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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

Lynn Bedard

390A: Tps:Microbial Behavior

Students should think of this class as a series of conversations that you would experience at a meeting of a professional society. When biologists attend conferences and meetings, they present talks or posters, present concepts and data, critically listen, ask questions, and engage in discussions. These conversations are an essential element of scientific work, since they provide feedback on work in progress and, thus, improve the quality of scientific research. The critical dialog that we will engage in will be a matter of drawing on what we know, so that we can learn what we don't know, which will lead us to a better understanding of the subject. We will be covering 6 major areas of research in microbial behavior this semester. We will be spending approximately 2 weeks per topic. During the first week of each module, we will read and discuss review papers that cover the module topic in broad strokes. During the next week, student teams will present primary research papers that dig deeper into the topic of the module. Topics include chemotaxis, sporulation, quorum sensing, the bacterial immune system CRISPR, toxins and biofilm formation.

Nipun Chopra

390B: Tps:Brain & Diseases

The normal function of the brain is a symphony of regulated neuroanatomical, cellular, molecular, vascular and functional processes. During and after the onset of brain diseases such as Alzheimer's Disease, stroke, epilepsy, CTE, locked-in syndrome, etc., one or more of these highly regulated processes are impaired. This course examines the cellular processes defining these diseases while connecting them to the salient symptoms associated with each. During the first five weeks of the course, we will learn the fundamental processes of cellular neuroscience through lecture and conversation. The remainder of the course will be student-led via presentations of self-selected primary literature. BIO 101 and at least one 200- or 300- level course in Biology or Neuroscience is recommended.

James Benedix

390C: Tps:Biological Field Research

This will be a strictly "lab course" in that it will meet one time per week for three hours at the Manning Environmental Field Station at the Nature Park, with no regular "lecture" meetings. It will be solely focused on getting field biology experience by participating in research projects as well as habitat management. Among the skills that we will work on are field experimental design, ecological interpretation, species identification, and ecological research techniques. Students will be expected to work in the field at times outside of the normal class meeting times, and should be prepared for the possibility of challenging physical work and inclement weather conditions.

Philips Akinwole

390D: Tps:Urban Ecology: Ecology in cities, Ecology for cities

Cities can suffice as brew pots of evolution and can influence the evolutionary trajectories of species in numerous ways. Students will be able to understand how cities function, the response of plants and animals to urban environments, and how urban areas affect local, regional, and global biodiversity patterns. Urban Ecology is an interdisciplinary course, using field trips to cities and parks, with a mix of lectures, invited guest(s), article discussions, and other experiential learning components to understand global ecological issues and equitable society. Through this course, students will be introduced to ecology in cities (e.g. how do urban white clover plant populations differ from rural ones?) and ecology for cities (e.g., how do we use urban ecological knowledge to make cities healthier, safe and vibrant places to live?).Topics include Patterns of urbanization, Urbanization impacts on biodiversity (e.g. white clover plants), Urban climate, and Urban Ecology and Human Health.

Spring Semester information

Sarah Mordan-McCombs

390B: Tps:Biology of Cancer