Biology Immersion

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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

 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.
 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.
 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.)
 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.)
Required Course
Choose one of the following:
   Molecular Biology
   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.)
   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.)
Choose two of the following:
   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 equivalent course.)
   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.)
   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.)
   Cell Biology
   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 equivalent course.)
Introduction to the principles of inheritance; the study of genes and chromosomes at molecular, cellular, organismal, and population levels. (Prerequisites: BIOL-201 or equivalent course.)
   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 equivalent course.)
   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.)
   Microbial and Viral Genetics
This course will examine bacterial and viral genetic systems. These systems will be studied with the idea that they are simple examples of the genetics systems found in higher organisms, and can also be used as biotechnological tools. This course will show how these prokaryotic systems have served as excellent model systems for studying the genetics of higher organisms. This course will examine how these systems can be genetically manipulated using transformation, transduction, transposition, and conjugation. Bacteria and viruses will be discussed as important tools for many of the greatest discoveries in biology; especially in molecular biology and genetics. In addition some of the primary research journal articles will be critiqued. (Prerequisites: BIOL-321 or equivalent course.)
   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.)
   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.)
   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.)

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