A lecture and discussion course for upper-level science majors and graduate students. Topics covered include Darwinism and neo-Darwinian theory, including adaptation, natural selection, sexual selection, and speciation.
This class covers fundamental principles of population genetics and comparative genomics. The scope of the class ranges from understanding variation at the population level to addressing species-level questions. Topics covered include classical population genetics, quantitative genetics, molecular evolution, phylogenomics, and speciation. Lectures explore recent theoretical and empirical advances in these exciting fields. Students are introduced to computational resources, tools, and algorithms during tutorials.
This course is an introduction to the interdisciplinary field – behavioral genetics – that combines behavioral sciences and genetics and unifies the long-standing debate on what underlies complex human behavior: “nurture” or “nature.” This course discusses the genetic approaches used to dissect out the genetic determinant of complex human traits. For example, students learn about genes that influence learning and memory, intelligence (IQ), cognitive disabilities, personality disorders, psychopathology, antisocial behavior, substance abuse, and sexual orientation. In addition, the interplay of environment and genetic factors that create individual differences in behavior are explored. Because this field represents the intersection between what is known and what might be known in the future about complex and potentially controversial behaviors and characteristics, students are encouraged to discuss contemporary ethical issues regarding human behavior in the realm of the scientific evidence presented.
This course focuses on the role of viruses in human diseases and their potential as tools for research and clinical interventions. Emphasis is on virus-induced diseases in man, including polio, rabies, hepatitis, herpes, and influenza; recently discovered viruses such as HIV and HTLV-1 are also studied. Virus-host interactions and the mechanisms involved in disease progression, therapeutic strategies and vaccines, strategies for viral entry, evasion of the immune system, transmission, and the subversion of host-cell machinery are emphasized. Potential uses of viruses as vector for gene therapy of genetic disorders, cancers, and infectious diseases are also discussed.
Animals exhibit a wide diversity of behaviors that enable successful feeding, habitat selection, navigation, communication, social interactions, reproduction, and rearing of young. Why do animals behave in these ways, and why do animals differ in their behaviors? This course investigates the proximate (developmental and mechanistic) and ultimate (functional and evolutionary) explanations for these behaviors. How ecological and evolutionary processes shape animal behavior is studies, as well as classic theories and major principles of animal behavior, weighing the experimental and observational evidence for each idea. Concepts with examples from a wide range of taxonomic groups of animals in diverse ecosystems are illustrated. Some emerging theories in animal behavior and some applications of animal behavior for conservation and human behavior are discussed.
Recent developments in cell biology are studies. Topics include the cytoskeleton, cell motility, the cell cycle, and endo- and exocytosis.
The Earth harbors an incredible diversity of species and communities, most still poorly understood by science. This biodiversity is essential to the functioning of natural ecosystems and provides a wide array of priceless services to people today and a treasure of benefits for the future. Yet human threats to biodiversity have led us to the brink of the sixth major extinction event in Earth’s history. Which populations, species, communities, and ecoregions are most diverse? Which are most threatened, and by which human activities? What does the science suggest is needed to conserve biodiversity? How might this best be done given social, economic, and political realities? All these questions and more are examined in this course, focusing on the key principles of conservation biology and the application of those principles to conservation of terrestrial, freshwater, and marine conservation at local, national, and international scales.
Reptiles and amphibians comprise nearly 7,400 species and can be found on every major and minor landmass in the world except Antarctica. This course provides a broad, evolutionary survey of the major groups of reptiles and amphibians (“herps”). Topics about their basic biology, including anatomy, physiology, ecology, behavior, and conservation, are covered. The laboratory emphasizes taxonomic characters and identification of living and preserved specimens, with emphasis on species found in North America. Additionally, several field trips conducted during lab hours and spring break reinforce course material through hands-on experience.
Biostatistics is an important part of the research activities related to biological and medical issues. Statistics is used to analyze phenomena with random properties and is often essential to draw the right conclusions based on a data set. The course is designed to cover different statistical methods for data analysis mainly applied to medical and biological problems. Advanced undergraduate and graduate students with interests in medicine and biomedical research benefit most from the course. However, statistical methods that can be applied to behavioral science and ecology are also covered.
This class focuses on fundamental principles in community ecology as they relate to plant systems. The scope of the class ranges from plant-environment interactions and species interactions to the relationship among communities at larger spatial scales. Lectures and small group discussions also highlight theoretical and empirical advances made in ecology through classic and contemporary studies of plant communities.
Current molecular and genetic analyses of classical problems in the genetics of higher plants are covered.
The term "epigenetics" describes a heritable effect on chromosome or gene function that is not accompanied by a change in DNA sequence. Recent findings suggest an important role of epigenetics in both normal development and cancer. This course provides an overview of the field and examines selected phenomena in several eukaryotes, mechanisms regulating these effects, and their phenotypic consequences when normal regulation is lost. Topics include gene regulation through chromatin modification (acetylation, methylation), genomic imprinting, mechanisms of silencing (including small interfering RNAs), and the role of epigenetics in human diseases and cancer.
The course focuses on the molecular and cellular basis of neurological processing. The fundamentals of action potential generation, synaptic and receptor potentials generation, and neuron-neuron communication are discussed. The contemporary understanding of sensory processing is covered in great detail with a particular focus on molecular sensors of light, sound, odorants, taste, touch, and the signal transduction pathways that underlie the five senses.
This course surveys the categories of tumors and their varying natures. Known mechanisms that lead to tumor cell development, multistep tumorigenesis, metastasis, tumor immunology, and cancer treatments are examined in depth.
The objectives of the course are to understand structure and function of proteins and how mutations result in disease; learn modern methods of analyzing proteins; expose students to genomic and proteomic databases; introduce data mining and foster experimental design in genomics; discover basic biology in the context of applied research; use case study methods to examine genome expression in context; become proficient with computer tools for proteomics and genomics; appreciate the benefits of using math to understand biology; and gain practical experience and exposure to “practical” genomics and proteomics.
This inter-session course (approximately December 29-January 31; holidays excluded) offers an introduction to the largest coral barrier reef in the Atlantic Ocean. Course lectures begin at Temple followed by a week of lectures, field trips, and field or laboratory projects in Belize. Lectures include coral biology, reef geology and ecology, coral reef microbiota, food chains and nutrient transfer in coral reefs, reef community organization, the biology of reef fishes, commensal and symbiotic interactions of reef organisms, and other appropriate topics. Group student team projects and lectures are required.
The purpose of this course is to provide a comprehensive overview of the immune system that, in its normal function, protects each of us from the harmful effects of microbial invaders. The lectures describe the general properties and development of immunity, the condition of being protected from infection by microorganisms, and the effects of foreign molecules. They provide systemic coverage of immune responses to viruses, bacteria, protozoa, and roundworms as well as the practical aspects of vaccine development. Additional lectures include a description of various types of primary immunodeficiencies, most prevalent autoimmune disease and cancer.
This course covers the role of genes in the determination and differentiation of eukaryotes. Emphasis is on the regulation of gene function and on the genetic and molecular interactions that control the processes of development.
This course offers a survey of modern techniques in microscopy. Students acquire a thorough grounding in general principles of optics and conventional microscopy, and learn the theory of many methods current in biology and medicine, fluorescence, confocal microscopy, video microscopy, and digital image processing and analysis.
The interrelationships between biological, chemical, and physical factors in freshwater environments are studied. Lectures, laboratories, and evaluation of recent literature address general ecological principles as they apply to microorganisms, plants, and animals in lakes, ponds, streams, and wetlands. Field trips include sampling Pennsylvania streams and lakes.
This course studies the structure and function of the central nervous system with a focus on the functional brain at a systems level. Systems level questions include how circuits are formed and used anatomically and physiologically to produce physiological functions, such as reflexes, sensory integration, motor coordination, emotional responses, learning, and memory.
This course offers an exploration of the relationship of neural activity and connectivity to behavior. Topics include motor control, object recognition, and learning. Examples from both vertebrate and invertebrate species are offered, as are analytic and synthetic approaches.
This course covers developmental, anatomical, and integrative aspects of the nervous system. The relationship of form to function is studied in a variety of systems both invertebrate and vertebrate. The course is intended to complement Neurobiology so that students have a perspective on neuroscience ranging from the molecular to the systems level.
This course compares and contrasts key biochemical mechanisms of embryonic development in a variety of model organisms ranging from humans to plants. The roles of enzymes, peptides, small RNA molecules, and chromatin structure during embryogenesis are studied. Topics include micro RNAs, modification of DNA structure, and effects of mutation on enzyme activity. These basic principles are then applied to subjects such as cell communication, stem cells, and cloning. Course material is drawn from experimental literature.
Topics include gametogenesis, fertilization, and pre- and post- implantation development. Analyses are based on experimental, genetic, and molecular studies. Primary references are used.
Prerequisites: General Biology and Organic Chemistry.
Broad coverage of “chemical messengers,” occurrence, biochemistry, and physiology is provided. Vertebrate endocrinology with minor treatment of invertebrates and plants is studied.
This course provides an introduction to molecular genetics; DNA replication, repair, and recombination; initiation of DNA synthesis and its control mechanisms; sequential organization of DNA; factors and enzymes involved in the synthesis of different classes of RNA; protein synthesis and regulation; and control of cell growth and cell division.
This course offers discussion of cell proliferation and its control; assay systems; comparisons of proliferating cells with nonproliferating cells; controls of cell division and how that control is modified in proliferative diseases such as cancer; and the relationships between proliferation and differentiation.
Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required.
The course covers those aspects of computer simulation of molecular dynamics, quantum mechanics, and statistical mechanics of use to biochemist and biologist interested in molecular modeling. The course is intended to be computer intensive.
This course covers properties of water (pH and buffers); metabolism of carbohydrates, amino acids, fatty acids, phospholipids properties of biomacromolecules proteins, and nucleic acids; DNA structure and replication; protein synthesis; energy generation; and catalysis and control of enzymatic activity and interrelationships among the metabolic pathways.
This course focuses on biosynthesis and degradation of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and amino acids; regulation and integration of metabolic pathways; bioenergetics and oxidative phosphorylation; signal transduction; and transcription, translation, and their control.
This course is designed to survey current issues in technologies, including therapeutics and diagnostics, and to examine consequences of developments in this area. The course is designed in a problem-based learning format, where students research critical areas and provide oral and written reports for other members in the class. The course is organized by topics, including Concepts in Genetics, Cloning and Ethics, Gene Therapy, Prenatal Diagnosis, Gene Therapy for Cancer, Cell Replacement Therapy, Genomics and Proteomics, Vaccines, Forensics, Plant Biotechnology, and Instrumentation. At the end of the course, each student makes a formal presentation on a specific advance in biotechnology.
Instruction in the art of teaching laboratories and recitations is presented.
This is a laboratory course providing hands-on experience in common techniques of biological research. Topics covered include laboratory safety, pH buffers, spectroscopy, centrifugation, electrophoresis, and chromatography. Instruction is also given in experimental design, the use of controls, and the analysis of data. This course is limited to graduate students.
Laboratory instruction is provided in the biochemical and biophysical techniques used to investigate biological problems.
Co- or Prerequisites: BIOL 5469; undergraduates must have taken BIOL 3324 or have permission of the instructor.
This course provides laboratory instruction in molecular biology and recombinant DNA techniques. The course provides practical experience in modern cloning, hybridization, and DNA sequencing technology.
Directed study and discussion of the current research literature are undertaken.