opportunity to give:

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In 2008, Biocore celebrated its 40th year! Although the program has changed and evolved since the first classes were taught in 1967, the basic goals, philosophy, program structure, and administrative support have remained the same. Biocore courses focus on important biological concepts and the application of these concepts through the process of science - how we know what we know. We want students to enhance their ability to draw conclusions from evidence and to help them develop as scientists. The courses provide many opportunities for students to work with biological concepts, while introducing them to the array of tools and procedures of biology. Labs are writing-intensive because we feel that writing helps in clarity of thinking and analysis, and because excellent communication skills are essential for all types of biologists. Finally, Biocore offers a cohesive learning experience where students get to know other biology students within a strong, supportive learning environment. Biocore alumni often state that the peer learning communities that develop and continue over four semesters are one of the most valuable features of our program.

As we continue to expand and improve our curriculum, your contribution is an investment in Biocore courses and will provide additional opportunities for honors students who seek an in-depth, integrated approach to learning biology.

Use of Gift Funds in 2008-09:
As I am sure you are aware, support from our donors is very much appreciated and provides flexibility to undertake many special projects. This year we used gift funds to support the development of a new four-week lab unit in our cell biology course (Biocore 304) focused on C. elegans worm gene expression of heat shock proteins response reported through green fluourescent protein (GFP). In this unit, students use cell and molecular genetic techniques including genetic transformation, RNA interference, and fluourescence microscopy all integrated with bioinformatics databases from NCBI and WormBase to investigate particular genes associated with the heat shock response. In addition, gift funds supported three Biocore undergraduate students who traveled to national meetings to present their work. One student traveled to annual meeting for Ecological Society of America in Milwaukee to present her research on oxygen dynamics in Willow Creek. Two others traveled to National Association for Biology Teachers conference in Memphis, TN (Fall 2008) to present their findings on change in inservice teacher views about science after working with the Biocore Outreach Ambassadors.

Listed below are several projects that we look forward to funding in the future with donor support.

  • Biocore Prairie Restoration - seeds, plant materials, field equipment

  • Undergraduate Research in Ecology and Physiology - lab equipment and travel to professional meetings

  • Biocore Peer Mentors & Writing Consultants - funding undergraduate program assistant

  • Biocore Outreach Ambassadors - funding undergraduate travel to Wisconsin Heights School classrooms, Summer Science Camp materials, Science Fun Nights materials

  • Graduate and Postdoctoral Teaching Fellows - funding to help develop classroom materials and travel to professional conferences to present work in Biocore

  • Faculty Teaching Innovation - new materials to aid faculty instruction (e.g. clickers, molecular models, development of podcasts, demos)

  • New Laboratory Equipment for Courses

  • Professional Development for Staff - travel to workshops and courses, participation in professional meetings, workshops and presentations

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We deeply appreciate generosity of people like you to help us maintain excellence in our curriculum and provide new opportunities for Biocore students, faculty and staff. Please consider a contribution specifically earmarked for Biocore when planning your future giving to UW-Madison.


Jeff Hardin, PhD

Janet Batzli, PhD
Assoc. Director