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Course Descriptions

Biology Courses

BIOL 101: Cells, Genes, and Diseases

This course is intended for the student interested in understanding the basic unit of life for all living things: the cells. Students study the human cell structure and function to better understand how they work. In addition, students explore disease processes with an emphasis on molecular, cellular, and genetic approaches to investigate human diseases. The course includes lectures, discussions, and students’ presentations. No prerequisites. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Natural Sciences requirement. Under the old GEC, this course meets the Natural Science & Mathematics requirement.)


BIOL 362: Mechanisms of Brain Dysfunction

This course will examine the biochemical and molecular basis of both rare and common nervous system disorders that are at the frontiers of molecular medicine. Students will select from illnesses that disable processes as diverse as memory, language, cognition, sensation, movement, emotion, and homeostasis. A special emphasis will be placed on investigating the primary causes of dysfunction, such as the role of protein misfolding, genetics, and neurotransmitters. By discussing the latest primary literature students will gain current understanding of neurological and psychiatric illnesses, as well as insights into the techniques and methods used in this field. Students will seek to further new knowledge by authoring an original grant proposal. Finally, depending on the semester offered, students will serve as advanced peer mentors for first year students either enrolled in FIYS 106 or BIOL 130 courses. Prerequisites: Biol 221, and either Biol 220 or Junior status. Two 80-minute sessions per week. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Writing requirement. Under the old GEC, this course meets the Natural Science & Mathematics requirement.)
cross listed: NEUR 362, BMB 362


BIOL 365: The Neuroscience of Sleep

The Neuroscience of Sleep. Why do we sleep? Despite the fact that we spend a third of our lives sleeping, neuroscience research has only just begun to answer this fundamental question. In this course, we delve into the fascinating field of brain-based research by investigating several sleep-related topics (e.g., sleep across species, the role of sleep in cognitive functions, sleep disorders, and dreaming). We explore these topics through the lens of contemporary neuroscientific work, so the majority of class time is dedicated to student-led presentations and discussions of primary research articles. Outside of class, students conduct independent research on a niche sleep-related topic, ultimately developing a thorough literature review and an original grant proposal. Prerequisites: BIOL 221 and PSYC 110 or permission of the instructor. (Under the Forester Fundamental Curriculum, this course meets the Natural Sciences requirement.)
cross listed: NEUR 365, BMB 365, PSYC 365