Course Descriptions

  • BIOL 102: People and the World of Plants
    This course introduces students to the fascinating world of the botanical sciences, and to the long legacy of plant-human interaction. We will study traditional modes of herbal healing found in different cultures, explore the origins and development of world agriculture, and consider the effects of stimulant, depressive, and psychotropic plants on the human mind. Field trips to the Chicago Botanic Garden and local prairie and woodland restoration projects will be an important component of this course. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • BIOL 103: Human Biology
    This course examines the structure and function of many of the major organ systems of the human body. In so doing, it will introduce students to a range of important topics related to human beings. These will include the nature of science as a discipline, and the biological basis of health, disease, nutrition, exercise, sensation, and reproduction.
  • BIOL 104: Human Genetics
    An introduction to the inheritance of human characteristics. The nature of the genes, structure and function of chromosomes, developmental genetics, and the relationship between genes and human disease are discussed. Cloning, genetic engineering, and gene therapy are also covered. Three hours per week.
  • BIOL 105: Public Health
    Food poisoning outbreaks, strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and the rise of infectious diseases including AIDS and TB have brought new awareness and the realization that public health is not just a concern of Third World countries. These and other topics including environmental factors that influence health, vaccine schedules, and how antibiotics work will be covered. Lectures, discussion, and student group projects. Three hours per week.
  • BIOL 106: Nutrition and the Human Body
    American culture is obsessed with food, but what do we really know about food? This course will explore multiple biological aspects of food. The course will begin with basic nutrition and then study diets, vitamins, and other supplements to determine if they really work. The biological, genetic, and environmental aspects of disorders such as obesity, anorexia, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer will be examined. The safety of food has become a greater concern in society due to genetic engineering, irradiation of food, use of pesticides, and food-borne illness such as 'mad cow' and E. coli. These risks will be studied. The course will conclude with an exploration of the effects of meat- or grain-based diets on the environment.
  • BIOL 108: Learning About the Living World
    This course will examine selected topics in life science and earth science such as the human body and its functioning, ecology, ecosystems, weather, the water cycle, and erosion. Designed primarily to provide elementary education majors with the necessary background for teaching in K-8 schools, the course is appropriate for other students interested in strengthening their knowledge and confidence in investigating fundamental concepts and ideas in science. Students will participate in lectures, discussion, student presentations and projects, and laboratory activities. Does not satisfy requirements for the Biology major.
    Cross-listed as: EDUC 108
  • BIOL 114: Truth and Lies in Medical News
    Students will learn to critically review health research from a variety of sources including professional and academic journals, popular magazines and newspapers, other media sources reporting on medical topics, and the Internet. We will apply analytic skills from a variety of disciplines including human biology, medicine and nursing, biostatistics and public health. Students will be introduced to health research, beginning with application of the scientific method, through study design data collection, quantitative analysis methods, and research reporting. Topical examples will be drawn from medicine, nursing, nutrition, alternative health care, public health, gerontology, exercise, and general health.
  • BIOL 115: Science and Popular Culture
    For many individuals, an understanding of science is often obtained from popular entertainments such as novels, television shows, and movies. In this course, students will examine science from a biological perspective as it is portrayed in popular culture. Students will critically assess the validity of science and scientific assumptions presented in popular culture, while also assessing how scientists are portrayed. As a result, students will better understand science both as a process and as a way of understanding the natural world. Specific topics will include genetic engineering, biological warfare, and plagues. The course will include lectures, student presentations, and papers.
  • BIOL 116: Exploring the Brain
    This course will address how the mind and brain work by exploring current and classical neurobiological topics, particularly those of interest to college students, through the use of professional and academic journals, textbooks, popular magazines and newspapers, as well as other media sources. Topics will include neuronal development and neuronal death; diseases of the brain, such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, depression, and psychiatric disorders; and topics such as drugs and alcoholism. Three hours per week.
  • BIOL 120: Organismal Biology
    This course will address the organization and function of multicellular organisms. Although focused primarily on plants and animals, other kinds of organisms will be discussed. Regulation, homeostasis, and integration of function; nutrient acquisition, processing, and assimilation; photosynthesis; gas exchange; reproductive patterns; and development are all topics that are included in this course. Readings from an introductory text and the secondary and primary scientific literature will be required. Students must also register for a lab. Co-requisite: CHEM 115. Science placement test required for entrance to both BIOL 120 and CHEM 115. Please see Requirements page on the Biology Department website for details.
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  • BIOL 130: Bio Inq: Deadly Shape Hostage Brain
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Deadly Shapes, Hostage Brains) Age-related neurological diseases that hold our brain hostage are major 21st-century global health burdens and are among the most actively funded areas of medical research. In this course, students will delve into primary literature through research projects that investigate how deadly protein shapes underlie complex neurodegenerative illnesses, like Alzheimer's, Huntington disease, and Parkinson disease and discover how little we still know, despite astonishing advances. Students will dissect human brains to understand the underlying brain pathology. Trips to Chicago to visit neurology laboratories, neuroscience research centers, and attend a major neuroscience conference will present the latest advances in neurological research. Additionally, students will debate ethical dilemmas that face society as neuroscientists race towards solving current medical mysteries and experiment with potential new treatments. Students who have taken FIYS106 will not receive credit for this course. Two discussion/lecture and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 131: Bio Inq: Invasion Ecology
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Invasion Ecology) This course will introduce students to the study of invasive species. The course will demonstrate how invasive species are used to address complex issues in ecology, evolution, and biogeography, and how invasive species can affect habitat structure, community composition, and ecosystem services. Invasion ecology is integrative by its very nature and students will have the chance to explore numerous aspects in invasion ecology from local examples of species of economic and ecological concern, to species considered global epidemics. Specific examples will be driven by student interest. The course may include local field trips. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 132: Bio Inq: Plant-Animal Interactions
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Plant-Animal Interactions) This course will introduce students to the ecological and evolutionary relationships between plants and the animals that eat them, defend them, or carry their pollen or seeds. The course will address chemical and physical plant defenses against animals, ecological interactions among plants and animals, and relationships in a community context, using examples from tropical, temperate, and marine ecosystems. The course includes local field trips. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 133: Bio Inq: Tropical Forest Biology
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Tropical Forest Biology) The immense biological diversity in tropical forests provides scientists with a frontier for the discovery of new species, new drugs and new ecological relationships. This course will address tropical forest structure and function, ecological relationships among forest species and issues surrounding the conservation of tropical forests. The course may include local field trips. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 134: Bio Inq: Emerging World Diseases
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Emerging World Diseases) In this age of antibiotics and vaccines, why do millions die each year from infectious diseases worldwide? With new viruses and pathogens continually emerging, can we ever hope to win the battle? This course will address the biological mechanism of infectious disease and the socio- economic and ecological factors that influence the outbreak of disease in various world populations. Emerging (e.g. SARS, Ebola, West Nile) and re-emerging (e.g. tuberculosis) diseases will be studied, as well as other major threats to global public health (e.g. malaria, anthrax). Discussion, lecture, student presentations, and laboratory sessions. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116. (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • BIOL 135: Bio Inq: Human Ecology
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Human Ecology) Human beings are some of the most interesting, complicated, self serving, expressive, destructive, and beautiful organisms to evolve on Earth. Participants in Human Ecology will investigate the many ways in which the Earth is an ecosystem for humans, with the principal goal of this course to compare and contrast how humans have changed the Earth to better suit its needs as a species, and the consequences that have and are arising from such ecosystem modification. Topics covered through the course include human evolution, food acquisition, economics, and climate change among many others. Participants will be required to attend multiple field trips throughout the semester. One 3-hour meeting per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 136: Bio Inq: Sensing the Environment
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Sensing the Environment) Virtually everything an animal does depends on receiving and correctly interpreting information from its external and internal environments. This course will examine the nature of different stimuli and the general properties of sensory reception. Specific biological examples will be chosen by students, and could include topics such as photoreception, chemoreception, mechanoreception, electroreception, thermoreception, magnetoreception, and nociception. Two discussion/lecture and two laboratory hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 137: Bio Inq: Diet & Disease
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Diet & Disease) The leading causes of disability and death in developed countries are multifactoral diseases that have a strong behavioral component, including: diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer. Are we truly what we eat? This course will examine the relationship between diet and human diseases. The semester will begin with a foundation of basic nutritional concepts including metabolism, daily requirements during growth, development and athletic training, as well as digestion and energy needs. In addition, we will examine the genetic, endocrine and neurological controls of eating and hunger and learn the cellular and physiological basis of the major food related diseases. We will critically analyze some popular diets and food supplements, in addition to analyzing different eating habits from around the world and assess if food groups promote or prevent different types of diseases. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 138: Bio Inq: Human Evolution
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Human Evolution) This course will introduce students to basic concepts of evolution as they apply to the evolution of our own species, Homo sapiens. We will consider what fossil and molecular evidence tell us about the origin of the human species; how adaptive evolution has shaped human populations morphologically, physiologically, and behaviorally; how human evolution has been intertwined with the evolution of other organisms and diseases; and the ways in which humans are currently evolving and are likely to evolve in the future. Class sessions will combine discussion, short lectures, student presentations, and other formats. This course will emphasize development of abilities to critically read scientific literature, communicate effectively about science, appreciate how and why we do science, and use electronic tools to search scientific literature. Prerequisites: Biology 120 and Chemistry 115. Not open to students who have taken FIYS 177
  • BIOL 139: Bio Inq: Biology Aging
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Biology Aging) From yeast to humans, virtually all organisms change with time. Various explanations have been proposed for aging and senescence, including environmental factors such as accumulated DNA damage, metabolism, and oxidative stress, as well as genetic factors regulating molecular clocks, cellular repair, and homeostasis. This course will investigate the physiology and underling mechanisms of aging focusing on current research. Students will explore the topics through reading of primary literature, discussion, writing assignments, and presentations. Three discussion/lecture hours per week. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
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  • BIOL 141: Biol Inq: Health Science Reporting
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: Health Science Reporting). The scientific method requires researchers to build upon knowledge generated by others. Much of this knowledge is disseminated through scholarly articles in scientific journals. Because scientific papers are often complex, including technical terms and statistical analyses, misunderstandings are common. News and popular media broadcast medical and health findings to the general public, frequently oversimplifying or misinterpreting the science. In this course, students will critique medical journalism and medical research by comparing popular reporting to original scientific sources. Emphasizing reading and understanding of scholarly literature in medicine, students will develop their capacity to recognize, comprehend, and critique medical research. Class activities will include lectures, discussion, student presentations, and written exercises. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 142: Bio Inq: The Biology of Dogs
    Biological Inquiry Seminar: The Biology of Dogs. Dogs are not only 'man's best friend,' but are increasingly used as biological models for research. Our familiarity with their behavior, diseases, and pedigree has made them central to the study of many aspects of biology, including genetics, neurology, and evolution. In this course, students will explore the biology of dogs and what this tells us about ourselves. By the end of the course, students will have developed an understanding of the scientific process and the capacity to recognize the relevance of research on non-human models. Class activities will include lectures, discussions, student presentations, written exercises, laboratories, and field trips. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Corequisite: CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 143: Biol Inq: The Biology of Sex
    (Biological Inquiry Seminar: The Biology of Sex. The ability to reproduce is a defining quality of life yet the diversity of methods used by organisms to replicate is staggering. In this course we explore the many ways that organisms reproduce, both sexually and asexually; how these different modes of reproduction evolved; the influence these modes of reproduction have on animal form and function; and what an understanding of the biology of sex tells us about human sex and sexuality. The course will address the misconception that gender roles (the 'promiscuous' male versus the 'coy' female) are biologically universal, and relate the diversity of sexual systems evident in biology to the diversity of human gender roles and sexuality. Class activities will include lectures, discussion, student presentations, written exercises, laboratories, and field trips. Prerequisite: BIOL 120 Corequisite: CHEM 116 (Meets GEC Cultural Diversity Requirement.)
  • BIOL 150: Reasoning & Statistical Inference
    (Reasoning and Statistical Inference in Biology) This course is designed to develop and expand students' understanding of quantitative biological information. The focus of the course is on quantitative literacy. Specific topics will include interpretation of descriptive statistics, graphical representations of biological data, bivariate statistics, and the results of hypothesis testing. Examples will be drawn from published and unpublished data sources, including and faculty and student research. Students will also work with practice datasets. Strongly recommended for first-year students interested in the Biology Major. Three lecture/discussion hours per week. No prerequisite.
  • BIOL 208: Human Anatomy
    This course introduces the structure of mammalian bodies, with particular emphasis on the human body. All of the major body systems (skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine, etc.) are covered. Lab includes dissection and study of representative mammalian specimens, as well as study of human skeletons and models. Class meets seven hours per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 120, CHEM 115.
  • BIOL 220: Ecology and Evolution
    The roles of ecological and evolutionary processes in shaping life's diversity are examined. Specific topics may include adaptive evolution, origins of species, reconstruction of evolutionary history, population dynamics and extinction, species interactions, community processes, conservation, and the importance of these topics to humanity. Lab sessions will combine group work in field research projects with quantitative analyses and synthesis of your findings in terms of published results from the primary literature. These projects will result in a written and/or oral presentation of your findings. This is an intermediate-level biology course that assumes prior experience with the primary scientific literature, analysis of quantitative data and mathematical models, and rigorous laboratory work. Three lecture hours plus one four-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 120 and CHEM 115.
  • BIOL 221: Molecules, Genes, and Cells
    This course will examine cells as the fundamental units of life. Topics will include the structure and function of the cell and its molecular constituents; energy relationships at the cellular level; and an introduction to the nature and organization of the genetic material. Laboratory sessions will emphasize student-designed projects. Classroom sessions will involve group work, discussions, seminars, problem-solving sessions, and lectures. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 120 and CHEM 116.
  • BIOL 320: Microbiology
    This course will focus on the biology of single-celled organisms, with emphasis on bacteria and infectious disease. Topics include antibiotic mechanisms and resistance, bacterial gene swapping, epidemiology, host-microbe interactions, and the immune response. Several weeks of independent study will allow the student to isolate, research, and identify three bacterial species. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status. Students must also register for a lab.
  • BIOL 322: Molecular Biology
    The structure and function of nucleic acids and proteins in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells: DNA replication, transcription, translation, and regulation. Laboratories will apply current molecular techniques to an open-ended research problem. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status.
  • BIOL 324: Advanced Cell Biology
    The structure and function of the cell and its organelles, with emphasis on membrane-related processes including transport, energetics, cell-to-cell signaling, and nerve and muscle cell function. Research reports will include extensive library and Internet exploration and analysis. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 324
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  • BIOL 325: Topics in Advanced Cell Biology
    The structure and function of the cell and its organelles, with emphasis on the extracellular matrix, membrane-related processes including transport, cell-to-cell signaling, protein processing, and post-transcriptional regulation. Current techniques will be explored in the context of primary research literature. Research reports will include extensive library and Internet exploration and analysis. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status. Not open to students who have taken BIOL 324.
  • BIOL 330: Applied Data Analy for Biologists
    (Applied Data Analysis for Biologists) This course introduces students to statistical analysis procedures as they are applied in biological research. Statistical content will introduce univariate and bivariate methods, moving on to multi-variable approaches. Classroom sessions will consist of lectures, discussions, and demonstrations. In addition to these more-formal sessions, a supervised laboratory in which students conduct hands-on computer-assisted statistical analyses, will take place weekly. Sample data will be drawn from multiple sub-disciplines within biology. These may include any of the following topics: cellular and molecular biology, organismal research, ecology, evolutionary biology, human physiology and medicine. Two 80-minute classroom and one four-hour laboratory meeting per week. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
  • BIOL 340: Animal Physiology
    This course will focus on mechanisms of homeostasis in vertebrates and invertebrates. A particular emphasis will be placed on examining specific adaptations (functional, morphological, and behavioral) to different environmental conditions, as well as problems associated with physical size. Topics will include integration and response to stimuli, gas exchange, circulation, movement, buoyancy, metabolism, thermal regulation, osmoregulation, and excretion. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 340
  • BIOL 342: Developmental Biology
    Analysis of the genetic, molecular, and structural changes that occur between fertilization and the development of the adult form. This course will examine many concepts including establishment of cell fates, embryonic patterning, and morphogenesis. Students will also analyze key experiments and methods that have provided an understanding of development. The laboratory will demonstrate important developmental principles, such as fertilization, gastrulation, differentiation, and morphogenesis though the use of invertebrate and vertebrate organisms. Three discussion and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status. Students must also register for a lab.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 342
  • BIOL 344: Animal Behavior
    A study of current ideas about the biological basis and evolution of animal behavior. Topics will include molecular, hormonal, and genetic bases of behavior; adaptive behavior patterns; mating systems and reproductive behavior; and evolution of altruism and helping behavior. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 344
  • BIOL 346: Molecular Neuroscience
    Neurobiology associated with brain function (perception, movement, homeostasis, affect, and cognition), neurological and psychiatric illnesses, and brain injury. A reading- and writing-intensive course with a problem-based learning approach that comprehensively explores the breadth of neurobiology (molecular, cellular, anatomical, physiological, behavioral, and medical). Laboratory exercises emphasize neuroanatomy and neuronal cell biology. Several experimental projects complement lecture and laboratory learning. Six hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 346L
  • BIOL 352: Molecular Genetics
    A study of the molecular basis for inheritance, particularly with respect to human traits and disorders. Topics include the structure, expression, and segregation of genes and chromosomes, use of model organisms in the study of human disease, genetic engineering and gene therapy, and principles of genome science. Laboratory will apply current molecular techniques to an original research problem. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status. (Cross-listed as NEUR 352.)
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 352
  • BIOL 360: Mechanisms of Neurodegeneration
    This course will examine the cellular and physiological basis of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and prion disease. A special emphasis will be placed on investigating the primary causes of neurodegenerative diseases, such as the role of protein misfolding, genetics, and neurotransmitters. Cutting-edge primary literature will be used to provide a current understanding of neurodegeneration, as well as insights into the techniques and methods used in this field. Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status.
  • BIOL 362: Mechanisms of Brain Dysfunction
    This course will examine the biochemical and molecular basis of both rare and common nervous system disorders that are at the frontiers of molecular medicine. Students will select from illnesses that disable processes as diverse as memory, language, cognition, sensation, movement, emotion, and homeostasis. A special emphasis will be placed on investigating the primary causes of dysfunction, such as the role of protein misfolding, genetics, and neurotransmitters. By discussing the latest primary literature students will gain current understanding of neurological and psychiatric illnesses, as well as insights into the techniques and methods used in this field. Students will seek to further new knowledge by authoring an original grant proposal. Finally, depending on the semester offered, students will serve as advanced peer mentors for first year students either enrolled in FIYS 106 or BIOL 130 courses. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status. Two 80-minute sessions per week.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 362
  • BIOL 370: Ecology
    This course examines current concepts and research in ecology at the levels of populations, communities, landscapes, ecosystems, and global processes. Emphasis will be placed on field research methods and reading of the primary literature. Lectures, discussions, and other classroom activities will be combined with field and laboratory exercises. Three classroom and four laboratory/field hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status. (Cross-listed as ES 370.)
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  • BIOL 372: Earth's Ancient Ecology
    The focus of this course will be utilizing modern ecological knowledge and techniques in combination with paleontological data in order to understand how ecology has changed through time. Content covered in class includes history of like, development of evolutionary trends and theory, relationship between geologic processes and life on Earth, and fossil preservation. Hypothesis and inference building and testing will also be strong components of this class. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week (includes required field trips). Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.(Cross-listed as ES 372.)
  • BIOL 372: Pharmacology: Drug, Brain, Behavior
    In this course, we will explore ideas and principles regarding neuronal communication and drug interactions that govern behavior. We will explore communication patterns of both electrical and chemical signaling, define complex dynamics of drug distributions and identify how these processes are influenced by individual genetics. This class will also investigate the interaction between neurotransmitters and drugs at specific neuronal receptors, which will be discussed from the perspective of agonism and antagonism. We will use these principles to guide our understanding of pharmaco-therapeutics that are focused on symptom targeting. Students will also have the opportunity to discuss clinical cases and participate in the development of strategic therapeutic approaches based on current research towards the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. Prerequisites: PSYC110 and BIOL221 with a grade of at least C-, or permission of instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 372, PSYC 372
  • BIOL 373: Community Ecology
    This course will address G. Evelyn Hutchinson's foundational question: 'Why are there so many kinds of animals?' We will approach this question by studying the mechanistic drivers of biodiversity, how diversity is maintained, and the interactions between species in communities. This course will consist of a weekly seminar presentation based on a topic in community ecology interspersed with student-led discussions based on readings from foundational and modern papers related to the lecture topic. The lab will focus on quantification of biodiversity, use of computer and statistical tools to analyze ecological data, and experimental design for field studies. Lab will culminate with students designing and conducting an original field-based research project applying the skills learned in lab to a relevant hypothesis discussed in class. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
  • BIOL 374: Biogeography
    This course will examine patterns of biodiversity, species distributions, island biogeography, the role of the Earth's history in shaping modern species distributions, and the impact of current climate change and land use change on future species distributions. Each week students will read foundational papers in Biogeography. We will then read a recent paper that touches on the questions raised in the foundational papers, with the idea of identifying both which foundational hypotheses have been well tested and, perhaps more interestingly, which have not. By discussing the latest primary literature, students will learn how to unite concepts and information from ecology, evolutionary biology, geology, and physical geography to answer questions of importance to modern society. The lab section of the course will be focused on learning GIS techniques and how they are applied to biologically interesting questions. Students will author an original research project applying the skills learned in lab to a relevant hypothesis discussed in class. Three 50-minute discussion sessions per week plus one lab section. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
  • BIOL 375: Conservation Biology
    This course will examine how biological principles and information can be applied to conservation of species, ecosystems, and natural resources. Topics may include endangered species, conservation genetics, landscape and ecosystem-level conservation, restoration, biodiversity in human-influenced systems, and others. This course is scheduled to allow extended field trips and will also include lecture, discussion, and other classroom and laboratory activities. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status. (Cross-listed as ES 375.)
  • BIOL 384: Plant Biology
    This course aims to provide a thorough knowledge and understanding of land and aquatic plants, photosynthetic protists and fungi, including: molecular biology; chemical organization and genetics; structures and functions of plant cells, tissues, and organs; principles of systematic botany, nomenclature, and classification; evolutionary relationships among the major groups; and the relationship between plants and their environments. An emphasis on hands-on experimentation will allow students to design experiments, analyze data, and present their results. Three 50-minute lectures and one 3-hour lab per week are required. Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: ES 384
  • BIOL 389: Evolution
    This course will focus on the mechanisms of evolutionary change, ranging from short-term microevolutionary processes within populations to the origins of new species. Topics will include evidence for evolution, short-term microevolutionary processes, natural selection, adaptation, phylogenetic reconstruction, divergence and speciation, 'evo-devo', and human evolution. Classroom sessions will consist of lectures, discussions, and student presentations. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week (including Field Museum trips). Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 389
  • BIOL 389: Evolution
    This course will focus on the mechanisms of evolutionary change, ranging from short-term microevolutionary processes within populations to the origins of new species. Topics will include evidence for evolution, short-term microevolutionary processes, natural selection, adaptation, phylogenetic reconstruction, divergence and speciation, 'evo-devo', and human evolution. Classroom sessions will consist of lectures, discussions, and student presentations. Three lecture and four laboratory hours per week (including Field Museum trips). Prerequisites: Biol 220, and either Biol 221 or Junior status.
  • BIOL 480: Neural Frontiers
    This course is designed to provide a scholarship capstone for biology and neuroscience majors. Students will explore diverse topics of their interest at the frontiers of neuroscience, one of the most active research fields of the 21st century that is regularly considered as science's final frontier. Students will select from topics as diverse as memory, language, cognition, sensation, movement, neural stem cells, and complex neurological diseases. Students will engage in the art of being a scientific scholar in three complementary ways. They will learn new knowledge by discussing the latest primary literature in journal clubs. They will seek new knowledge by authoring an original grant proposal. They will explore how a career in science extends knowledge by role-playing a world famous neuroscientist. Finally students will serve as consultants for First-Year Studies students. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology and neuroscience majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 480
  • BIOL 481: Sr Sem: Oncology
    (Senior Seminar: Oncology) This course will examine characteristics of cancer at the cellular and organismal levels, as well as investigate the current methods of treatment and prevention of cancer. This will involve intensive library research, report writing, and student led discussions and presentations. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology and neuroscience majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 481
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  • BIOL 482: Sr Sem: Sex and Evolution
    (Senior Seminar: Sex and Evolution) An application of evolutionary principles to understanding phenomena related to sexual reproduction. This seminar will emphasize theory and empirical tests of theory reported in the primary literature in evolution, behavior, and genetics. Exact topics will depend on student interests. Classes will involve discussions, student presentations, and short lectures. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology and neuroscience majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 482
  • BIOL 483: Sr Sem: Plant and Animal Interact
    (Senior Seminar: Plant and Animal Interactions) This course will examine the ecological and evolutionary relationships between plants and the animals that eat them, defend them, or carry their pollen or seeds. The course will address plant defenses against animals, ecological interactions among plants and animals, and relationships in a community context, using examples from tropical and marine ecosystems as well as those of North America and Europe. Particular attention will be given to changes over geological time and the central importance of these relationships in maintaining food production and conservation of biological diversity. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology majors who have completed at least one 300-level Biology course or by permission of instructor.
  • BIOL 484: Sr Sem: Biology of Extinctions
    Human-induced extinctions are proceeding at an incredible rate, which will have wide-ranging effects on current biological systems. Extinctions of human diseases have been thought of as beneficial, whereas enormous effort has been expended to protect a few survivors of disappearing plants and animals. Specific topics will depend on student interests, but may include historic patterns in extinction, historic and modern causes of extinctions, and the biological and economic implications of extinctions. Topics will be studied by analysis of the primary literature and include student-selected case studies. Classes will involve discussions, student presentations, and short lectures. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
  • BIOL 485: Sr Sem: The Nobel Prizes
    (Senior Seminar: The Nobel Prizes: A Century of Innovation and Discovery) Koch, Fleming, Muller, Watson, Crick, von Bekesy, Golgi, and y Cajal are all Nobel Prize winners. Why are some names known to non-science students, whereas others are not even recognizable to most scientists? Every fall the Nobel Prize committee announces their awards. While their deliberations are shrouded in secrecy, the fame of the award is such that the general public often knows the names of winners. This course will examine the work and life of select prize winners in physiology/medicine and chemistry over the past 100 years. Reading will include the original work by the Novel laureates, as well as biographies and autobiographies of the winners. Discussion, presentations and papers will examine the impact of the winners' work, including a critical analysis of how important the work was at the time and how important it remains today, and why some awards were given years after the work was conducted, while others were recognized within a few years. The course will also include a history of the prize and of Alfred Nobel, and explore controversies associated with the award, including the dearth of female recipients. The semester will conclude with nominations for next year's award winners. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology and neuroscience majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 485
  • BIOL 486: Sr Sem: Biol Natural Hallucinogens
    (Senior Seminar: Biology of Natural Hallucinogens) A wide range of plants, fungi, and animals produce psychoactive compounds, primarily as forms of self-defense. Peyote, khat, coca, and opium are common examples of naturally occurring substances that, when ingested by humans, alter the way in which neurons interact, creating effects that vary from medicinal to toxic. An in depth analysis of the primary literature will be used to explore and analyze the wide range of biological effects induced by these compounds, as well as the biology of the organisms producing psychoactive substances. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
  • BIOL 487: Sr Sem: Biol Impli Climate Change
    (Senior Seminar: Biological Implications of Climate Change) As our global climate changes, it is expected that the effects on biological systems will be wide-ranging. Changes in temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentrations, rainfall patterns, storm frequency and sea level have the potential to alter geographic distributions of species, change the spread of infectious diseases, reset plant phenologies, drive evolutionary change and even modify plant and animal physiology and biochemistry. An in depth analysis of primary literature will be used to explore and analyze the myriad biological effects that may occur in response to global climate change. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology majors who have completed at least one 300-level Biology course or by permission of instructor.
  • BIOL 488: Sr Sem: Cellular Basis of Disease
    (Senior Seminar: Cellular Basis of Disease) A study of the cellular and molecular basis of infectious diseases and their treatments, including viral and acterial agents, through intensive library research, report writing, and student presentations. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology and neuroscience majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 488
  • BIOL 489: Sr Sem: Biology of War
    War can have devastating effects on human health and the environment. Factors considered in this course include nuclear fallout, widespread pesticide (e.g. Agent Orange), biological weapons, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and natural resource availability. An analysis of primary literature will be used to explore and analyze the myriad biological effects of modern and historical warfare. Prerequisite: Open to senior biology and neuroscience majors who have completed at least one 300-level course in the major or by permission of the instructor.
    Cross-listed as: NEUR 489
  • BIOL 490: Internship
    Off-campus research experience supervised by a departmental faculty member. Consult the faculty member designated as the department's internship liaison for application information.
  • BIOL 493: Research Project
    Research in collaboration with a departmental faculty member. Consult with any member of the department for application information.
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  • BIOL 494: Senior Thesis
    Research guided by a departmental faculty member culminating in a senior thesis, fulfilling the College's Senior Studies Requirement. Consult any member of the department for further information.

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