Biological Science

Biological Science Courses

The human body is an amazing product of 3.5 billions of years of evolution. From our cells to our organ systems, our bodies are beautifully designed to thrive on planet Earth. In this course, we will explore the structure and function of various human organ systems including the circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, reproductive system, and portions of the endocrine system (kidneys and adrenal glands). Along the way, we will discuss challenges faced by each of these organ systems in this modern age that can result in disease such as air pollution, endocrine disrupting chemicals, overuse of antibiotics, chronic stress, and a highly-processed industrial diet. Students will perform various hands-on laboratory activities that will reinforce how their bodies function and how they can live a healthy life.

This course is an introduction to environmental issues—the interactions of humanity and industrial civilization with the natural environment of Earth. The course draws on scientific, technological, and social perspectives to examine current and future environmental challenges, including the impacts of human actions on natural ecosystems, natural resources, pollution, and climate change.

Have you ever wondered about DNA and how slight alterations to the genetic code have produced the amazing variety of life forms that inhabit our planet? This class will explore exciting topics in both genetics and evolutionary biology, some of which include: the genetics of cancer, reproduction and inheritance, epigenetics, GMOs, DNA forensics, antibiotic resistance, evolution of the “fat gene,” and how to build evolutionary trees. Students will explore these topics through lectures, case study work, and hands-on laboratory exercises.

This course offers a fundamental introduction to genetics, cell biology, and organ systems. We will explore the four macromolecules of life (nucleic acid, proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids) and discuss how they are used inside and outside of cells to build structures, transport materials across membranes, send signals, and acquire cellular energy (ATP). We will study biological information flow (DNA to protein, receptors to nuclei, blood to distant organs, and DNA to offspring.

We will also learn the structure and function of human organ systems and how they work together to maintain homeostasis in the body. This course is appropriate for students planning to continue in fields requiring knowledge of biology such as the health sciences, environmental studies, or the natural sciences. Students will spend three hours in lecture/discussion and three hours in the laboratory each week. 

This course explores the anatomical form and function of representatives from major animal phyla. Students will first learn about evolutionary processes that have generated the tremendous variety of form and function present in the animal kingdom.They will then learn about different lines of evidence that support the theory of common descent and examine how major lineages within the animal kingdom were created from key morphological innovations. Students will then take a tour of the major animal phyla. Students will explore these topics through lectures and hands-on laboratory activities that include live animal observations, dissections, field trips, and case studies.

Prerequisite: DNA to Organisms.

This course offers a fundamental introduction to evolutionary biology, patterns of diversity, and ecology. We will discuss evolutionary processes such as natural selection and genetic drift and explore how those processes can lead to genetic diversity within species as well as the creation of new species.

We will also explore the form and function of various phyla from the tree of life and discuss how they interact within communities and ecosystems. This course is appropriate for students planning to continue in fields requiring knowledge of biology such as the health sciences, environmental studies, or the natural sciences. Students will spend three hours in lecture/discussion and three hours in the laboratory each week.

This course focuses on the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of marine habitats and the organisms occupying those habitats, and provides a survey of the patterns of distribution, diversity, and abundance of species in marine communities, with an emphasis on the dynamic interactions that shape these patterns. The course also includes analysis of human impacts on marine ecosystems.

Instructor consent required.

This course provides students opportunities to explore topics in biology, such as ecology, animal behavior, molecular biology, and conservation biology.

Instructor consent required.

This course provides students opportunities to explore advanced topics in biology, such as advanced ecology, evolution of behavior, and bioinformatics.