Please note: The information displayed here is current as of Thursday, June 21, 2018, but the official Course Catalog should be used for all official planning.
This catalog was created on Thursday, June 21, 2018.
|Professors:||B. De Stasio (Dennis and Charlot Nelson Singleton Professor of Biological Sciences), E. De Stasio (The Raymond H. Herzog Professor of Science)|
|Associate professors:||K. Dickson, J. Humphries (on leave term(s) I, II, III), J. Sedlock (chair), N. Wall|
|Assistant professors:||I. Del Toro, A. Hakes (on leave term(s) II), B. Piasecki|
|Instructor:||R. Ribbons (Freshman Studies)|
Students come to Lawrence with varied interests in the life sciences, thus course offerings in biology span the breadth of this exciting discipline and the biology major is flexible. Though each student may create a unique path to completing a major in biology, we encourage students to sample courses across the breadth of the field, including courses in ecology, organismal biology, and molecular genetics. The flexibility of the major allows students to include off-campus study into the undergraduate experience, whether that be the Lawrence marine term or an experience that does not include the study of biology.
The department encourages an open-ended, original, experimental approach to life science. The research-rich approach begins in BIOL 130: Integrative Biology: Cells to Organisms, in which all department faculty members participate. Students design, conduct, and interpret their own research projects and present their results at a professional-style symposium at the end of the term. The second course, BIOL 150, includes three open-ended research modules in the laboratory portion of the course while the third course has students focused on experimental design and statistical analysis of data.
Experimental work becomes progressively more sophisticated and creative in advanced courses. All courses are designed to develop students’ insights and capacity to synthesize information, and they include discussions, readings, field trips, lab work, and interactive class work in those areas most closely related to the competence of the faculty. Most courses feature intensive laboratory or field instruction in which students use advanced research equipment to explore modern biological concepts.
All biology faculty members conduct active research programs and employ students during the summer as research assistants as well as supervise students undertaking independent study research for credit during the academic year. Motivated students may approach faculty about laboratory or field research after their first or second year of study. Many students culminate their work in biology with significant original research. In recent years, several papers with students and faculty as co-authors have been published in professional journals. Topics have included aquatic food chain energetics, host-parasite and plant/animal interactions, gene expression, and molecular mechanisms of vertebrate development. Recent advances in biological research are presented in a series of talks by faculty and by scientists from other universities. All students complete a project (research, curriculum development, outreach, or a creative project) of their own design as part of our Senior Experience program and they present their work at our annual BioFest celebration of Senior Experience (see below for more details).
Students who have strong secondary interests in chemistry, geology, or physics may construct majors involving biology and one of the other three natural sciences, using the interdisciplinary major in the natural sciences or the biochemistry major.
Required for the biology major
- BIOL 130, 150, and 170
- CHEM 116
- At least seven six-unit courses in biology numbered 200 or above (excluding Senior Experience courses), of which at least five must be laboratory courses
- Completion of biology Senior Experience (A student-directed project, 6 units of BIOL 650, 2 units of BIOL 600)
Note: Only two six-unit courses designated as tutorial, directed study, or independent study can be counted toward the major or minor requirements and only one of those can be counted toward the upper-level laboratory requirement. On-line coursework cannot be transferred to earn biology credit.
Required for the biology minor
- BIOL 130, 150, and 170. Students majoring in disciplines requiring a research methods and statistics course may request exemption from the BIOL 170 requirement.
- At least four six-unit courses in biology numbered 200 or above, of which at least two must be laboratory courses.
- C average in the minor
Note: Only two six-unit courses designated as tutorial, directed study, or independent study can be counted toward the major or minor requirements and only one of these can be counted toward the upper-level laboratory requirement. On-line coursework cannot be transferred to earn biology credit.
Required for the interdisciplinary major in the natural sciences in biology and physics or geology
- BIOL 130, 150, and 170
- PHYS 141 and 151 or 151 and 160
- GEOL 110 and GEOL 210, if geology is the secondary discipline.
- At least 10 six-unit courses in the natural sciences (biology, chemistry, geology, and physics) numbered 200 or above, with at least five in biology (of which at least three must be laboratory courses), and at least three in the secondary discipline in other departments
- Completion of the biology Senior Experience
Note: The interdisciplinary combinations of biology and chemistry have been replaced by the biochemistry major.
Wisconsin Teacher Certification
Students who major in biology and who wish to gain certification to teach biology in Wisconsin public schools should choose a broad range of biology courses that includes ecology, plant and animal organismal biology, as well as molecular and cellular biology. Students should gain experience in both field and laboratory research. Beyond the coursework required for the biology major, students will need to take the following additional courses:
- One 6-unit geology course
- One 6-unit physics course
- EDST 180: Psychology of Learning
- EDST 350: Ethnicity, Cultural Diversity, and Education
- EDST 440: Sociology of Education
- EDUC 560: Methods in Middle and Secondary Teaching
- EDUC 430: Educating All Learners
- EDUC 650: Student Teaching
- EDUC 660: Student Teaching Seminar
For more detailed information about the certification program refer to the course of study for the Department of Education.
Senior Experience in Biology
Required: A student-designed project, 6 units of BIOL 650, 2 units of BIOL 600.
Purposeful advising in the spring of the sophomore year and attendance at the spring BioFest is meant to inspire sophomore students to think about what they might want to undertake as their culminating project in biology. During the fall of the junior year, students will hear from department faculty, the internship coordinator, and others about opportunities available for Senior Experience projects at a weekend retreat. Breakout groups allow students to brainstorm project ideas. Project work (research, internship, creation of a curricular module, draft of a grant proposal, draft of a children's book on biology, production of art about biology, or other creative project) generally will be undertaken prior to Term II of the senior year and may be based on an internship, summer or academic year research, a tutorial, course work, independent study, or other student activities.
Usually in the senior year, students will take two terms of BIOL 600: Recent Advances in Biology Lecture Series (1 unit each), one term of BIOL 650 (5 units) in Winter Term and one additional unit of BIOL 650 in Spring Term for BioFest. The purpose of the BIOL 650 course is to bring to culmination each student’s individual Senior Experience project and to place that project in an academic context. Each student prepares a paper that places her or his project into a biological context, compares it to our past and current understanding of the topic using primary literature, and summarizes the student’s project or results. Students will begin gathering and organizing academic resources for this paper in the Term I BIOL 600 course. In BIOL 650, students preparing a thesis for honors will prepare a significant portion of their thesis, while a student creating a visual product or curriculum will describe the biological underpinnings of the work and reflect on the production of the work itself, for example. The Senior Experience will culminate with a symposium, BioFest, during Spring Term, at which all students will present the results of their projects (or the project itself) as a poster, demonstration, or other visual display.
Courses - Biology
BIOL 100: The Biology of Human ReproductionAn introductory course focusing on human reproduction to demonstrate some basic biological principles. The course includes discussion of cellular and organismal processes related to the development of human biological complexity. Current research in reproductive biology and its impact on the individual and society is considered. Lecture and laboratory. Primarily for non-science majors; credit not applicable to the biology major.
BIOL 103: Biotechnology and SocietyAn examination of basic biological principles underlying current biotechnology in the fields of human genetics and genetic engineering. Discussion of methods of basic scientific research, the impact of technology on society, and ethical problems in human and agricultural genetics. Credit not applicable to biology major. Weekly laboratories will introduce basic experimental methodology and procedures.
BIOL 130: Integrative Biology: Cells to OrganismsAn exploration of fundamental cellular processes in an evolutionary context including homeostasis, cell cycle, gene expression, energy transformation, inheritance, and multi-cellular development. Experimental approaches will be emphasized. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 150: Integrative Biology: Organisms to EcosystemsDevelopment, morphology, physiology, and ecology of plants, animals, fungi and unicellular organisms will be compared in evolutionary context. Phylogenic relationships, ecological interactions, and ecosystem processes will be explored. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 170: Integrative Biology: Experimental Design and StatisticsAn introduction to experimental and sampling design in the fields of biology and biochemistry, as well as methods of data analysis and interpretation. The connection between statistical analysis and experimental design will be emphasized. Topics include descriptive, exploratory, and confirmatory statistical analyses. Lecture and computer laboratory.
BIOL 191: Directed Study in BiologyDirected study follows a syllabus set primarily by the instructor to meet the needs or interests of an individual student or small group of students. The main goal of directed study is knowledge or skill acquisition, not research or creative work.
BIOL 200: Animal BehaviorA lecture and field-study course examining the principles and problems of animal behavior. Subjects include orientation, feeding, locomotion, communication, escape in time and space, biological rhythms, mate choice, and aspects of social behavior, examined from evolutionary, ontogenetic, physiological, ecological, and ethological perspectives. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 221: EntomologyTopics covered will include a survey of all of the clades of insects with information on the systematics, diversity, ecology, life history, behavior and unique characteristics of each lineage. Lecture material will be augmented with required field trips to collect local species (terrestrial and aquatic) and the creation of a personal collection of species following the format as is customary for museum collections.
BIOL 222: ParasitologyStudents will examine and compare the complex life cycles of a variety of parasites, including those of medical and veterinary importance. Specific topics covered within the course will include: parasite biochemistry, ecology, parasite evasion of the host immune system, host immune responses, and host behavior. The laboratory component of the course will include both live and preserved specimens.
BIOL 226: MicrobiologyA study of microbial life with an emphasis on prokaryotes. Microbial physiology is examined in the context of how unique characteristics allow microbes to exploit a vast diversity of environments, including the human body. Laboratory exercises introduce students to techniques used to safely study microorganisms.
BIOL 229: General Ecology (Lecture Only)An introduction to the interactions between organisms and the environment. Explores the role of physical, chemical and biotic processes--including human activities--in determining the structure and function of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Topics include resource availability, competition, predation, symbiosis and natural and anthropogenic disturbances such as disease, biological invasions, pollution and climate change. Lecture only.
BIOL 230: General EcologyAn introduction to the interactions between organisms and the environment. Explores the role of physical, chemical and biotic processes--including human activities--in determining the structure and function of populations, communities, and ecosystems. Topics include resource availability, competition, predation, symbiosis and natural and anthropogenic disturbances such as disease, biological invasions, pollution and climate change. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 235: Evolutionary BiologyA study of biological evolution, including natural selection, adaptation, the evolution of sex, speciation, extinction, and constraints on evolutionary change. Reading primary literature is emphasized. Two lectures and one discussion per week.
BIOL 240: Morphogenesis of the VertebratesAn integrated lecture and laboratory course that undertakes the study of the structure and function of vertebrate organ systems through examination of morphology. Vertebrate ontogeny, phylogeny, and anatomy are addressed.
BIOL 242: Comparative PhysiologyA comparative study of the variety of solutions and adaptations diverse animals can make to similar problems — obtaining and transporting oxygen, maintaining water and salt balance, utilizing food, movement, and nervous and hormonal integration. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 245: Conservation BiologyThis course explores scientific concepts related to the conservation and restoration of Earth's biological diversity. Topics include patterns of species and ecosystem diversity, the relationship between biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, causes of extinction, assessing extinction risk, behavioral indicators, in-situ and ex-situ management strategies for endangered species, and ecosystem restoration. Lecture only.
BIOL 260: GeneticsA lecture and laboratory study of the principles of inheritance, gene expression, introductory genomics, sex determination, and the concepts of historical and modern eugenics and genetic engineering.
BIOL 265: BiogeochemistryThis course explores fundamental cycles between earth's major reservoirs of nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and water. Through lecture and group presentations, students will gain a solid understanding of the fundamentals of biogeochemical cycles and the mechanism underlying the biological transformations of those elements. Lecture only.
BIOL 310: Human AnatomyA course in human anatomy only intended for students entering the allied health professions (e.g. nursing, PA, PT, athletic training) or forensic anthropology. Students learn detailed anatomy using full-size human models. Students are expected to learn structures of the skeletal, muscular, nervous (sensory included), circulatory, digestive, respiratory, urogenital, and endocrine systems. Emphasis is on the anatomy, particularly in the laboratory component of the course, but basic physiology is also covered.
BIOL 325: Cell BiologySurvey of the structure and function of eukaryotic cells, the basic functional unit of life. Correlation of cellular structures including organelles, proteins, and membranes with functions such as cellular communication, division, transport, movement, and secretory pathways will be analyzed. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 330: Aquatic EcologyThe principles of the ecology of fresh waters, developed through discussions, laboratory, and field investigations of the functional relationships and productivity of biotic communities as they are affected by the dynamics of physical, chemical, and biotic parameters. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 335: Plant EcologyThis course emphasizes core concepts in ecology and evolution from the unique perspective of plants. Students will explore the interactions between plants and their environment over a range of scales; from individuals to populations and communities. Lecture and laboratory.
BIOL 340: Topics in NeuroscienceA study of the nervous system from the perspectives of psychology and biology. Topics vary year to year and may include glial cells, neural development, and the evolution of nervous systems and neurotransmitter systems. Lecture only. May be repeated when topic is different.
Topic for Fall 2017: Microbes and the Brain
The gut-brain axis is a bidirectional communication network linking microbial organisms in the mammalian gastrointestinal track to specific neurological processes in the brain. Using primary research articles as a basis, this course will explore how psychological, environmental, and behavioral factors influence the physiological state of both the brain and the gut. Course format includes discussions, presentations, and writing assignments.