BIOL 309/409: Biology Field Studies 3 credits, lab

Intensive investigation of living organisms in a natural environment. Location of the field site may vary with each course offering, and may be either domestic or international. Topics covered include logistics, biodiversity, and current ecological, environmental, and social issues surrounding the specific ecosystem being studied. Time at the field site will be spent listening to resident lecturers, receiving guided tours, observing and identifying wild organisms in their natural habitat, and conducting a research project. The undergraduate version requires students to plan and conduct a group research project and present results independently. The graduate version requires students to plan, conduct, and present an independent research project. Undergraduate prerequisite: BIOL 216. Graduate prerequisite: graduate standing. Instructor consent required to register. This course will fulfill a laboratory requirement of the B.A. in Biology. This course will fulfill an additional laboratory requirement of the B.S. in Biology. Course may be repeated for credit up to two times if traveling to a new destination.
Section 100/400: Belize Section 101/404: Namibia Instructor: Dr. Ron Oldfield Instructor: Dr. Chris Cullis Tuesday, 10:00–11:15 AM Tuesday, 10:00–11:15 AM



BIOL 303

From black box to toolbox: how molecular biology moves forward

Instructor: Dr. Sarah Bagby

Seventy years ago, no one knew that genes were carried by DNA, let alone how genes encoded enzymatic activities. Today, we can edit genes at will in living mammalian cells, using biology itself as a tool. How did we come so far so fast?

The pioneers of modern biology had access to a very limited set of very low-resolution tools. Yet clean experimental design and careful analysis let them ask and answer fundamental biological questions and enabled the development of better tools to use the next time around. In the decades since, biologists have built a toolbox that offers astonishing precision and power, but the logic of biological experimentation hasn’t changed.

In this course, we will study that underlying logic, and what it lets us do. We will read key papers spanning the development of modern biology, from the most basic working-out of the Central Dogma to recent advances. We will pay particular attention to how well the authors used the tools available, and how successfully they accounted for their shortcomings—if indeed they did.

Oered as a SAGES Departmental Seminar. Prerequisite: BIOL 215.

Tues/Thurs, 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.



BIOL 379, 479 Transformative Animal Models in Modern Biology

Brian M. McDermott, Jr., PhD

3 credits

Times: Mondays and Wednesdays, 12:45 – 2:00 P.M.

Fulfills SAGES Departmental Seminar Requirement

 Course Description

Animal models are extremely important in the study of biology and in modern medicine. They allow us to determine fundamental biological mechanisms and cellular and molecular causes of disease. There is logic to how each animal model has found its place in the menagerie of accepted animal models. Certain animal models allow us to test particular hypotheses that may not be possible to address in other animals. Moreover, some animal models are more relevant than others to studying a particular human disease.  This seminar-based course will focus on animal models that either are effective at modeling human disease, approach relevant neurobiological questions, or play a role in translational medicine. The course will focus on mammalian and non-mammalian animal models that are important to biomedical research, including the primate, mouse, zebrafish, and roundworm. Comparisons between popular animal models will be made. Undergraduate prerequisite: [BIOL 326] OR [BIOL 373]; Graduate prerequisite: [Graduate Standing]. This course fulfills the Organismal breadth requirement of the B.A. and B.S. in Biology.


BIOL 398 Modern Human Biological Variation


M-W 8:00am-9:15 CMNH

COURSE CREDIT: 3 credits

Humans appear to be a highly variable species, but are we? In this course, we will survey the biological variation seen in different human populations and examine the patterns of morphological and genetic variation in an evolutionary framework. A major component of the class will be the discussion of the social and health implications of these patterns of biological variation, particularly in the construction and application of the concept of race and its use in medicine. Prerequisite for undergraduates is completion of BIOL 214. Prerequisite for graduate students is graduate standing. This course fulfills the Population and Ecology breadth requirement of the B.A. and B.S. in Biology.