and 362s SEMINARS
Seminars are literature and discussion intensive courses. Every
seminar requires permission of the instructor and has a ceiling
of 12 participants. Their predicted (but not written in stone)
future offering can be found at http://www.bio.davidson.edu/dept/schedule.html.
Click on the title of any seminar to go to its homepage.
and Reptile Conservation: Mike Dorcas
A seminar-style course in which we focus on issues relating to
the biology and conservation of amphibians and reptiles. Involves
extensive discussion of current, peer-reviewed literature, independent
projects, and field trips.
of HIV/AIDS: David Wessner
To learn more about HIV/AIDS and the scientific process, we will
spend the semester examining the chronology of the AIDS epidemic.
By reading the breakthrough articles, and the corresponding news
media accounts of these articles, we will trace the history of
our understanding of HIV/AIDS. We will focus on understanding
the science behind these articles and we will discuss the potential
implications of the research. This approach, hopefully, will allow
us to gain a better understanding of how we know what we know
about HIV/AIDS and also demonstrate how scientific advances are
predicated on previous advances. Limited to Juniors and Seniors.
Prerequisite: At least one 300 level Group A Course.
Development of the Immune System: Sophia Sarafova
The course will analyze in detail the relationship between the
development of immune cells and their function during the immune
response. Questions like how the immune system appeared in vertebrates
and evolved; what developmental mistakes may lead to defective
immune function such as hereditary immunodeficiency and autoimmunity,
will also be addressed on the cellular and molecular level. Critical
reading of scientific articles, presentation to the class, and
in-class discussion of the findings will be the main tools of
Ecotoxicology is the science that examines the fate and effects
of toxicants in and on ecological systems. The science of toxicology
examines effects of toxins and pollutants at the molecular, cell,
and organism levels. However, effects at higher levels are not
always predictable based on findings at lower levels. Ecotoxicology
attempts to integrate and study effects at multiple levels of
biological organization. The course is a mixture of lecture, discussion,
and student presentations.
Serology: Karen Bernd
Forensic Serology is the study of blood, semen, saliva, or sweat
in matters pertaining to the law. Using case studies as backdrops,
this seminar will focus on the science behind the courthouse headlines
as we discuss the biological theory and analytical techniques
that provide the basis for forensic serology. Topics will include
the composition of blood and semen; the molecular basis for enzymatic
and antibody based analytical techniques, DNA analysis (RFLPs,
VNTRs and SNPs), modes of inheritance of different markers (nuclear
or mitochondrial DNA and protein), and identification of remains.
We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of applying these
techniques to samples collected in ‘real life’ situations
and the potential ethical implications of DNA databases like CODIS.
In addition to participating in discussions of technical literature,
students will participate in debates, and give multiple oral presentations
to the class and to public audiences. Prerequisites: Bio111. Genetics
or Cell Biology would be helpful but are not required.
Genetics: Karen Hales
This seminar will focus on a number of specific human genetic
disorders, using a case-study format with primary research papers
as our main resource. We will explore 1) the methods by which
the associated gene for each disorder was/is being cloned; 2)
the biology of the disease at the organism, tissue, cell, and
molecular level; and 3) the strategies being developed to treat
each disease both with gene therapy and conventional methods.
We will also explore phenomena leading to non-classical patterns
of inheritance. The seminar is designed to refine and extend your
fluency (both verbal and written) in genetic concepts and techniques.
Through the dissection of research papers you will gain an understanding
of the types of experimental approaches that are appropriate under
different conditions, and you will learn to think critically about
experimental design. You will learn to devise and propose hypothetical
experiments to address unanswered questions in human genetics.
You will gain an appreciation of the peer review process through
critiquing the mock grant proposals of other students and having
your own proposal critiqued. You will attain a realistic view
of the sociology, politics, and serendipity of science in the
big leagues. Prerequisite: Bio301 Genetics.
in Reproductive Medicine: Verna Case
Advances in medical science give us an ever-increasing mastery
of our "natural" reproductive processes. Technologies
for controlling our fertility, diagnosing and treating the fetus,
and allowing premature neonates to complete their development
ex-utero challenge our traditional ideas of parenthood, family
and even personal identity. The economic, emotional, and socio-cultural
costs of these medical advances are very high. In addition, a
myriad of ethical and legal questions are raised by the possibilities
and permutations created by the new reproductive technologies.
The course begins with an overview of the natural reproduction
in humans and the basic principles of biomedical ethics. Focus
will then turn to the issues surrounding the control of: fertility
and infertility; fetal life; birth and the neonatal period.
Life: Synthetic Biology Seminar: Malcolm Campbell
Students read primary literature to understand they types of questions
asked and tools used in the new field of synthetic biology. Students
present papers they select, and participate in class discussions.
They also develop a wiki page that describes a chosen area within
synthetic biology. Open to anyone who has completed Bio111. Course
and Treatment of Human Disease – Zambia: Verna Case
This course examines the impact of disease on the population in
and surrounding Mwandi, Zambia. We begin the course in Davidson
during the spring semester and conclude the work for the course
in Zambia during July/August. While in Mwandi, students attend
rounds and do rotations in the hospital under the supervision
of health care workers. Students also have the opportunity to
travel to rural health centers in the hospital catchment area,
where they help with immunization programs. The academic portion
of the course requires each student to write a paper on a particular
aspect of health care in Zambia. Past projects have focused on
malnutrition, traditional healers, HIV/AIDS, adolescent health,
women's reproductive health, malaria, and other topics. The service
component of the course includes an on-campus fund-raising campaign
to support a specific project in Mwandi (e.g., the Orphan and
Vulnerable Children's Center) and volunteering time and labor
for a project while in Zambia (e.g., painting the Outpatient Clinic).
Students also learn a great deal about the Lozi culture by participating
in activities at the school and church, as well as by just getting
to know the people working and being treated at the hospital and
and 352s GROUP INVESTIGATIONS
Group Investigations are laboratory intensive courses. Every group
investigation requires permission of the instructor and has a
ceiling of either of <6 participants. Their predicted (but
not written in stone) future offering schedule can be found at
Click on the title to go to the homepage.
Aquatic Community Ecology: Chris Paradise
Students conduct research projects on insect communities in freshwater
habitats, working in small groups. In addition, we will discuss
journal articles related to our research. Topics to be covered
include experimental design, aquatic insect ecology, insect identification,
field sampling and monitoring techniques, statistical analysis,
and preparation of results for publication.
Biological Devices with Synthetic Biology: Malcolm Campbell
This lab-only course allows students to learn about synthetic
biology by conducting original research. Students will use molecular
biology and computer tools to design, construct, and test biological
devices that produce a new function inside cells. We use modular
DNA parts to assemble these devices. We present our findings at
the annual iGEM competition (International Genetically Engineered
Machines) with schools from all over the world.
Cell Biology: Karen Bernd
Spend any time breathing? Work out regularly? Visit the court?
Learn and apply technique monitoring gene expression, apoptosis,
necrosis and cellular polarity to the cellular side of environmental
biology. Students will investigate the effects of ozone on lung
epithelial cells grown in culture and examine the effect of increased
exercise (increased metabolism) or additional stressors (EtOH
exposure) on lung cells’ sensitivity to ozone. Prerequisites
Bio111/112, (Bio308 recommended)
of Mitochondrial Structure in Drosophila Spermatogenesis: Karen
In this research-based course we will perform experiments to elucidate
genetic mechanisms of how mitochondria are moved and shaped properly
in developing sperm cells of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
Approaches will include fly husbandry, DNA manipulation, and/or
microscopy. Students should expect to spend at least 10 hours
a week on this course, including the scheduled weekly meetings
plus additional time in the lab working semi-independently. Students
will be graded on an initial project proposal, participation and
engagement, performance in twice-monthly journal article discussions,
and a final poster presentation on the project.
Investigations in Herpetology: Mike Dorcas
Course in which students conduct original research involving the
biology of amphibians and reptiles. Students are expected to produce
research publishable in peer-reviewed journals and present at
& Imaging in Neuroscience: Barbara Lom
As part of this course students will perform original in vitro
and/or in vivo neuroscience research using microscopy and imaging
techniques. Course goals include each student 1) demonstrating
a working knowledge of light microscopy and expertise in biological
imaging; 2) demonstrating practical understanding of experimental
design, analysis, and communication; 3) producing an electronic
image portfolio using a variety of microscopy techniques; 4) collaboratively
determine how neuronal activity affects RGC dendritic morphology
in vivo; 5) collaboratively update Davidson’s confocal microscopy
website & create a protocol website. Prerequisites: Biology