Genetics of Human Variation

Research over the last 50 years has demonstrated that the human species is characterized by low genetic diversity and extensive recombination. Yet, social constructions of 'race' based on phenotypic differences are ingrained in our understanding of how humans vary. This course will uncover how the human species varies at the genetic and genomic levels, in the context of other primate species. Given this background, we will discuss the social construction of 'race' and the intersection of macroevolution, genetics, and phenotype.

Oceans and Health

Students will gain a grounding in marine sciences which will help them to evaluate impacts of anthropogenic activities on both marine ecosystems and the humans that rely on them. After developing an understanding of the issues facing environmental and human health and well-being in marine systems, students will travel to Duke Kunshan University in China, to better understand environmental challenges facing a rapidly developing economy.

Ecology of 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.

Gateway to Biology: Molecular Biology, Genetics & Evolution

Major concepts in modern biology through the lens of molecular biology, genetics and evolution. The structure and function of genes at the molecular, organismal, and population level. Molecular mechanisms including replication, transcription, translation, and DNA mutation and repair. Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance, genetic mapping, evidence for evolution, natural selection, genetic drift, speciation, molecular evolution, phylogenetic analysis. Relevance to human diseases, social implications of genetics and biotechnology.

Race, Genomics, and Society

The field of genetics has been at the forefront of discourse concerning the concept of “race” in humans. This course explores human history, human variation, human identity, and human health through a broad range of enduring and emerging themes and challenging questions related to race and genetics (and now, genomics) on a global scale. Students will acquire knowledge and skills required for integrative analysis of the relevant scientific, ethical, legal, societal, cultural, and psychosocial issues.

Genome Technologies

Comprehensive overview of genome science technologies, analytical tools, clinical applications, and related issues. Exposure to a range of technologies currently used in research and some in clinical practice, as well as the tools to interrogate the large data-sets generated by these technologies. Projects will explore the range of datasets publicly available and analysis of genomic datasets. Prerequisites: Biology 201L

Marine Ecology of the Pacific

Ecology of the rocky intertidal, kelp forest, and mud flat habitats. Introduction to marine mammals, fish and other large West Coast vertebrates. Taught in Beaufort, with preparation for fieldwork before and analysis and presentation of projects after required one-week intensive field experience on the coast of Northern California. Prerequisite: Introductory course in Biology or Environmental Science and consent of instructor. Instructor: Johnson

Deep-Sea Science and Environmental Management

Explores ecosystems in the deep sea, including fundamental aspects of geology, chemistry, and biodiversity;behavioral, physiological, and biochemical adaptations of organisms (primarily invertebrate, but may include microbial and vertebrate components) to deep-sea benthic and bentho-paelagic environments will be introduced. Students will gain an understanding of the ecosystem services of the deep sea; issues in deep-sea environmental management arising from exploitation of deep-sea resources will be discussed. For undergraduates only.

Plants and People

The history of humans is deeply intertwined with plants. We depend on them for food, fuel, beverages, medicine, textiles, shelter, and trade. This course explores the evolutionary diversity of plants across the Green Tree of Life and their importance to people through time, the history of their domestication, their current roles in our society, and in our ecosystems. Includes laboratory investigations and scheduled field trips.

Gateway to Biology: Genetics and Evolution

Introduction to principles transmission genetics and evolution. Includes Mendelian and non-Mendelian inheritance, quantitative genetics, genetic mapping, evidence for evolution, natural selection, genetic drift, kin selection, speciation, molecular evolution, phylogenetic analysis. Relevance to human family and social structure, evolution of infectious disease, human hereditary disorders, social implications of genetic knowledge. Taught in Beaufort. Instructor: Schultz