ANT 215/EEB 315Human Adaptation(STL)Human adaptation focuses on human anatomy and behavior from an evolutionary perspective. Lectures and weekly laboratory sessions focus on the evolution of the human brain, dentition and skeleton to provide students with a practical understanding of the anatomy and function of the human body and its evolution, as well as some of its biological limitations. No science background is required on the part of the student.
EEB 211/MOL 211Life on Earth: Chaos and Clockwork of Biological Design(STL)An examination of how life evolved and how organisms function. Design--'intelligent' and otherwise--will provide a unifying theme. Why do some microbes produce slime and others do not? Why are males brightly colored in some species, but in others females are the showy sex? Why do humans have knees that fail whereas horses and zebras do not? These and other 'why is it so' questions related to the origin and history of life, genetic code, biochemistry, physiology, morphology and body plans, sex and reproduction, cooperation, and ecosystems will be explored. This course is required of all EEB majors and fulfills a requirement for medical school.
EEB 309Evolutionary BiologyAll life on Earth has evolved and continues to evolve. This course will explore evolution at both the molecular and organismal level. We will examine the features that are universal to all life and that document its descent from a common ancestor that lived over 3 billion years ago. Topics include the origin of life, the evidence for natural selection, methods for reconstructing evolutionary history using DNA, population genetics, genome evolution, speciation, extinction, and human origins. This course will provide you with the basic tools to understand how evolution works and can produce the incredible diversity of life on our planet.
EEB 321Ecology: Species Interactions, Biodiversity and SocietyHow do wild organisms interact with each other, their physical environments, and human societies? Lectures will examine a series of fundamental topics in ecology--herbivory, predation, competition, mutualism, species invasions, biogeographic patterns, extinction, climate change, and conservation, among others--through the lens of case studies drawn from all over the world. Readings will provide background information necessary to contextualize these case studies and clarify the linkages between them. Laboratories and fieldwork will explore the process of translating observations and data into an understanding of how the natural world works.
EEB 325Mathematical Modeling in Biology and MedicineHow can mathematical modeling help to illuminate biological processes? This course examines major topics in biology through the lens of mathematics, focusing on the role of models in scientific discovery. Students will learn how to build and analyze models using a variety of mathematical tools. Particular emphasis will be placed on evolutionary game theory. Specific topics will include: the evolution of cooperation and of social behavior from bacteria to humans; the evolution of multicellularity; the somatic evolution of cancer; virus dynamics (within host and within populations); and multispecies interactions and the evolution of mutualisms.
EEB 327/MOL 327Immune Systems: From Molecules to Populations(STN)How do immune systems work, and why do they work as they do? Why is there so much immunological polymorphism in animal populations? To address these questions, students will examine immunology across multiple biological scales. At the molecular and cellular scales, students will learn mechanisms by which animals recognize and kill parasites. At the population scale, students will investigate causes of the tremendous immunological heterogeneity exhibited by animals. Both the clinical relevance and the evolutionary basis of polymorphisms will be emphasized.
EEB 341/ENV 341Water, Savannas, and Society: Global Change and Sustainability in Africa's Hallmark EcosystemSavannas have played an important role in shaping human societies, including our evolution as a species. That role will grow, as savannas must be increasingly harnessed to meet growing demands for food, fuel, and fiber. Starting with a primer on savanna ecology, this course will examine the ecological and societal issues surrounding our use of African savannas. A key focus will be to explore tradeoffs between agricultural development, ecosystem services (e.g. carbon storage), biodiversity, and existing livelihoods, how those tradeoffs can be optimized to achieve sustainability, and how climate change will complicate such efforts.
EEB 504Fundamental Concepts in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior IIAn advanced foundation in ecology, focusing on the 50 fundamental papers, is given. Topics include dynamics and structure of populations, communities and ecosystems, and conservation biology. (This is a core course.)
EEB 507Recent Research in Population BiologySystematic reviews of recent literature in areas of ecology, evolution, and animal behavior. The general survey of literature is supplemented with detailed discussion of selected research papers of unusual importance and significance. (This is a core course.)
EEB 522Colloquium on the Biology of PopulationsDiscussion of the central problems of population biology and approaches that have proved fruitful. Topics ranging throughout ecology, evolution, biogeography, and population genetics are usually related to presentations by visiting speakers and students. (This is a core course.)
ENV 304/ECO 328/EEB 304/WWS 455Disease Ecology, Economics, and Policy(STN)The dynamics of the emergence and spread of disease arise from a complex interplay between disease ecology, economics, and human behavior. Lectures will provide an introduction to complementarities between economic and epidemiological approaches to understanding the emergence, spread, and control of infectious diseases. The course will cover topics such as drug-resistance in bacterial and parasitic infections, individual incentives to vaccinate, the role of information in the transmission of infectious diseases, and the evolution of social norms in healthcare practices.
GEO 255A/AST 255A/EEB 255A/CHM 255ALife in the Universe(STN)This course introduces students to a new field, Astrobiology, where scientists trained in biology, chemistry, astronomy and geology combine their skills to discover life's origins and to seek extraterrestrial life. Topics include: the origin of life on Earth; the prospects of life beneath the surfaces of Mars and Europa, a moon of Jupiter; and extra-solar planets nearby that offer targets for NASA space telescopes searching for life.
MOL 215/EEB 215/CBE 215Quantitative Principles in Cell and Molecular Biology(STL)Central concepts and experiments in cellular, molecular, and developmental biology with an emphasis on underlying physical and engineering principles. Topics include important insights into the genetic code; energetics and cellular organization; communication, feeding, and signaling between cells; ideas about feedback loops and cellular organization; problems and solutions in development; and the organization of large cellular systems, such as the nervous and immune systems. Satisfies the requirement for entrance into the Department and the requirement for entrance into medical school.
MOL 515/PHY 570/EEB 517/CHM 517Method and Logic in Quantitative BiologyClose reading of published papers illustrating the principles, achievements, and difficulties that lie at the interface of theory and experiment in biology. Two important papers, read in advance by all students, will be considered each week; the emphasis will be on discussion with students as opposed to formal lectures. Topics include: cooperativity, robust adaptation, kinetic proofreading, sequence analysis, clustering, phylogenetics, analysis of fluctuations, and maximum likelihood methods. A general tutorial on Matlab and specific tutorials for the four homework assignments will be available.