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Biology Course Offerings

BIOL 105 Human Biology and Society (Core: PN)
Human biology includes discussion and study of selected topics in biology of particular relevance to humans and to human health and disease. Topics include the biology of human cells and selected organ systems; exercise physiology; cancer biology, early detection and prevention; genetics and genetic diseases; cardiovascular disease; the immune system and immunologic diseases such as AIDS; human nutrition and nutritional effects; and microbial human diseases. Each unit of study includes references to human evolution, human impact on society and the environment, and how each of these factors has played a role in shaping human health and the health care system. Laboratories include the application of experimental methods and techniques for understanding the relationship between cell structure and function; exploration into human health; and the effect of humans on the environment.

BIOL 106 Humans and the Environment (Core: PN)
This course is an introduction to cell- and systems-level biology in humans and other animals that allows students to understand how our activity affects our own biology and that of other organisms, with a focus on topics such as sustainability, environmental protection and social responsibility in the face of advancing science relating to advances in manufacturing, medicine and pharmaceuticals, and genetic engineering.

BIOL 107 Human Evolution, Extinction and Scientific Thinking (Core: WT)
This is a problem-oriented course focusing on human evolution and variation. It includes a consideration of the interaction between biological and cultural factors in human evolution and a critical examination of theories of evolutionary changes from a paleontological perspective. It provides a detailed examination of human evolution through a discussion of the fossil record, associated archaeological material (such as stone-tool technology and rock art) and the theories used to explain this evidence. The course provides a broad overview of these important topics. Other topics, such as hominin dispersals, the origin of modern humans and prehistoric colonization, are treated in greater detail. Laboratory sessions examine, describe and discuss hominin skeletal material and associated archaeological evidence.

BIOL 108 Biodiversity (Core: PN)
This course is designed to introduce students to the amazing diversity of organisms in our world. Students discuss how organisms within this diversity survive, function, reproduce and behave in their natural environment. In addition, students learn how environmental change, both natural and human-caused, affects diversity. Meanwhile, the class explores interesting questions scientists ask about diversity. Each student gains an enhanced appreciation for the diversity of life on Earth, an understanding of how this diversity has arisen, an awareness of the effects of humans on diversity, an understanding of how scientists ask and answer questions, and an understanding of the complex interactions that take place within biological communities.

BIOL 120 Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology
A lecture and laboratory study of living systems with particular emphasis on the molecular, cellular and tissue levels of organization in plants, animals and prokaryotes. Genetic mechanisms and aspects of development are included. Note: BIOL 120 and BIOL 121 are considered an introductory sequence for biology majors in both the biomedical and organismal concentrations in biology and are recommended for pre-professional students who desire an emphasis in biological sciences. Fall semester.

BIOL 121 Introduction to Organismal Biology (Core: PN)
A lecture and laboratory study of living organisms with emphasis on heterotrophic protists, plants, fungi and animals. Evolutionary theory and processes, morphology, taxonomy, physiology, ecology and diversity are covered in detail. Prerequisite: BIOL 120. Note: BIOL 120 and BIOL 121 are considered an introductory sequence for biology majors in both the biomedical and organismal concentrations in biology and are recommended for pre-professional students who desire an emphasis in biological sciences. Spring semester. 

BIOL 201 Botany
A lecture and laboratory course that concentrates on the study of plant structure and function. Topics discussed include plant growth and development, metabolism, reproduction and response to the environment. The principles of plant biotechnology are also introduced. Lectures emphasize plant physiology, while lab exercises concentrate on plant morphology and structure (gross and microscopic examinations). Labs include plant physiology and tissue-culture experiences, introduction to taxonomy, and the major plant groups. Prerequisite: BIOL 120.

BIOL 215 Human Anatomy and Physiology (nursing students only)
A lecture and laboratory study of the structure and function of human cells, tissues, organs and body systems, designed for BCON nursing program students. The lecture portion of the course emphasizes the functions of and interactions among components of each level of organization in normal and diseased states. Laboratory sessions concentrate on anatomical terminology, the histology and gross anatomy of tissues, organs and organ systems, including human cadaver dissection and some measurement of physiological variables in human subjects across these systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 120.

BIOL 220 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
A lecture and laboratory course that includes a comparative study of vertebrate morphology with an emphasis on the functional significance of structure. A systemic approach is used, beginning with an overview, principles of evolution and basic developmental biology. Laboratories involve dissecting representative organisms from the major vertebrate groups and studying skeletal preparations. Prerequisite: BIOL 121. Fall semester.

BIOL 228 Ecology
A lecture and laboratory course on the relationships of plants and animals to one another and to their biotic and physical environment. Field trips and laboratory work provide firsthand knowledge of organisms and their ecological significance in the De Pere area. Prerequisite: grade of C or better in BIOL 121. Required for biology majors in the organismal biology concentration. Fall semester.

BIOL 244 Genetics (required for all biology majors)
A lecture and laboratory course demonstrating the basic principles of gene structure, gene action and gene transmission as found in various organisms. Topics covered include DNA structure, replication, transcription and translation, recombinant DNA technology, bacterial genetics and genome structure. Laboratory exercises include DNA electrophoresis, PCR, bacterial transformation and inheritance in both Drosophila and plants. Prerequisites: grade of C or better in BIOL 120 and BIOL 121.

BIOL 250 Introductory Microbiology (nursing students only)
A lecture and laboratory course designed for students in the BCON nursing program dealing with the basics of microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi. Topics covered include bacterial structure and function, metabolism, basic molecular biology, and the essentials of the host-microbe interaction. An emphasis is placed on aspects of microbiology important to the allied health professions. Laboratory work focuses on the culture, staining and identification of bacteria. Prerequisite: BIOL 120.

BIOL 310 Tropical Biology
A lecture and laboratory course designed to provide a sound foundation in ecological concepts and biology of tropical ecosystems around the world. The ecosystems to be studied include tropical dry forests, cloud forests, savannas, mangroves and coral reefs, but special emphasis is placed on tropical rain forests. Nutrient cycles, production, trophic interactions, plant/animal interactions, biodiversity and conservation biology are discussed. Prerequisite: BIOL 121 or instructor’s consent.

BIOL 315 Animal Behavior
A lecture, laboratory, and discussion course that examines the principles of animal behavior. Using examples from countless species, the following topics will be explored: animal communication, anti-predator behavior, learning, foraging behaviors, cultural transmission, mate choice and mating systems, cooperation, aggression and territoriality, migration, play, and the evolution of these behaviors.  The laboratory exercises for this course will consist of observation, data collection, and the presentation of techniques to assess behavior in the field and the lab. Prerequisites: BIOL 120 and BIOL 121. Fall, even-numbered years.

BIOL 320 Human Anatomy and Histology
A lecture and laboratory study of the gross anatomy and microscopic anatomy of the human body. The course uses a regional approach with emphasis on the upper limb, thorax, abdomen, pelvis, lower limb and brain. Students learn to identify muscles, nerves, vessels, organs and tissues of the human body. The laboratories involve cadaver dissections and light microscopy. One-third of the course includes information/laboratory work emphasizing human histology. Recommended for pre-professional students interested in health-related professions and students interested in medical illustration. Prerequisites: grade of B or better in BIOL 220, BIOL 372 and instructor’s consent. Spring semester.

BIOL 325 Developmental Biology
This course covers fundamental concepts and mechanisms of animal development. Students explore the underlying cellular and molecular basis for embryonic development and the role of various determinants, factors and other biomolecules in cell movement, migration, differentiation and orientation. Developmental model systems (frog, chick, zebra fish, mouse, C. elegans, Drosophila) are used to explain both the commonality as well as the diversity of development. Labs combine classical embryology, observation of live animals and basic molecular techniques in development. Prerequisite: BIOL 244.

BIOL 338 Limnology
A lecture and laboratory course dealing with the physical, chemical and biological aspects of freshwater ecosystems and the interrelationships of organisms in these habitats. Field trips and laboratory experiences provide firsthand knowledge of aquatic organisms and their ecological significance. Prerequisite: BIOL 228. Fall semester, alternate years.

BIOL 350 Microbiology
A lecture and laboratory course dealing with the study of bacteria, viruses, eukaryotic microbes, and acellular infectious agents. Cell structure, genetics, metabolism, evolution, and ecology will be themes emphasized throughout the course, and other topics such as microbe cultivation, symbioses, pathogenesis, epidemiology, and practical applications for microorganisms will also be included. The laboratory will establish sterile technique and safe handling of microbes, and will focus on the isolation, detection, cultivation, and characterization of bacterial species. Prerequisite: grade of C or better in BIOL 244.

BIOL 353 Biotechnology in a Global Society
A lecture and discussion course that deals with advances and application of biotechnology in the context of the entire living world, both the society of human beings and the larger, living environment. Due in large part to the ability to clone genes, as well as many plants and animals, and to genetically engineer these organisms (perhaps even humans), biotechnology is revolutionizing both the means and pace of our intervention in the global community. Students become aware of the techniques and advances of biotechnology and are better prepared to make informed decisions about their application. This course also provides students with the necessary scientific background to understand the ethical problems posed by biotechnology. Infrequently offered.

BIOL 360 Medical Microbiology
A lecture and laboratory course dealing with the interaction between microbial pathogens and a eukaryotic host. Topics studied include the development and normal functioning of the immune system and allergic reactions and their relationship to microbial pathogens. A survey of the important bacteriological, mycological and viral pathogens in terms of their mechanisms of disease production is also included. Prerequisites: BIOL 350, CHEM 220.

BIOL 361 Virology
A lecture and laboratory course dealing with the study of bacterial and animal viruses. Themes include structure and pathogenicity of viruses, vaccination and emerging viruses. In addition, a special topic relating to recent scientific findings is chosen on a yearly basis. Labs include preparation of media, isolation and detection of viruses, and cultivation of and characterizing viruses. Prerequisite: grade of C or better in BIOL 244.

BIOL 365 Immunology
A lecture and laboratory course dealing with the immune response of vertebrates with special emphasis on mammalian systems. The development and anatomy of the immune system, as well as the various cellular components (leukocytes) and proteins (cytokines, antibodies, complement proteins) are studied in detail. Topics covered include antigen presentation, T and B cell function, immunoglobulin structure and function, innate and acquired immune responses, granulocyte mediated responses, immunity to pathogens, various forms of hypersensitivity including allergies and autoimmune diseases, and applied topics such as transplantation immunity. Labs deal with induction and measurement of an immune response. Prerequisite: grade of C or better in BIOL 244.

BIOL 368 Parasitology
A lecture and laboratory course dealing with eukaryotic disease-causing organisms, with special emphasis on pathogens of medical and veterinary significance. It deals with important human diseases including malaria, sleeping sickness and Leishmaniasis, as well as roundworm, tapeworm, fluke and arthropod diseases. The morphology, physiology, pathology and immunology of the various parasitic diseases are considered in detail. Labs emphasize morphology and diagnostics (morphological and molecular) and may include an experimental component. Prerequisites: BIOL 121 and BIOL 244. Every third year or by special arrangement.

BIOL 371 Cellular Physiology
A lecture and laboratory course concentrating on the structure and function of the eukaryotic cell. Topics covered include membrane structure and function, post-translational processing and transport of proteins, cell adhesion and communication, signal transduction pathways, the control of the cell cycle (cancer), and the tools and methods used in cellular-level studies. Prerequisites: BIOL 120, BIOL 244 and CHEM 220.

BIOL 372 Systemic Physiology
A lecture and laboratory course concentrating on the function of organ systems and their role in the entire organism. Emphasis is placed on integration and control mechanisms. Topics covered include neurophysiology, cardiovascular, respiratory, renal and muscle physiology. Prerequisites: BIOL 121, BIOL 220, CHEM 220.

BIOL 373 Molecular Biology
A course involving an in-depth study of the organization and function of genes in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. The main themes of molecular genetics are emphasized. Topics discussed include DNA structure, organization, replication, transcription and control of gene expression. In addition to the text, readings from current literature are also assigned. Prerequisite: grade of C or better in BIOL 244. Spring semester.

BIOL 375 The Biology of the Cancer Cell
This course presents the basic cell and molecular biology of cancer cells. The roles of signal transduction pathways, chemical carcinogens, oncogenes and viruses in carcinogenesis is discussed. The processes of apoptosis, angiogenesis and metastasis is also covered. Strategies and mechanisms of cancer treatment is introduced. The laboratory component of the course involves the maintenance and use of cancer cell lines in guided laboratory exercises and an independent research project. Laboratory work will require some student availability outside of regularly scheduled laboratory time. Prerequisite: grade of C or better in BIOL 244.

BIOL 385 Endocrinology
A lecture and laboratory course on hormones, the mechanisms by which hormones control cellular function, and the interactions among the endocrine and other body systems, especially the digestive and reproductive systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 372. Fall semester.

BIOL 386 Neuroscience
A lecture, laboratory and discussion course on the scientific study of the nervous system. Topics covered include a history of the field; nerve and glial cell physiology; the evolution of neurotransmission, learning, and memory, especially relating to sensitive periods; sexual differentiation of the nervous system; and nervous system disorders. Laboratory exercises focus on histological techniques, immunohistochemical localization of components of neuroendocrine systems, neuroanatomy and gene expression patterns in rodents, and stereotaxic surgery. Current articles from the primary literature, as well as those seminal to the field of neuroscience, are discussed. Prerequisites: BIOL 120 and BIOL 121. BIOL 372 preferred. J-term or Summer sessions.

BIOL 388 Mammalogy
A study of mammals with emphasis on principles of mammalian ecology, conservation and biodiversity. Topics include characteristics of mammals, classification, natural history, ecology, biodiversity, conservation and techniques in field study. Special emphasis is given to mammals residing in northeastern Wisconsin. Prerequisite: BIOL 121.

BIOL 390 Ichthyology
A lecture and laboratory course on the classification, morphology, physiology and ecology of fish. Laboratory activities include individual student projects and the collection and identification of Wisconsin fish. Prerequisite: BIOL 121. Every third year or by special arrangement.

BIOL 410 Disease Ecology
A lecture, laboratory, and discussion course on the scientific study of disease ecology with an emphasis on the One Health initiative. This course will focus on ecological and evolutionary processes that drive the transmission of pathogens between hosts; the impact of disease on host populations; and what causes the emergence of an infectious disease. Content will incorporate concepts from a wide range of subjects (e.g. microbiology, genetics, virology, ecology, animal behavior… etc.) to examine both wildlife and human diseases such as Zika, Ebola, influenza, malaria, white nose syndrome, Lyme disease, HIV, chytrid fungus, chronic wasting disease, and many others. Prerequisites: BIOL 120 and BIOL 121; BIOL 244 preferred. J-term.

BIOL 428 Advanced Ecology
A course involving an original student laboratory and/or field investigation of an ecological or related problem under faculty supervision, culminating in a final research thesis. Prerequisites: BIOL 228 and instructor’s consent.

BIOL 430 Paleobiology
A lecture and laboratory course exploring the evolutionary history of invertebrates and vertebrates by studying fossils and geology. Prerequisite: BIOL 121 or GEOL 105. Alternate years.

BIOL 460 Biology Seminar
An in-depth study of biologically oriented topics in an area not usually covered by scheduled courses. Emphasis will be on current literature with student independent study and presentations. Prerequisites: BIOL 244 and instructor’s consent.

BIOL 489 Special Topics
A course designed for group study of subject matter of special interest. The organization, methodology and objective of the course is determined by the instructor and may include a laboratory experience. Prerequisite: junior and senior biology majors and instructor’s consent.

BIOL 490 Independent Study
A course that allows students to pursue an area of study on an individual basis with consultation and evaluation. The methodology and objective is mutually agreed upon by a faculty member and the student. Prerequisites: junior and senior biology majors, instructor’s consent, and approval of the associate dean of natural sciences.

BIOL 492 Directed Research
A course that allows a student to conduct research under the direction of a faculty member, usually as a continuation of BIOL 490. Prerequisites: junior standing, instructor’s consent and approval of the associate dean of natural sciences.

BIOL 496 Research and Thesis
Original student laboratory and/or field research of a biological problem under faculty supervision, culminating in a bachelor’s thesis when approved. The student interested in research seeks out a staff member willing to direct the work and to chair the student's faculty committee. The student submits to his or her prospective research director a written proposal of the project. The staff member then forms a committee with two other faculty members to consider the student’s research proposal and the merit of research accomplished, to approve the preparation of a thesis, and to recommend acceptance of the thesis to the discipline (or division when inter-disciplinary). Approval of the student research proposal should be received no later than the end of the student’s junior year. The student presents his or her work in a public forum at a time set by his or her committee. Prerequisites: biology major and instructor’s consent.

BIOL 499 Senior Assesment
This course consists of a single three-hour session during which students complete standardized tests of knowledge of the major field and/or other measures of the intended learning outcomes of the biology program. The data gathered during the session assists members of the biology faculty in their efforts to monitor and improve the program. Students should register for the assessment as part of their final semester of coursework at the college. Note: This course cannot be counted as an upper-level biology course to fulfill concentration requirements. Prerequisites: senior, biology major.

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