Course Descriptions

121 – Integrative Biology I – This introductory course is made up of a series of multi-week research modules taught in a studio format. Modules will focus on organismal biology, form and function, biological diversity, evolution, and ecology. There will be two three-hour sessions per week during which talking about biology and doing biology are seamlessly integrated. The course is designed to encourage students to develop the values, habits, and practices of a scientist. Students will learn the scientific method and how it is employed including: how to make scientific observations and form hypotheses, how to plan and conduct experiments, and how to display and interpret data and communicate scientific results. The course is designed for students intending to major in biology and/or apply to health-focused graduate programs and can be used to partially fulfill the Natural Science Areas of Knowledge requirement. A minimum grade of C- in both BIOL 121 and 122 is prerequisite to all biology courses numbered 200 and above; however the courses can be taken in either order. Four hours.

122 – Integrative Biology II – This introductory course is made up of a series of multi-week research modules taught in a studio format. Modules will focus on metabolism, genetics, and development. There will be two three-hour sessions per week during which talking about biology and doing biology are seamlessly integrated. The course is designed to encourage students to develop the values, habits, and practices of a scientist. Students will learn the scientific method and how it is employed including: how to make scientific observations and form hypotheses, how to plan and conduct experiments, and how to display and interpret data and communicate scientific results. The course is designed for students intending to major in biology and/or apply to health-focused graduate programs and can be used to partially fulfill the Natural Science Areas of Knowledge requirement. A minimum grade of C- in both BIOL 121 and 122 is prerequisite to all biology courses numbered 200 and above; however the courses can be taken in either order. Four hours.

126 – Insects and Humans – Since antiquity, insects have infected us with disease, pestered our animals, at- tacked our crops, infested our food stores, and damaged or destroyed our possessions. But they have also in- spired artisans, architects, cartoonists, engineers, gourmands, religious thinkers, engineers, and scientists. Insects & Humans examines the long and complex relationship between insects and humans. Lectures be- gin with basic overviews of insect morphology, classification, and biology, followed by targeted surveys that explore the influence of insects on our art, history, literature, science, technology, and popular culture. The lab focuses on the morphology and classification of insects and other arthropods, followed by specimen preparation and identification of insects collected as part of a survey at a state park. Six hours of combined lecture and laboratory per week. AOK: Natural & Math Sciences-Natural Science Laboratory. Four hours.

127 – Cell Biology for the Citizen – This course will deal with theories and concepts concerning the origin and evolution of life, the structure and functioning of cells as the fundamental units of life, and the knowledge and methods of classical and modern genetics by which disease may be cured and modified life forms created. Students will be introduced to basic concepts in chemistry and bioenergetics which will serve as a basis for understanding theories of organic and cellular evolution; structure, functioning, and metabolism of cells; and the molecular genetics of prokaryote and eukaryote cells. Also covered will be the methods of recombinant DNA technology, as well as the social and ethical problems resulting from current and future application of this knowledge. Laboratory topics will clarify and support lecture concepts. The course will not count on the biology major or minor, but it can be used to partially fulfill the Natural Science Areas of Knowledge requirement. Offered alternate years. Open to all students. Four hours.

129 – The Human Machine – A study of the human body and how it works through detailed analyses of its organ systems. Special emphasis will be placed on structure-function relationships and issues relevant to health and disease. Laboratories will stress anatomical and physiological investigation of body functions. Four hours.

133 – Health and Immunity – Allergy, asthma, cancer, and autoimmune diseases affect a growing number of individuals each year. In light of this, “Health and Immunity” will examine how the immune system works and how dysfunction of the immune response can lead to each of these common health issues. Additional attention will be paid to understanding how environmental factors, such as exposure to dirt and bacterial/viral infections, may influence the immune response and ultimately susceptibility to each of the above mentioned health issues. Attempts to deliberately manipulate the immune response, via vaccinations, health supplements, and immunotherapies for the purpose of influencing disease outcomes will also be dis- cussed. The course will not count on the biology major or minor, but it can be used to partially fulfill the Natural Science Areas of Knowledge requirement. Not open to students who have passed HONR 279. Four hours.

151 – Biological Diversity – An introduction to the major concepts in conservation biology. The course will examine the diversity found in species, communities, and ecosystems; judge the economic and ethical value of biological diversity to humans; investigate regions of the Earth where most biodiversity is found; evaluate current policies used to protect biodiversity. Material from a range of disciplines will be covered, including biology, ecology, mathematics, social science, and public policy. The course will not count on the biology major or minor, but it can be used to partially fulfill the Natural Science Areas of Knowledge requirement. Four hours.

175 – Experimental Field and Laboratory Ecology – The goals of the course are to present the major concepts and principles of ecology and to investigate many of these experimentally in field and laboratory study. The major topics to be discussed include the abiotic environment, the nature of ecosystems and their functioning, ecology of populations, behavioral ecology, and community structure and organization. Field and laboratory study will involve the formulation and carrying out of experiments relating to some of these ecological principles and concepts. Data from these studies will be analyzed and presented. The course will not count on the biology major or minor, but it can be used to partially fulfill the Natural Science Areas of Knowledge requirement. Offered alternate years. Open to all students. Four hours.

200 – Genetics – A study of the major laws of inheritance and the cellular and molecular bases for these laws. Topics will include cell division, Mendelian inheritance, linkage, recombination, quantitative inheritance, probability theory and statistical applications in genetics, problem-solving strategies, population genetics, and molecular genetics. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

201 – Cell Biology – An in-depth study of cells, their organization, chemistry, and physiology. Topics to be emphasized will include enzymes and enzyme action, bioenergetics, mitochondrial and chloroplast structure and function, lysosomes, golgi bodies, membrane systems, endocytosis, microtubules, nuclei, chromosomes, mitosis, meiosis, protein synthesis, and gene regulation. The laboratory will reinforce principles introduced in the lecture and will provide students with a knowledge of techniques used in cell biology. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

202 – Plant Taxonomy – A field course emphasizing the methods of identification and recognition of local vascular plant species and families. Supporting topics include vegetative and reproductive morphology, natural history and ecology of Virginia plant species, nomenclature, classification, ethnobotany, and economic botany. Field trips will be taken to local habitats of interest. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

204 – Plant Physiology – This course will introduce students to a broad range of concepts in plant physiology and development with an emphasis on vascular plants. We will also discuss topics of plant cell biology, genetics, and anatomy. The themes covered in this course will highlight applications of plant biology in today’s society, including agriculture and bioenergy. The major topics in the course cover the entire plant life cycle with an emphasis on seed development and germination, hormone regulation, photosynthesis, solute and mineral nutrition, and reproduction. Students will also learn how plants must incorporate a multitude of environmental signals such as light, temperature, and gravity to shape plant form. Prerequisites: BIOL121- 122. Counts on the Biology major in the organismal category. Four hours.

205 – Evolution – An introduction to the mechanisms and outcomes of evolution. Examples are drawn from many disciplines (e.g. genetics, behavior, and paleontology) to discuss how researchers study the evolution of organisms and develop and test evolutionary theory using integrative approaches. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Three hours.

230 – Ichthyology – An introduction to the study of fish, the most diverse group of vertebrates on Earth with over 25,000 species. This course will explore the evolutionary history, anatomy, taxonomy, physiology, ecology, behavior, and zoogeography of these interesting creatures. In lab we will collect and identify many of the 210 freshwater species in Virginia and learn about their habitats, life-histories, and the problems we face in conserving this valuable resource. Offered alternate years. Prerequisite: BIOL 121. Four hours.

235 – Marine Biology – An introduction to the interrelationships between marine and estuarine organisms and their environment. Lecture and lab sessions will focus on a general ecological survey of the marine and estuarine environment stressing ecological relationships at the individual, population, community and ecosystem level. A major part of the course will be a 7-day field trip to the Florida Keys. The role of adaptation will provide a central theme as various habitats are explored through field studies emphasizing quantitative data collection and analysis. Prerequisites: BIOL 121- 122. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

248 – Entomology – An introductory course in entomology with emphasis on insect biology, diversity, and identification. Lectures will consider insect structure and function, behavior, ecology, and adaptation. The laboratory deals with insect morphology, classification, and field techniques for the study and collection of insects. A fully prepared insect collection identified to order and family is required. Six hours of combined lecture and laboratory per week. Counts as an organismal curriculum component for the Biology major. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

249 – Medical & Veterinary Entomology – A comprehensive survey of insects and other arthropods that adversely affect the health of humans, domestic animals, and wildlife. Overviews of medical-veterinary entomology and epidemiology emphasize the ecological relationships between arthropod vectors, pathogens or parasites, and vertebrate hosts. Lectures include in depth taxonomic surveys that include information on vector identification and biology, disease transmission and prevention, and vector control. The laboratory focuses on morphology and identification of insect and other arthropod vectors. Counts as an ecology curriculum component for the Biology major. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

250 – Beetles of Southern Africa – A broad overview of the biodiversity, systematics, and ecology of the beetle fauna in one of the most biologically diverse regions in the world. Students will participate in the first-ever beetle survey of the natural areas in Swaziland and tour nearby Kruger National Park, South Africa to observe large mammals and other animal and plant life. Field work will be conducted side-by-side with students and researchers from the University of the Witswatersrand in Johannesburg. Counts in the organismal curriculum component of the biology major. Offered January term. Four hours.

251 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I – A study of the normal structure (gross and microscopic) and functioning of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and nervous systems of the human body. Laboratory work emphasizes the anatomical aspects of the systems, using a cat as a dissection specimen. Six hours of combination lecture and laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

252 – Human Anatomy and Physiology II – A study of the normal structure (gross and microscopic) and functioning of the endocrine, circulatory, digestive, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems of the human body. Laboratory work emphasizes the physiological aspects of these systems, measuring human body function where possible. Six hours of combination lecture and laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

260 – Vertebrate Field Biology – A field-oriented course emphasizing field identification, natural history, and ecology of all vertebrates in general and local species in particular. Lectures will be devoted to a systematic survey of each vertebrate group emphasizing evolutionary patterns and adaptations as well as ecological relationships both within and between groups at various taxonomic levels. The field portion of this course will emphasize identification and student ecological re- search in an effort to understand more fully the natural history of local vertebrate fauna. Occasionally, laboratory sessions will be held to investigate comparative morphology of major groups in an effort to understand evolutionary relationships and functional adaptations associated with major adaptive radiations. Two one hour lectures and one four-hour field laboratory per week. In addition, 2-3 Saturday or weekend field trips will be required during the semester. Offered alternate years. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

271-272 – Guided Research – These guided research courses are intended to provide interested students an opportunity to do research prior to the senior research courses. Students will work with a biology faculty member to develop and execute a research project. Per- mission of a biology faculty member is required. Students will be required to spend at least three hours per week in the laboratory. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. One hour each.

301 – Plant Ecology – A field and laboratory oriented course emphasizing an ecological approach to a survey of plants. Major topics of lecture and laboratory will include allelopathy, plant-animal and plant-plant interactions, seed germination ecology, pollination ecology, resource allocation, the ecology of disturbed habitats - adaptations of successful and climax species, patterns of intra-specific variation, reproductive strategies, conservation botany, and local flora. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122 or permission of the instructor. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

309 – Animal Behavior: An Evolutionary Perspective – This course examines the ecological and evolutionary basis for animal behavior. It will emphasize how the physical environment and interactions with other organisms shape animal behavior at both the proximate (mechanistic) and ultimate (evolutionary) level. Topics will focus on competition, aggression, foraging, communication, cooperation, mating systems, and economic decisions (e.g., game theory). Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

310 – Freshwater Ecology – This course has three goals: to understand the physical, chemical, and bio- logical properties of natural streams, rivers, and lakes; to examine how these properties relate to form a functioning watershed; and to explore how human cultural forces influence these functions. In the laboratory component of the course, students collect data on macroinvertebrate populations, monitor water quality, and make measurements of parameters defining physical habitat in a variety of freshwater habitats. They also prepare and present group reports comparing and contrasting data on different habitats, and compare their results with those in the published scientific literature. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. BIOL 325 is recommended. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

311 – Microbiology – A study of the structure, function, and practical significance of disease-producing and beneficial microorganisms. Lecture topics will include the structure, physiology, genetics, and classification of bacteria, viruses, and disease-producing eukaryotes. Disease production by microorganisms, disease pathology, and microbial control will also be discussed. The laboratory will instruct students in the methods and procedures used in growth, identification, and control of micro-organisms. Six hours of combination lecture and laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122 and BIOL 200, or BIOL 201, or CHEM 215. Four hours.

315 – Infectious Disease and Public Health – This course focuses on the pathophysiology of select infectious diseases and their associated public health issues. Students will be introduced to the types of pathogens that cause infectious diseases, the modes through which they are transmitted, and how they are combated by the immune system as well as basic epidemiological concepts and public health measures. Legal and ethical is- sues that arise out of public health policies directed towards combating infectious diseases will be addressed including compulsory vaccination, antibiotic resistance, bioterrorism, poverty, global warming, forced quarantine, and pandemic preparation. When possible, case studies, historical events, and recent newspaper articles are used to support student engagement and understanding of material. In the laboratory component, students will design and carry out a vaccination strategy in mice and then apply their experimental findings to develop a public health policy for combating a particular infectious disease. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

325 – Ecology – A study of the descriptive and theoretical aspects of ecology and evolutionary biology. Lecture topics include the following: the process of evolution, ecosystem concepts, ecology of populations, physiological ecology, community ecology, and energy flow in ecosystems. Current ideas of evolutionary ecology will be integrated with the above topics to represent the unifying nature of these two major areas of biology. Laboratory periods will involve primarily field work in local communities. Emphasis will be on sampling of biological communities and analysis of ecological data. Three lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Four hours.

333 – The Cradle of Man – Humankind originated in Africa. Indeed, Tanzania’s Olduvai Gorge in eastern Africa is the site where fossil remains of some of humanity’s earliest ancestors have been found. And natural selection, the process that gave rise to the bounty of life on earth, including our own species, is writ large in Tanzania’s Serengeti. With its vast open plains teaming with wildlife the legendary Serengeti is what most westerners envision when they dream of Africa. Covering nearly 6,000 square miles, the Serengeti is home to the greatest biological spectacles on earth! This course will focus on the evolutionary and cultural history of the Serengeti region with special emphasis on the inextricable links ---both past and future--- between its people and its wildlife. In addition, given the economic and political importance of the region’s megafauna, students will develop an independent research project to study the natural history and conservation status of a particular member of this group of animals. Laboratory activities will include learning the methods of behavioral field observation and quantification as well as an introduction to population estimation methods for large animals. This course travels to Tanzania, Africa. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122 or permission of the instructor. Four hours.

350 – Biostatistics – An introduction to the design and statistical analysis of experiments in the life sciences. An integrated lecture/lab format directs students on how to pose questions in the form of scientific hypotheses, design valid experiments to investigate the questions, and use appropriate statistical techniques to analyze the data. Students will use computer statistical packages for most analyses. Four hours.

351 – Advanced Cell Biology and Microscopy – This is a laboratory-intensive course that develops under- standing of and proficiency with several common cell biological tools and approaches used in biomedical research with an emphasis on microscopy and protein biochemistry. Student projects will address current biomedical research questions that employ light microscopy, immunofluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy, transmission and scanning electron microscopy, and related immunological applications used to localize proteins in cells. Protein biochemical studies will include instruction in proteomics, SDS-PAGE and Western analysis, and protein assays. Students will make extensive use of the primary literature and technical publications. Experimental design, use of appropriate controls, and data interpretation will be emphasized, and students will write and present formal reports on their work. Prerequisites: BIOL 201 and CHEM 215. Four hours.

353 – Molecular Genetics – An in-depth study of genes and gene activity at the molecular level. This course will explore the structure of DNA and RNA, transcription, RNA processing, translation, and the regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Students will gain an understanding of molecular tools to study genes and gene expression through discussions of current research papers. Specific examples of the roles of genetic regulation during development will be studied. Prerequisites: BIOL 200 or 201 and CHEM 215. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

353L – Molecular Genetics Laboratory – This course will focus on gene regulation in the model plant species Arabidopsis thaliana and its relatives. The aim is to provide a research-intensive experience that highlights experimental design, project implementation, and the reporting of results to the scientific community. Student pairs will conduct semester-long research projects utilizing molecular genetics techniques. The use and discussion of primary literature will guide the project development process. During this course, students will become familiar with plant growth and maintenance, methods of DNA manipulation (e.g. extraction, PCR, ligation, and transformation), and genetic analysis tools. A formal written report and presentation will be given by each group at the end of the semester. If taken with BIOL 353, together the two courses counts as one laboratory course in the Cell/Molecular category. One hour.

354 – Human Genetics – A course exploring the molecular bases of specific human genetic disorders. For each genetic disorder, molecular approaches used to identify and characterize associated genes, the cellular pathways affected, and treatments will be examined. Through the discussion of current research papers, students will gain an understanding of experimental approaches and learn to think critically about experimental design and analysis of results. Topics to be covered include the molecular nature of mutations, cancer genetics, gene therapy, and non-classical patterns of genetic inheritance. Ethical issues in reproduction and medicine related to advances in molecular technologies will also be considered. Prerequisite: BIOL 200. Offered alternate years. Three hours.

432 – Histology – A thorough survey of the normal microanatomy of the human body. The relationship between microanatomy and function is explored. The structure, function, and classification of human cells and tissues will be covered in detail, after which the tissue composition of major human organs will be surveyed. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122. Offered alternate years. Four hours.

442 – Immunology – This course presents a comprehensive view of the basic principles of immunology. We examine the tissues and cells that make up the immune system and discover the elegant mechanisms through which the immune system defends against pathogens. Health issues associated with immune dysfunction such as autoimmunity, allergy, cancer, transplants, and AIDS are also discussed. Lectures are frequently supplemented with medical case studies and articles from leading immunological journals. The laboratory component involves multi-week projects examining innate immunity, adaptive immunity, and the cooperation between the two. Two lectures and one three-hour laboratory session per week. Prerequisites: BIOL 121, 122, and ONE of the following: BIOL 200, 201, or 432. Four hours.

450 – Internships in Biology – This course provides students with practical working experience in the biological sciences and requires a minimum of 130 hours of work in a laboratory or field site. The nature of the project and the site is determined in consultation with a faculty supervisor and is approved by the department. A paper and seminar on the internship work must be presented to the biology department by the last day of class for the semester in which the internship is completed. Prerequisites: 54 semester hours of class work, a minimum cumulative GPA of 2.25, and completion of at least five biology courses. Application required; see Bassett Internship Program. Three hours.

463 Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology – This course focuses on the molecular and cellular underpinnings of nervous system function. Topics include the regulation of the neuronal cell cytoskeleton, axon guidance, intracellular transport, the generation and propagation of the action potential, synaptic mechanisms, growth factor influences on development and regeneration, neuronal stem cells, and sensory signal transduction. A team-based-learning approach that involves hands-on experimentation is used in a studio format. Two 3-hour meetings per week. Four hours.

491-492 – Independent Study – Three or six hours.

493-494 – Research in Biology – Students select a research topic in a specialized area of biology. Projects are student-designed in consultation with a faculty member. A proposal (including a literature review and a research plan) must be submitted to the faculty member. The project will culminate in a formal written report and/or research seminar at the end of the term. Three hours each.

496-498 – Senior Project – A special research problem selected by the student in consultation with the biology faculty. A detailed proposal (including a literature review and a plan of research) must be submitted to the faculty member. A research seminar and a written thesis must be presented to the biology department at the end of the second term of the senior project. The student must pass an oral examination in defense of the thesis. Prerequisites: senior status. Six hours.

499 – Biology Capstone – Students will learn about cutting edge research from practicing scientists in academia by reading relevant scientific literature by these scientists and listening to invited talks during weekly seminars. Students are expected to synthesize biological principles across the different sub-disciplines (Cell and Molecular, Organismal, and Ecology), and to apply skills that they have learned in as Biology major, such as speaking and evaluating experimental design. Prerequisites: BIOL 121-122 and senior status. Three hours.