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Spring 2022 Class Schedule

First year seminars & distribution courses

Table of First Year Seminar & Distribution Courses
Course Title Instructor Day/Time/Mode
BIOL_SCI 101.6.05 First Year Seminar - Wonders of Biology Vinzenz Unger

TTh 8:00 - 9:20am 

BIOL_SCI 103-0 Diversity of Life Gary Galbreath

 MWF 3:00-3:50pm

BIOL_SCI 150-0 Human Genetics Gabriel Cavin-Meza, & Brett Wisniewski

TTh 3:30-4:50pm 


Core courses

Table of Core Courses
Course Title Instructor Day/Time/Mode
BIOL_SCI 201-0 Molecular Biology Hilary Truchan & Jennifer Brace

Lec 1 MWF 10 -10:50am

Lec 2 MWF 11 - 11:50am

Combined Disc  W 7-8:50pm

BIOL_SCI 234-0 Investigative Laboratory John Mordacq & Hilary Truchan

 Sections are 1 day a week from 1-4:50pm, offered M, T, W, Th or F.

BIOL_SCI 301-0 Biochemistry

Thomas Mead - Lec/Disc 1

Heather Pinkett - Lec/Disc 2

Lec 1 MWF 11 -11:50am

Disc 1  W 7-8:50pm


Lec 2 MWF 10 - 10:50am

Disc 2  W 7-8:50pm


300 level courses

Table of 300 Level Courses
Course Title Instructor Day/Time/Mode
BIOL_SCI 307-0 Brain Structure, Function, and Evolution Tracy Hodgson

 TTh 9:30 - 10:50am

BIOL_SCI 310-0 Human Physiology Christine McCary

Lec TTh 11am - 12:20pm

Disc F 12pm - 12:50pm

BIOL_SCI 325-0 Animal Physiology Tracy Hodgson

 TTh 2-3:20pm


BIOL_SCI 327-0 Biology of Aging Jennifer Brace

TTh 11am - 12:20pm

BIOL_SCI 328-0 Microbiology Keara Lane

 MWF 9-9:50am

BIOL_SCI 333-0 Plant Animal Interactions Paul Caradonna TTh 12:30-1:50pm
BIOL_SCI 336-0 Spring Flora Nyree Zyrega

Lec M 10-10:50am

Fld W 10-12:50pm 

BIOL_SCI 337-0 Biostatistics Joseph Walsh

 MW 2-3:20pm

BIOL_SCI 341-0 Population Genetics Joseph Walsh

 TTh 9:30 - 10:50am

BIOL_SCI 345-0 TOPIC: Principles & Methods in Systems Biology Richard Carthew

 MWF 1-1:50pm


BIOL_SCI 363-0 Biophysics Yuan He

 MWF 11-11:50am

BIOL_SCI 391-0 Developmental Biology Shelby Blythe

MWF 9-9:50am 

BIOL_SCI 393-0 Human Genomics Robert Holmgren MW 3:30 - 4:50pm


Spring 2021 course descriptions

BIOL_SCI 101.6: First Year Seminar - Wonders of Biology 

At the molecular level, life is a chemical engine so complex that it makes everything humans have invented and built look like child play. Through a mix of lectures, workshops and writing assignments, the seminar will explore some of the wonders that are at the core of biological systems. The goal is to inspire you, and to illustrate how studying biology yields insights that are mirrored in seemingly unrelated things like social media, architecture, airline route design, computer sciences, or sociology to name but a few.

Registration requirement: First years only.

BIOL_SCI 103: Diversity of Life

This course constitutes a comparative survey of organisms, emphasizing adaptation and phylogenetic relationships. The gradual evolution of lineages of living things is treated chronologically. The evolution of Animals is covered in special depth. The mechanism of evolution via natural selection will be covered, in terms of both evidence and logic. The course is taught via lectures and reading assignments, with several exams for evaluation.  

Natural Sciences Distro Area

BIOL_SCI 150: Genetics and Evolution

Your DNA determines a lot about you, but it is not the whole story. In this class, we will discuss what is, and what isn’t determined by your DNA. We will focus on the cutting edge science that is used to understand DNA and how it influences human variation and disease. We will cover topics including gene function, genome sequencing, CRISPR and genome editing, epigenetics, and ethical implications associated with human genetics. We will also briefly discuss the history of human genetics and classic experiments that give context to the modern field. Background from high school biology is sufficient for understanding course material.

Natural Sciences Distro Area

BIOL_SCI 201: Molecular Biology

Students will learn about the basics of molecular biology, including the structure of macromolecules, DNA replication, transcription, and translation and the mechanisms by which these processes are regulated. Students will also learn current biotechnology methods used to study molecular biology.

Credit not allowed for both BIOL_SCI 201-0 and BIOL_SCI 215-0

BIOL_SCI 234: Investigative Laboratory

This course is the culminating life-science lab experience in the sophomore-year series. Students design and generate reagents that can be used in larger experiments. The topic varies from year to year, but typically revolves around the sub-cloning of a specific gene fused to a reporter for detection.

Prerequisite: BIOL_SCI 233-0.

BIOL_SCI 301: Biochemistry

This class is an introductory level biochemistry course. It covers basic topics such as macromolecular structure and function of biologically relevant macromolecules (proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids), membrane structure, membrane transport, signal transduction, chemical logic in metabolic transformations, and carbohydrate metabolism. The course strongly emphasizes conceptual understanding, and offers extensive student-teacher interaction. Active participation in all course elements is encouraged and advantageous as students are expected to move past memorization of facts to a fully interconnected and integrated understanding that allows students to apply their knowledge to solve complex problems. This course will equip students preparing for the MCAT. Wednesday discussion section meetings will be for quizzes/midterms.

Quizzes (20-30 minutes) are held during the Wednesday 7-9pm discussion section for Biol_Sci 301. 
If another class conflicts with a Biol_Sci 301 exams, we do not offer an alternate time. Please make sure you do not have conflicts for the following exams: Friday, April 23rd 7-9pm and Wednesday, May 26th 7-9pm.

Prerequisites: CHEM 210-1 or CHEM 212-1 or CHEM 215-1.

BIOL_SCI 307: Brain Structure, Function, and Evolution

The Brain: Structure, Function and Evolution will provide an overview of the evolution of the nervous system and cognition, from the origin of neurons to the structure/function of human brains. 

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 302-0, BIOL_SCI 325-0, or BIOL_SCI 344-0.

BIOL_SCI: 310 Human Physiology

Biol_Sci 310 explores the functions of the human body with an emphasis on homeostatic mechanisms, interdependence of organs and organ systems,and the influence of modulatory systems. Topics include: nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and digestive systems as well as endocrine application in these systems. Readings and activities focusing on the contributions ofunderrepresented and underacknowledgedscientists to the pursuit of physiology research will be included.

Prerequisites: Students must have completed BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0, BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0, and CHEM 132-0, CHEM 152-0, or CHEM 172-0. Credit not allowed for both BIOL_SCI 310-0 and BIOL_SCI 217-0.

BIOL_SCI 325: Animal Physiology

Bio 325 is a lecture/group discussion course designed to explore advanced concepts regarding the physiology of the major organ systems, with an emphasis on comparisons between vertebrate groups, and between vertebrates and invertebrates.

Prerequisite: Students must have completed BIOL_SCI 217-0 or BIOL_SCI 310-0 to register for this course.

BIOL_SCI 327: Biology of Aging

In this course, we will discuss the current molecular and cellular processes that contribute to organismal aging. Topics will include but are not limited to: epigenetic changes, mitochondrial dysfunction, loss of proteostasis and nutrient sensing pathways. Through critical analysis of current primary literature, students will gain an understanding of how experimental evidence informs the current biological theories of aging. Furthermore, we will explore the biological and ethical considerations of extending lifespan and current studies on the potential to reverse aging.

Prerequisite: Students must have completed BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0, and BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0 to register for this course.

BIOL_SCI 328: Microbiology

Microbiology, the branch of biology that deals with microorganisms and their effects on other living organisms. This course aims to provide a foundation in both core microbial processes (including growth, gene regulation,and metabolism) and host-microbe interactions, with a primary focus on bacteria. Core concepts will be supplemented with discussions about experimental techniques used to measure and engineer microbes and the implications of this for human health and disease.Lectures will be complemented by discussions of primary literature. By the end of the class, students will develop familiarity with the diversity of microbial structure, function, and interactions and be comfortable reading primary scientific literature. 

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0; BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0; BIOL_SCI 234-0 or BIOL_SCI 222-0; and BIOL_SCI 301-0.

BIOL_SCI 333: Plant Animal Interactions

Plant-Animal Interactions: This course will explore the diversity of interactions between plants and animals, including antagonistic interactions (e.g., herbigory), mutualistic interactions (e.g., pollination, seed dispersal and ant-plant associations), and interactions involving multiple species and across trophic levels.

Prerequisite: The former BIOL_SCI 330-0, BIOL_SCI 339-0, or ENVR_SCI 202-0.

BIOL_SCI 336: Spring Flora

Spring Flora merges aspects of plant evolution and identification (with an emphasis on learning about the local flora) with plant ecology (with an emphasis on ecological interactions and adaptations). This course takes a field-based approach to learning the process of identifying major components of the local flora. Understanding vegetative and reproductive structures of plants, and use of this knowledge to identify plants with taxonomic keys will be emphasized. Ecological interactions, adaptations, and related conservation issues will also be discussed. The lecture portion of the course will take place on the Evanston campus on Mondays. On Wednesdays, the field component will take place at the Chicago Botanic Garden. The instructor will reach out to all enrolled students ahead of time to organize transportation options (transportation will be made available to those who need it. Note that the time scheduled for the course DOES NOT INCLUDE transportation time, so 30-45 minutes should be budgeted before and after class on Wednesday for transportation.

Prerequisite: Bio 203, 339, 341, or 342; or Env Sci 202, or permission of instructor

BIOL_SCI 337: Biostatistics

This is a statistics class geared toward students interested in biology, ecology, and environmental science, but others are welcome. The course is applied statistics with the goal of students being able to use the skills, experience, information, and software learned in class,after class. We will usea variety of software for statistical analyses, including spreadsheets (Excelor Google Sheets), online calculators, and theRpackage.R in particular is a very flexible and powerful program that you can use for any statistical problem you encounter. The program is free, well-supported, well-documented, and is constantly getting better and more powerful.

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0, BIOL_SCI 215-0, or ENVR_SCI 202-0; a course in statistics.

BIOL_SCI 341: Population Genetics

 Change in the genetic composition of populations over time is the basis of evolution. The field of population genetics describes this genetic change, both as replacement of genes within populations, and as diversification among populations which can become species. This course reviews the dynamics of genetic variation in populations through evidence from natural history, experimentation, and theory. Topics include: natural selection, genetic drift, inbreeding, mutation, and geographic structure of populations, based on single-locus models, molecular sequences, and quantitative traits. More specialized topics such as sexual selection, kin and group selection, and the evolution of sexual reproduction and recombination will be included as time allows.

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0, BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0; a course in statistics.

BIOL_SCI 345: TOPICS - Principles & Methods in Systems Biology

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0; BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0; and BIOL_SCI 234-0 or BIOL_SCI 222-0.

BIOL_SCI 347: Conservation Biology

Conservation biology is an integrated science based primarily on ecology, with important contributions from genetics, evolution, and biogeography, as well as nonbiological disciplines, including economics, politics and ethics. The first half of the course will: address the definitions, origins, and patterns of biological diversity; explore why the maintenance of biodiversity in natural (and unnatural) ecosystems is fundamentally important to the continued well-being of humans and other species; examine the context and causes of extinction. The second half of the course will deal with strategies and tactics for preventing or ameliorating the loss of biodiversity. Specific topics will include: the biology of small populations (including population viability analysis); the selection, design, and management of protected areas; ecological restoration; conservation design, legislation, and other higher-level strategies. 

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0 or ENVR SCI 202; one statistics course.

BIOL_SCI 363: Biophysics

The course is designed to be an introduction to biophysics and will provide both theoretical and practical perspectives for students that have concentration in biochemistry and biophysics. Students will gain an understating of common used techniques in biophysics. 

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0; BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0; and BIOL_SCI 301-0.

BIOL_SCI 378: Functional Genomics

The sequencing and assembly of genomes has sparked a new era in biomedical science, in which analyses of very large datasets drive new understanding of fundamental biological phenomena. This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of genome sequencing and assembly, analysis of important genome features, and large-scale identification of genes and regulatory elements. Moreover, it will cover genome-scale “transcriptomic” experiments that identify important gene expression patterns, proteomic analysis that seeks to define the dynamic molecular machines underlying life processes, and analysis of genes in complex functional networks. The course will introduce key concepts in bioinformatics and molecular evolution and will teach students to use computational analyses to derive interesting information from large datasets.  

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0, and BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0

BIOL_SCI 391: Developmental Biology

Animals are complex living machines, but unlike artificial machines, animals must build themselves from scratch. This course will explore the molecular mechanisms underlying the self-assembly of the embryonic body plan. The course will focus on the biological principles of embryonic pattern formation, regulation of gene expression, morphogenetic movements and signal transduction, organized over broad physical scales from single cells to complete organs, and from minutes to complete life cycles. Course material will draw from both current and historical approaches, with a strong emphasis on biological criteria for knowing, including a weekly critical discussion of original literature. Most class meetings will be 50-60 minutes.  Additional time has been scheduled to allow for sufficient time for weekly discussions on original literature. 

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 201-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0, BIOL_SCI 202-0 or BIOL_SCI 219-0; and BIOL_SCI 301-0.

BIOL_SCI 393: Human Genomics

Recent advances in human ancestry and clinical medicine have underscored the importance of genetic principles. Biomedical Genetics will explore the logic and methods of transmission and regulatory genetics, including complementation, recombination, genetic modifiers, chromosomal aberrations, genetic screens and the "genetic toolbox" of diverse species. Additionally, we will discuss genome-wide association studies, linkage analysis, and the roles of rare and common variation as they relate to human genetics. Lectures will be provided, and emphasis will be placed on problem solving and active discussion.

Prerequisites: BIOL_SCI 203-0 or BIOL_SCI 215-0;

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