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Academic Programs

Study Abroad

The biology program is committed to offering educational experiences away from campus for our majors during May term. These courses integrate the study of biology with a travel component to give our students a unique experience that counts toward their major.

In the past eight years, biology classes have studied birds in Costa Rica, tropical ecology in Hawaii and Belize, public health in the Philippines, and marine invertebrates in the Florida Keys. Review our daily schedule while studying tropical ecology in Belize.


Hawaii

Biology Courses

BIO 1164 Biology and Human Concerns
A study of general biological principles stressing a human perspective. This course will relate the knowledge of biology to pressing social, environmental, medical, and political issues of our time. The course is designed for non-majors and will not count toward a major course requirement in the biology pattern. Lecture and laboratory. II Natural Science

BIO 1204 Integrated Concepts of Biology: Molecules and Cells
An investigation of the core concepts of biology: evolution, information flow, structure and function, homeostasis, and emergent properties of biological system. This course examines these core concepts at the cellular and molecular level. Students will improve competencies in quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, the ability to apply the process of science, and understand the link between science and society. Lecture and laboratory. BIO 1204 and BIO 1206 may be taken in any order. II Natural Science

BIO 1206 Integrated Concepts of Biology: Organisms and Ecosystems
An investigation of the core concepts of biology: evolution, information flow, structure and function, homeostasis, and emergent properties of biological system. This course examines these core concepts at organismal and ecological levels. Students will improve competencies in quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, the ability to apply the process of science, and understand of the link between science and society. Lecture and laboratory. BIO 1204 and BIO 1206 may be taken in any order. II Natural Science

BIO 2014 Anatomy and Physiology I
An introductory consideration of the structure and function of the integumentary, skeletal, muscular, and cardiovascular systems with particular reference to the human. This course is designed for exercise science majors and students considering an allied health career. It will not count toward the major course requirement of the biology pattern. Also listed as EXSC 2094. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 1164, Exercise Science major, or permission of instructor. IV

BIO 2042 Biologists’ Toolkit
How do biologists do science? This course explores the approaches that biologists use to ask and test questions about the natural world. Serving as a transition course, the content and philosophy of the course are designed to introduce students to the skills and habits of mind needed for upper-level biology courses. Core competencies developed include: quantitative reasoning, scientific communication including reading primary literature, writing for science and lay audiences, and ethics in science. (1/2 course unit)Prerequisites: BIO 1204 and 1206.

BIO 2104 Anatomy and Physiology II
An introductory consideration of the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, immune, respiratory, digestive, urinary, and reproductive systems with particular reference to the human. This course is designed for exercise science majors and other students interested in an allied health career. The course will not count toward the major course requirements of the biology pattern. Also listed as EXSC 2104. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2014 or EXSC 2094. IV

BIO 2124 Field Botany
We will explore the flora of a variety of habitats across Kentucky. Students will become well-versed in taxonomy, nomenclature, identification of plant parts and plant species, methods of plant sampling, and ecological associations. Students will understand factors that shape plant communities including geology, topography, soils, climate, and anthropogenic impacts. Lecture, laboratory, and field study. Prerequisite: BIO 1206. IV

BIO 2144 Tropical Ecology
A May Term travel course that explores firsthand a variety of unique habitats found in the tropics such as rainforests, savannas, and coral reefs. The course also investigates the structure of tropical soils, nutrient cycling, tropical forest dynamics, tropical species diversity, mutualism and habitat conservation. Lecture, laboratory and travel. Prerequisite: BIO 1206. IV

BIO 2164 Ornithology
Investigates the evolution, anatomy, physiology, behavior, ecology, and conservation of birds. Field study will focus on the development of skills for identification of North American bird species with an emphasis on local birds. Students will also conduct a small-scale field research project. Lecture, laboratory, and field trips. Prerequisite: BIO 1206. IV

BIO 2304 Cell and Molecular Biology
A study of the cellular and molecular basis of life including the major types of biomolecules and their synthesis, the cell cycle, energy conservation process, cell membrane function, and organelle function. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO 1044 and CHEM 1055. IV; V

BIO 2424 Special Topics in Biology
Offers special topics designed to address current issues in biology. Students are required to read original papers and articles on reserve and to discuss materials in class. Topics with prerequisites will vary from year to year. Prerequisite: BIO 1204 and 1206. IV

BIO 2504 Entomology
Students will learn the basic morphology, physiology and taxonomy of this abundant and diverse group of animals. The course will also explore how insects as pollinators, vectors of disease, and/or competitors have influenced human civilization. Students will visit a variety of natural habitats (e.g., ponds, forest, old fields) to capture and identify insects for their collection. Emphasis will be placed on recognizing insects found in Kentucky. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 1206. IV.

BIO 3004 Selected Topics in Biology
Offers focused study which will address a specialized field in biology. Reading assignments and lectures will be based on original literature. Students will be required to make a presentation on a selected topic. Prerequisites: BIO-2042 and Permission of instructor. IV

BIO 3016 Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
The study of vertebrate anatomy from an evolutionary and functional perspective. Evolutionary changes in integument, skeleton, muscles, and the various organ systems will be investigated by comparing the anatomy of fossil and living fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Laboratory will include dissection of a variety of specimens and an independently designed project. Lecture and laboratory. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: BIO 1204 and 1206. IV

BIO 3026 Developmental Biology
Examination of patterns and mechanisms of embryonic development in various taxa, with a focus on the role of genes and environment. Laboratory projects will emphasize experimental approaches to exploring questions in the field. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2042. IV

BIO 3034 Molecular Genetics of Eukaryotes
An examination of how the information encoded in molecules drives cellular and organismal function, inheritance, and evolution in eukaryotes. Topics covered include DNA replication, gene regulation, epigenetics, mutation, and genomics. Special emphasis will be placed on current primary literature and how molecular techniques are used to investigate a variety of questions in the field. Lecture and laboratory Prerequisites: BIO 2042 or BIO-1204 and CHEM-2155. IV

BIO 3044 Molecular Genetics of Bacteria
An examination of how the information encoded in molecules drives bacterial function and evolution. The course will focus on the haploid and asexual properties of bacteria as well as how bacteria gain new DNA. Topics covered include bacterial DNA replication, recombination, transcription, gene regulation, mutation, and genomics. Special emphasis will be placed on bacteria as model systems for investigating molecular genetics and will include the study of phage, transposons, and mutant libraries. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2042 or BIO 1204 and CHEM-2155. IV

BIO 3046 Microbiology
A study of the diversity, growth, physiology, structure, evolution and genetics of microorganisms including bacteria, fungi, and viruses. The course will explore the beneficial and harmful interactions of microbes with other organisms including interactions with humans that affect health and disease. Other topics include the use of microorganisms in medicine and biotechnology and the treatment and epidemiology of microbial infections. Lectures include discussion of current literature and the laboratory features independent investigations. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2042. IV

BIO 3056 Bacterial Pathogenesis
A study of the mechanisms by which bacterial pathogens cause disease, the strategies that bacterial pathogens use to survive within their hosts, and the strategies that hosts use to fend off infections. The course includes the study of bacterial structure, physiology, genetics, and how these factors interact with host systems during infection. Other topics include the role of the human microbiome and opportunistic infections in disease. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2042. IV

BIO 3065 Animal Physiology
A study of the principles of function of animal organisms emphasizing homeostasis and including organ systems. Lecture and laboratory. Laboratory emphasizes contemporary questions in physiology, quantitative analysis of data, and student-driven research. Prerequisite: 2042. IV

BIO 3204 Animal Behavior
Animals may appear to behave in an unpredictable fashion but research has indicated that most behaviors are evolved adaptive responses to avoiding predators, finding food, selecting a mate or caring for young. We will study animal behavior from an evolutionary perspective and lab involves an independently designed research project that quantitatively evaluates a hypothesis. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2042. IV

BIO 3224 Neurobiology
A consideration of the nervous system, with a focus on vertebrates. An emphasis will be placed on neuronal physiology and the structure and function of neural circuits. The course emphasizes experimental design, hypothesis testing, and critical reading of the primary literature. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisite: BIO 2042 or PSY 3304. IV

BIO 3314 Evolution
Examines the social and scientific history of the theory of evolution from pre-Darwin ideas to the current ideas developed from molecular and developmental biology. Examines how basic elements of the evolutionary processes (e.g., mutation, drift, and selection) can create large scale evolutionary patterns (e.g., adaptations, convergence, symbiosis, and the emergence of diversity). Format: lecture/discussion. Prerequisite: BIO 1044, 2024, and 2304. IV

BIO 4002 Supervised Laboratory Teaching in Biology
Practical internship assisting a professor running a biology lab. Under close supervision of the biology instructor, the student plans, prepares, and instructs a laboratory section. Students must have successfully completed the course for the lab they are assisting. Course is open only to juniors and seniors and recommended for those biology majors preparing for graduate school. (1/2 course unit.) CR/NC grading. Prerequisites: 5 course units in biology or permission of instructor

BIO 4114 Immunology
A study of the molecular, genetic, structural and cellular components of the immune system in health and disease. Basic principles of immunology focus on mammalian model systems. Topics will include both innate and adaptive aspects of immunobiology from antigen recognition, to development of lymphocyte repertoires, and evolution of immune systems. Weekly discussions will emphasize analysis of primary literature and case studies. Prerequisite: BIO 1204, 1206, 2042 and either BIO 3034, 3046 or 3065. IV

BIO 4144 Ecology
The study of how organisms interact with their environment and how this affects their distribution and abundance. Both applied and theoretical aspects of ecology will be investigated at the individual, population, community, and ecosystem level. Lecture, laboratory, and field trips. Prerequisites: BIO 2042 and MATH 1144. IV

BIO 4212 Independent Study
A study of the tools and techniques of research, of the use of the library for literature review, and of planning and execution of a research project, with a written report. (1/2 course unit.) May be repeated for a total of 1 unit of credit between 4212 and 4214. CR/NC grading. Prerequisite: BIO 2042 and permission of instructor

BIO 4214 Independent Study
A study of the tools and techniques of research, of the use of the library for literature review, and of planning and execution of a research project, with a written report. (1 course unit) CR/NC grading. Prerequisite: BIO 2042 and permission of instructor

BIO 4304 Advanced Cell Biology
This advanced course is designed for upper-level biology students interested in pursuing questions of complex cellular functions. The biochemical, molecular and physiological details of cell structure and function will be explored. Topics may include structure and function of membranes and organelles, protein trafficking, signal transduction, cytoskeleton, cell adhesion, and energy biotransformations. Students will read primary literature and conduct a series of short research projects in the laboratory. Lecture and laboratory. Prerequisites: CHEM 2165 and BIO 2042. IV

BIO 4432 Capstone in Biology
The goal of this course is to synthesize and integrate the expertise acquired through the major in a research project. Research may arise from approved research programs or a metaanalysis of published data. Research experiences must be approved by the biology program director and research experiences for which credit was already awarded do not qualify for the capstone. All seniors present the results of their capstone experience in a symposium held in the winter semester. Prerequisites: BIO 1204, 1206, 2042 and senior standing. 1/2 course unit.

BIO 4444 Senior Seminar in Biology
The capstone course for the biology major designed to integrate and expand the student’s knowledge of biology. Utilizing a topical theme, the course will explore the realm of biological knowledge, how biology progresses, and how to critically evaluate a field of study. Topics will be explored through lecture, discussion, extensive reading of the primary literature, and a substantial writing assignment. Topic will change year to year and by instructor. Prerequisites: BIO 1044, 2024, and 2304, senior standing and biology major, or permission of instructor. IV

BIO 4904 Senior Honors in Biology
Execution of a research project with an oral and written research report. May be repeated once for credit. Prerequisites: Senior standing, 4 course units in biology, a grade point average of at least 3.0 in biology courses, and permission of instructor.

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