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Department of Biology

New Courses

New Courses

These 497 course credits can be used to fulfill the 400-level Biology requirements in all Biology major options. Please check with an adviser to find out which 400-level group can be satisfied if you are interested in one of these courses. Please be aware that 497 refers to NEW courses which then may be given a permanent 400-level number. Which 497 courses are offered differs from semester to semester. View the course listing in LionPath to find the most up to date and correct information.


BIOL 497 History of Biology (3)

History of Biology is a 3 credit lecture course designed to introduce students to the long history that led to our current biological knowledge. The course is organized around themes representing some of the most important concepts in biology, such as macromolecules, the cell, inheritance, evolution, metabolism, biodiversity, and ecosystems. Lectures illustrate the interplay between observations, theories, experiments, and techniques. The history of biology is placed within a broader historical and cultural context (scientists and institutions from many different periods and countries are studied)

Effective: Fall 2014 Ending: Fall 2016

Prerequisite: BIOL 110 and BIOL 220W or BIOL 230W or BIOL 240W or permission of the program.


BIOL 497 Biological Oceanography (3)

This course will expose students to the wide range of organisms, from microbes to animals, living in the open ocean. Topics covered include how organisms survive in aquatic environments, their physiology, ecology and evolution. We will discuss how life in the ocean is affected by depth range from the shallow photic zone to the deep seafloor as well as by ocean currents and continents. You will also learn about biological-physical interactions and the different methodological approaches to study biological oceanography.

Effective: Spring 2015 Ending: Spring 2015 Future: Spring 2015

Prerequisite: BIOL 110


BIOL 497 Biodiversity of Pennsylvania (3)

This course will provide an integrated approach to the biological diversity of Pennsylvania. Case studies will illustrate important evolutionary, ecological, and systematic concepts in current biodiversity research, such as species distribution, species identification, and species richness. Biodiversity will also be studied within a broader societal context, in relation to issues that Pennsylvania faces today, such as natural resources, energy development, natural areas protection, endangered species, invasive species, and water quality.

Effective: Fall 2015 Ending: Fall 2016

Prerequisite: BIOL 110


BIOL 497 Evolution of Infectious Diseases (3)

This course will explore how infectious diseases adapt to and evolve in humans and human societies. Major topics covered will include how infectious diseases jump from animals to humans, how pathogens are forced into a race with the human immune system, why some diseases evolve to be benign and others deadly, and how pathogens evolve in response to human interventions like vaccination and drug treatment. A background in statistics or probability is highly recommended.

Prerequisite: BIOL 110


BIOL 497 Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience Laboratory (3)

This 3-credit laboratory course provides exposure to experimental methods covering several different levels of research in cellular and molecular neuroscience. The course is designed to help students learn and apply cutting edge techniques employed in current neuroscience research. The course is divided into three parts and three major topics of study related to neuronal function: (1) Genetics, Behavior and Morphology, (2) Molecular and Biochemical Mechanisms and (3) Function of Living Neurons.

Prerequisite: Either BIOL 230W or BMB 251


BIOL 497 Human Cadaver Dissection (3)

This course is an advanced exploration of human anatomy. Students will take a "regional" approach to learning anatomy, meaning that they will focus on each region of the body in turn. There will therefore be an emphasis on understanding the 3-D relationships between structures, and how all body systems are interrelated. Embryology, histology, medical imagining and clinical applications of anatomy will also be important components of the course. These topics will help contextualize the many anatomical structures taught. Lab activities will center around the dissection of four cadavers. Students will work in groups of 304 people to complete the dissections.

Prerequisite: Either BIOL 129, BIOL 161, BIOL 240W, or BIOL 472