Extreme Animal Adaptations

How does a whale dive to over a mile deep for over 2 hours? How does a shrimp-like animal that is larger than a human hand camouflage itself by making its entire body see-through? The overarching theme of the topics we will cover can be described as “extreme adaptations” or “physiological extremes.” We will explore interesting and significant adaptations to the typical physiological body plans.

Biophysics II

Quantitative understanding of biological systems through the application of physical principles. Course will emphasize topics that span multiple length and time scales, and different levels of biological organization. Two to four topics per semester, including possibly organismal motion from molecular processes to whole organisms, nervous systems from membrane channels to neuronal networks, noise in biology, novel biophysical technologies, etc. Prerequisite: Biology 201L, Mathematics 212 and 216 or equivalent, and calculus based introductory physics or permission of the instructors.

Ecology and Human Health

Humans are the dominant species on Earth and ecology is key to understanding the multiple feedbacks through which their activities affect human health. Fundamental principles of ecology, from population to ecosystem levels, will be examined through the lens of human health. Topics include human population growth and carrying capacity, why we age, infectious disease dynamics, the microbiome and human health, sustainable agriculture and food security, sustainable harvest of wild foods, dynamics of pollutants in food webs, ecosystem services to humans, and human impacts of climate change.

Tropical Disease, Environmental Change and Human Health

The biology, ecology, and evolution of tropical diseases and how emerging diseases are expanding their range and virulence. Environmental changes in the tropics such as climate change and land conversion impacting ecosystem and human health including: diseases, cultural medicinal practices, and changes in ecosystem functions. Based at the three OTS biological field stations in Costa Rica and surrounding landscapes. Intact and altered ecosystems impacts on human health, including assessments of insect and water-borne disease vectors.

Introduction to Biological Thinking

Students develop a solid conceptual foundation for understanding core biological topics, including: biomolecules and chemistry in biology; molecular biology; foundations of genetics; principles of evolution; metabolism and physiology; functional morphology; biodiversity and conservation. Explore scientific underpinnings of current issues, including why biological knowledge is essential to global citizenship. Develop critical thinking skills to integrate multiple concepts, and solve novel problem.

Integrative Neurosci Lab

Gain skills necessary to conduct neuroscience research and integrate findings from multiple levels of analysis (molecular, cellular and behavioral). Team-based learning format and collaboration with neuroscience lab to generate, analyze, and communicate novel scientific findings. Experimentation will occur in a model organism and may include PCR, live cell imaging and/or behavioral conditioning experiments. Prerequisite: Neuroscience 101.

Introduction to Biophysics

How theory and experimental techniques from physics can be used to analyze and understand biological structure and function, including chemical, mechanical, electrical, collective, and information-processing aspects. Prerequisites: Biology 201L and knowledge of statistical physics by taking either Physics 363 or Chemistry 311.

Biological Clocks: How Organisms Keep Time

From sleep/wake cycles to flower opening to cell division and malaria infections; all organisms and cells display rhythmic behaviors. Course will focus on genetic and molecular networks that comprise clocks regulating cell division and circadian rhythms. Quantitative aspects clock networks will be examined from the perspective of data analysis and dynamical models. Class will include lectures, primary literature readings, and in-class projects. Prerequisites: Math 112L or equivalent, and Biology 20 or Biology 201L. Instructor: Haase and Harer