Spring 2010 Courses

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023. Personal Genomes
Jack Bateman M  1:00 - 2:25
W  1:00 - 2:25
An introduction to the field of genetics and its impact on the modern world. As the cost of DNA sequence analysis plummets, many believe that sequencing entire genomes of individuals will soon become part of our routine preventive healthcare. How can information gleaned from your genome affect decisions about your health? Beyond medical applications, how might personal genetic information be used in other areas of your life, and society as a whole? What ethical, legal, and social issues are raised by widespread use of genetic information? These questions are explored through readings, discussion, and writing assignments.
061. Your First Nine Months: From Conception to Birth
Carey Phillips M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
Covers the biological events from the process of fertilization through early development and birth of a human. Intended for those who have had little biology or do not intend to major in biology. Explores the formation of the major organ systems and how the parts of the body are constructed in the correct places and at the correct times. Also discusses topics such as cloning and the effects of prenatal use of drugs as they relate to the biological principles involved in early human development. Includes a few in-class laboratory sessions in which students learn to do experiments, and collect, analyze, and interpret data.
102. Biological Principles II
Amy Johnson M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
The second in a two-semester introductory biology sequence. Emphasizes fundamental biological principles extending from the physiological to the ecosystem level of living organisms. Topics include physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology, with a focus on developing quantitative skills as well as critical thinking and problem solving skills. Lecture and weekly laboratory/discussion groups.
109. Introductory Biology
Patsy Dickinson M  8:30 - 9:25
W  8:30 - 9:25
F  8:30 - 9:25
Lectures examine fundamental biological principles, from the subcellular to the ecosystem level. Topics include bioenergetics, structure-function relationships, cellular information systems, physiology, ecology, and evolutionary biology. Laboratory sessions are intended to develop a deeper understanding of the techniques and methods of science by requiring students to design and conduct their own experiments. Lecture and weekly laboratory/discussion groups.
158. Perspectives in Environmental Science
John Lichter T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
Functioning of the earth system is defined by the complex and fascinating interaction of processes within and between four principal spheres: land, air, water, and life. Leverages key principles of environmental chemistry and ecology to unravel the intricate connectedness of natural phenomena and ecosystem function. Fundamental biological and chemical concepts are used to understand the science behind the environmental dilemmas facing societies as a consequence of human activities. Laboratory sessions consist of local field trips, laboratory experiments, group research, case study exercises, and discussions of current and classic scientific literature.
214. Comparative Physiology
Patsy Dickinson M  11:30 - 12:55
W  11:30 - 12:55
An examination of animal function, from the cellular to the organismal level. The underlying concepts are emphasized, as are the experimental data that support our current understanding of animal function. Topics include the nervous system, hormones, respiration, circulation, osmoregulation, digestion, and thermoregulation. Labs are short, student-designed projects involving a variety of instrumentation. Lectures and four hours of laboratory work per week.
216. Evolution
Daniel Thornhill M  10:30 - 11:25
W  10:30 - 11:25
F  10:30 - 11:25
Examines one of the most breathtaking ideas in the history of science—that all life on this planet descended from a common ancestor. An understanding of evolution illuminates every subject in biology, from molecular biology to ecology. Provides a broad overview of evolutionary ideas, including the modern theory of evolution by natural selection, evolution of sexual reproduction, patterns of speciation and macro-evolutionary change, evolution of sexual dimorphisms, selfish genetic elements, and kin selection. Laboratory sessions are devoted to semester-long, independent research projects.
218. Microbiology
Anne McBride T  11:30 - 12:55
TH 11:30 - 12:55
An examination of the structure and function of microorganisms, from viruses to bacteria to fungi, with an emphasis on molecular descriptions. Subjects covered include microbial structure, metabolism, and genetics. Control of microoganisms and environmental interactions are also discussed. Laboratory sessions every week.
224. Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Bruce Kohorn T  8:30 - 9:55
TH 8:30 - 9:55
Focuses on the structure and function of cells as we have come to know them through the interpretation of direct observations and experimental results. Emphasis is on the scientific (thought) processes that have allowed us to understand what we know today, emphasizing the use of genetic, biochemical, and optical analysis to understand fundamental biological processes. Covers details of the organization and expression of genetic information, and the biosynthesis, sorting, and function of cellular components within the cell. Concludes with examples of how cells perceive signals from other cells within cell populations, tissues, organisms, and the environment. Three hours of lab each week. Chemistry 225 is recommended.
254. Biomechanics
Amy Johnson M  8:00 - 9:25
W  8:00 - 9:25
Examines the quantitative and qualitative characterization of organismal morphology, and explores the relationship of morphology to measurable components of an organism’s mechanical, hydrodynamic, and ecological environment. Lectures, labs, field trips, and individual research projects emphasize (1) analysis of morphology, including analyses of the shape of individual organisms as well as of the mechanical and molecular organization of their tissues; (2) characterization of water flow associated with organisms; and (3) analyses of the ecological and mechanical consequences to organisms of their interaction with their environment. Introductory physics and calculus are strongly recommended.
263. Laboratory in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
Peter Woodruff M  2:30 - 3:55Druckenmiller-004
Comprehensive laboratory course in molecular biology and biochemistry that reflects how research is conducted and communicated. Includes sequential weekly experiments, resulting in a cohesive, semester-long research project. Begins with genetic engineering to produce a recombinant protein, continues with its purification, and finishes with functional and structural characterization. Emphasis is on cloning strategy, controlling protein expression, and protein characterization using techniques such as polymerase chain reaction, affinity chromatography, isoelectric focusing, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Students also learn to manipulate data using structural and image analysis software.
266. Molecular Neruobiology
Hadley Horch T  10:00 - 11:25
TH 10:00 - 11:25
Examination of the molecular control of neuronal structure and function. Topics include the molecular basis of neuronal excitability, the factors involved in chemical and contact-mediated neuronal communication, and the complex molecular control of developing and regenerating nervous systems. Weekly laboratories complement lectures by covering a range of molecular and cellular techniques used in neurobiology and culminate in brief independent projects.
302. Earth Climate History and Its Impacts on Ecosystems and Human Civilizations
Philip Camill T  8:30 - 9:55
TH 8:30 - 9:55
The modern world is experiencing rapid climate warming and some parts extreme drought, which will have dramatic impacts on ecosystems and human societies. How do contemporary warming and aridity compare to past changes in climate? Are modern changes human-caused or part of the natural variability in the climate system? What effects did past changes have on global ecosystems and human societies? Uses the past as context for evaluating changes in the modern world. Students use sediment and growth records (ocean, glacier, lake, coral, tree ring, and rodent middens) to assemble proxies for past changes in climate, atmospheric CO2, and disturbance to examine several issues: how tectonics and orogeny affect long-term carbon cycling and climate, the rise of C4 photosynthesis and the evolution of grazing mammals, orbital forcing and glacial cycle theory/evidence, glacial refugia and post-glacial species migrations, climate change and the rise of human civilizations, climate/overkill hypothesis of Pleistocene megafauna, patterns and mechanisms of climate variability, drought cycles, how climate change affects disturbances like fire, climate-related collapses of human civilizations, and how models can be used to weigh the relative effects of natural variability and human-caused climate change. Prior enrollment in a 200- or 300-level environmental studies or geology course is recommended.
307. Evolutionary Developmental Biology
William Jackman T  1:00 - 3:55Druckenmiller-110
Advanced seminar investigating the synergistic but complex interface between the fields of developmental and evolutionary biology. Topics include the evolution of novel structures, developmental constraints to evolution, evolution of developmental gene regulation, and the generation of variation. Readings and discussions from the primary scientific literature.
314. Advanced Genetics and Epigenetics
Jack Bateman TH 1:00 - 3:55Druckenmiller-110
A seminar exploring the complex relationship between genotype and phenotype, with an emphasis on emerging studies of lesser-known mechanisms of inheritance and gene regulation. Topics include dosage compensation, parental imprinting, paramutation, random monoallelic expression, gene regulation by small RNAs, DNA elimination, copy number polymorphism, and prions. Reading and discussion of articles from the primary literature.
329. Neuronal Regeneration
Hadley Horch W  1:00 - 3:55Druckenmiller-110
The consequences of neuronal damage in humans, especially in the brain and spinal cord, are frequently devastating and permanent. Invertebrates, on the other hand, are often capable of complete functional regeneration. This course examines the varied responses to neuronal injury in a range of species. Topics include neuronal regeneration in planaria, insects, amphibians, and mammals. Students read and discuss original papers from the literature in an attempt to understand the basis of the radically different regenerative responses mounted by a variety of neuronal systems.