91705

BIO 115

 Genetics and Identity

Michael Tibbetts

   Th     1:30 pm-2:50 pm

RKC 115

 N/A

 

This 2-credit seminar course will explore the biological bases of three aspects of the human condition, which are to varying degrees, also social constructs: race, gender and sexuality.  In particular, we will explore human evolution and our current understanding of how genetics and the environment interact to generate the variation we observe in these human characteristics.  Readings and discussions will be used to explore the relationships among the biological concepts, how we self identify and how others categorize us.  This course is part of the “Difficult Questions” cluster of courses; students will be expected to attend parts of the Hannah Arendt Center Conference “Difficult Questions: How We Talk About Race, Sex, and Religion” on October 20-21.  Prerequisite: High School level biology.  Class size: 20

 

91970

BIO 117

 Botany for Herbivores

Emily Pollina

                                 LAB:

 T  Th 10:10 am-11:30 am

T          1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 115

RKC 114

LS

SCI

Wild relatives of many important crop species, including potatoes, tomatoes, and broccoli, contain potent defenses against animals that might eat them.  How did these plants become safe for us to eat?  How do we deter other organisms from eating them? In this course, designed for non-majors, we will explore the ways in which humans have modified, and continue to modify, the plants we use as food and the challenges of ecosystems dominated by crop plants.  Through critical examinations of papers about agricultural science and laboratory explorations on plant physiology, growth, and defense, this course will equip you to evaluate evidence for the safety and efficacy of crop development and food production strategies.  Class size: 20

 

91704

BIO 118

 Conservation Biology

Cathy Collins

                                 LAB:

M  W    11:50 am-1:10 pm

    F      8:30 am-11:30 am

RKC 115

RKC 112

LS

SCI

Cross-listed:  Environmental & Urban Studies In this course students will investigate ways in which fundamental principles of ecology, evolution, and genetics can be applied toward conserving biodiversity. First, we will explore global patterns of biodiversity, focusing on current threats to diversity and the ecosystem consequences of species extinctions. We will also examine the importance of maintaining genetic diversity within and among populations, and the genetic consequences of small populations, such as inbreeding depression. Finally, we will study population dynamics and species interactions and, ultimately, synthesize our knowledge from genes to ecosystems as we evaluate potential solutions for meeting conservation challenges. Labs will provide opportunities to use the tools and research approaches that ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and systematists use for solving practical problems in conservation biology. (Prerequisite: passing score on the Mathematics Diagnostic, and experience in high school biology.  Class size: 20

 

91702

BIO 153

 Global Change Biology

Bruce Robertson

                                  LAB:

 T  Th 11:50 am-1:10 pm

  M       1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC  114 / 115

LS

SCI

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Global & Int’l Studies  Global change biology is a new field of biology which explores the consequences of global environmental change for ecosystems and humans.  This introductory level course focuses on climate change as a key driver of environmental change.  We will explore the effects of climate change on the ecology of animals, plants, and microbes, including  biodiversity and ecosystem function, but will also include discussion on how these biologically oriented questions relate to the interconnected issues of human society, politics, and the economy. In addition, we will focus on relevant physical topics including the astronomical basis for natural variation in climate (years to eons), basics of global weather (e.g. gyres and Hadley cells), glacial cycles and marine circulation. In the laboratory portion of the course students will analyze ice core data, and use a bevy of tools to predict changes in the timing of migration in birds and butterflies, and predict how climate change will affect the distribution and range of plant and animal species. This course is appropriate for students interested in continuing their studies in biology, and also for motivated students whose primary interest is in other disciplines.  Class size: 20

 

91610

BIO 162

Introduction to Neurobiology

Arseny Khakhalin

 T  Th 8:30 am-11:30 am

RKC 111 / 112

LS

SCI

Cross-listed:  Mind, Brain & Behavior Many neuroscience textbooks begin with the description of the brain's nuts-and-bolts (neurons, synapses, ion channels), while all the fun topics (behavior, cognition, memory) get clumped at the end. This happens because most textbooks pretend to be discussing human brains, even though the majority of what we know about the brain we learned from model organisms, such as rats, flies, and sea slugs. In this course, we will gradually climb up the ladder of complexity: from single neurons in invertebrates, through small circuits in fishes and birds, and up to large-scale networks in primates, to see how simple elements can combine and interact to produce meaningful behaviors. The course provides an introduction to neuroscience, and is recommended for students with interests in biology, psychology or computation.  Class size: 20

 

91723

BIO 165

 Microbial Techniques Wksp.

Brooke Jude

    F      11:50 am-2:50 pm

RKC 114

LS

SCI

This 2-credit laboratory course is designed for intended biology majors in their first year of study.  The course will introduce students to the techniques involved in experimental design, execution, trouble shooting, and preliminary data analysis. Utilizing microbial biology, students will learn standard culturing techniques, biochemical and molecular identification tests, and various bioassays. This course will meet once a week, and grading criteria will be based on participation, lab notebook data collection, and a final poster presentation.  Text book: Writing in Biological Sciences, Angelika Hofmann.  (Priority to first year students.)   Class size: 20

 

91613

BIO 201

 Genetics and Evolution

Michael Tibbetts

M  W    1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 111 / 112

LS

SCI

Cross-listed:  Mind, Brain & Behavior;  Global & Int’l Studies   This course is an introduction to the mechanisms of inheritance and the generation of diversity in eukaryotic organisms.  This course takes a modern approach to the study of genetics in which classical ideas about genotype, phenotype and inheritance are integrated into the modern molecular and genomic understanding of the processes involved in the generation of diversity.  In addition to discussions of the molecular mechanisms involved in DNA replication,  recombination, the generation and repair of mutations, and the relationship between genotype and phenotype, special consideration is given to our understanding of the processes involved in generating population-level variation in complex traits and how this understanding can help us identify the myriad genetic and non-genetic factors influencing these traits.  The laboratory consists of a semester long project involving the genetic manipulation of a model organism’s genome to address one or more topics in the course.  Prerequisite: One biology course at the 140 level or higher.  Class size: 20

 

91614

BIO 202

 Ecology and Evolution

Bruce Robertson

  W  F   8:30 am-11:30 am

RKC 114 / 115

LS

SCI

Cross-listed:  Environmental & Urban Studies   This core course for biology majors is an introduction to the general principles of ecology and evolution that, with genetics, form the core of biological understanding. In addition to studying foundational ideas in both ecology and evolution, we will explore modern topics at the boundary between these two areas. We will consider, for example, how genetic variation among individual organisms can influence ecological interactions, and how these interactions can influence fitness. We will focus on a mechanistic understanding of processes, using model-building to inform that understanding.  Prerequisite: Successful completion of a course in biology numbered 140 or above.   Class size: 20

 

91615

BIO 208

 Biology Seminar

Arseny Khakhalin

   Th     12:00 pm-1:00 pm

RKC 103

 

 

1 credit  This course will provide students with broad exposure to biology through the biology visiting speaker seminar series. Students will hear about the wide-ranging research interests of invited biologists and have opportunities to interact informally with them. The course is graded Pass/Fail and students are responsible for short follow-up assignments for at least 80% of the talks. Recommended for all biology majors and other interested students. 

Class size: 60

 

91616

BIO 244

 Biostatistics

Arseny Khakhalin

M  W    1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 115

MC

MATC

Cross-listed:  Environmental & Urban Studies, Global & Int’l Studies, Mathematics     This course introduces students to the statistical methods biologists use to describe and compare data. Students will learn methods that are appropriate for different types of data. Topics covered include elementary probability and statistics, characteristics of frequency distributions, hypothesis testing, contingency tests, correlation and regression analysis, different ways to compare means, nonparametric tests, and an introduction to multivariate tests. This course is intended for sophomore and junior biology majors, although it is open to students of all years.  One objective of the course is to provide biology majors the statistical background they need to analyze data for their own senior research; biology students should take this course before their senior year, if possible. Notice, though, that the topics in this course are applicable to many advanced courses. Prerequisite: passing score on part I of the Mathematics Diagnostic and at least one introductory biology course.  Class size: 20

 

91617

BIO 303

 Microbiology

Brooke Jude

M  W    8:30 am-11:30 am

RKC  111 / 112

LS

SCI

This course is designed to investigate the principles of microbiology that make microbes unique. A systems based approach is taken, examining such topics as microbial cell structure and function, bacterial motility and chemotaxis, secretion systems, biofilm formation, quorum sensing and antibiotic resistance. The course examines primarily bacterial species, however a limited amount of time is devoted to the biology of eukaryotic microbes.  The laboratory portion of the course is a semester long, inquiry based, team project that involves examination of local microbial populations using culture, molecular and biochemical approaches. The class will require lab work to be completed outside of the class times. Students will analyze primary literature and produce peer reviewed research manuscripts. This course is appropriate for both those interested in a career in the health professions and those interested in ecology.  Class size: 20

 

91703

BIO 308

 Plant Ecology

Cathy Collins

                                 Lab:

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm

  Th      8:30 am-11:30 am

 RKC 102

 RKC 114

LS

SCI

Relying on primary literature to guide course discussion, we will study plant populations and communities through the lens of key species interactions such as herbivory, completion, pollination, plant-fungal mutualisms, and plant-pathogen interactions.  We will also explore the ways in which species diversity is generated and maintained at local and landscape spatial scales, and how plant community ecology theory can be applied to habitat restoration. The laboratory component of this course will include observational, experimental, and modeling approaches to studying plants. We will also make use of publicly available long-term data to address questions at landscape (or global) scales and develop skills for analyzing large data sets. Prerequisite: upper college standing in Biology.  Class size: 18

 

91619

BIO 315

 Advanced Evolution

Gabriel Perron

                                 Lab:

 T  Th 3:10 pm-4:30 pm

  W       1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 102

RKC 114

LS

SCI

Cross-listed: Environmental & Urban Studies; Mind, Brain & Behavior     Why do most animals engage in sexual reproduction? Do bacteria cooperate? Are we all selfish machines controlled by our genes? This research intensive course will explore different experimental and empirical methodologies to study fundamental questions in evolutionary biology. Throughout the semester, students will learn how to “measure” the action of natural selection at different time scales using fossils, field sampling, laboratory experiments, and computer simulations. In addition, students will design and conduct an evolution experiment as part of an independent research project. More specifically, students will learn how to use whole-genome sequencing to identify the genetic mutations responsible for adaptation in experimental bacteria populations. Finally, students will study the lives and ideas of individuals associated with important developments and controversies in evolutionary biology while learning how evolutionary thinking can improve our understanding of current public health and societal issues.  Prerequisite: Upper College standing in biology, or permission of instructor.  Class size: 18

 

92115

BIO 428

 Global Change & Health

Emily Pollina

   Th     3:10 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 200

 

 

2 credits  Rapid environmental changes, including temperature, atmospheric gas, moisture and land use changes, has had serious impacts on human, animal, and plant health.  In this upper-level seminar, we will use primary scientific literature to explore the impacts of current changes on health of animals (including humans!) and plants, including direct effects on physiology and effects on transmission of disease.   Students in this seminar will lead discussions of recent primary literature articles, participate in group work, and write both literature analyses and proposals.  Class size: 15

 

92140

BIO 429

 Modeling Biological Complexity

Alexander Petroff

M         1:30 pm-3:30 pm

RKC 200

 

 

2 credits   Why is it that a common field ant can support 5000 times its body weight but an Olympic power lifter can barely lift 3? How is the spread of a disease like the formation of a thought? This seminar series will examine the use of mathematical and physical models in biology with the goal of showing how the same conceptual framework gives quantitative intuition for very different biological systems. We shall develop four physical tools (scaling analysis, random processes, network theory, and information theory) and apply them to a wide range of biological systems from microbiology, neuroscience, botany, zoology, and epidemiology. Classes will alternate between lectures, in which a new model is presented, and student-led discussions of recent papers which apply the model. Students will read contemporary research and work in groups to present this research and solve problem sets. Prerequisite: Upper College standing in biology, or permission of instructor.  Class size: 15

 

 

Of related interest for biology students:

 

91620

EUS 221

 Water

Elias Dueker

 T  Th 1:30 pm-4:30 pm

RKC 111 / 112

LS

SCI

 

92018

HR 223

 Epidemiology: A Human Rights Perspecitve

Helen Epstein

 T  Th 1:30 pm-2:50 pm

HEG 308

SA

SSCI

 

92019

HR 244

 Reproductive Health and Human Rights

Helen Epstein

 T  Th 3:10 pm-4:30 pm

HEG 102

SA

SSCI