Undergraduate Course Descriptions

0050 Foundations of Biology Laboratory 1

This laboratory course is the first in a two-course sequence designed to be an introduction to scientific inquiry in the biological sciences for majors in biology and related fields. You will work with techniques that are important in biology and apply these techniques to the investigation of basic biological principles emphasizing cell biology and fundamental processes of life. The goal is to learn to think like a scientist, developing laboratory skills while at the same time experiencing some of the thrill of scientific discovery. The lecture course BIOSC 0150 is a pre-requisite. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


0058 Foundations of Biology SEA-PHAGES Laboratory 1

This research-focused version of BIOSC 005X lab uses Bacteriophage Discovery to introduce biology as an experimental science. Students learn current laboratory techniques through the discovery, isolation, and characterization of their own novel virus. Students will be introduced to concepts in microbiology, evolution, and molecular biology through hands-on experiments driven by results obtained during class. This course is the first half of a two-part course. Students who enroll in 0058 should plan on taking 0068 in the subsequent term. This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0050 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0060 Foundations of Biology Laboratory 2

This course has been replaced by BIOSC 0067 and is no longer offered on the Oakland campus.

This laboratory course is the second in a two-course sequence designed to be an introduction to scientific inquiry in the biological sciences for majors in biology and related fields.  You will work with techniques that are important in biology and apply these techniques to the investigation of basic biological principles emphasizing genetics, molecular biology, ecology and evolution.  There is a lab fee associated with this course.


0067 Foundations of Biology Research Laboratory 2 (Topic: Small World - Crowdsourcing Antibiotic Discovery)

This course is a research-based Introductory Biology 2 Lab course will engage you in research on soil microbes and antibiotic discovery. Currently, the antibiotic development pipeline has slowed to a trickle and many of the antibiotics currently in use are losing efficacy due to the development of antibiotic resistance in pathogens. This health crisis drives the research you will perform in this new laboratory course. You will isolate antibiotic-producing bacteria from soil collected on the University of Pittsburgh campus, characterize the producers and extract their metabolites, while contributing your findings to a database shared by a network of student researchers across the country. This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0067 Foundations of Biology Research Laboratory 2 (Topic: DNA Regulation & Disease)

This course is a research-based Introductory Biology 2 Lab course where students will participate in an authentic research project aimed at understanding how DNA is carefully packaged into the cell, yet still remains accessible for DNA-based processes such as transcription, replication, and repair.  This research project will allow students to apply and increase their knowledge of many topics in genetics and molecular biology.  Students will learn to plan, execute, and interpret experiments using common molecular biological techniques.  We will also read current scientific literature to understand how the proteins involved in DNA packaging result in human disease when mutated. This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0067 Foundations of Biology Research Laboratory 2 (Topic: Neural Defects)

This course is a research-based Introductory Biology 2 Lab course where students will participate in an authentic research project aimed at understanding a protein called Shroom, which regulates cell shape changes in most animals.  Mice without the Shroom3 protein have neural tubes which "mushroom out" during development and fruit flies with extra Shroom protein have defective eyes and wings.  You will search for proteins that cooperate with Shroom to change cell shape in fruit flies using genetic approaches and assessing for changes in eyes and wings.  You will develop hypotheses about which proteins will work with Shroom and how they might control shape change and use microscopy to test your predictions.  This work is directly related to research in Dr. Jeff Hildebrand's lab.  This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0067 Foundations of Biology Research Laboratory 2 (Topic: Social Spiders)

This course is a research-based Introductory Biology 2 Lab course where students will isolate and identify bacteria living on spiders using multiple techniques including DNA sequencing. In addition, students will be introduced to different behavioral assays measuring aggression and boldness.  With this tool kit, you will try to predict how the bacteria may affect the behavior of the spider and then run experiments to test your preditions.  This workd was developed by researchers in Dr. Jonathan Pruitt's laboratory.  This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0067 Foundations of Biology Research Laboratory 2 (Topic: Water Channels in Disease)

This course is a research-based Introductory Biology 2 Lab course where students will study mutations in the DNA encoding a kidney membrane water channel called aquaporin 2.  People with these mutations have the disease Diabetes Insipidus, but the reason the mutatn aquaporin proteins fail to function is unknown and will be the focus of your research in this course.  You will test the production and stability of the protein using our yeast model system.  You will also use this model system to develop tests for whether the protein forms a functional water channel and run these experiments to test your own hypotheses of how the mutation may cause disease.  This research is connected to work from Dr. Buck and Dr. Kaufmann.   This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0067 Foundations of Biology Research Laboratory 2 (Topic: Pathways Over Time)

This course is a research-based Introductory Biology 2 Lab course where students will explore the evolution of metabolic pathways and will be introduced to concepts in bioinformatics, molecular biology, cell biology, genetic, and evolution through hands-on experiments.  Using yeast as a model system and employing a range of techniques, students should expect to make novel findings in this exciting new course.  At the end of the semester, students will present their research at a poster session.   This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0068 Foundations of Biology SEA-PHAGES Laboratory 2

The research-focused version of BIOSC 0060 uses Bacteriophage Genomics to introduce biology as an experimental science. Students learn computational biological techniques through annotation and characterization of novel viral genomes. Students will be introduced to concepts in bioinformatics, microbiology, evolution, and molecular biology through hands-on experiments driven by results obtained during class. This course is the second half of a two-part course. Students who enroll in 0068 should be currently enrolled in 0058. This course is equivalent to BIOSC 0060 and there is a lab fee. Click here for more information on research-based laboratory courses.


0100 Preparation For Biology

This course is intended for students who have not had High School Biology in the past five years to prepare them for taking Foundations of Biology 1 (BIOSC 0150) and 2 (BIOSC 0160). The lecture will cover a subset of topics from Foundations of Biology 1 and 2, including a discussion of basic chemistry used in biology, cell biology including mitosis and meiosis, human anatomy and physiology, and an introduction to genetics. The weekly recitations will explore topics covered in lecture in more depth and integrate problem solving and study skills. Some laboratory exercisesmay  also be included in the recitation period to re-enforce the lecture topics by giving students the opportunity to investigate the experimental aspect of biology. The laboratory exercises and assignments will focus on basic math and writing skills.

 


0150 Foundations of Biology 1

This is an introductory course divided into two parts. The first part covers the cellular basis of life including a discussion of simple chemistry; cells as units of structure and function; and energy transformations. The second part includes an examination of those functions common to all organisms such as nutrition, gas and fluid transport and hormonal and neuronal control. Throughout, the emphasis is on the mechanisms used to accomplish these basic functions. Not recommended for incoming students who place into MATH 0010.

 


0160 Foundations of Biology 2

This course covers the basic principles of classical and molecular genetics, evolution and ecology. Emphasis will be placed on the experimental and observational basis for our knowledge of these subjects.

 


0350 Genetics

This course is designed to examine the gene in the following dimensions: the gene as a unit of transmission, a unit of function, and a unit of mutation. In addition, the distribution and activity of genes in populations will be considered in context with current theories of evolution. Lectures will assume that the student has the equivalent of one-third of a term of basic genetics (as included in the BIOSC 0150/0160 sequence).

 


0351 Genetics Lab

This course will provide a hands-on introduction to concepts and methodologies of genetics using the model organism Drosophila melanogaster. Students will learn and apply basic concepts of crosses, mapping, genetic screens, as well as the molecular characterization of genetic lesions. From viewing outcome of simple crosses, to visualizing chromosomes, we will explore the genetics of this prominent animal model. 


0355 UHC Genetics

This Honors College course is designed to examine the gene as a unit of transmission, a unit of function, and a unit of mutation. The course emphasizes the relationship between classical Mendelian genetics and the modern molecular understanding of gene structure and function. The course website may be accessed at http://www.pitt.edu/~ljac/main.html  


0370 Ecology

 

This is the description for the Summer term offering at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology. The objective of the course is to provide a broad introduction to the study of ecology at the undergraduate level, through presentation of lectures dealing with organismal, population, community, and ecosystem levels of organization. The contributions of laboratory work, field investigation, experimentation, and mathematical theory to the development of ecological knowledge will be considered. The application of ecological concepts to environmental problem solving will also be explored. Lecture material will be supplemented with required readings from an assigned textbook and from other materials.  


0370 Ecology

 

This is the description for the Fall term. The objective of the course is to provide a broad introduction to the study of ecology at the undergraduate level, through presentation of lectures dealing with organismal, population, community, and ecosystem levels of hierarchical organization. The contributions of laboratory and field investigations to the development of ecological knowledge will be considered. Lecture material will be supplemented with required readings from an assigned textbook. 

 


0390 Ecology Laboratory

 

This is the description for the Summer term offering at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. The objective of the laboratory course is to provide students with practical experience in ecological methods and in the design, conduct, and analysis of ecological studies. The exercises correspond with major lecture topics presented in BIOSC 0370, and will emphasize field studies and data analysis. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet.

 


0390 Ecology Laboratory

 

The objective of the laboratory course is to provide students with practical experience in ecological methods and in the design, conduct, and analysis of ecological studies. Laboratory exercises are designed to correspond with major lecture topics presented in BIOSC 0370. Exercises will include laboratory and field studies. There is a lab fee associated with this course.

 


0391 Ecology Laboratory Writing Practicum

 

This course is a writing practicum for Ecology Laboratory, BIOSC 0390. Students will prepare laboratory reports and write essays based on exercises and assignments for the companion course, BIOSC 0390. The reports and essays will be returned with instructor comments for student revision and resubmission.

 


0715 UHC Foundations of Biology 1

 

This course will cover biological phenomena at the organismal level, including nutrient procurement and processing, energy transformations, internal transport, regulation of internal composition, hormonal and neural control mechanisms, and development. In most cases, emphasis will be placed on understanding underlying mechanisms at the cellular and molecular levels. In addition, as an especially important part of the course, at every opportunity emphasis will be placed on examining how we know what we know (that is, the nature of the experimental results that lead to a given conclusion, including possible alternative explanations and pitfalls of interpretation), rather than on rote learning. Where uncertainty and controversy exist, they will be discussed openly, both as examples of the way science progresses and as potentially interesting areas for new research

Student level: AP score of 4 or greater OR IB score of 5 or greater is required to enroll

 


0716 UHC Foundations of Biology 2

 

This course will cover biological phenomena at the level of the organism and above, including genetics (classical and molecular), evolution, and ecology. Emphasis will be placed on understanding underlying mechanisms, and every opportunity will be taken to examine the experimental basis on which this understanding rests. Where uncertainty and controversy exist, they will be discussed, both as examples of the way science progresses and as potentially interesting areas for new research.

Student level: C or better in BIOSC 0715 or AP score of 5 or IB score of 7 is required to enroll


0805 The Human Body (non-majors)

 

This is a course in human biology and physiology for students not majoring in biology. The goal is to provide students with an understanding of fundamental principles of life with an emphasis on the human body. The course will cover basic biochemistry and cell biology and then move to the structure and function of human organ systems. An essential part of the course is discussion of current issues, such as infectious, autoimmune and neurodegenerative diseases; asthma and allergy; nutrition and health; stem cells research and cloning; and methods of contraception and reproductive technologies.

 


0815 Genes and Diseases (non-majors)

 

This course is designed to give students not majoring in biology the essential background in genetics and evolution to understand human disease. The material covered includes the fundamental principles of genetics, the role of genes and environment in various diseases, genomics, and the role of evolution. an Essential part of the course is the discussion of current issues, such as genetic diseases, genetic screening, reproductive cloning, gene therapy, genetic basis of cancer, and emerging and reemerging diseases.

 


1000 Biochemistry

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of the principles and underlying themes of modern biochemistry. The course includes all the major topics in biochemistry in considerable depth including thermodynamics and enzymology, protein and nucleic acid structure, function, and synthesis, lipids and membranes as well as metabolic pathways. This course will require that students master a new vocabulary including chemical structures, and there is an emphasis throughout on experimental approaches, molecular mechanisms, and problem solving. Although the same topics will be covered as in the two semester biochemistry series (BIOSC 1810/1820), no one topic in BIOSC 1000 will be covered in as much detail. BIOSC 1000 does not fulfill the biochemistry requirement for Molecular Biology majors. 


1005 Introduction to Biochemistry Laboratory

This course will guide students through a common experimental approach that is used in academic and industry research labs. In the first part of the semester, students will clone genes that have been selected because they are new genes of interest to research labs within the department. In the second part of the semester, students will express their cloned genes and purify the encoded proteins. They will use computer analysis to predict possible functions of their proteins and then test their hypotheses using biochemical techniques. There is a lab fee attached to this course. 


1010 Communicating in the Biological Sciences

 

This course will familiarize students with the basic features of writing in the biological sciences, including styles for both the technical and lay audiences. In addition, the course will help students learn how to use information resources in biological research, including electronic databases. Guidelines for clear scientific writing, from choosing appropriate words to constructing readable sentences and paragraphs, will be explained and practiced. As part of the course, students will also review and edit other student writing and will learn fundamentals of document design.

 


1040 Ecological Management

 

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of ecosystem management. The goals of the course are three-fold: 1) to gain, at an introductory level, knowledge of the major approaches used in assessing ecosystem function and health, 2) to develop skills in working as a member of a team addressing real-world problems in ecosystem management, 3) to introduce the students to career pathways in ecosystem management, and to a network of practicing ecosystem managers, to aid them in career placement upon graduation. Students gain familiarity with assessment techniques including water chemistry, soil chemistry and texture, biotic inventory and biotic indicators of ecosystem stress, fundamentals of wetlands assessment, principals of park and preserve design and management, and remote sensing. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet.

 


1070 UHC Human Physiology

 

After a general introduction on cell biology, muscle physiology, and intracellular communication, this course will examine the function of the following systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, gastrointestinal and immune. The systems will be considered in the context of the function of the body as a whole, and how they respond during challenges (e.g. exercise) and pathological states. Current research related to the functioning of these systems will be emphasized throughout the course.

 


1080 Human Anatomy and Physiology

 

This course is an introduction to the study of human structure and function. We will take a systems approach to study the anatomy of the human body and its normal function and maintenance. Each system will be examined from the perspective of embryonic development, tissue structure, adult anatomy and physiology.

 


1130 Evolution

 

This course is an introduction to biological evolution. The theory, process and pattern of evolutionary change are presented. This course will encompass both microevolutionary and macroevolutionary concepts. Lecture topics will include inheritance and variation, population genetics, natural selection, speciation, adaptation, the fossil record, and phylogenetics.

 


1140 Behavioral Ecology

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. Behavior is studied from an evolutionary and ecological perspective. Current models of foraging, mating, and social behavior are evaluated through lecture, readings, field observation and experiments. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet.

 


1160 Forest Ecology

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. The study of the ecology, management, and conservation of forest ecosystems focusing on the eastern deciduous forest biome. Overnight field trips will be taken to study the major regional forest types including visits to the Allegheny National Forest in Pennsylvania and the Monongahela National Forest in West Virginia. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1170 Freshwater Ecology (Limnology)

A field-oriented study of lakes, reservoirs, and streams as dynamic systems. Empasis will be placed on the use of quantitative sampling and analytical techniques. 


1180 Ecology of Amphibians and Reptiles

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. Students will use techniques in field identification, population estimation, global positioning, and other methods of approaching the ecology of reptiles and amphibians. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1200 Vertebrate Morphology

A study of the gross anatomy, histology, development, and evolution of the vertebrate body. Topics: Vertebrate origin, phylogeny, and classification; basic histology; early embryology; evolutionary morphology; integument; skeletal system; muscular system; sense organs; nervous system; endocrine system; body cavity and mesenteries; digestive system; respiratory system; circulatory system; excretory system; reproductive system. Each system is examined in terms of its embryonic development, histology, functional anatomy, and evolutionary history. General principles of evolutionary morphology are emphasized. The purpose of the course is to provide an understanding of the history and functional anatomy of the body. It is designed as a background for studies in embryology, physiology, systematics, and human anatomy and physiology in professional schools. 


1205 Vertebrate Morphology Laboratory

 

This is a laboratory to accompany BIOSC 1200. Students will dissect a shark and a cat, study various skeletons (including human), and examine histology slides. The purposes of the course are to illustrate the structures discussed in the BIOSC 1200 lectures, and to give the student the personal experience of learning animal structure through dissection and observation. Four hours of laboratory per week. There is a lab fee associated with this course. 


1220 Ecological Field Studies - Disease Ecology

This is an exciting new course for 2014 designed to introduce you to some of the major plant and animal diseases, including diseases that can be transmitted to humans. Through a combination of lectures and fun field trips, you will build on your knowledge of ecology and applied it to the fascinating world of diseases. (Note that this course has a pre-requisite of Ecology). There is a lab fee attached to this course. Students must register for both Class Numbers associated with this course and must go to the following website and download the Welcome Packet before attending classes at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. http://www.biology.pitt.edu/facilities/pymatuning/arrival-information.  


1230 Ornithology

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. An introduction to the diversity, behavior and ecology of birds. The course emphasizes field studies, including the identification of local species, experimental methods and study of avian vocalizations. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. Four hours of laboratory per week. 


1250 Human Physiology

 

After a general introduction on cell biology, physiology of nerves and muscle, and intercellular communication, this course will survey the function of the following systems: cardiovascular, respiratory, renal, and gastrointestinal. Each system discussed will be integrated into the larger function of homeostasis and their adaptation during pathology and challenges (e.g. exercise).

 


1255 Physiology Laboratory

This laboratory course complements BIOSC 1250 Human Physiology. Students will spend the first half of the semester developing their skills by measuring homeostatic parameters of the human body (blood pressure, blood chemistry, muscle response, etc). They will then use that knowledge to design and perform experiments modeled after conditions of both eustress (exercise) and distress (disease). In addition to weekly assignments, students will be required to present the results of their research projects. There is a lab fee attached to this course.

 


1260 Aquatic Botany

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. Identification of wetland species with extensive field trips to marshes, bogs, fens, ponds, and lakes. Topics include: morphology and community structure of vascular macrophytes, algae and diatoms, species and wetland delineation. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet.

 


1270 Ecology of Fish

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. We will study population and community ecology of freshwater fishes. Topics that will be covered include identification, age and growth, life-history, trophic interactions, and biogeography. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1280 Microbial Genetic Engineering

 

A series of lectures on the principles and methodology of prokaryotic and lower eukaryotic genetics. It includes:

  • The molecular properties of the genetic material, its ability to replicate, to recombine, to mutate, and to dictate RNA and protein synthesis.
  • Organization and transfer of genetic material from cell to cell.
  • Classical genetic manipulations.
  • Methods, theory, and results of in vitro genetics by recombinant DNA techniques. 

1285 Genomics Laboratory

This course guides students through the design and evaluation of a hypothesis driven research project in the area of comparative and functional genomics. In the first half of the course the students will learn methods of sequence analysis and comparative genomics while working with genomes of recently sequenced bacteriophages. Students will then make hypotheses about which genes are essential for phage growth. In the second half they will perform a series of experiments to test these hypotheses by generating mutations. There is a lab fee attached to this course. 


1290 Microbial Genetic Engineering Laboratory

 

This experimental methods course will focus on the same eukaryotic and prokaryotic microbes as in BIOSC 1280, which should be taken simultaneously. Students will isolate mutants, map them genetically, characterize them phenotypically, and use them for specific strain constructions. There is a lab fee associated with this course.

 


1291 Microbial Genetics Laboratory Writing Practicum

 

This course is a writing practicum for the Microbial Genetics Laboratory. Students will write three short laboratory reports based on work done in the corequisite course BIOSC 1290, and revise these, based on instructor comments, to form a final integrated paper.

 


1300 Vertebrate Community Ecology

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. Consideration of the structure and function of terrestrial vertebrate communities. Topics include patterns of species diversity and the influence of competition, predation and disturbance on community structure. Field studies will be conducted in Erie National Wildlife Refuge and surrounding areas. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1310 Wetland Ecology and Management

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. Discover the wonders of wetlands! This course will help you discover them and provide an understanding of the physical, chemical, and biological processes that occur within and around wetlands and how these processes relate to the management of wetland systems for wildlife. Visit many different types of wetlands in the Pymatuning area! There is a lab fee attached to this course. Students must register for both Class Numbers associated with this course and must go to the following website and download the Welcome Packet before attending classes at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. http://www.biology.pitt.edu/facilities/pymatuning/arrival-information. 


1320 Population Biology

 

This is a course in the scientific study of the distribution and abundances of animal and plant populations. The course will begin with the dynamics of single populations, emphasizing demography, exponential growth, and intra-specific competition. Next we will cover interactions between populations, especially competition and predation. Finally we will consider the implications of population dynamics to the evolution of life history strategies, to population regulation, and to community structure. Throughout, empirical studies of natural and laboratory populations will be used to test mathematical models of population processes. 


1330 Field Botany

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. Identification of and field experiments with herbaceous and woody plants in the context of their communities. Topics of field experiments may include pollination biology, demography, and effects of herbivory on species diversity. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1340 Field Entomology

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. An introduction to the amazing taxonomic and ecological diversity of insects and their close relatives in the phylum Arthropoda. Emphasis will be placed on the collection and identification of the adult stages. Field and laboratory exercises will be supplemented with lectures and selected readings. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet.

 


1350 Plant Biology

 

This course will present an in-depth discussion of plant structure, function, and development in an ecological and evolutionary context. In addition, this course will survey the Plant Kingdom and related taxa with a focus on the evolution of these groups. 


1360 Ecology of Fungi

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. This is an exciting new course designed to introduce you to collecting, observing, and identifying mushrooms and other fungi from a variety of habitats. Students will learn the taxonomy and ecology of fungi with a focus on observational and experimental approaches to understanding the fungi of northwest Pennsylvania. You'll have a great time seeing the fungi first hand through a series of day-long and overnight field trips around the region. There is a lab fee attached to this course. Students must register for both Class Numbers associated with this course and must go to the following website and download the Welcome Packet before attending classes at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. http://www.biology.pitt.edu/facilities/pymatuning/arrival-information. 


1375 Tropical Biology

This course will provide an introduction to ecological and evolutionary studies of living organisms in the tropics. The course will focus on major themes in ecology and evolution as they play out in the tropics, the most biodiverse region of the globe.


1390 Field Techniques in Ecology & Conservation

Offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. This new course was first offered in 2012 and was extremely popular, so we’re bringing it back! The course is designed to give practical, hands-on experience in a variety of field techniques used in aquatic and terrestrial ecology and conservation. Topics include orienteering, vegetation sampling, radio telemetry, GIS & GPS, animal population sampling, aquatic insect surveying, and the design of research studies. There is a lab fee attached to this course. Students must register for both Class Numbers associated with this course and must go to the following website and download the Welcome Packet before attending classes at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. http://www.biology.pitt.edu/facilities/pymatuning/arrival-information. 


1410 Vertebrate Ecology

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. The course will focus on identification, ecological distribution, community structure, and physiological ecology of mammals, utilizing field problems, laboratories, demonstrations, and lectures. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1420 Wildlife Management

 

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. This is a basic pre-professional course for majors in natural resources, ecology, biology, and related fields. The course fulfills certification requirements of The Wildlife Society and is recommended for students planning graduate study or employment in natural resources management. Some academic background in ecology is expected. A brief review of wildlife conservation will be followed by a review of ecological principles including population ecology. Application of these principles in management of wetlands, farmlands, rangelands and forestlands for wildlife precedes more specialized aspects such as exotic, urban, nongame and endangered wildlife programs. The course is field oriented, but has a heavy writing component, thus, be prepared for the field activities, to get into literature review literature, and to write a management plan. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Additional fee information is provided in the information packet. 


1440 Animal Behavior

This course examines the diversity of animal behavior from evolutionary and ecological points of view. We will examine how animals decide what to eat, where to live, how to compete with each other, and how to avoid predators. We also will investigate how animals choose who to mate with, when they should offer parental care, the conditions that favor social living, and how to best communicate. The course material is appropriate for more advanced students that have been trained in Introductory Biology and Ecology. 


1445 Animal Communication

This course addresses the extraordinary variety of ways that animals communicate with each other. We explore how animals produce and receive signals using sound, light, chemicals, mechanical pressure, and electricity. We then approach how such signals evolve by considering questions of optimality, decision making, information theory, and economics. We discuss the contexts in which signals are used, including aggression and dominance, mate attraction and courtship, cooperation and social signaling, and foraging. We conclude by extending to humans, plants, and microbes. 


1470 Biophysical Chemistry

 

This course will deal with fundamental physical chemical principles especially applicable in the study of molecular biology. Topics will include (1) thermodynamics and chemical equilibrium; (2) kinetic theory and transport; and (3) chemical and enzyme kinetics. These subjects will be richly high-lighted with numerous examples from biological systems, and techniques for studying these systems will be described. The topics covered will be developed from a physical chemical point of view. 


1500 Cell Biology

This course will be devoted to a discussion of the current state of our understanding of cell structure and function. Eukaryotic cells will be emphasized with particular attention to animal cells. However, prokaryotic cells will be discussed for comparative purposes. Course material will emphasize the experimental basis for our understanding of cell biology and the relationship between structure and function. Most of the techniques to be considered will involve biochemical and molecular biological approaches used in the study of cell function. Thus the course will assume a familiarity with the principles of biochemistry covered in the prerequisites and will not repeat this material. Topics will include membranes, the nucleus, mitochondria and chloroplasts, the cytoskeleton, cell motility, growth and division, endocytosis and exocytosis, and selected topics on the cellular biological aspects of cancer and the immune system.

 


1510 Cell Biology Laboratory

 

This experimental methods course is designed to give upper division majors an opportunity to learn modern techniques used in cell biology research. Students will master the fundamentals of light microscopy (bright field, phase contrast, and dark field) and explore more advanced techniques such as fluorescence, confocal, video, and differential interference contrast microscopy. Students will isolate plasma membranes, mitochondria, nuclei, brush borders, and flagella and characterize these organelles by microscopy, enzyme assays and antibody labeling. Because laboratory exercises are complex, students should be prepared for some classes to extend beyond the scheduled class time. There is a lab fee associated with this course.

 


1511 Cell Biology Laboratory Writing Practicum

 

This course is the writing practicum for Cell Biology Laboratory, BIOSC 1510. Students will prepare laboratory reports based on exercises and assignments for the companion course, BIOSC 1510. The reports will be returned with instructor comments for student revision and resubmission.

 


1520 Developmental Biology

 

The mechanisms of animal development will be analyzed. The first half of the course will emphasize classic embryological investigations focusing on how the embryonic body plan becomes organized, while the second half will deal primarily with the genetic and molecular regulation of development. The experimental analysis of such processes as fertilization, morphogenetic movements, tissue interactions, pattern formation, and gene expression will be discussed using examples from a variety of animal embryos, and by discussion of the current research literature.


1530 Developmental Biology Laboratory

This laboratory course is designed to provide students with practical experience in the scientific method of experimental research with regard to animal development. Initial labs will stress observational skills, but the goal of each will be to understand the careful and deliberate process of experimental design, execution, and the interpretation of results. The importance of establishing and interpreting controls in experimental procedure will also be emphasized. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


1531 Developmental Biology Laboratory Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for Developmental Biology Laboratory, BIOSC 1530. Students will prepare laboratory reports and write essays based on exercises and assignments for the corequisite course BIOSC 1530. The reports and essays will be returned with instructor comments for student revision and resubmission.


1540 Computational Biology

This is an upper-level course designed to provide students with a broad understanding of how computational approaches can be used to solve problems in biology. Current computational techniques will be covered in depth, including sequence analysis and alignment, structure prediction, molecular modeling, and digital imaging. Both the biological and computational basis of the methods will be addressed, and a substantial amount of hands-on experience will be provided. Students will prepare a project over the course of the semester utilizing the computational tools learned in class.


1550 Ecology and Evolution Seminar

In this seminar course, a single topic is developed by student presentations of research articles from the original scientific literature as chosen by the instructor. Topics might include, for example, "Cladistic Controversies," "Molecular Phylogeny," or "Wetlands Conservation."


1551 Ecology and Evolution Seminar Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for the Ecology and Evolution Seminar. Students will write one paper of at least 12 pages in length, with several revisions, based on the topic of their oral presentation in the corequisite course BIOSC 1550. Topics will be chosen by the instructor for BIOSC 1550.


1560 Cell and Developmental Biology Seminar

In this seminar course, a single topic each term is developed by student presentations of research articles from the original scientific literature, as chosen by the instructor. Possible topics might include genes encoding major developmental switch proteins, the cytoskeletal basis of morphological movements in development, or establishing and subdividing body axes in development.


1561 Cell and Developmental Biology Seminar Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for the Cell and Developmental Biology Seminar. Students will write one paper of at least 12 pages in length, with several revisions, based on the topic of their oral presentation in the co-requisite course BIOSC 1560. Topics will be chosen by the instructor for BIOSC 1560.


1570 Microbiology Seminar

In this seminar course, a single topic each term is developed by student presentations of research articles from the original scientific literature, as chosen by the instructor. Recent topics have included biofilms, quorum sensing, the microbiome, and CRISPR-Cas.


1571 Microbiology Seminar Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for the Microbiology Seminar. Students will write one paper of at least 12 pages in length, with several revisions, based on the topic of their oral presentation in the corequisite course BIOSC 1570. Topics will be chosen by the instructor for BIOSC 1570.


1580 Biochemistry Seminar

In this seminar course, a single topic each term is developed by student presentations of research articles from the original scientific literature, as chosen by the instructor. Recent topics have included biosynthesis of peptide hormones, recombinant DNA technology, processing of mRNA precursors, protein folding with emphasis on the molecular biology and biochemistry of chaperonins, and protein translocation within cells.


1581 Biochemistry Seminar Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for the Biochemistry Seminar. Students will write one paper of at least 12 pages in length, with several revisions, based on the topic of their oral presentation in the corequisite course BIOSC 1580.


1610 Conservation Biology

This course is offered at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. This field course will focus primarily on the applied aspects of conservation biology by examining the degradation and loss of species populations and ecosystems due to human activities and by considering alternatives for avoiding and/or mitigating these impacts. The perspectives of science, management, and policy will be elucidated in the context of historical, current, and future strategies designed to conserve the diversity of life. There is a lab fee associated with this course. Students must register for both Class Numbers associated with this course and must go to the following website and download the Welcome Packet before attending classes at the Pymatuning Laboratory of Ecology Field Station. http://www.biology.pitt.edu/facilities/pymatuning/arrival-information.


1640 Bioinformatics Software Design

The students will be divided into 4-6 person teams to construct a new software tool intended to solve a contemporary biological problem using large datasets. The software tool will be designed, constructed and evaluated as the semester project. The particular biological problem and source of the datasets will vary from semester to semester. Faculty in the Dept of Biological Sciences and the Dept of Chemistry will be solicited for ideas on which to focus the software project, and the Instructor will select one idea for the term. The faculty member who supplies the idea for the term project will be requested to provide a few lectures at the beginning of the semester for initial guidance, and this faculty member will take part in the evaluation of the software projects at the end of the semester. Our initial feedback is that we won’t have a problem finding projects. The projects will be completed in three stages: Initially, students will learn about the underlying biology or chemistry of the project. Each student will then write a Prospectus to describe the intended characteristics of the software to be constructed, why it should be developed, and how the software should be evaluated at the end of the semester. The Prospectus will be due by the end of the third week of classes. Students will meet weekly (3 contact hours per week) as a class to discuss progress on the design and construction of the software. The Instructor will provide feedback and guidance at these meetings. A mid term oral presentation will be made by each student team to assess progress on the goals of the project, and to describe how the project will be completed. Students will give a final oral presentation at the end of the semester to demonstrate the software and provide a critical analysis of their project. As part of the learning process, student teams will informally evaluate each new software project.


1690 Experience in Undergraduate Teaching

A program to allow qualified Juniors and Seniors to assist in the teaching of one of the Biological Sciences lecture or laboratory courses. Details of the student's responsibility must be worked out with the Biological Sciences faculty member in whose course the student will be assisting. Student must have permission of the supervising instructor to register for the course. Students should inquire at the University Honors College (3500 CL) about the Undergraduate Teaching Award Fellowship which is available for students participating in undergraduate teaching. Forms are available at the Departmental Advising Office (A258 LANGLEY). Credits earned do not count as credits towards the major.


1730 Virology

This course presents the concepts and methods of modern molecular virology. Principles of bacteriophage and animal virus replication are covered. Particular emphasis is placed on the use of viruses as model systems to approach basic problems in molecular biology. Applications of virological knowledge to medicine and biotechnology will be discussed.


1740 Virology Laboratory

This course accompanies BIOSC 1730. The exercises are designed to give each student practical experience with the methods and techniques used in the study of bacterial, insect, and animal viruses and the reactions of host cells to viral infections. Included are tissue culture techniques, methods used in the isolation, characterization and assay of viruses and purification of viral DNA. In some portions of the course students are encouraged to design and implement experiments of their own choosing. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


1741 Virology Laboratory Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for Virology Laboratory, BIOSC 1740. Students will prepare laboratory reports based on exercises and assignments for the companion course, BIOSC 1740. The reports will be returned with instructor comments for student revision and resubmission.


1760 Immunology

This course will describe the immune systems of vertebrates that enable them to recognize and respond specifically to foreign substances. The molecular and cellular basis of immunity will be emphasized. The roles of antigens, antibodies and immuno-competent cells in pathogenesis and immunity to infectious diseases will be covered. Specific topics include antigens and antigenic determinants, antigen-antibody reactions, antibody structure and formation, anatomy and physiology of immunocompetent tissues, cellular immune responses, the complement system and other immune modulators, phagocytosis, monoclonal antibody formation, immunogenetics and the histocompatibility antigens, diseases of the immune system and immunopathology, tolerance, inflammation, allergies, and hypersensitivity reactions. The applications of immunology in the design of vaccines, immunotherapeutics, immunodiagnostics, and organ transplantation will be discussed as will the uses of immunology in biological research.


1810 Macromolecular Structure and Function

This course is concerned primarily with the structure and functions of proteins and nucleic acids. These are large polymers where structure and function are determined by the sequence of monomeric units. Topics will include the physical and chemical properties of the monomer units (amino acids/nucleotides); the determination of the linear sequence of these units; analyses of the three-dimensional structures of the macromolecules; kinetics and mechanisms of enzyme catalyzed reactions, including RNA enzymes; regulation of enzyme activity; molecular recognition; and fidelity of protein synthesis. Emphasis throughout will be on experimental methods, molecular mechanisms and problem solving.


1820 Metabolic Pathways and Regulation

The major topics will be the pathways of intermediary metabolism by which cells and organisms of all kinds synthesize and degrade carbohydrates, lipids, and nitrogenous compounds. Bioenergetics (including photosynthesis), the process by which cells harness the energy of electron transfer, will be carefully elaborated. Throughout the course emphasis will be given to reaction mechanism, reaction energetics, and key pathway regulation steps. Consideration of the interaction of the flows of carbohydrate, lipid, and amino acid metabolism under various states of physiological stress will serve to integrate these pathways.


1830 Biochemistry Laboratory

This advanced course introduces several basic experimental techniques of biochemistry including spectrophotometry, ion-exchange and gel-permeation chromatography, FPLC, HPLC, radio-chemical methods, gel electrophoresis, enzyme isolation, and nucleic acid purification. Many of the discussions and laboratories will center around very modern protein purification strategies. Students will use the latest equipment to purify macromolecules. A two-hour lecture each week will focus on the techniques under study. Successful completion of laboratory projects will often require more time than the twice weekly four-hour sessions. It is advisable to leave the early evening hours uncommitted on laboratory days to accommodate longer laboratory exercises. Students should have a sincere interest in biochemical research and should possess a great deal of patience and motivation. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


1831 Biochemistry Laboratory Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for Biochemistry Laboratory, BIOSC 1830. Students will prepare laboratory reports and write essays based on exercises and assignments for the companion course, BIOSC 1830. The reports and essays will be returned with instructor comments for student revision and resubmission. The day and time for the course will be decided on the first day of the lab, BIOSC 1830. Students should have their schedules with them. The majority of students will decide the day and time.


1850 Microbiology

This course will introduce students to the basic biology, diversity in types, and survival strategies of microorganisms. We will study basic topics, including microbial growth, metabolism, nutrition and genetics, as well as the relevance of microorganisms to human disease, biotechnology and environmental science. We will also pay some attention to the diverse types of jobs available to persons interested in microbiology. This course will provide the necessary foundation for future studies in various areas of microbiology.


1855 Introduction to Microbiology Laboratory

Students in this course will culture microorganisms from natural samples such as soil, vegetables, and their own skin, and learn various methods in the process of studying the organisms they have cultured. The topics for the course include:

  • Survey types of microorganisms, including bacteria, fungi, protozoa, algae, and bacterial viruses
  • Types of methods used to culture and study these microorganisms including aseptic technique; preparation of microbiological culture media; isolation of each type from natural sources & in some cases from ourselves, and cultivation various types of microbes; use of microscopes and basic staining techniques; identification of unknown bacterial isolates; standard methods for cultivation and transfer of various bacteria
  • Some practical applications of microbiology such as microbiological analysis of wastewater, and identification of clinical isolates.

The exercises incorporate explicit treatment of (i) data analysis, (ii) commonly used computational skills needed by microbiologists, and (iii) safety practices for protecting the microbiologist, personnel on whom the laboratory depends (e.g., custodian and dishwasher), and the workspace, from microbial contamination. The curriculum includes a variety of standard methods that anyone having such a course listed on his or her transcript would be expected to know about. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


1860 Microbiology Laboratory

This laboratory course introduces basic techniques used for isolation of microorganisms in pure culture, identification of groups of microorganisms, and study of microbial physiology, genetics, and ecology. Some topics in applied microbiology that are covered include food microbiology, water and waste water analysis, and identification and antibiotic sensitivity-testing of pathogenic isolates. Viruses, archaebacteria, bacteria, algae, protozoa, and fungi that students isolate from soil, pond water, human skin, and other sources are used to illustrate these methods. Students wishing to earn "W" credit by writing lab reports should in addition register for BIOSC 1861. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


1861 Microbiology Laboratory Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for Microbiology Laboratory, BIOSC 1860. Students will prepare laboratory reports based on exercises and assignments for the companion course, BIOSC 1860. The reports will be returned with instructor comments for student revision and resubmission.


1865 Microbial Physiology

This course examines the diversity of microbial life from a physiological point of view. We will examine the fundamental processes of microbial metabolism in diverse organisms, and develop a framework for understanding how organisms use different approaches to solve specific needs. Lecture material is appropriate for students trained in Introductory Microbiology and in Biochemistry.


1901 Independent Study

A program of independent reading with individual tutorials on a topic chosen in consultation with the Biological Sciences faculty member who will supervise the student. The type of written paper required will be decided upon by supervising faculty. Student must have permission of the supervising faculty to register for the course. The independent study course number can also be used for an internship, when it is in an area that will enhance and enrich the student's academic program. Such internship experiences must have a departmental faculty co-sponsor. The appropriate forms that must be completed by the student and supervising faculty are available at the Departmental Advising Office (A258 LANGLEY). Credits earned do not count as credits towards the major.


1903 Undergraduate Research

A program of independent laboratory research, with supporting library work, on a topic chosen in consultation with the Biological Sciences faculty member who will supervise the work. Type of written paper required to be decided by the supervising faculty. Student must have permission of the supervising faculty to register for the course. The appropriate forms that must be completed by the student and supervising faculty are available at the Departmental Advising Office (A258 LANGLEY). Credits earned do not count as credits towards the major.


1904 Undergraduate Honors Research

A program of independent laboratory and library research with written paper on topic chosen in consultation with the Biological Sciences faculty member who will supervise the work. Ordinarily elected in the junior year by students with a 3.25 or better average who are admitted to the Biological Sciences Departmental Honors Program (apply as late sophomore or early junior.) Six credit hours of independent laboratory research is one of the requirements for graduation with Departmental Honors in Biological Sciences. Student must have permission of the supervising faculty to register for the course. The appropriate forms that must be completed by the student and supervising faculty are available at the Departmental Advising Office (A258 LANGLEY). Credits earned do not count as credits towards the major.


1905 Honors Research Writing Practicum

This course provides explicit instruction in the conventions of research writing in preparation for assembling a thesis based upon undergraduate honors research within the department. In addition to using the functional and structural features of a written research report essential to communicating research findings as a model for the undergraduate research thesis, the students will also learn to evaluate the effectiveness of other people’s written communication, as well as their own, by analyzing the patterns in written English that help or hinder communication. The ethics of scientific writing and the review process will also be explored.


1906 Research Communication: Communication in Life Sciences Research

This course introduces students to a variety of topics associated with the written, oral, and pictorial communication of scientific hypotheses, data, and results, using personal research experiences of students in the course. Students will read scientific literature, discuss how to present data and models, and complete diverse assignments. Techniques to model presentations for different audiences will be emphasized. It is recommended that students work in a research lab while taking the course. The course is for students enrolled in the research certificate in biological and biomedical sciences.


1907 Research Deconstruction: Under the Hood of Life Sciences Research

This course takes an in depth look into how scientific research is done by studying where research is done, who does it, how questions are developed, how approaches and techniques are chosen, and how data is analyzed and presented. Students listen to a research seminar aimed at an expert audience, and then dissect the work throughout the semester. At the end of the term, pieces from studying the research project are reassembled, a video of the seminar critiqued, and the course concludes with a Q&A session with the seminar speaker. The course is for students enrolled in the research certificate in biological and biomedical sciences.


1940 Molecular Biology

This course will examine the molecular basis of life processes, with a primary emphasis on genes (what they are, what they do, how they determine the properties of an organism). Topics covered will include replication of DNA, transcription of DNA into RNA, and translation of RNA into protein. Much of the course will be concerned with how these processes are regulated in response to changes in the environment, and how this regulation relates to the observed properties and behavior of the organism.


1950 Molecular Genetics Laboratory

This course will discuss the theories and methodologies that have recently emerged as the central theme of modern molecular genetics. In lectures we will emphasize descriptions and applications of techniques such as molecular cloning, restriction site mapping, in vitro mutagenesis, the polymerase chain reaction and DNA sequence analysis that have led to the recent explosion in knowledge about chromosome organization, gene structure, and the regulation of gene expression. Laboratory sessions are scheduled for one period each week, however, students are expected to follow their experiments during unscheduled hours. Selected projects will provide practical experience in many of the techniques discussed in the lecture portion of this class. These will include the polymerase chain reaction, agarose gel electrophoresis, cloning DNA fragments, bacterial transformation, restriction analysis, and the Sanger method of sequencing DNA. There is a lab fee associated with this course.


1951 Molecular Genetics Laboratory Writing Practicum

This course is a writing practicum for Molecular Genetics Laboratory, BIOSC 1950. There will be weekly, one-hour meetings with the instructor to discuss scientific writing styles and techniques. The five major sections of a research article will be discussed, as will proper preparation of the laboratory notebook. Students will be responsible for preparing two lab reports, which will be critically reviewed by the instructor and returned. The first of the two papers will be written in sections and used in the class for peer review. Students will also be responsible for weekly summaries of the lab exercises. All papers will be expected to be revised and resubmitted.


1999 Medical Microbiology

This is an advanced level lecture course educating students in the microbial aspects of human infectious diseases. Students will learn about the microbial basis of infection, the host response, and the nature of specific infections within the human body. The course also will present approaches for the diagnosis of infections and strategies for disease control. The topic of medical microbiology will be presented in a system-based rather than an organism-based approach.