Biology

Courses

BIOL 111: Ecological Biology

Credits 4
An introduction to the study of the interrelationships among organisms and their physical and biotic environments. Topics include natural selection and adaptation, population growth and regulation, competition, predation, mutualism, productivity, energy flow and nutrient cycling. Emphasizes doing hands-on scientific research and problem solving using the primary ecological literature. Lab.

BIOL 112: Cells, Genes & Inheritance

Credits 4
An overview of cell structure and function and the principles of inheritance, including such topics as transmission genetics, DNA structure, central dogma of molecular biology, regulation of gene expression, meiosis and mitosis, protein function, cell cycle and recombinant DNA techniques. Lab emphasizes inquiry-based experiments and contemporary techniques.

BIOL 200: Epidemiology

Credits 3
A study of patterns and determinants surrounding infectious and chronic disease in human populations. This course will introduce the principles, concepts and methods of population-based epidemiology, and will cover topics including the dynamic behavior of disease, measures of disease frequency and effect, uses of rates and proportions and other statistics to describe the health of populations, epidemiologic study designs, and bias in investigating the extent of disease problems and the associations between risk factors and disease outcomes.

BIOL 226: Biological Diversity

Credits 4
A survey of plants, animals, fungi, protists and bacteria emphasizing basic principles in organismal biology. Topics include origin of life, evolution, structure and function, homeostatic mechanisms, reproduction and life history phenomena, and systematics. Lab.

BIOL 251: Intro to Nutrition Science

Credits 3

This course will serve as an introduction to the science of human nutrition and the relationship of food and nutrients to health and disease. Topics covered will include the macro- and micronutrients, digestion of food, and current recommendations for nutrient intake. Also discussed will be current scientific literature on the role of nutrition in selected disease processes and the use of foods as medicines.

BIOL 340: Restoration Ecology

Credits 4

Restoration ecology is a practical, optimistic science working to reverse biodiversity loss. Students will examine how ecological theory supports restoration practice and explore intersections with social justice, including ethical use of traditional ecological knowledge. Students will gain hands-on experience in restoration through field trips, invasive species control, and biodiversity monitoring.

BIOL 341: Cell Physiology

Credits 4
An examination of basic principles of cell physiology. Topics include thermodynamics, enzyme mechanisms, photosynthesis, cellular respiration, coupling of ATP hydrolysis to cellular reactions, regulation of protein function, membrane structure, cell signaling, and neural and muscular activity. Lab emphasizes inquiry-based experiments and contemporary techniques.

BIOL 343: Immunology

Credits 3
An introduction to the biology of the immune system, including cells and tissues, activation, differentiation and specificity, effector mechanisms, immunity to microbes, autoimmunity, immunodeficiency and AIDS, evolution, hypersensitivity and transplantation. A non-lab course.

BIOL 345: A&P I: Nervous and Endocrine Systems

Credits 4
An in-depth study of the structures and functions of human nervous, sensory, muscular and endocrine systems. Each system is covered at the molecular, cellular, organ, and organism levels. Labs include extensive hands-on studies of human anatomy. Offered Spring Semester.

BIOL 346: Vertebrate Zoology

Credits 4
This course will involve a survey of the vertebrate groups with special emphasis on lower vertebrates (fishes, amphibians, reptiles) and mammals with lesser emphasis on birds. The evolution of vertebrates will be the central theme of the course and will be approached through the study of adaptive radiation in form and function. Lab periods will include laboratory exercises and field trips.

BIOL 348: Ornithology

Credits 3
A look into the behavior, ecology and evolution of birds. Provides students with theoretical and hands-on experiences with birds. The first half of the semester integrates lectures and laboratory exercises to expose you to topics such as the origin and evolution of birds, avian anatomy, avian behavior, reproductive strategies, among other things. Second half of semester constitutes an intensive field experience, with early morning field trips, stressing bird identification and natural history of birds.

BIOL 350: Field Botany

Credits 4
Systematics, morphology, physiology, geography, cytogenetics and life history phenomena are used to clarify the ecology and evolution of plants. In addition, concepts of plant community and conservation ecology are investigated using a comparative biome approach. Emphasizes field-based ecological research projects and plant identification via keying in the lab and by sight in the field. Lab. Offered twice every three years.

BIOL 351: Human Genetics & Genomics

Credits 3
This course explores the complex and intriguing relationship between our genes and our physical characteristics. This course will cover subjects including mutation, genetic disease, cancer and genetic counseling. Students also will focus on epigenetics, personal genomics and human genome manipulation. Current ethical challenges facing the field, particularly in medicine, will be discussed.

BIOL 353: Behavioral Neuroscience

Credits 3

This course covers the physiological bases of neural communication, addiction, psychiatric disorders, sex and eating. During this course, students work in groups to try to replicate the findings of a published research article. Offered every fall.

BIOL 357: Animal Behavior

Credits 4

An introduction to the evolutionary and ecological processes that promote the diversity of animal behaviors found in nature. Topics include development of behavior, biological rhythms, the evolution of foraging behavior, reproductive behavior, mating systems, parental care and social behavior. Students design and conduct their own behavioral study.

BIOL 359: Great Discoveries in Natural History Collections

Credits 4
Biological collections have underlaid major discoveries in public health, materials science, global and local biodiversity change and more. It was analysis of a hundred years of museum egg collections that provided the evidence that DDT, DDE and dieldrin were destroying bird populations by weakening egg shells, as described in Rachel Carson's landmark book, Silent Spring. The source of pathogen outbreaks from hantavirus to West Nile virus to coronavirus have been tracked using museum collections, informing public health initiatives critical to human safety. Learn about the scientific treasure trove in natural history museums where a specimen contains signatures of nutrients, heavy metals, pollinator interactions, predation, mimicry, mutualism, disease, migration, physiological processes and more. In this course, students will read primary scientific research using museum collections, design and conduct research using data from museum specimens and write a grant proposal detailing the design of your own collections-based research project. This course is designed to benefit from students' pre-class preparation via readings and videos, with classroom sessions devoted to hands-on activities and team-based learning. Because students will read scientific articles, they should feel comfortable with reading scientific papers and with ecological and evolutionary content covered in BIOL 111.

BIOL 360: Conservation Biology

Credits 3 4

A discussion-based course investigating the impacts humans have on biodiversity and measures used to mitigate them. Conservation biology is an interdisciplinary, value-laden, crisis-driven discipline. Topics include conservation law, ethics, and ecological economics; species extinction, rarity and their causes; population viability analyses and practices; designing, establishing, managing and restoring protected areas; and sustainable human development. A non-lab course.

Note: Conservation Biology may also be taught as a 4-credit course, which includes a project focused on using public community science data to support biodiversity conservation. 

BIOL 362: Entomology

Credits 4
The classification, life histories, behavior and ecology of insects. Includes field research projects.

BIOL 383: Bioinformatics: Code & Chromosomes

Credits 3

BIOL/CS 383 introduces students to key concepts in the field of bioinformatics. Students work in cross-discipline pairs to process real genomic data sets. Students learn about types of DNA sequencing, analysis and visualization software (Qiime2 and R), building and running complex scientific workflows.

BIOL 410: Applications of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in Ecology, Environmental and Health Sciences

Credits 4
The use of GIS for data visualization and spatial analyses is a key technology that future professionals and scientists in the fields of Environmental, Ecological and Conservation Sciences should have. This course provides foundational and integrative knowledge on Geographic Information Systems (GIS), while exposing students to key applications of GIS in the real world. Students in this course will use ESRI ArcGIS Platform (ArcGIS Pro, ArcGIS 10.6.x ) and be exposed to R-spatial tools, Drone technology and Q-GIS. The course will be taught using a combination of hands-on labs, workshops, demonstration, projects, invited speakers, short lectures and interactive tutorials in the classroom.

BIOL 438: Circadian Biology

Credits 4
The biological clock is vital to help organisms to function at optimum performance at particular times of day. The circadian system is important for development and behavior. It has a role in sleep/wake cycles, hormone release, and other physiological responses. This system is interdisciplinary and encompasses genetics, cell biology and behavioral science. The purpose of this course is to introduce students to chronobiology and the importance it has in our daily lives.

BIOL 451: Evolutionary Biology

Credits 4
Consideration of the factors affecting the evolution of populations (mutation, genetic drift, gene flow, selection, breeding systems, population structure), the mechanisms of speciation, phylogenetic inference and macroevolution. Offered twice every three years.

BIOL 455: Population & Community Ecology

Credits 4
Examines interactions among populations and their environments from empirical and theoretical perspectives. Topics include life history evolution, optimality, population growth, competition, predation, community structure and theories of species coexistence. Emphasizes ecological inquiry via experimental design and statistical analysis of data from student-initiated field research projects. Offered twice every three years.

BIOL 456: Applied Biostatistics

Credits 4
Students will gain hands-on training in conducting statistical analyses in R. We will explore in depth the most common techniques with the goal of training a solid understanding of statistics and familiarity with R. This class will focus on biological examples but is relevant to students in all sciences.

BIOL 460: Plant Cell Biology

Credits 3

A study of processes, structures and functions unique to plant cells. Topics may include specialized organelles and cell types, carbohydrate metabolism, signal transduction, genomics, and fertilization and early development. Emphasis on photosynthesis and other responses to light. Includes reading and presenting research. Biology-Chemistry interdepartmental majors note: If BIOL 226 is selected from the course options in list A, a course other than Plant Cell Biology must be chosen to fulfill the requirements for the Major. Offered once every three semesters.

BIOL 461: Microbiology

Credits 4
A study of bacteria and viruses focusing on microbial physiology, growth, replication, genetics, ecology, pathogenesis, evolution, systematics, impact on global health, and historical and modern techniques. Research emphasizes acquiring skills in the craft of microbiology including laboratory safety, sterile technique, microbial culturing and staining, isolation and identification of unknown bacteria, antimicrobial activity and biochemical analyses.

BIOL 462: Parasitology

Credits 4

A study of the general biology of the parasitic protozoans, helminths and arthropods of humans and domestic animals. Detailed discussions of parasite pathology, physiology, life cycles, diagnosis, therapeutics, control strategies and total impact on global health (humans and domestic animals). Lab includes visualization of representative taxa, morphology, culturing methods, applied diagnostics, parasite genomics and modern molecular techniques.

BIOL 463: Viral Disease Ecology

Credits 4
A study of viruses with an emphasis on viral structure and replication, virus-host interactions, pathogenesis, infectious disease ecology and evolution, antiviral therapies, and the use of viruses in gene therapy, cancer therapy and vaccine development. Lab will focus on cultivation and identification of viruses through the use of modern molecular techniques, which include virus isolation, purification, adaptation, RNA extraction, PCR, ELISA, tissue culture and microscopy.

BIOL 464: Advanced Cell Physiology

Credits 4
Project-based lab course that examines various aspects of cell structure and function using contemporary techniques. Recent projects have included isolation and purification of bacterially expressed proteins, analysis of protease inhibitors, measurements of phagocytosis by insect hemocytes. Techniques have included bacterial culture, centrifugation, column chromatography, SDS-PAGE, Western transfer and analysis, fluorescence microscopy and cell culture.

BIOL 465: RNA Biology

Credits 4

Students will explore RNA in great depth. Topics include RNA viruses, RNAs involved in gene editing, RNA-based
disease, and RNA-vaccines. The laboratory will create RNA to study the activity of an RNA-binding enzyme.

BIOL 466: Molecular Genetics

Credits 4
Covers DNA and RNA structure and functions, mutation, genetic code, genome organization, replication, gene regulation and recombinant DNA technology, bioinformatics, epigenetics and RNA interference. A non-lab course. Offered once every three semesters.

BIOL 467: Neuropharmacology

Credits 3
Neuropharmacology is the study of the mechanisms by which drugs affect nerve cells, circuits of nerve cells, the brain and behavior. The course introduces the basic concepts of drugs, drug receptors, intracellular signaling mechanisms, synaptic transmissions, pharmacokinetics, learning, mood and behavior. Building on that foundation, the course covers specific drugs such as antidepressants, painkillers, antipsychotics and sedatives. Drugs being tested for diseases like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's will be discussed.

BIOL 473: Natural History Field Course

Credits 4

This course will include travel from Earlham to various field sites. Students will camp and learn natural history as well as conduct an intensive research project.

BIOL 480: Seminar

Credits 2
Required for the Major. Special topic seminars for seniors. Specific topics selected by students in consultation with a faculty mentor and with Departmental approval. Largely student organized and executed. Competence in oral communication and use of contemporary literature stressed.

BIOL 486: Student Research

Credits 4
A laboratory investigation of a specific topic conceived and planned by the student in collaboration with a faculty supervisor. Culminates in a comprehensive report prepared in the style of a thesis or a scientific paper.