research in the classic and current literature. Laboratory and field studies explore how ecologists perform quantitative tests of hypotheses about complex systems in nature.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129 or ENST 131, 132 (or 130). This course is cross-listed as ENST 314.

315 Evolution
Study of the mechanics of evolutionary change within organisms and its genetic basis. Lecture, readings from the primary literature, laboratory investigations, and field study are used to consider evolutionary trends. Topics of emphasis include the relationships among living organisms; the value of the fossil record; adaptation; how species originate; and the role of natural selection in the evolutionary process
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129, or permission of the instructor. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125. Offered every other year.

316 Genomics, Proteomics & Bioinformatics
The genome contains all the information required for the construction and operation of an organism. The genome directs the creation of a proteome, which is cell type and condition specific. Today, molecular biologists are able to study whole genomes and proteomes allowing for an integrative analysis of living systems. This course will explore these new genomic and proteomic techniques and their many applications. Central to these methods is the use of computer tools that facilitate the understanding of the huge data sets generated. We will learn how to use a variety of bioinformatics tools by applying them to specific questions about cell function, disease, and evolution.
Three hours classroom per week. Prerequisites: 216 or permission of instructor.

318 Animal Development w/Lab
Material deals with descriptive embryology and the mechanisms of development including the genetic and biochemical levels. Laboratory includes observation of selected examples of invertebrate and vertebrate development and experimental investigations of developmental processes.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125.

320 Forest Ecology & Applications
An exploration of the structure and function of forests with a focus on trees. Levels of organization from organs to the biosphere are considered. A set of topics, such as leaf-atmosphere interactions, whole-tree physiology, stand dynamics, energy flows, and biogeochemical cycles are examined in depth. The effects of human interventions in forests are considered as these provide insights into the processes operating within forests. The course includes quantitative analysis and a substantial field component.
Three hours lecture and four hours laboratory each week. Prerequisites: Any combination of two courses from among the 100-level biology courses and ENST 131, 132 (or 130). This course is cross-listed as ENST 340.

321 Invertebrate Zoology w/Lab
An integrated lecture and laboratory study of the anatomy, taxonomy, evolution, ecology, physiology, and embryology of invertebrates. Representatives of the major invertebrate phyla are examined in the field and in the laboratory.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129 or ENST 131, 132 (or 130). For Neuroscience majors, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125.

322 Plant Systematics w/Lab
A systematic survey of the plant kingdom through the collection and study of living plants. Frequent field trips are conducted as weather permits. An herbarium of named plants is prepared. Emphasis will be placed on the diverse features of plants which permit effective study of fundamental biological problems.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129 or ENST 131, 132 (or 130). This course is cross-listed as ENST 322.

323 Algae, Fungi & Lichens W/Lab
Study of the systematics, morphology, ecology, evolution, physiology and development of algae, fungi, and lichens. Lecture and discussion include examples and readings from classic and recent research. Laboratories include field surveys and collections, follow-up laboratory identifications, and experimental investigations including directed individual or small-group research projects.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129. Offered every other year.

324 Plant Geography and Ecology
Analysis of factors determining the distribution and abundance of plant species, including study of plant migration patterns today and in the distant past. Lecture includes examples and readings from classic and recent research. Field, laboratory, and greenhouse studies focus on plant demography, plant-animal interactions, plant community structure, competition, soil and water relations, and other topics.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129 OR ENST 131, 132 (or 130). Offered every two years.

325 Plant Physiology w/Lab
A study of plant structure and function, with emphasis on the flowering plants. Includes plant cells and organelles, mineral nutrition, translocation processes, and hormonal regulation of growth, development, and reproduction. Biochemical and environmental aspects of photosynthesis are emphasized.
Six hours classroom/laboratory a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129. This course will fulfill the WR graduation requirement.

326 Microbiology w/Lab
Molecular biology, genetics, and biochemistry (structure and function) of bacteria, archaea, and viruses. Includes an introduction to the immune system and mechanisms of medical control of microbes. Molecular mechanisms of bacterial pathogenesis are addressed via readings from the recent primary literature. Laboratory exercises include the isolation and characterization of unknown bacteria using traditional and molecular methods, and modern genomic approaches to characterizing host response to infection.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129 or ENST 131 and 132 (or 130). For Neuroscience majors, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125. Offered every other year.

327 Developmental Neurobiology
This course explores the development of the nervous system, from the early patterning of the neural plate, through the differentiation of embryonic cells into diverse neuronal subtypes, and culminating with the integration of multiple neuronal subtypes into the complex wiring circuits that underlie our sensory, motor, and cognitive abilities. We will study the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying neural specification, the formation of neuronal connections, neural patterning by programmed cell death, and experience-dependent modulation of neural circuits. We also will examine the ways that neural development can go awry. In the laboratory we will explore topics such as neural induction, cell lineage and fate determination, neuronal migration, axon guidance, activity-dependent development and critical periods, and the development of behavior. The focus of the course will be on the development of the mammalian nervous system, but the contributions of simpler animal models to our understanding of the human brain will be a secondary emphasis.
Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129, OR, BIOL 124 and PSYC 125, and NRSC 200 OR permission of the instructor.

330 Neurobiology w/Lab
This course takes a cellular approach to the structure and function of nervous systems. Integrated laboratory and classroom study focus on the physical and chemical properties of neurons that make them different from other cells, and the relationships between neurons that allow nervous systems to interpret the environment and to generate behavior. Extracellular and intracellular electrical recording methods are used extensively, and are supplemented and neurochemical and anatomical techniques such as high-pressure liquid chromatography and immunocytochemistry.
Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129, OR, 124 and PSYC 125 and NRSC 200.

332 Natural History of Vertebrates
An exploration into the lifestyles of vertebrates heavily focused on field biology. Natural history is strongly dependent on descriptive anatomy and systematics and therefore this course will cover the evolutionary relationships among vertebrates highlighting unique features that facilitated the success of the major groups. In field labs, students will develop observational skills such as how to identify a bird by its song, a frog by its call, a mammal by the color of its pelage, and a snake by its shed skin. Indoor labs will focus on identifying species from preserved specimens as well as providing students with the skills necessary to preserve vertebrates for future study. Preservation methods could include preparing museum-quality mammal and bird skins, formalin fixation of fish, and skeletal preparations.
Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129 OR ENST 131, 132 (or 130) OR ERSC 307. This course is cross-listed as ENST 332. Offered every two years.

333 Physiology w/Lab
A study of physiological mechanisms in the animal kingdom, stressing the structural and functional bases of biological activities. Emphasis is on vertebrate organs and organ systems. Laboratory includes experimental physiological studies of selected organisms.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125 and NRSC 200.

334 Vertebrate Biology w/Lab
An integrated lecture and laboratory study of the anatomy, embryology, physiology, and evolution of vertebrates. Representative live and dissection specimens are studied from the perspective of structure and function.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125.

335 Microanatomy
An integrated study of the functional microanatomy of vertebrates. This course will examine the microscopic anatomy of cells, tissues, organ, and organ systems and their interrelationships. The laboratory portion of the course will cover methods of contemporary histologic technique and will include independent experimental projects.
Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129. Offered every other year. For Neuroscience majors only, prerequisite is 124 and PSYC 125.

342 Structure and Function of Biomolecules w/Lab
This course is an introductory biochemistry course focused on the chemistry of the major molecules that compose living matter. The structure and function of the major classes of biomolecules (nucleic acids, proteins, lipids, and carbohydrates) are addressed along with other topics including bioenergetics, enzyme catalysis, and information transfer at the molecular level. The laboratory portion of the course focuses on methods used to study the properties and behavior of biological molecules and their functions in the cell.
Three hours lecture and four hours of laboratory per week. Prerequisite: CHEM 242; an introductory biology course is highly recommended. This course is cross-listed as CHEM 342.

343 Metabolism
A survey of the metabolic processes in animals and plants, including signal transduction, aerobic and anaerobic respiration, and photosynthesis, as well as the biosynthesis of the major types of biomolecules. For each metabolic pathway, we will examine the regulation of enzymes and related genes, their energetic requirements, and the function of pathway end products. Both the normal functioning of metabolic pathways and common metabolic malfunctions, e.g., human inborn errors of metabolism, will be considered. Selected readings from the primary literature and the popular press are required. Students will complete detailed case studies focusing on human metabolism and metabolic disorders.
Three hours classroom a week. Prerequisite: CHEM 242. This course is cross-listed as CHEM 343.

348 Computer Simulation Modeling
Computer simulation modeling is a way to develop scientific understanding. A key element of computational science, computer simulation modeling is the representation of systems with mathematics; computers do the mathematical calculation. This course considers biological, chemical, and physical systems, with interdisciplinary applications in environmental science and other fields. For the course project, students model systems related to their individual interests. No experience with computer programming or calculus is required.
Six hours of integrated lecture and laboratory each week. Prerequisites: Any three courses in natural science and/or mathematics. This course is cross-listed as ENST 348. This course fulfills the DIV III lab science distribution requirement.

380 Immunology
A team-taught study of the biological and chemical aspects of the field of immunology. The areas covered include immunochemistry, immunogenetics, cell-mediated immunity, and immunopathology. Emphasis in the class and the laboratory will be on the process and analysis of experimental investigation.
Prerequisite: One BIOL course numbered between 120 and 129, or 313 or CHEM 242 or permission of the instructor. Offered every other year.

401 Special Topics
An in-depth study of specialized subject areas of biology. Some recent topics included Experimental Virology, Ornithology, and Histology. Topic, course structure, credit, and instructor will be announced by preregistration.
Prerequisite dependent upon topic. Offered occasionally.

412 Seminar
Through detailed study of the primary biological literature, students acquire an understanding of the methodology and philosophy of scientific research. Includes study of the formulation of hypotheses, the design of experiments or observations to test these hypotheses, and the interpretation of results. This course will normally require a major research-based presentation and/or paper and may also involve the conduct of research by students. This course satisfies the requirement for a research experience for the biology major.
Prerequisites: two Biology courses numbered between 120 and 129, and one upper-level biology course.

416 Population Genetics
This is a course on advanced genetics in the genomics age. Whole genome sequences are accumulating at an increasingly rapid pace. Our current challenge is to uncover meaning in the hundreds of billions of base pairs that are now available. The fields of study that strive to make sense of all this variation are population and quantitative genetics. In this course, we will survey topics in population genetics, the study of frequencies of alleles in populations, and quantitative genetics, the study of continuously varying traits, with the goal of developing a deeper understanding of the connection between genotypes and phenotypes. This course will integrate lectures, in-class discussions, and wet and dry (computational) labs to provide a comprehensive perspective on population and quantitative genetics. Three hours classroom and three hours laboratory a week. Prerequisite: BIOL 216

417 Molecular Genetics w/Lab
A study of the molecular aspects of gene structure and function. Course topics include recombinant DNA techniques, regulation of gene expression, oncogenes, tumor suppressor genes, molecular developmental genetics, and human molecular genetics. The laboratory studies utilize contemporary, molecular methods to explore DNA organization and function.
Six hours classroom/laboratory a week. Prerequisites: One of the following: 216, 313, 316, 318, 326, 327, 380, or permission of the instructor.

418 Developmental Genomics
In this course we focus on the regulation of gene expression during development. Course topics include mechanisms of control of gene expression, comparative genomics, molecular evolution, the theory and use of bioinformatics to address these topics, and molecular techniques used to assess and perturb gene expression during development. Laboratory studies will utilize molecular and data-mining approaches to investigate the roles of genes during development.
Six hours classroom a week. Prerequisites: two BIOL courses numbered between 120 and 129 and 216, or permission of instructor.

419 RNA w/Lab
A focused study of biochemical, cellular, and molecular aspects of ribonucleic acid (RNA). Topics of study include RNA structure, RNA processing and turnover, splicing, ribozymes and riboswitches, RNA interference, RNA editing and modification, small RNAs and RNA viruses. Regular reading and discussion of primary literature will complement the lectures. The laboratory will utilize modern molecular biology techniques for working with and using RNA to perform original research.
Six hours classroom/laboratory a week. Prerequisites: One of the following: BIOL 216, 313, 316, 318, 326, 327, 380, or permission of the instructor.

425 The Biology of Cancer w/lab
Cancer is a genetic disorder that affects some 10 million people worldwide. In the United States, cancer is a close second to heart disease as the leading cause of death. This course will examine the molecular basis of cancer including the genes and signaling pathways involved in malignant transformation and the physiological consequences of uncontrolled cell growth. Current methods in cancer research and recent advances in cancer treatment will also be discussed. Specific topics covered will include: oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes, oncogenic mutation, tumor viruses, apoptosis, angiogenesis, metastasis, tumor immunology, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, and biological therapy.
Six hours classroom/laboratory a week. Prerequisite: One of the following: 216, 313, 316, 318, 326, 327, 380, or permission of the instructor.

427 Virology
An introduction to the molecular and cellular biology of viruses. Topics of study include the life cycle of viruses in general and their relationships with their hosts, including the processes of attachment to, entry into, genomic replication within, and exit from, cells. Aspects of pathogenesis, disease, the immune response to viruses, and vaccines, also will be studied. Related topics (such as prions, RNA interference, and public health issues) may be discussed. Regular reading and discussion of primary literature will complement the lectures.
Three hours classroom a week. Prerequisite: One of the following: 216, 313, 316, 318, 326, 327, 380, or permission of the instructor.

433 Molecular Pathophysiology w/Lab
Human diseases often result from disordered physiology (pathophysiology) and therefore the abilities to understand disease and design specific and effective treatments are dependent on understanding normal physiological processes and the ways in which these can become disordered. This course will review the normal structure and function of select systems in the human body and subsequently examine the cellular, molecular, and systemic pathophysiological mechanisms that underlie common diseases related to that system with an emphasis on critical analysis of current biomedical literature. The laboratory portion of the course will involve original research projects using cell culture and animal models of human disease. Six hours of classroom/laboratory a week. Prerequisites: at least one upper-level physiology or cellular & molecular biology course: 216, 313, 318, 326, 327, 330 ,333, 334, 335, 342, 380 or permission of instructor.