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BIO 290


Selected topics in Biology. May or may not include a laboratory, depending on the subject. 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

Spring Semester information

Dana Dudle

290A: Tps:Being Human in STEM

This is an interactive course that combines academic inquiry and community engagement to investigate the theme of diversity within STEM fields--at DePauw and beyond. In the first half of the semester we will ground our understanding of the STEM experience at DePauw in national and global contexts, specifically looking at the way in which gender, class, race, sexuality, and geographic upbringing might shape these experiences. We will accomplish this through reading interdisciplinary scholarly literature. We will supplement our readings with our own stories, and with conversations with members of the DePauw STEM community. In the second half of the semester, you will collaborate to design and implement projects that apply what we have learned, to develop resources and engage the STEM community in the crucial work of diversity and equity locally or more broadly. Coursework includes weekly readings, reflective writing, in-class discussion, and will culminate in a public presentation on your group projects.

Note: the course description and structure of our DePauw HSTEM course is adapted from the work of Dr. Sheila Jaswal and STEM students at Amherst College who originated "Being Human in STEM" in 2016.

Lynn Bedard

290B: Tps:Epigenetics

This course will introduce the fascinating sub discipline of Epigenetics as it relates to how organisms develop over the course of their lives. We will explore some of the research theories surrounding how environment can influence phenotypic expression, such as whether an organism's sex is male or female. The mechanisms by which such environmental agents operate are only beginning to be understood. Importantly, environment does not necessarily refer to nature or ecology; rather, it can speak to levels of hormones, or the physical surrounding of a cell or tissue. You will learn relevant concepts in molecular biology and genetics. These areas of Biology will serve as a foundation for our readings of both primary literature and popular science. In many cases, fascinating case studies in the realm of epigenetics will be the stimulus for excellent conversation. Students will read sources in primary scientific literature as well as the popular press to compare and contrast how scientific information is transmitted to the general public. Students will be able to explain the phenomenon as well as the molecular mechanisms of how gene expression impacts phenotypic variation in individuals as well as populations. The primary goal of this class is to provide you with a strong foundation in understanding epigenetics, and for you to develop a robust understanding of one of the fundamental processes of development. Your responsibility is to be engaged in focused and critical readings of the material, to come to class prepared, and to intently participate in discussions with the instructor and your classmates. A variety of writing styles will be explored along the way to help students develop the key skills to complete the W competency.