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.

Most people don’t realize that our bodies are filled with microorganisms! This extraordinary 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. As we learn about our microbiome we will address some of the numerous social issues that have arisen in the wake of this new knowledge about our bodies. We will tackle issues related to obesity and weight loss, the emergence of antibiotic resistance and what that means to us, the importance of vaccination against childhood diseases, and others that you will identify as you learn how to engage in scientific writing over the semester.  This is a lower level course that will not assume any knowledge about biology, microbes, or your microbiome. We will start from scratch and learn the level of detail required to have a meaningful discussion of the topics and the social issues that emerge.

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)

This is a course for non-biology majors with two components, lecture and discussion section. We will explore biological principles at all levels of organization, from molecules, cells and organs to individuals, populations and the biosphere. Have you ever wondered…how basilisk lizards can literally run on water? …why we don’t yet have a vaccine against the HIV/AIDS virus? …why there is no rainforest in New England? …how bacteria help the Gulf ecosystem recover after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill? We will explore these and other questions to better understand how the living world works. Assessment includes evening exams, quizzes and written assignments. Gen Ed: BS.

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.

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.

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).

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. Gen Ed: BS.

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).

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. Prerequisites: Grades of C or better in Biology 151, 152 & 153.

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).

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.

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.

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.

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.

Introduction to genetics including Mendelian and molecular developmental. Examples from a wide variety of organisms. Satisfies major requirements in Biology.

Satisfies Junior Year Writing requirement for Biology majors. Students write and revise short papers on subjects likely to be encountered by biologists. Prerequisites: 3 biological science courses, for declared Biology majors only. Read more for Learning Goals and Instructor Narratives describing the focus of different sections.

We have two goals in this course. The first, and most important, is to introduce undergraduate Biology students to some of the many fascinating aspects of Plant Biology, especially as these differ from animal 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. Plants don’t have an immune system, and yet, they ‘stand and fight’—literally rooted to the spot—taking on all types of pathogens, as well insects and other predators. What strategies do plants use to overcome these attacks? 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? These are the types of topics we will be covering in this course.

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 or Biol 572

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.
Prerequisites: Open to Honors Students ONLY. C or better in BIOL 151 or 161H AND a C or better in BIOL 152 or 162H; BIOL 285 OR BIOCHEM 275 OR BIOL 283 (C or better)

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). Prerequisite: Biology 285 or Biochem 275.

This project-based laboratory course will expose students to a range of techniques that are used by neurobiologists and physiologists, including electrophysiology, imaging, and molecular biology. Research projects and exercises will focus on the mechanisms that facilitate the development and physiological activities of the nervous and endocrine systems using model animal systems like zebrafish. We will also study human sensory physiology through non-invasive participatory lab exercises. Students may also have the opportunity to pursue projects examining tissue- and cell-physiology in non-neural tissues.

BIOLOGY 397MH is a hands-on project-based laboratory that focuses on the molecular and cellular analysis of mutations in the tumor suppressor gene p53, which is mutated in ~50% of cancerous human tumors. Students learn and apply different techniques of molecular cell biology to determine what, if any, functional defects are caused by different p53 mutations that have been identified previously in patient tumor samples. Emphasis will be placed on modeling how practicing scientists think and dissect such a biological problem, through the analysis of student-generated scientific data and the interpretation of such original experimental results.

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. The “Great Papers in Biology” course is designed to allow students to read seminal papers in biology with the goals of: 1) understanding, in detail, how the experiments were conducted; 2) how the results were interpreted; and 3) how the work changed scientists understanding of biology. Papers to be discussed will represent a wide range of fields within Biology, including: developmental biology, genetics/genomics, neuroscience, cell biology, and the mechanisms of disease.

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.

This fundamental ecology course emphasizes the quantitative skills needed to understand and conduct field research. The lectures introduce major ecological concepts, local vegetation types, and methods and techniques of gathering and analysing data. In laboratories, students collect original data at sites in the Connecticut Valley and write an original scientific paper. Prerequisite: an introductory biology course or consent of instructor.

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. The ability to pose clear questions, state hypotheses, and design appropriate experiments to test these hypotheses is of fundamental importance in all research disciplines; this course takes advantages of challenges in field ecology to address these essential topics. 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 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.

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. Prerequisite: Introductory Biology or consent of instructor.

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.

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.

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.

The goal of this laboratory course is to explore how researchers address modern biological questions through the use of model organisms. The course will be taught by a team of faculty whose own research employs these model systems to answer a diverse range of biological problems, including molecular evolution, plant development, yeast genetics, embryonic development and population genetics. Students will be introduced to several different model organisms that may include representative bacterial, plant, fungal, invertebrate, and vertebrate species. Lab exercises will employ sophisticated, state-of-the-art molecular methods and will tackle a variety of current biological questions.

Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 285 or BIOCHEM 275 or BIOLOGY 311, all with a grade of 'B' or better.

This course focuses on the ecology, physiology, taxonomy, and behavior of organisms that inhabit the New World tropics. The centerpiece of the course is a nine-day field trip to Belize. The trip takes place over spring break and includes intensive exploration of marine and coastal habitats. Pre-requisite: At least one year of college biology courses, on-line application, and permission of instructor.

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, BA-Biol and BS-Biol majors must also take one of the approved 3- or 4-credit Biology courses listed on their Academic Requirements Report.

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.

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.

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. Prerequisite: Biology 151, 152 & 153.

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. Prerequisites: Biology 280 or 283, plus Math 127 or 128 or Statistics 111 or 240 or ResEcon 211 or 212.

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. Prerequisite: Grades of C or better in Biology 151, 152 & 153.

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.

An advanced course for students who have already taken an introductory course in evolution and who are willing to make an active contribution to classroom discourse. We will discuss both evolutionary mechanisms and evolutionary history. Potential topics include evolutionary genetics, the role of chance in evolution, speciation and species concepts, the origin of life, the tempo of evolution, extinction, the evolution of behavior, evolutionary history of selected groups, research methods in evolution. Prerequisite: Biology 280 or equivalent course.

An advanced course focused on the evolution of macromolecules and the reconstruction of evolutionary history of genes, proteins and organisms. Potential topics include databases and sequence matching, molecular phylogenetics, gene duplication and divergence, genome evolution, and horizontal gene transfer. The course will consist of lectures, computer demonstrations and class discussions. Text: Molecular Evolution, W.-H. Li, 1997 and readings from primary literature. 2 hour-exams and 1 term paper. Prerequisite: Biology 280 or equivalent course.

The course provides an overview of the systematics, anatomy, and evolution of all the major, living lineages of amphibians and reptiles, with an emphasis on the herpetofauna of Eastern North America and New England. The laboratory is organized around three approaches: anatomical studies; studies of live organisms; and studies of regional and global amphibian and reptile diversity. If weather permits, there will be one field trip near the end of the semester. Some dissection is required. Prerequisite: Biology 521 or permission of the instructor.

This is an introductory course designed to familiarize students with the diversity of fishes. We will provide an overview of the biology, evolution and ecology of fishes. A phylogenetic approach will be used to look at major primitive to advanced fish groups. No prior coursework is required to take this course, but students are expected to have a general biology background and be enthusiastic in learning about this diverse group of organisms. The textbook to be used is “The Diversity of Fishes” by Helfman, Collete and Facey 2004. Only selected portions of the text will be required during the course. The lab is designed to supplement the lecture course with hands-on dissection, anatomy of preserved specimens and dry skeletons and identification of major lineages. 1 essay exam, final, 2 lecture quizzes, 2 lab practicals.

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.

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.

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. Prerequisite: introductory biology or psychology course; or consent of instructor and at least sophomore level standing.

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.

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. Prerequisite: Biology 285.

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.

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. Prerequisite: a grade of C or better in Biology 151, 152 & 153.

The role of hormones in growth, metabolism and reproduction, molecular mechanisms of hormone action, and feedback control of hormone secretion. 2 hour-exams, final, and 1 class presentation. Prerequisite: Biology 288 or consent of instructor.

The mechanisms which generate endogenous daily, tidal, and annual oscillations in organisms will be considered at the level of physiology, genetics, and molecular and cell biology. The synchronization of these rhythms by the physical environment and the use of the clock for photoperiodism, reproductive cycles and migratory orientation will be studied. Readings from original scientific literature will be assigned. For junior and senior life science majors and graduate students. Prerequisite: BIOL 285 or equivalent.

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. Prerequisite: (Biology 285 or Biochem 285) and (Psychology 330 or Biol 372).

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. Prerequisites: Biology 285 or equivalent recommended.

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.

This course covers current techniques in genetics and genomics and the social, ethical and legal issues surrounding genetic technology. Topics will include, but are not limited to DNA sequencing technology, genome structure and evolution, genetics of disease, personal genomics, and the human microbiome. Practical skills for analyzing genomic data are taught through a weekly computational genomics session. Prerequisite: Biology 283 with grade of C or higher.

This course will provide an on-site introduction to the world's epicenter for aquatic and terrestrial diversity, the Amazon Basin. We will examine the Amazon's fauna, flora and ecosystems and we will have a chance to interact with people in small villages. Via riverboat, we'll travel to Careiro Island on the Amazon river, and to Novo Airao in the Negro River. Most of the time will be sent canoeing on floodplains and forests, the best way to experience the diversity of animals and plants. Students will complete self-designed research projects comparing the biodiversity of different habitats of the black and white water river systems.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

There are a mind-boggling 400,000 species of plants on earth, with new species discovered every year. Plants have evolved over hundreds of millions of years to efficiently capture the sun's energy and cycle oxygen in the atmosphere. How did this diversity come to be, and why are plants so varied in form and function? Explore the plants of the world in a hands-on laboratory setting using live temperate and tropical plants from the UMass greenhouses and forests. You will use this new-found knowledge to study your favorite plant in an independent project for the web.

This course is taught by a team of faculty. We will examine several aspects of cell biology using a combination of lectures and discussions of experimental data from primary literature, covering topics in cellular signaling during development, cellular events during cell cycle progression, and cytoskeleton dynamics during mitosis.
Class attendance and in-class participation are mandatory. During the majority of scheduled classes you will be required to critically examine, analyze, judge, evaluate, and criticize the methods and logics of the assigned articles. You are expected to have fully read the assigned article prior to coming to class. Our goals are to learn (1) how to formulate logical hypotheses, (2) how to design experiments, and (3) how to critically evaluate experimental results. These will hopefully better prepare you to understand what actually constitutes a research article.