Introduction to Cellular and Molecular Biology
This course introduces students to the structures and functions of biological molecules and how those molecules assemble into cells, the fundamental units of life. Topics covered include structure and function of macromolecules, membranes and organelles, membrane transport, chemotrophic and phototrophic cellular metabolism, cell signaling, cell division, and the process of gene expression. Emphasis is placed on asking experimental questions in cell and molecular biology and making connections to real-world topics such as human diseases.
This course covers the basics of heredity, concentrating on three areas of genetics: Mendelian (or transmission) genetics, molecular genetics, and population/ evolutionary genetics. Major concepts include how the genetic material replicates and is passed on, how it encodes information that results in a phenotype, and how it can change. Recent discoveries, historical concepts, and relevant ethical issues are addressed.
Advanced Topics in Cell and Molecular Biology
Examination of current topics in cell and molecular biology, including mechanisms that regulate gene expression and protein function, organization of cellular components into functional pathways, and modern experimental techniques.
Cancer results from failures in the mechanisms that normally regulate cell growth and proliferation, cell death, and cell-cell interactions due to genomic mutations. This course examines how cancer cells differ from normal cells (morphologically, behaviorally, and in the functioning of molecular pathways), the genetic basis of cancer, how cells progress from a normal to a cancerous state, factors that promote cancer development, and strategies for cancer therapy. We also consider the human impacts of cancer and the relationship between cancer research and the general public. Lab activities address experimental tools for characterizing the molecular and cellular features of cancer cells.
Biochemical Regulatory Mechanisms
This course addresses the most common molecular mechanisms by which eukaryotic cells regulate their normal activities and respond to external signals. Students develop an understanding of how these regulatory mechanisms work together to control the cell division cycle and cell-level developmental decisions. In the lab, students gain experience designing and implementing experiments to investigate cellular regulatory pathways. The course also seeks to increase students' skills for reading, interpreting, and conveying to others the information presented in scientific articles.
This is a capstone course for the Biology major designed to help students integrate concepts and skills developed in prior coursework and prepare for the transition to employment or post-graduate studies.
The primary goals of the course are to:
• Further develop effective and audience-appropriate communication skills in written, verbal, and visual formats.
• Think critically about the process of developing research questions, designing experimental approaches, and interpreting data, including maintaining standards of integrity and ethics.
• Consider various aspects of the interface between science &amp;amp; society: for example, how scientific data are presented to and used by the non-scientific community; how scientific data influence policy decisions; and how scientific research is funded.
• Facilitate the transition from undergraduate study to employment or post-graduate study.
"Stupid Cancer," or "The Emperor of All Maladies?"
This is a first-year seminar open to all majors that examines the many faces of cancer: its basic biology, its personal effects on people and families, and how its place in society has changed over time.