Biology

BIOL 101 - Creatures and Curiosities

This course deals with unfamiliar, mysterious, beautiful, grotesque, and overlooked animals all around us: the invertebrates. We will explore animal evolution and focus on the biology of creatures such as sponges, jellyfish, insects, and corals. In addition, we will discuss the cultural role of animals as curiosities - as specimens in cabinets and museums, or the subjects of phobias and urban legends. Drawing on topics in marine biology and entomology, students will learn about the ecology, life cycles, and anatomy of major groups of animals through lectures, observation of live animals, and dissections. Students must complete two field trips outside of class time. Two 1-hour lectures and one 1-hour lab per week.

Frequency: Offered most years, fall semester.


BIOL 102 - Origins

Life! It is everywhere on Earth, from the poles to the equator, from the deepest oceans to the tallest mountains, from frozen ice to boiling hot springs. Over the last 3.6 billion years, living organisms on Earth have evolved and adapted to almost every imaginable environment. In this course we will journey back to the beginning of the story and explore the major originations and transitions of life on Earth, from the origin of life itself to the development of flight, flowering plants, and the return of land-dwelling organisms to the sea. This is a course about evolution on a grand scale, set on the Earth's remarkable stage.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


BIOL 104 - Biotechnology and Society

This course will serve as an introduction to the development and application of biotechnologies, and the impact these technologies have on society. Discussions will include stem cell research, genetic testing in the clinical setting, personal ("recreational") genomics, DNA fingerprinting and forensic applications, gene editing, and gene therapy. This course will introduce students to some basic concepts and methodologies used in the fields of genetics, and molecular, developmental and cell biology. We will also discuss sociocultural and ethical issues that emerge from the application of these technologies.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


BIOL 106 - Lakes, Streams and Rivers

Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes, is also home to numerous streams and rivers. In this course we will examine the nature of these aquatic ecosystems; exploring their ecology, geology and chemistry. We will also investigate human impacts through such practices as agriculture, urbanization and industrialization, on these important ecosystems. Students will complete projects exploring various aspects of local waterbodies, especially the Mississippi, Minnesota, and St. Croix Rivers.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 106


BIOL 108 - Bodies on Fire

Complex cascades of inflammation orchestrate our bodies' response to our environment. Inflammation (derived from ignition; setting alight) resolves infections, heals wounds, and restores internal balance to the body. However, these same inflammatory responses, when uncontrolled, can destroy the body with frightening rapidity. Diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease, allergies and asthma, neuro-degenerative conditions, pain and depression are some of the most pervasive and confounding health challenges that confront the global population today. Chronic inflammation underlies all of these diverse pathologies. In this course, you will be introduced to the beautifully elaborate world of the immune system through lectures, discussions and critical reading of scientific and popular texts on the global pandemic of inflammatory non-communicable diseases. You will have opportunities to share ideas through discussion, reflective and analytical writing, and exploration of metaphors of illness and wellness.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


BIOL 110 - Plants, Environment, and Society

The food we eat, the air we breathe, and the landscapes we inhabit are shaped by plants. Plants are also at the heart of many global issues impacting society: food security, climate change, development and land degradation, and environmental inequity. In this course, we focus on the physiology, ecology, and biodiversity of plants, as well as their role in human life and society. We will explore topics that span agriculture and biotechnology, climate change and biodiversity, historical and modern use of plants as commodities, and urban ecology.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


BIOL 112 - Health in the Anthropocene

This class interrogates the interplay of the forces that shape the interconnected health of human populations and planet on which we live. One of the largest issues of environmental justice that affects health is human-caused climate change. Human-environment interactions in health also play out in tiny ways, every day - the water we drink, the food we eat, illnesses we contend with. These large and small issues intertwine in numerous ways. What and how we eat, drink, travel, use energy all reflect the ways in which and the scales at which we extract resources from our environment and ask us to consider the impacts of these activities on our environment which includes our own species. In this course, we will bookend our work with "views" of the large scale - looking back to history of health and climate interactions and into present/future interactions of health and anthropogenic climate change. Between those, we will delve into the stories of water, food, illnesses on a smaller scale. We will explore these topics using readings from assigned texts, films, field trips, writing projects and expressive/artistic inquiry.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


BIOL 117 - Women, Health and Reproduction

This course will deal with aspects of human anatomy and physiology of special interest to women and/or those who identify as women, especially relating to sexuality and reproduction. Biological topics covered will include menstruation and menopause, sexuality, conception, contraception, infertility, abortion, pregnancy, cancer, and AIDS. Advances in assisted reproductive technologies, hormone therapies, and genetic engineering technologies will be discussed.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Cross-Listed as: WGSS 117


BIOL 118 - The Heart and Soul of Biology

The study of life and the great questions of life can be pursued from many different disciplines and approaches. For many, the desire to study biology is sparked by the wonder and beauty that permeates all living beings, and often, also, a search for meaning. In this course we will attempt to not only discuss and explore life through the study of biology but also explore how science and spirituality can be seamlessly entwined. Fundamental principles of cell biology and physiology will be covered primarily through study of the endocrine and nervous system. We will specifically explore the role of meditation and sleep on the brain/body through reading and discussion of research articles, and also through the practice of meditation. In addition, we will examine the differences and intersections between science and religion/spirituality through discussions of readings by noted scientists and theologians. This is a writing intensive course that does not require a strong science background, and is appropriate for students interested in pursuing either science or non-science majors. It is especially intended for students who are interested in gaining a deeper understanding of biology and also willing to discuss the bridge between science and spirituality and belief.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.


BIOL 170 - Ecology and the Environment

This course dives into a range of topics to study how species, populations, communities, ecosystems, and biomes function in our changing climate. We will emphasize biological nutrient and energy cycling, population dynamics, animal and plant species interactions, disturbances and response to disturbances, and ecology in urban and agricultural landscapes. We will examine Ecology under four conceptual 'lenses': Climate Change, Environmental Justice, Land Use, and Ecosystem Services. These lenses provide critical insight into how scientists, policy makers, land managers, and other stakeholders evaluate complex ecological and environmental systems. Labs will be field and data-based, and emphasize the development of hypotheses, novel data collection at Ordway Field Station, and statistical analysis. Three hours lecture and one three-hour lab each week.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 170


BIOL 180 - Biodiversity and Evolution

An introduction to the diversity and history of life. We begin with basic evolutionary patterns and processes that have shaped living things, and then move on to the major groups of organisms (their morphology, physiology, reproductive cycles) and their evolutionary origins and relationships. Using recent findings from such diverse fields as molecular phylogenetics, developmental biology, and paleontology, this course introduces students to the major branches on the tree of life. Three hours lecture and one three-hour lab each week.

Frequency: Offered every semester.


BIOL 190 - Genetics

An introduction to the principles of genetics, including patterns of inheritance, structure and function of genetic material, flow of genetic information, and control of gene expression. This course also introduces students to the methodologies used in genetics research, such as gene mapping, gene expression techniques, DNA sequencing, introductory genomics, and gene manipulation. Bioethical and sociocultural issues that emerge from the applications of genetic concepts and methodologies are discussed. Three lecture hours and one three-hour laboratory each week.

Frequency: Offered every semester.


BIOL 194 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

BIOL 200 - Cell Biology

Cells are the foundational organizing units of all life on our planet. In this course, we study the ways in which these nanomachines use the shapes and interactions of molecules to store and convert information, energy, and mass, and to communicate with their environments. The workings of single-celled bacteria to multicellular organisms, and the complex behaviors of multi-species ecosystems all depend on the working of these miniscule molecular gears packed inside cells. This course covers the structures and behavior of biological molecules, the metabolic reactions that power life, the properties of the fluid, complex membranes that organize biological molecules in space and time, the ways in which information is sent and received within and between cells, and molecular-scale understandings of health and disease processes. Three lecture hours each week.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190; and CHEM 112 or CHEM 115


BIOL 255 - Cell Biology and Genetics Laboratory Methods

An intensive exploration of eukaryotic and prokaryotic cell structure, chemistry, and function with an emphasis on laboratory methods, data analysis, and experimental design. Using the same tools used to advance our understanding of modern cell biology and genetics, this lab requires students to become familiar with a mixture of biochemical, cytological, and genetic techniques as they develop testable hypothesis related to topics such as enzyme function, inheritance patterns, genome structure and gene expression, and cell-to-cell signaling.

Frequency: Offered for the last time in 2020.

Corequisite(s): BIOL 200 - Cell Biology


BIOL 294 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

BIOL 300 - Human Physiology

An introduction to human physiology. The course focuses on the major physiological systems of the human body (e.g., circulatory, respiratory, gastrointestinal, urogenital and the nervous system). A special emphasis is placed on homeostatic mechanisms and the role of the endocrine and nervous system in this process. Lecture/discussion will span the basic structure and function of these systems as well as the underlying cellular mechanisms. Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab each week.

Frequency: Spring semester of most years.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200, and CHEM 112


BIOL 302 - Invertebrate Animal Diversity

An introduction to the science of invertebrate zoology. The vast majority of animals are invertebrates, including beautiful and charismatic organisms such as corals and butterflies, and also pests and parasites such as mosquitoes and tapeworms. Students will become familiar with all major and some minor phyla of marine, terrestrial, and freshwater animals. Through lectures, discussions, field trips, dissections, and laboratory observations of live organisms students will learn to identify invertebrates and understand their anatomy, life cycles, and evolutionary history. Students will complete independent projects involving field collection and identification of either insects or shells (mollusks). Three hours of lecture and one three-hour lab each week.

Frequency: Fall semester of most years.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180


BIOL 304 - Neuroanatomy

The structure and function of the vertebrate nervous system, with a focus on the human nervous system, will be explored through analysis of human brain specimens and sections, and artistic photographic and computer graphic representations of nervous system structures at both the microscopic and systems levels. This course is designed to provide an understanding of both the peripheral and central nervous system with a focus on brain, brainstem, and spinal cord structure and function through observation and study of normal brain tissue and discussion of clinical cases. This course is intended for students with a strong interest in neuroscience. Three hours lecture and one three-hour lab each week.

Frequency: Offered most years, fall semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200


BIOL 306 - Ornithology

This course is for students interested in the biology of birds, Topics covered will include: functional morphology, physiology, distribution and systematics with an emphasis on avian ecology, behavior and evolution. The course format will include integrated lectures, laboratories, field trips, and discussion of the primary literature. Students will learn the major avian taxa with special emphasis on the common birds of Minnesota in general and the Twin Cities in particular. Three lecture hours and one three-hour laboratory per week.

Frequency: Offered most years, spring semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 170


BIOL 312 - Microbiology

This course is an introduction to the diverse field of microbiology, including prokaryotes, archaea, viruses, and eukaryotic microorganisms. We will explore the ways microbes interact with their environments, in particular their diverse and complex relationships with humans. The course includes regular discussion of primary literature and an emphasis on written and oral communication. In the laboratory, students will practice fundamental microbiology techniques and data analysis, and lead hypotheses-driven independent investigations. Three lecture hours and one three-hour laboratory each week.

Frequency: Offered most years, fall semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 170, BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; CHEM 211 recommended.


BIOL 316 - Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience

A study of the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the biological basis of behavior. While particular emphasis is placed on the molecular and cellular components of the nervous system, these components are the foundation for the analysis of various systems. Discussion topics may include the role of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators and receptors in learning and memory, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease and drug addiction. The laboratory will be used to introduce major research techniques in neurobiology. These techniques will be used in independently designed research projects. Three lecture hours and one three-hour laboratory per week.

Frequency: Every year.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200


BIOL 318 - Soil Ecology

This course surveys the ecology of soil, focusing on the physical structure of soil, the communities of organisms that inhabit it, the ecosystem-level processes they perform, and the human processes such as agriculture that they support. Emphasis is placed on the diversity of soils and soil organisms, on the complexity of abiotic and biotic interactions in and around soil, and on the contribution of modern molecular methods to the current revolution in our knowledge about soils. Some of these methods are investigated in the lab component, which also includes an independent project. Three lecture hours and one three-hour laboratory each week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally, fall semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 170 and BIOL 180, and either CHEM 111 or CHEM 115


BIOL 320 - Computational Biology

This interdisciplnary course will examine selected topics in computational biology, including basic bioinformatics, algorithms used in genomics and genome analysis, computational techniques for systems biology, and synthetic biology.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): COMP 123; BIOL 190 recommended

Cross-Listed as: COMP 320


BIOL 322 - Advanced Genetics

The principles of genetics explain how the information in the genome is used to build cells and organisms, how traits are inherited, and how mutations can lead to genetic diseases and cancer but also evolutionary innovation and new species. This course provides an in-depth study of the principles of modern genetics and will cover gene mapping of Mendelian and non-Mendelian traits as well as concepts and methodologies of molecular genetics, including gene expression analysis, next generation sequencing, and gene editing. We will also explore the field of epigenetics and discuss the mechanisms by which nature and nurture together affect the phenotype of an individual. Finally, we will discuss bioethical and sociocultural issues related to the application of genetic principles such as genetic testing, genome manipulation, and gene therapy. Three lecture hours.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190


BIOL 350 - Seminar in Evolutionary Biology

An exploration of one of the central organizing ideas of modern biology, the theory of evolution. Topics that will be covered include natural and sexual selection, adaptation, comparative methods, phylogeny, speciation, population genetics, molecular evolution, the origin of life, and others. The course will consist of lectures and discussions based on readings drawn from a variety of sources with an emphasis on primary literature. Three lecture/discussion hours per week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180 and BIOL 190


BIOL 351 - Biochemistry I

A study of biological processes at the molecular level with an emphasis on the chemistry of biological molecules, elements of physical biochemistry, the structure of proteins, the mechanisms and kinetics of enzyme catalyzed reactions, and selected topics in intermediary metabolism, including the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids. Three lecture hours and one three-hour laboratory per week.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 200 and CHEM 212, or permission of the instructor. Students must earn a C- or higher in prerequisite courses.

Cross-Listed as: CHEM 351


BIOL 352 - Biochemistry II

A continuation of BIOL 351. A study of biological processes at the molecular level with an emphasis on the metabolism of amino acids, nucleotides, the regulation of biochemical pathways, and topics in molecular biology such as gene replication, the synthesis of proteins and nucleic acids, and recent advances in genomics and proteomics.

Frequency: Every spring.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190, BIOL 200, and BIOL 351, or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: CHEM 352


BIOL 354 - Chemical Biology

Chemical biology is a field of study that applies chemistry to advanced problems in biology and medicine. This course will cover the fundamentals of the field, starting with a review of relevant biology, as well as advanced topics and state-of-the-art research. Through lectures, critical reading of recent literature, student presentations, and proposals, students will learn about the development of chemical tools to study and manipulate biological systems in novel ways. Topics may include: protein engineering and unnatural amino acid incorporation, targeted drug delivery, small molecule and protein-based imaging tools, bio-orthogonal reactions, synthetic biology, and combinatorial chemistry.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): CHEM 212 .

Cross-Listed as: CHEM 354


BIOL 357 - Immunology

This course is an introduction to vertebrate immunity. Its evolution, cellular and molecular mechanisms, health and disease functions and therapeutic manipulations are explored through approaches including lectures, clinical case studies, extensive reading of the primary literature, problem-solving and an intensive focus on scientific writing. The course typically includes a civic engagement component where students work with health organizations and schools in the Twin Cities area. The course laboratory uses guided exercises and independent projects to focus on current immunological techniques including flow cytometry, magnetic cell sorting and antibody assays. Three hours of lectures and four to six hours of laboratory per week.

Frequency: Offered every year.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; CHEM 112; junior or senior standing


BIOL 359 - Big Data in Ecology

Ecology and environmental science are increasingly using 'big data' to expand and refine research questions. We will examine, analyze, and interpret datasets that represent a wide range of ecological topics and approaches, including nutrient cycling, hydrology, climate change, human and animal migration, satellite remote sensing, and biodiversity. The course will examine recent literature and apply novel analyses using open-access data and code every week. We will build skills in R programming, science communication, data visualization, and critical examination of literature. The course is project-oriented and students will work independently and in small groups to dive deeply into large data using R/RStudio, and produce original analyses and results. Three lecture hours and three hours of laboratory each week.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 170; and STAT 112 or STAT 155

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 359


BIOL 362 - Arctic Ecology

The Arctic is Earth's most rapidly warming region. It is also home to massive carbon reservoirs and diverse biological adaptations to extreme elements, as well as home to Indigenous populations and the site of oil extraction and vanishing sea ice. We will examine how climate change is impacting the biodiversity, ecophysiology, and biogeochemistry of this crucial biome, and as a result, the rest of the world. As an
upper-level biology course, Arctic Ecology aims to challenge students to improve their science communication skills through varied written, spoken, and visual presentations. Students will also be challenged to synthesize content across systems and create novel hypotheses about current and future impacts of change at a species, community, ecosystem, and landscape scale.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 170

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 362


BIOL 364 - Neuroimmunology

The immune and nervous systems are two of the bodies most complex, beautiful and surprising physiologies. Their intersection has, in recent years, become a point of great interest for biomedical researchers and clinical investigators alike. In this course, we will begin an exploration of some of the fascinating aspects of this emerging discipline. We will use the primary literature, case reports and medical narratives to investigate the intersections of the immune and nervous systems in a variety of diseases and disorders. While much of traditional clinical neuroimmunology has focused on the treatment of immunological disorders that affect the nervous system, today the field is rich with breakthrough understandings of how the nervous and immune systems work together to maintain balance in the body and mind. In our class, we will examine collaboratively chosen topics/areas where these systems work together as a springboard for such mechanistic understandings. Our broad course goals are to 1) Understand cellular and molecular neuroimmunological mechanisms, 2) Disrupt traditional discourses around mental health, and 3) Tell accessible, engaging stories of science.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; CHEM 112 or CHEM 115; junior or senior standing


BIOL 365 - Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

Vertebrates are backboned organisms that include more than 50,000 living species ranging in size from a fish weighing less than an aspirin to a whale weighing nearly 300,000 pounds. They live in virtually every habitat on Earth and include species that fly higher, swim deeper, and move faster than other organisms. In this course, we will investigate vertebrate form and function through the lens of evolutionary history and dissection of representative vertebrates. Emphasis is placed on the origin and diversification of the basic vertebrate body plan and the morphological, functional, and evolutionary patterns that result. This course fulfills the coursework in anatomy recommended for most pre-health programs. Three hours of lecture/discussion and three hours of laboratory dissection each week.

Frequency: Offered most years, spring semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180 and BIOL 190; junior standing or permission of instructor


BIOL 366 - Plant Ecophysiology

Plant physiological processes in the environment regulate local, regional, and global climate and control ecosystem functioning. However, climate change is altering these processes across diverse ecosystems. We will learn about plant physiological processes, including converting light to energy, carbon cycling and storage, water transport, nutrient acquisition, growth, and the responses of these processes to an increasingly variable and potentially stressful environments. This course will also focus on scaling of carbon cycling, diving into remote sensing and global datasets, as well as novel data we collect in class to analyze with R/RStudio. We will learn about current techniques available to measure physiological processes. We will also focus on the broader process of science: how do we turn ideas into questions, questions into data, and data into compelling stories about the natural world?

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 170; BIOL 190 recommended

Cross-Listed as: ENVI 366


BIOL 369 - Developmental Biology

This course aims to integrate organismal, cellular, genetic and molecular approaches to the study of animal development. We will analyze a diversity of mechanisms, ranging from ones that set up pattern formation in the unfertilized egg to those governing morphogenesis of organ systems. Evolution of developmental mechanisms will also be discussed. The lab component will incorporate both descriptive and experimental embryological techniques. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory period per week.

Frequency: Offered most years, fall semester.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180, BIOL 190 and BIOL 200, or permission of instructor.


BIOL 394 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

BIOL 400 - Seminar in Neuropharmacology

This is an advanced course that will focus on the study of drugs used to alter the central nervous system. The course will begin with basic pharmacological principles and then concentrate on the various uses of drugs to alter brain neurochemistry. Topics for discussion will include the pharmacological treatment of schizophrenia, depression, pain, anxiety and generally, the neurochemical basis of behavior. In addition to discussion of the use of drugs for clinical purposes, a significant amount of time will be spent on the use of "drugs of abuse" (e.g. cocaine, marijuana, LSD). While the focus of the course will be on the biochemical mechanisms of these drugs, an effort will be made to investigate and discuss the sociological ramifications of drug use. Three discussion/lecture hours per week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 316 or PSYC 248; junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.


BIOL 402 - Virology

This seminar course will focus on the molecular biology of viruses, including prions and retroviral vectors. Topics will include bacterial, plant and animal viral infection and replication cycles, morphology, oncogenesis, and virus-host interactions. Viruses of epidemiologic and biotechnological importance, including new and emergent viruses, will be emphasized. Students will read current literature, lead class discussions and prepare a research proposal.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 312; BIOL 357 recommended; junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.


BIOL 404 - Seminar in Genome Editing

Recent advances in molecular biology have lead to the ability to directly manipulate genomes in highly precise ways. CRISPR-based genome editing is a type of genetic engineering that can be used to add, replace, or delete specific sequences in an organism's genes using specialized nucleases. The possible applications of this methodology are far-reaching and have already been used to correct disease-causing mutations in mouse models and human cells, leading to gene therapy clinical trials and the first reported case of manipulation of human embryos. We will discuss the primary literature from this emerging field, technical hurdles that may hamper medical applications of this technology such as "off-target" effects, and ethical and socio-cultural issues surrounding genome modification. Course grade will be determined by participation in weekly discussions, written responses in preparation for the weekly discussions, and a final paper.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.


BIOL 406 - Seminar in Immunology

This seminar course focuses on a particular topic of current interest within immunological research, such as cancer immunology, transplantation biology, allergy, autoimmunity and vaccine development. The course meets in a journal club format with weekly roundtable discussions of primary articles and secondary reviews in the area of study and emphasizes close and critical reading of experimental literature. Students will participate through discussion, written and oral presentation of critiques of the readings, and a final individual project. Three lecture/discussion hours per week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 357 and permission of instructor.


BIOL 410 - Seminar in Stem Cell Biology

This course focuses on how the body utilizes stem cells to generate, maintain, and repair tissues after injury and under normal conditions throughout life. Topics covered will include the biological properties of stem cells, the potential use of stem cells in research and in treating disease, and multiple systems of the body in an effort to illustrate similarities and differences in normal and regenerative approaches to stem cell based repair mechanisms. Methods used to generate and/or study stem cells will be covered in depth, as will related concepts such as cell signaling and differential gene expression. The course will involve extensive reading and discussion of primary literature to gain historical perspective as well as an up-to-date view of the field. We will also read and discuss a variety of perspectives on the societal and ethical issues associated with stem cell research and its potential therapeutic applications. Three lecture/discussion hours each week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; junior/senior standing; or permission of instructor.


BIOL 412 - Seminar in Cancer Biology

This course centers on the molecular events underlying the development of human cancer, including the cell cycle control, DNA damage, tumor microenvironment, chemotherapy and drug resistance. The ability to understand malignant transformation of cells on the molecular level and to critically evaluate existing literature in the field are two major goals of this course. We will discuss the primary literatures from the field with a goal of developing critical thinking skills in the analysis of cancer-related research.

Frequency: Alternate years.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190, BIOL 200, and junior/senior standing, or permission of instructor.


BIOL 416 - Seminar in Vertebrate Paleobiology and Evolution

This course delves into the evolutionary history and paleobiology of vertebrates. We'll explore the 500-million year history of the group, and employ that framework to investigate originations and extinctions, innovative vertebrate body plans, and the functional changes associated with the invasion of new habitats. From mouths to jaws, jaws to ears, arms to wings, and fins to legs (and back again), we'll investigate living vertebrates as analogues of fossil organisms and integrate discoveries in paleontology, geology, and molecular and developmental biology. The class will include periodic field trips to the Science Museum of Minnesota's Paleontology Collections and hands-on paleobiological research.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180, GEOL 165, or GEOL 300; junior senior standing; or permission of instructor.

Cross-Listed as: GEOL 416


BIOL 472 - Research in Molecular Biology

Collaborative research with a faculty member focused on understanding the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying developmental and physiological processes in plants and/or animals. This research course requires students to use journal papers as the focus for class reading and critical analysis. Through class presentations, discussions, and intensive bench work, students will become familiar with several research methodologies for isolating and manipulating DNA, for analyzing gene expression, and for studying gene function. Three lecture/discussion hours each week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; junior or senior standing; or permission of instructor.


BIOL 473 - Research in Immunology

This course involves collaborative research with a faculty member on a current problem in immunology. Students participate in intensive reading of primary literature, journal-club style presentations, detailed experimental design and written and oral presentation of proposed research projects. The laboratory component focuses on acquiring independent research skills, gaining technical expertise and carrying out novel research. Three hours of lectures and four to six hours of laboratory per week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 190 and BIOL 200; junior or senior standing; and permission of the instructor.


BIOL 474 - Research in Biochemistry

Students will be given an opportunity to design and execute a research project in biochemistry in collaboration with a faculty member. In addition to extensive laboratory research, readings and discussion of primary literature and writing of both research proposals and scientific papers will be pursued.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 351; junior or senior standing; and permission of instructor.


BIOL 476 - Research in Biodiversity and Evolution

This course offers an opportunity to work with a faculty member on current research in animal diversity and evolution. Lab periods will be devoted to fieldwork, lab work, and data analysis. Lecture periods will focus on discussion of the scientific literature related to the research area undertaken. Research projects will be undertaken in the fields of population genetics, phylogenetic systematics, or biogeography. Techniques may include field collection of animals, species identification, DNA sequencing, analysis of genetic data sets, and scanning electron microscopy. Three hours of lecture/discussion and three hours of lab per week.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180 and BIOL 190; junior or senior standing; and permission of instructor.


BIOL 480 - Research in Paleobiology

This course offers an opportunity to conduct collaborative research with a faculty member on topics in paleobiology. Students will actively engage with the primary literature and will design and pursue an investigation independently. The lecture component of the course will center on discussions of literature related to projects, as well as peer-evaluation of oral and written work. The laboratory component focuses on lab research and data analysis.

Frequency: Offered occasionally.

Prerequisite(s): BIOL 180; GEOL 165 or GEOL 300; junior or senior standing, and permission of instructor.


BIOL 494 - Topics Course

Varies by semester. Consult the department or class schedule for current listing.

BIOL 611 - Independent Project

This is an opportunity for students to do independent study or research on a biological topic. This may be done in the department under the direct supervision of a faculty member; it may be done at another college or university or similar institution under direct supervision; or in certain circumstances it may be done off campus with minimal direct supervision. Given the nature of independent projects, students need to demonstrate they have the necessary academic background, including appropriate coursework, in the area they are interested in pursuing before an independent will be approved. The independent may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 612 - Independent Project

This is an opportunity for students to do independent study or research on a biological topic. This may be done in the department under the direct supervision of a faculty member; it may be done at another college or university or similar institution under direct supervision; or in certain circumstances it may be done off campus with minimal direct supervision. Given the nature of independent projects, students need to demonstrate they have the necessary academic background, including appropriate coursework, in the area they are interested in pursuing before an independent will be approved. The independent may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 613 - Independent Project

This is an opportunity for students to do independent study or research on a biological topic. This may be done in the department under the direct supervision of a faculty member; it may be done at another college or university or similar institution under direct supervision; or in certain circumstances it may be done off campus with minimal direct supervision. Given the nature of independent projects, students need to demonstrate they have the necessary academic background, including appropriate coursework, in the area they are interested in pursuing before an independent will be approved. The independent may be undertaken during a semester or over the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 614 - Independent Project

This is an opportunity for students to do independent study or research on a biological topic. This may be done in the department under the direct supervision of a faculty member; it may be done at another college or university or similar institution under direct supervision; or in certain circumstances it may be done off campus with minimal direct supervision. Given the nature of independent projects, students need to demonstrate they have the necessary academic background, including appropriate coursework, in the area they are interested in pursuing before an independent will be approved. The independent may be undertaken during a semester or during the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 621 - Internship

This is an opportunity for students to work with professionals in the biological field outside of academia. Students will work with a faculty sponsor and their site supervisor to develop a set of learning goals, strategies to meet these goals, and methods of evaluation for the internship, including the nature of the final product. An internship is an excellent way for students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and laboratory, to learn more biology, and to explore career options. The internship may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer and must encompass at least 35 hours of work (equal to 2.5 hours per week). S/N grading.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 622 - Internship

This is an opportunity for students to work with professionals in the biological field outside of academia. Students will work with a faculty sponsor and their site supervisor to develop a set of learning goals, strategies to meet these goals, and methods of evaluation for the internship, including the nature of the final product. An internship is an excellent way for students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and laboratory, to learn more biology, and to explore career options. The internship may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer and must encompass at least 70 hours of work (equal to 5 hours per week). S/N grading.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 623 - Internship

This is an opportunity for students to work with professionals in the biological field outside of academia. Students will work with a faculty sponsor and their site supervisor to develop a set of learning goals, strategies to meet these goals, and methods of evaluation for the internship, including the nature of the final product. An internship is an excellent way for students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and laboratory, to learn more biology, and to explore career options. The internship may be undertaken during a semester or during the summer and must encompass at least 105 hours of work (equal to 7.5 hours per week). S/N grading.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 624 - Internship

This is an opportunity for students to work with professionals in the biological field outside of academia. Students will work with a faculty sponsor and their site supervisor to develop a set of learning goals, strategies to meet these goals, and methods of evaluation for the internship, including the nature of the final product. An internship is an excellent way for students to apply knowledge learned in the classroom and laboratory, to learn more biology, and to explore career options. The internship may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer and must encompass at least 140 hours of work (equal to 10 hours per week). S/N grading.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair.


BIOL 631 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Initiate registration through Academic Programs.


BIOL 632 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Initiate registration through Academic Programs.


BIOL 633 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Initiate registration through Academic Programs.


BIOL 634 - Preceptorship

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor. Initiate registration through Academic Programs.


BIOL 641 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project. The independent may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair. S/N grading only.


BIOL 642 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project. The independent may be undertaken during a semester, during January, or during the summer. Honors students are required to register for a 2 credit honors independent during January of their senior year.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair. S/N grading only.


BIOL 643 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project. The independent may be undertaken during a semester or during the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair. S/N grading only.


BIOL 644 - Honors Independent

Independent research, writing, or other preparation leading to the culmination of the senior honors project. The independent may be undertaken during a semester or during the summer.

Frequency: Offered every semester.

Prerequisite(s): Permission of instructor and department chair. S/N grading only.