BIOL 107 – Biological
BIOL 107 students learn about the molecules, chemical reactions and processes that underlie the basic functions of a cell.
Even though they have to learn (and ocassionally memorize) some really weird names and chemical structures, their long-term learning objective is to develop a deeper understanding of the principles and basic concepts of molecular and cellular biology that go beyond the specific examples that we use to illustrate them in class. We look at diverse cell and molecular biology processes through the unifying lenses of structure-function relationships, energy flow and evolutionary biology. I strive to equip my BIOL 107 students with a firmer and more abstract understanding of basic molecular and cell biology principles that they can later apply to other biological problems that they face in their careers.
BIOL 360 – Genetics
In BIOL 360, we dive deeper into classical and molecular genetics, to not only make sense of patterns of inheritance but also understand how cells function on any given day.
The course covers various aspects of genetics, from a more detailed survey of extensions to Mendelian (classical) genetics, to some of the most current sub-fields in the discipline, including genomics, epigenetics and genetic networks. In my BIOL 360 class, students focus as much on the exceptions to the rules of molecular genetics as the rules themselves. My main teaching goal in this class is to expose students to the wide range of known genetics phenomena, as a way to expand their intellectual background to tackle future biological questions, ranging from intriguing inheritance patterns, to formulating better hypotheses about biological problems in general.
BIOL 655D – Seminar in Genetics
In BIOL 655D, we apply everything we know about genetics, cell and molecular biology, to find out all the things that we still don’t know.
Through discussions of recent papers in genetics, we reinforce our understanding of the subject and explore how far experts can go before doubt, speculation and fearless hypothesizing kick in. BIOL 655D students learn new pathways, modules and some molecular biology. But their long-term learning objective in this course is to approach genetics research with a critical eye. They learn to recognize, emphasize and praise good genetics research, but also to discuss the limitations (both conceptual and technical) in the field.