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BIO 390


Selected topics in biology are offered. Prerequisite: one year of biology or permission of instructor.

Distribution Area Prerequisites Credits
One year of biology or permission of instructor 1/2-1 course

Fall Semester information

Sarah Lee

390A: Tps: Aquatic Ecology

Includes laboratory. Students in this class will learn to describe and discuss the importance of physical, chemical, and biological/ecological properties of aquatic systems. Emphasis is placed on human interactions with freshwater ecosystems, as well our impacts on those systems.

Spring Semester information

Kevin Kinney

390A: Tps:Biology of Stress

This class will introduce students to the biologic concept of stress, from its origins in the early part of the 20th century to modern research in the field. We will be examining the positive and negative effects of the stress response (primarily in mammals), and the different effects of chronic, intermittent, and acute stress as well as physical vs. psychological stress. In addition to learning the effects on many of the major physiologic systems (cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, reproductive, endocrine, etc) and on mental health and behavior, we will also touch briefly on the interaction of socioeconomic status and physiology.

This is an "S" class, and a major focus of the class will also be on reading primary and review literature in the field and communicating the results in oral form, both live and in the form of recordings.

Students can expect to present, singly or in groups, at least 4 times during the semester, including a recorded project at the end of the semester.

Bruce Serlin

390B: Tps:Plants,Diet & Health

We all eat. It is a vital activity required to sustain both our development and our health. It is also an activity that binds groups of people culturally. Interest in food seems to have grown substantial in recent time as is evident by the success of numerous television shows on a station dedicated entirely to cooking and to the plethora of popular books, 180,852 hits on, touting various diets that will assist you in losing weight, living longer, and escaping the "Western Diseases". Food is in! There is a lot of information out there: Can it all be accurate?? What is clear is that as populations adopt a Western-style diet high in calories, animal protein, animal fat and refined sugar, there is an increase in the occurrence of "Western Diseases". With this recognition has come a call to change our eating ways. Recommended is a diet with increased intake of plant-based foods.

This course is not intended to provide you with definitive answers. It is intended to explore the true meaning of the phrase "You are What You Eat". It will give you sufficient understanding in several inter-related topic areas that you will be able to make more informed decisions relating what you eat than the vast majority of the U.S. population. To accomplish this, we will examine materials relating to plants and phytochemicals, digestion and microbiomes, nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics, and food politics.

Melissa Petreaca

390C: Tps:Cell Death

Cells die for many reasons. Some die from their injuries, a process called necrosis, while others die through specific, programmed mechanisms. The best known form of programmed cell death is apoptosis, which is necessary for processes including normal tissue development, the killing of tumor cells and viral-infected cells by the immune system, and resolution of inflammation. Other forms of programmed cell death include necroptosis (regulated necrosis), ETosis (cell death by expulsion of DNA), and autophagy (cell death associated with auto-consumption of cellular components). In this course, we will use student-led presentations and discussions of research papers to explore the scientific literature surrounding each of these mechanisms of cell death.