biocore courses:

  • Semester 1 - Fall
  • Semester 2 - Spring
  • Semester 3 - Fall
  • Semester 4 - Spring


This course sequence is held in fall of the 1st year in Biocore:

Biocore course numbers will be changing starting in spring 2014

Biocore 301 (Changing to Biocore 381 in Fall 2014) - Evolution, Ecology & Genetics (3 cr.) -- Syllabus Fall 2012

This course is intended to serve as a foundation for the subsequent courses in the Biocore sequence. The basic concepts of evolution, ecology, and genetics each occupy about one third of the semester. Evolution is discussed in terms of the geological and biological history of the earth, the diversity and classification of organisms, and the development of our ideas about evolution and natural selection. The genetics unit focuses on transmission genetics and includes discussions of Mendel's laws, the structural and functional organization of chromosomes and their behavior in mitosis and meiosis, and linkage and crossing over. The ecology unit first discusses the relationship of an individual organism to its environment and then goes on to consider populations, communities, and ecosystems. Biocore students apply some of the principles they are learning to a long-term prairie restoration project near Picnic Point.

Biocore 302 (Changing to Biocore 382 in Fall 2014) - Evolution, Ecology & Genetics (2 cr. Lab) - Syllabus Fall 2012

The laboratory course gives students practical experience working with the concepts introduced in lecture. Activities at the Biocore Prairie restoration site are a major focus during the first part of the semester. Later projects deal with evolutionary relationships, interactions between organisms, adaptations, Mendelian genetics, cytogenetics, and genetic linkage. This is a writing intensive course with an emphasis on students making observations and generating and testing their own ideas. They report their observations and hypotheses and analyze their data in papers describing each of the projects.


This course sequence is held in spring of the 1st year in Biocore:

Biocore course numbers will be changing starting spring 2014

Biocore 383 (Previously Biocore 303) - Cellular Biology
(3 cr.) - Syllabus Spring 2013

Biocore 303 deals with various aspects of life at the cellular and molecular levels. In Unit 1, Dr. Katrina Forest will provide an introduction to cells, membranes, and macromolecules, and will then go on to discuss the flow of energy in cells, considering how cells obtain, store, and use energy. In Unit 2, Dr. Jeff Hardin will take up the flow of information in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including the storage, transmission, and expression of genetic information. The course then concludes with Unit 3 by Dr. Erik Dent on signal transduction, focusing especially on the importance of receptor-ligand interactions, cell signaling, cell motility, the regulation of the cell cycle, and cancer.

Biocore 384 (Previously Biocore 304) - Cellular Biology
(2 cr. Lab) -
Syllabus Spring 2013

Biocore 304 laboratory complements and integrates cell biology concepts from lecture with scientific reasoning and cell/molecular research methodology. The lab course is research and writing intensive, giving students an opportunity to work in teams to investigate topics such as subcellular components of rat liver cells, the biochemistry of alkaline phosphatase, gene expression in C. elegans worms, and mating pheromone signaling in yeast. The laboratory course is directed by Drs. Janet Batzli and Michelle Harris, with support from Seth McGee, Biocore’s lab manager.


This course sequence is held in fall of the 2nd year in Biocore:

Biocore course numbers will be changing starting Spring 2014

Biocore 323 (Changing to Biocore 485 in Fall 2014) - Organismal Biology (3 cr.) -- Course Info Fall 2012 Syllabus Fall 2012

This physiology course explores the means by which plants and animals interact with their environments to support the basic needs of surviving, obtaining nutrients, exchanging gases, and reproducing. The course examines the developments that have evolved in conjunction with the need of animals to search out and procure food (their nutrient and energy source) and contrasts this with plants, which are able to manufacture energy-rich molecules from simple inorganic raw materials. The course focuses on the complex systems of neural and endocrine regulation in animals and hormonal and environmental regulation in plants to understand how cells and organs within an organism maintain communication. We also discuss the regulation of respiration, circulation, and heart function, as well as the mechanisms that underlie the function of the brain.

Biocore 324 (Changing to Biocore 486 in Fall 2014) - Organismal Biology (2 cr. Lab) - Syllabus Fall 2012

As members of a 3-4 person research team, students work each week on some stage of designing or carrying out their own experiments on plant or animal physiology. During the semester, each team has 3 opportunities to develop an experiment to test a hypothesis based on a novel research question, in many cases using themselves as subjects (e.g. electrocardiograms, respiration rate, electroencephalograms). Research topics are chosen by students and reflect concepts taught concurrently in the Organismal Biology (323) lecture course. We will stress different elements of experimental design (development of good questions, review of relevant literature, hypothesis formation, protocol development: randomization, blinding, controls, sample size estimation) and analysis (data manipulation, graphing, statistical tests, comparison with previous findings). Emphasis is on critical thinking required in designing and conducting experiments and in analyzing and interpreting results. During the semester, research teams report their findings through oral PowerPoint presentations and by writing, peer-reviewing, and revising papers in the format of scientific journal articles.


This course is held in spring of the 2nd year in Biocore:

Biocore course numbers will be changing starting spring 2014

Biocore 587 (Previously Biocore 333) - Biological Interactions (3 cr.) -- Syllabus Spring 2013

Biological Interactions is intended to help you integrate the material you have learned in the previous three semesters and apply it to some current areas of active research. We will consider four topics and will look at some of the physiology, cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry relevant to understanding these issues. The course will be focused around a series of papers from the scientific literature and will provide you with opportunities to gather information, visualize, analyze, explore, and plan strategies for the investigation of complex biological problems. The four topics are: 1. Inheritance of Susceptibility: Colon Cancer as Genetic Disease, led by Dr. Amy Moser, Department of Human Oncology, 2. Cervical cancer; A Viral Disease, led by Dr. Anne Griep, Department of Anatomy, 3. Evolutionary Systems Biology, led by Dr. Laurence Loewe, Department of Genetics, and 4. Microbial Ecology and the Human Gut, led by Dr. Trina McMahon, Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bacteriology.