Biology Courses

You can filter the list of course descriptions below to show different subsets of Biology courses. By default (with all of the drop-down boxes set to "Any"), you will see all courses. Choosing other options in the drop-downs limits the list of courses. For example, if you choose "Evolution and Biodiversity" in the Core Area box, and "Yes" in the Lab box, you will see descriptions of all courses in the Evolution and Biodiversity category that meet the lab requirement.

The Biology Department no longer hosts web sites for Biology courses. Course pages are now hosted on Moodle.

Microbial diversity is integral in keeping us healthy. We will explore these invisible fellow travelers and learn who they are, what they are doing, and what happens when things go awry with our microbiome.  This is a lower level course that will not assume any prior knowledge. This is a writing intensive class and will spend some of our time learning how to write about scientific topics, as well as evaluating what we find in the literature, including newspapers, science magazines and the primary literature used by scientists. I will employ a diverse array of evaluation methods so that you should feel confident that you will have the chance to show what knowledge and skills you have gained from the class. These methods will include in class quizzes using smart phone technology, out of class Moodle quizzes that you can repeat as many times as you wish, formal exams, and writing activities.  (Gen.Ed. BS)

Offered Spring Semesters Only - Will NOT be offered Spring 2025 - One time offering Fall 2024

This course examines evolutionary biology with an emphasis on the scientific basis of evolution, and attention to the implications of evolutionary thought in contemporary society. Not intended for life-science majors. (Gen.Ed. BS)

Offered Fall Semesters Only - Will NOT be offered Fall 2024

This is a course for non-biology majors. In this course, we will explore biological principles at all levels of organization, from molecules and cells and to populations and the biosphere. Importantly, we will examine how biological topics, such as viruses, the evolution of antibiotic resistance, and climate change impact us all. (Gen Ed: BS)

Offered Spring Semesters Only

First semester of a full year course for science majors. Introduction to biochemical basis of living systems, cell and molecular biology, mitosis and meiosis, principles of genetics, developmental biology. Includes lecture and discussion sections.. Gen Ed: BS.

Offered Fall, Spring, & Summer Semesters 

Second semester of a full year course for majors in the life sciences. Topics include plant and animal structure and physiology, evolution, and ecology. Prerequisite: BIOLOGY 151 with grade of C or better.

Offered Fall, Spring, & Summer Semesters 

This course is a 2 credit laboratory experience that allows students to apply the biological concepts covered in Biology 151 and 152 Introductory Biology in laboratory and field settings. Students will develop and practice scientific research skills while exploring the areas of genetics, cell and molecular biology, evolution, and ecology. To enroll, students must be co-enrolled in Biology 152 (Introductory Biology II) or have completed the 2 semester Introductory Biology Sequence (Biology 151 and 152).

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters Only

An introduction to the workings of the cell, focusing on themes of cellular structure, dynamics and energetics. This course is intended for students interested in a broad interdisciplinary approach to the biological sciences: frequent connections to chemistry, physics and mathematics will be made as the cell, its inner workings and malfunctions, are explored. In the laboratory, students will work in teams to conduct multi-week inquiry-based experiments in a laboratory 'core facility' to complement and expand on the lectures. This first semester course is prerequisite for the second semester in a full year introductory course sequence for life science majors. Only open to students in BioTAP residential academic program.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Quantitative Systems Biology, applies the theme of modeling and hands-on experimentation to core concepts in evolution, physiology, and ecology. Cutting-edge research in each of these fields relies heavily on quantitative approaches to understand how organisms function, interact with their environments, and change over evolutionary time. This course uses a combination of lectures that integrate applied math and the study of organism-level systems and labs in which students use in silico, in vitro and in vivo models to investigate those systems in detail.. The course will be organized into three modules that flow naturally from one to the next: evolution (the genotype), comparative physiology and functional morphology (the phenotype), and ecology (organismal and environmental interactions). Only open to students in BioTAP residential academic program.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152, or 162H

We will investigate the process of biological evolution and the evolutionary history of life on Earth. Topics to be covered include natural selection, speciation (the formation of new species), and other causes of evolutionary change; the methods that evolutionary biologists use to investigate evolutionary processes and history; and an overview of life's history, focusing on major evolutionary innovations and transitions. 

Offered Fall, Spring & Occasional Winter & Summer Semesters

Prerequisite: Grades of C or better in Biology 153

This research-focused course uses bacteriophage genomics to introduce biology as an experimental science. Students learn computational biological techniques through annotation and characterization of novel viral genomes. Students will be introduced to concepts in bioinformatics, microbiology, evolution, and molecular biology through hands-on experiments driven by results obtained during class.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H. Must be concurrently enrolled in BIOL/ANIMSCI/BIOCHEM 311 or have previously passed BIOL/ANIMSCI/BIOCHEM 311 with a grade of C or higher.

The basic objective of this laboratory is to introduce the methods and pleasures of genetic investigations, using a variety of organisms. It also reinforces Introductory Genetics (Biology 311. Topics include: Mendelian genetics, gene maps, variation in both DNA and in proteins, mutation induction and selection and DNA polymerase chain reaction. Prerequisite: BIOL 311 (may be concurrent).

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 (or 161H), AND BIOL 152 and 153 (or 162H). CHEM 111 or 121 or 121H, and CHEM 112 or 122 or 122H.

Course designed for sophomore-level majors in life sciences. Building upon concepts introduced in BIOL 100/101, consideration is given to structure and function at the cellular, subcellular, and molecular levels. The course is equally divided between aspects of molecular and cellular biology. Prerequisites: a grade of C or better in Biology 151, 152 & 153 and in Chemistry 111 & 112.

Offered Fall, Spring and Occasionally in Winter & Summer Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152, or 162H

A course in general ecology designed for undergraduate majors in biology. The course will cover the following topics: how the world works, its structure, history, and evolution; the Earth in space and extra-terrestrial influences; the energy budget and atmospheric circulation (weather); ecosystems and the flow of energy; biomes of the Earth; biogeochemical cycling; adaptations of plants and animals to their environments; population dynamics; interactions between organisms including the concepts of symbiosis and succession; human technology and ecological problems; and ideas for developing new relationships between human technology and ecological problems; and ideas for developing new relationships between humans and the natural systems we need for future survival. Prerequisite: Grades of C or better in Biology 151, 152 & 153.

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152, or 162H

Lectures cover the physiology of humans and other vertebrates on a system by system basis (e.g. circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, etc.). Emphasis is placed on understanding fundamental physiological concepts such as diffusion, membrane potentials, biomechanics and biocontrol. Problem sets and exams give students practice working with physiological concepts. This course concentrates primarily on human physiology, but examples from other vertebrate animals are used to illustrate some physiological phenomena. Prerequisites: Grades of C or better in Biology 151, 152, & 153.

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in Biology 151 or 161 H AND Biology 152 or 162H

Introduction to genetics including Mendelian, cytological, molecular, developmental, and population genetics. Examples from a wide variety of organisms. 

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: 3 biological science courses, for declared Biology majors only

Satisfies Junior Year Writing requirement for Biology majors. Students write and revise short papers on subjects likely to be encountered by biologists. 

Offered Fall, Spring & Occasional Summer Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in Biology 151 or 161 H AND Biology 152 or 162H

The goal of this course is to introduce undergraduate Biology students to some of the many fascinating aspects of Plant Biology. For instance, did you know that plants are moving (on a large scale) all the time? It’s the truth, but in a very different time scale than we animals use. How do plants do that without the benefit of muscles and skeleton? Have you ever thought about how, in the absence of a pumping heart, plants’ circulatory systems work? After all, the water at the top of a tree got there from roots in the ground, but no pump was involved.  Have you ever wondered about how biotechnology is used in agriculture? We have all heard news stories about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). What are these and what makes them useful or dangerous? Note: There is no longer a plant requirement for Biology Majors

Offered Fall Semesters Only

 

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

This course functions as an introductory survey to neurobiology with a focus on cellular neuroscience. It provides a knowledge base for future advanced neuroscience courses and a stand-alone course for Biology majors. Topics within neuronal anatomy and physiology will be covered, including membrane potentials and neural transmission, sensory and motor systems, neuromodulatory and homeostatic systems. This course is not-for-credit for those who have previously taken Psych 330.  This course is a pre requisite for Advanced Neurobiology; Biol 572.

This course satisfies half of the Integrative Experience Requirement for Biology majors

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Open to Honors Students ONLY. Grade C or better in BIOL/BMB/ANIMSCI 285 or BMB 275

A practical, hands-on approach to subjects within computational molecular biology. Recently, there have been huge advances in our ability to understand the genome and how different genomes interact in an environment using next-generation sequencing. Analyzing these revolutionary new datasets will be essential for molecular biology in the future. Foundational topics will include analysis of whole transcriptome, whole genome, and microbiome sequencing. No coding experience required.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisite: Grade C or better in BIOL/ANIMSCI/BIOCHEM 285 or BMB 275  (However grade B+ is preferred).

In this class we will discuss concepts and applications of modern DNA technology including an introduction to the basic concepts pertaining to the emerging field of genomics. We will begin by describing key molecular methods (cloning, sequencing, blotting, PCR) and how they are used in gene analysis. We will then move on to consider how entire genomes are analyzed, and will familiarize ourselves with some of the basic bioinformatics' tools that are commonly used by working biologists. Finally we will consider the methods used to manipulate genomes as a means to determining gene function. This course is intended for sophomores and juniors, and should serve as a bridge between 200-level courses and more advanced, specialty courses (e.g., 500-level courses).

This course satisfies half of the Integrative Experience Requirement for Biology majors.

Offered Fall Semesters Only 

Prerequisites: Open to Senior and Junior Biology majors only.

Most courses present the prevailing wisdom of the field as artistically rendered figures that summarize a large body of information and present it as dogma. However, that’s not how the field actually advances. Breakthroughs occur when researchers publish original research papers in peer-reviewed journals. Sometime the importance of the work is obvious at the time of publication and sometimes it takes many years for the true significance of the work to be appreciated. This three-credit will be limited to 20 upper division students who will be expected to read and discuss each of the papers. Students will be evaluated on the basis of their presentation and on class participation.

Offered Every Other Spring Semester.  Is offered Spring 2024, will NOT be offered Spring 2025

Prerequisite: A grade of C or higher in BIOL 287

This course provides an introduction to methods in field ecology, with an emphasis on rigorous experimental design, hypothesis testing, data collection, introductory data analysis, and presenting results.  We will use formal lectures, interactive discussions, and hands-on learning in the field and computer lab, including field data collected during the laboratory time, as examples to learn the fundamental concepts that are essential for designing effective experiments. This course will provide students with the skills to design and conduct experiments to address basic and applied ecological questions.

This course satisfies half of the Integrative Experience Requirement for Biology majors.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: a grade of C or better in BIOL 280 or 287

This course introduces life in the sea from ecological and evolutionary perspectives. Topics will include primary and secondary production, interrelations of marine organisms and their environment (e.g. rocky intertidal, estuaries, interstitial communities, coral reefs, deep-sea communities), adaptations of marine organisms, human impacts on marine life, biodiversity, conservation, and aquaculture. Students will also learn about recent advances in marine research by reading primary literature on topics including reproduction, embryology, paleontology, metazoan body-plan evolution, evolution of development, and phylogeny.

Offered Both Fall & Spring Semesters 

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

Learn to identify the common vascular plants and plant families of southern New England and learn about the ecology and natural history of the local flora. The class involves using keys to help identify living and dried material during the lab/lectures and field trips. A digital collection of photographs of 20-25 species of plants is required.  Note: There is no longer a plant requirement for Biology Majors.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

This lab course offers an overview of insect diversity.  Students will assemble and curate a collection of local insects, learn to identify insect orders and common families, participate in class research projects, and conduct an individual research or service project.  Projects may involve analyzing composition of local insect communities, helping curate the UMass insect museum collection, creating online identification resources through iNaturalist, or becoming a relative expert on taxonomy of a particular insect group.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: BIOL/BIOCHEM/ANIMLSCI 285 or 311 or BIOCHEM 275 with a grade of 'C' or better.

This course will cover the cell biological aspects of several plant cellular processes, including cytokinesis, cell expansion, tip growth, cell-to-cell communication, and intracellular protein sorting. An emphasis will be made on experimental approaches used to understand these processes at the molecular level. A discussion of model organisms and cell types will be included. Formats will include lectures, discussions, and in-class student presentations. Prerequisite: A grade of B- or better in BIOL 283 or 285.

Offered Spring Semesters Only - Will be offered Spring 25

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161 H AND BIOL 152 or 162H.

This course deals with evolutionary processes on molecular and genetic levels. Topics include the use of genomic data to detect natural selection, the evolution of genome size and structure, speciation, the evolution of sex, and genomic conflict. The course consists of computer-based bioinformatics lab sessions (including an introduction to Python) which provide training in analytical methods related to detecting genetic variation, phylogenetics and comparative genomics alternating with discussions of papers from the scientific literature.

Offered Spring Semesters Only - Offered Spring 24, Will NOT be offered Spring 25

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL/BMB/ANIMLSCI 285.

In this interdisciplinary course, we will explore the topic of imaging biological material, beginning with optics and basic microscopy. Students will perform hands-on exercises in the use of the light microscope, digital cameras, and image processing and quantification. Common pitfalls in imaging biological samples will be covered. Students will perform experiments to test and quantify various aspects of cell migration, cell cycle regulation, mitosis and endocytosis. Using the methods learned in the first portion of the class, students will design and complete a hypothesis-based experiment of their own design and present their findings. Bioimaging is a laboratory-based course.

Offered Fall Semesters Only, Special Section Now Open Spring 2024

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL/BIOCHEM/ANSCI 311.

This course covers current topics in genetics and and the social, ethical and legal issues surrounding genetic technology. Topics include genome structure and evolution, genetics of disease, personal genomics, human microbiomes and epidemiology. Students will have the opportunity to submit their DNA for genome-wide SNP and gut microbiome determination. Practical skills for analyzing genetic and genomic data are taught through weekly bioinformatic sessions in the R statistical programming language.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H.

This course provides an introduction to genomics, bioinformatics and data sciences skills. Computer-based lab sessions will provide hands-on training in data science skills (Unix command line, Python, R, reproducible research, and cluster computing) and we will use them to learn bioinformatic methods related to gene expression, detecting variation, genome visualization, and critical statistical methods to understand large-scale datasets. The final project will be data analysis of the student's choice.

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL/BIOCHEM/ANIMLSCI 311 AND either BIOL/BIOCHEM/ANIMLSCI 285 or BMB 275.

This course is centered around three significant projects where teams of students design novel approaches to cancer treatment. These projects are carefully designed to help students come to understand a body of the cancer research literature, while allowing them synthesize relevant concepts to extend or expand upon existing clinical approaches to cancer therapy. Students have considerable ownership of the specific approaches they pursue, and learn how to design cancer therapies while they are learning the cancer research literature in depth. This course is designed for upper division undergraduates who are expected to have prior coursework in genetics and cell and molecular biology.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

In this course we will investigate the integrative biology of animal movement, with in depth investigations into migration. We will begin by characterizing animal movements and locomotory styles among various taxa of animals and we will investigate the origins, underlying physiology, energetics, biomechanics, and ecology of complex animal movements.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL/ANIMSCI/BIOCHEM 285 or  BIOL/ANIMSCI/BIOCHEM 311

Functional genomics is a field of genetics and molecular biology that attempts to describe gene (and therefore protein) functions. Functional genomics makes use of the vast data generated by genomic and transcriptomic projects (such as genome sequencing projects and RNA sequencing).  A key characteristic of functional genomics studies is their genome-wide approach to these questions, generally involving high-throughput methods rather than the more traditional "one gene at a time" approach.  In this class, you will learn about the common methods, both wet lab and computer-based, that are used to generate '-omics' data and to interpret it.  There will be lectures provided, but emphasis will be placed on problem-solving and active discussion.

Offered Spring Semesters Only 

This 1-credit course fulfills one component of the General Education Integrative Experience requirement for Biology majors. The course is designed to help students appreciate what their academic training has been, and where it is leading them professionally. Students will learn about career options for life scientists and develop strategies and skills to position themselves to be successful.

In order to satisfy the Integrative Experience requirement, Biology majors must also take one of the approved 3- or 4-credit Biology courses listed on their Academic Requirements Report.

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

This course will introduce the human microbiome and show how an understanding of the dynamics and function of the indigenous microbiota has altered our view of microbes in maintaining homeostasis and causing disease. It will discuss how disruption of the beneficial functions of the microbiota can lead to disease. Methods for studying the microbiota will be introduced as part of a conceptual framework for using these methods to delineate novel roles for microbes in health. Key associations between specific changes in the microbiome and disease will be discussed. This will lead to an explanation of how the intentional manipulation of the microbiota, either by restoring missing functions or eliminating harmful functions, may lead to novel methods to prevent or treat a variety of diseases. With the explosion of studies relating the microbiome to health and disease, this course aims to provide a foundation for students to follow this developing area of biomedical research.

Offered Fall Semesters Only- Will NOT be offered Fall 2024

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

Structure and function of components of the plant cell, including the wall, membranes, vacuoles, the cytoskeleton and various organelles. Aspects of development at the molecular, tissue and whole plant level. Current theories pertaining to how plants react to hormones, light and daylength. Responses to stresses such as drought, temperature and touch, and the nature of plant defenses against predation and disease. 

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: BIOL 280 or BIOL/BIOCHEM/ANSCI 311, plus Math 127 or 128 or Statistics 111 or 240 or ResEcon 211 or 212.

This course focuses on the processes affecting the distribution of genetic variation in populations of organisms, through space and time. The processes studied are the ones that operate during evolutionary change. Topics covered will include the Hardy-Weinberg principle, gene flow, genetic drift, recombination and linkage disequilibrium, natural selection, the effect of mating systems on diversity, and the neutral theory of evolution. Examples illustrating key concepts will be drawn from various kingdoms of life. The course will consist of lectures and occasional in class discussion.

This course satisfies half of the Integrative Experience Requirement for Biology majors.

Offered Spring Semesters Only.  Will be offered Spring 2024. Will NOT be offered Spring 2025

Prerequisite: Grades of C or better in BIOL 288 & BIOL 280.

Detailed approach to the structure and evolutionary relationships of vertebrates. Lecture: evolutionary and functional significance of structures in different groups. Lab: evolutionary trends and specializations, experience in dissection. 2 hour exams, final; 2 lab exams.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H.

In this course we explore the cellular structure and function of human tissues and organ systems. The laboratory component offers a unique opportunity for you to develop and refine your skills in microscopy and visual identification of cells, tissues, and organs as well as tissue sectioning, staining, immunohistochemistry, and imaging. This includes a semester-long group project where you will prepare samples, section, stain, and analyze an organ of your choice and explore how the histology of this organ is altered by disease. This course provides a strong background for those interested in pursing a career in health sciences or graduate school in cell biology, morphology, or physiology.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 280

Lecture: origin of birds, speciation, diversity, flight, territoriality, migration, navigation, communication, conservation. Lab: bird identification, anatomy, field studies. Text and field guide required. Lab practicals, 2 lecture exams plus final. Prerequisite: upper level biology course or consent of instructor.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisite: A Grade of C or higher in BIOL 280 or NRC 360

With lab. Lectures and readings on comparative biology and evolutionary relationships of mammalian groups. Lab involves detailed introduction to the New England mammalian fauna and study of selected representatives of other groups, emphasizing adaptation. Prerequisite: any life science course beyond the introductory level.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND BIOL 152 or 162H

Animals have evolved a remarkable diversity of behavioral patterns, used in a wide range of ecological and social contexts. Our first goal in this course will be to examine the mechanisms responsible for the expression of behavior: for example, how do birds locate prey; how do crayfish avoid becoming prey; and how to crickets and birds develop species-specific communication signals? To help answer these questions we will make use of neurobiological, hormonal, genetic, and developmental perspectives. Our next goal in the course will be to examine the evolutionary bases of behavior, asking for example why animals move, forage, hide, communicate, and socialize as they do. To address these questions we make use of optimality theory and other behavioral ecological perspectives. Other topics in the course will include sexual selection, human behavior, and the role of behavior in establishing biodiversity. 

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in BIOL 280.

This course will explore animal communication from several biological perspectives. We will explore how animals use different modalities of communication (sound, smell, electricity, etc.) and how these modes of sending and receiving information are limited by environmental constraints and their functions. We will look at the physiological and anatomical aspects of signal production and perception. The class will discuss the different types of messages encoded in signals and how they evolved. We will explore the evolution of sexually selected forms of communication (antlers, bird song, etc.) and the theories that attempt to explain their function and evolution. The lectures/discussions will draw on examples from a diverse selection of animals (insects, fish, birds, and mammals). Students will also work on projects where they will learn how to analyze and interpret different forms of vocal and visual communication.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisite: Grade C or better in either BIOL 288, 372, or PSYCH 330

Neuroethology is the study of the neural basis of natural behavior. This lecture course will cover topics that include the neural mechanisms underlying predatory behavior and prey escape responses, specialized senses such as magnetoreception and electroreception, echolocation, animal communication, and animal navigation.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisite: A Grade of C or better in Biology 285.

Discussion of cell structure and function; emphasis will be placed on the properties of individual molecules that contribute to cell function. Topics will include the mechanism and regulation of cell division; interactions of cells with each other and with the extracellular environment; cell motility; and the organization of membrane systems. Techniques used to study cells will also be discussed. Format will include both lectures and class presentations; quizzes, mid-term exams and written assignments will be included.

Offered Fall & Occasionally in Spring Semesters

Prerequisite: Grade C or better in BIOL 288

Physiological principles governing the function of major organ systems (nervous, circulatory, respiratory, endocrine) and their interactions in vertebrates emphasizing mammals especially humans. Lab exercises designed to illustrate physiological principles using modern approaches. Prerequisite: Biology 285 or equivalent and at least one semester of Organic Chemistry.

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters 

Prerequisite: Grade C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H and a grade C r better in BIOL 152 or 162H

Lectures cover the physiology of vertebrates and invertebrates on a system by system basis (e.g. circulatory system, digestive system, etc.). Comparisons between animals within each system and adaptations to "extreme" environments are emphasized. Weekly problem sets provide practice in physiological reasoning for each system covered. Animal design projects involve modeling the physiological systems of an extinct animal. Includes laboratory component. 

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisites:  A grade of C or better in BIOL/ANSCI/BIOCHEM 285 and PSYCH 330 or BIOL 372.

Biology of nerve cells and cellular interactions in nervous systems. Lectures integrate structural, functional, developmental, and molecular approaches. Topics include neuronal anatomy and physiology, membrane potentials, synapses, development of neuronal connections, visual system, control of movement, and neural plasticity. Text and reserve readings, 2 hour-exams, final, short critique paper.

Offered Fall & Spring Semesters

Prerequisites: Grade C or better in both BIOL/ANSC/BIOCHEM 285 and PSYCH 330 or BIOL 372.

This course is designed for upper-level undergraduate, honors, and graduate students interested in development of the nervous system. It will provide the fundamentals of the discipline as well as investigate the guiding principles and research methods of Developmental Neurobiologists through lectures and discussions. It covers the field of developmental neurobiology from neural induction to the modification of neuronal connections in the adult nervous system. Research using a variety of invertebrate and vertebrate model organisms will be used to demonstrate the rules by which nervous systems develop. The course takes an experimental, inquiry-based approach to the field, using primarily a molecular, cellular, and systems approach. This course is complementary to Developmental Biology, but overlaps little due to the exclusive concentration of this course on the nervous system.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisite: Grade C or better in BIOL/ANSCI/BIOCHEM 285

Analysis of organismal development, with special attention to cell-cell interactions, cells fate determination, gene regulation, signal transduction, pattern formation and terminal differentiation. The emphasis will be on molecular approaches to these problems. 

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in BIOL 280.

How do complex morphologies develop from a single-cell embryo? What makes the human hand different from the horse's hoof, the bat's wing, or the flipper of a whale? These and related questions will be addressed as we explore the genetic and developmental basis of evolutionary change.

Offered Fall Semesters Only

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in BIOL/ANSCI/BIOCHEM 311

Advanced Genetics is an in-depth exploration of the latest genetic innovations, tailored for advanced undergraduates and beginning graduate students. It covers classical, molecular, and quantitative genetics and genomics, focusing on topics like transmission genetics, heterosis, polyploidy and mutations, transposons and retrotransposons, gene expression, chromatin, centromeres, and telomeres, and noncoding RNAs. Students will also explore personalized medicine, gene manipulation, and DNA editing. The course utilizes lectures, discussions, and original literature readings to provide a multifaceted learning experience, offering a deep understanding of genetics as both a scientific discipline and a practical toolkit for biological research.. Prerequisite: Biology/Biochem/AnimSci 311with grade of C or higher.

Offered Spring Semesters Only

Prerequisite: Grade of C or better in BIOL/ANSCI/BIOCHEM 285

In this upper level class, we will study the cellular basis of disease using a project based format. The class will begin with a discussion of the tools used to study cells, including molecular methods such as CRISPR. Cell and tissue structures and function will be discussed. The remainder of the class will be spent investigating diseases that result from defects in single genes -- two common examples are cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia. Students will read the primary literature as well as other sources. Evaluation will be based on presentations, written reports, comments on readings, and class participation.

Offered Spring Semesters Only