Biology Immersion

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Overview

Biology is the study of living organisms, including their structure, systems, function, evolution, and ecology. The immersion provides students with the opportunity to experience courses in a variety of areas of modern biology. Students complete a foundational course in Cell & Molecular Biology, General Ecology, or Evolutionary Biology (which all include laboratory experiences) and then go on to study at least one area in more depth.

Notes about this immersion:

  • This immersion is closed to students majoring in biology, biochemistry, bioinformatics and computational biology, biomedical engineering, biomedical sciences, biotechnology and molecular bioscience, environmental science, and physician assistant.
  • Students are required to complete at least one course at the 300-level or above as part of the immersion.

The program code for Biology Immersion is BIOL-IM.

Curriculum for Biology Immersion

Course
Prerequisites
BIOL-101
General Biology I
This course serves as an introduction to cellular, molecular, and evolutionary biology. Topics will include: a study of the basic principles of modern cellular biology, including cell structure and function; the chemical basis and functions of life, including enzyme systems and gene expression; and the origin of life and evolutionary patterns of organism development on Earth. Lecture 3 (Fall, Summer).
BIOL-102
General Biology II
This course serves as an introduction to animal and plant anatomy and physiology, in addition to the fundamentals of ecology. Topics will include: animal development; animal body systems; plant development; unique plant systems; Earth's terrestrial and aquatic environments; population and community ecology; animal behavior; and conservation biology. Lecture 3 (Spring, Summer).
BIOL-103
General Biology I Lab
This course provides laboratory work to complement the lecture material of General Biology I. The experiments are designed to illustrate concepts of basic cellular and molecular biology, develop laboratory skills and techniques for microscopy, and improve ability to make, record and interpret observations. (Co-requisities: BIOL-101 or equvialent course.) Lab 3 (Fall, Summer).
BIOL-104
General Biology II Lab
This course provides laboratory work to complement the material of General Biology II. The experiments are designed to illustrate concepts of animal and plant anatomy and physiology, develop laboratory skills and techniques for experimenting with live organisms, and improve ability to make, record, and interpret observations. (Co-requisites: BIOL-102 or equivalent course.) Lab 3 (Spring, Summer).
Required Course
Choose one of the following:
   BIOL-202
   Molecular Biology
This course will address the fundamental concepts of molecular biology. Class discussions, assignments, and laboratory projects will explore the structure and function of molecules and macromolecules, and processes important to storage and maintenance of genetic information and genetic information flow. Students in this course will explore molecular interactions that drive biological processes related to genetic information flow. Students in this course will gain an understanding of various molecular mechanisms, structure/function relationships, and processes as they relate to molecular biology. Students in this course will practice and carry out common laboratory techniques used by Molecular Biologists including, recombinant DNA technology and the detection and tracking of important macromolecules such as DNA, RNA and proteins. (Prerequisites: C- or better in (BIOL-101/102 and BIOL-103/104) or (BIOL-121/122) or equivalent. Students who have taken BIOL-201 cannot receive credit for BIOL-202. Co-requisites: (CHMG-141/145) or (CHEM-151/155) or CHMG-131 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
   BIOL-240
   General Ecology
This course is an introduction to population, community and ecosystem ecology, stressing the dynamic interrelationships of plant and animal communities with their environments. The course includes such ecological concepts as energy flow and trophic levels in natural communities, population and community dynamics, biogeography and ecosystem ecology. (Prerequisites: BIOL-102 or BIOL-122 or (1001-201, 1001-202 and 1001-203) or (1001-251, 1001-252 and 1001-253) or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
   BIOL-265
   Evolutionary Biology
This course investigates the historical framework of evolutionary biology and the meaning/nature of evidence pertinent to biological evolution. Topics will include: earth history, the evolution of proteins and the genetic code, molecular evolution, neutral theory vs. selection, genetic variation, natural selection, migration, mutation, genetic drift, fitness, population dynamics and genetics, speciation, systematics and classification systems, molecular phylogenetics, the evolution of eukaryotic organisms, behavioral evolution, historical biogeography, and human evolution and variation. (Prerequisites: (BIOL-101 and BIOL-102) or (BIOL-121 and BIOL-122) or equivalent courses.) Lecture 3, Recitation 2 (Fall).
Electives*
Choose two of the following:
   BIOL-204
   Introduction to Microbiology
This course is an introduction to microorganisms and their importance. Principles of structure and function, metabolic diversity, taxonomy, environmental microbiology, bioremediation, and infectious diseases of bacteria are discussed. Basic laboratory techniques covered include: microscopy; staining, culturing, isolation, and identification of bacteria; isolation and identification of normal flora; identification of unknown bacteria; antibiotic resistance; metabolic tests; clinical and commercial testing protocols; and detection and counting of bacteria in environmental samples (foods, water, soils). (Prerequisites: BIOL-201 or BIOL-202 or BIOG-240 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   BIOL-207
   Galapagos: Ecology and Evolution
A semester-long lecture course followed by a 14-day field trip to Ecuador and the Galápagos Islands. Students meet weekly on the RIT campus during spring semester to learn about the wildlife and geology of the islands, and about their influence on Darwin’s theory of evolution. Galápagos is still an area of vibrant research and students will be introduced to current ecological, genetic, and geological studies. We will explore ongoing difficulties of balancing human needs with environmental conservation in the Galápagos. The field trip occurs shortly after the close of the semester in which the course is given. We will visit various sites in the islands, with excursions focusing on the unique wildlife and the geology. There are frequent snorkeling opportunities. The course provides outstanding opportunities for nature photography. Enrollment is limited to 15 students. A travel fee is required. (Permission of instructor) (This course requires permission of the Instructor to enroll.) Lecture 1 (Fall).
   BIOL-211
   Invertebrate Zoology
A study of the biology of invertebrate animals with emphasis on phylogeny and functional morphology. (Prerequisites: BIOL-102 or BIOL-122 or (1001-201, 1001-202 and 1001-203) or (1001-251, 1001-252 and 1001-253) or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Spring).
   BIOL-302
   Cell Biology
This course will address the fundamental concepts of cell biology. Class discussions, assignments, and laboratory projects will 1) Explore the structure-function relationships that drive cellular processes at the molecular, cellular and tissue level. 2) Investigate the mechanisms of cellular signaling and the transmission of genetic information. 3) Examine energy transformation strategies and the biochemical pathways used for synthesis and breakdown of ATP and other important biomolecules. 4) Investigate the organizational strategies used by cells to form functional tissue and organ systems. (Prerequisites: BIOL-202 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   BIOL-313
   Comparative Animal Physiology
This course is a comparative study of fundamental physiological mechanisms. It covers a broad range of organisms studied from the standpoint of evolution of functional systems, the mechanisms and morphological variations that exist to deal with functional problems posed by the environment, and the special mechanisms used to cope with extreme environments. (Prerequisites: BIOL-240 or BIOL-265 or BIOL-202 or BIOG-240 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Spring).
   BIOL-321
   Genetics
Introduction to the principles of inheritance; the study of genes and chromosomes at molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels. (Prerequisites: BIOL-201 or BIOL-202 or BIOG-240 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3, Recitation 1 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
   BIOL-322
   Developmental Biology
This course is a study of the processes of growth, differentiation and development that lead to the mature form of an organism. The course will also address how developmental biology is integrated with other aspects of biology including disease, ecology, and evolution. (Prerequisites: BIOL-201 or BIOL-202 or BIOG-240 or equivalent course.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
   BIOL-365
   Introduction to Population Genetics
This course consists of a study of DNA, genes, inheritance, genetic variation, genetic architecture, and change within and among populations. Fundamental genetics topics include DNA, gene, and chromosomal structure and function along with, transmission genetics, Mendelian inheritance patterns, sex-linked inheritance, genetic linkage, and the Hardy-Weinberg Principle. Population based topics will include genetic variation, its importance, how it originates and is maintained as well as inbreeding, random mating, mutation, migration, selection, genetic drift, the effects of small population size, fitness, population subdivision, the shifting balance theory, inter-deme selection, kin selection, neutral theory, molecular evolution, molecular clocks, multi-gene families, gene conversion, artificial selection, the genetic basis of quantitative traits and the fundamental theorem of natural selection. (Prerequisites: BIOL-265 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   BIOL-427
   Microbial and Viral Genetics
The goal of this course is to gain an understanding of the genetic systems of prokaryotes and their viruses. There are two major foci: (1) the mechanisms bacteria and their viruses employ to preserve the integrity of their genomes and regulate gene expression, and (2) the mechanisms by which these entities acquire new genetic material. The relevance of these processes to evolution and the development of new traits that facilitate survival under new environmental conditions (e.g., antibiotic resistance) is highlighted, especially with regard to clinically, industrially and agriculturally important microbes. Molecular processes whose discovery led to the formation of important research and/or biotechnological tools will also be discussed. Students will participate in laboratory projects which highlight important mechanisms, such as transformation, transduction, lysogeny, conjugation and CRIPSR-Cas acquired adaptive immunity. (BIOL-201 orBIOL-202 orBIOG-240) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
   BIOL-575
   Conservation Biology
This course focuses on the application of ecological principles to conservation issues. Human impact on species diversity is emphasized as it relates to agricultural, forest, coastal and wetland ecosystems. Case studies of management practices used to manage and restore disturbed ecosystems are included. (Prerequisites: BIOL-240 or equivalent course.) Lecture 3 (Spring).
   MEDS-250
   Human Anatomy and Physiology l
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the nervous, endocrine, integumentary, muscular and skeletal systems. Laboratory exercises include histological examination, actual and simulated anatomical dissections, and physiology experiments with human subjects. (Prerequisites: (BIOL-101 and BIOL-102) or (BIOL-121 and BIOL-122) or (1001-201 and 1001-202 and 1001-203) or (1001-251 and 1001-252 and 1001-253) or (MEDG-102 or 1026-213) or NUTR-BS equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Fall).
   MEDS-251
   Human Anatomy and Physiology ll
This course is an integrated approach to the structure and function of the gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, immunological, respiratory, excretory, and reproductive systems with an emphasis on the maintenance of homeostasis. Laboratory exercises include histological examinations, anatomical dissections and physiological experiments using human subjects. (Prerequisites: (BIOL-101 and BIOL-102) or (BIOL-121 and BIOL-122) or (1001-201 and 1001-202 and 1001-203) or (1001-251 and 1001-252 and 1001-253) or (MEDG-102 or 1026-213) or NUTR-BS equivalent courses.) Lab 3, Lecture 3 (Spring).

* At least one course must be taken at the 300-level or above.