Biology

Department Chair: Dr. Maia Larios-Sanz, lariosm@stthom.edu

This is the era of biology characterized by rapid and amazing advances! The exciting life sciences curriculum at UST emphasizes the full range of this dynamic field, from the biology of ecosystems and organisms to cells and molecules, in an evolutionary context. Students in the program will apply the scientific method to investigate biological phenomena while developing critical thinking, oral communication, writing and computational skills. Students will also develop an ethical approach to the practice of science. The major program is designed to prepare students for graduate and professional schools and for entry–level biologist, computational biology and bioinformatics positions. Students who successfully complete any biology major will exhibit a mastery of the basic subject areas and important biological concepts.

All Degrees in Biology

Prerequisites: A grade of “C” or better in BIOL 1351, 1151, 1352, and 1152 and CHEM 1341, 1141, 1342, and 1142 are prerequisites for all other biology courses. No biology course may be taken unless all prerequisites have been completed with a grade of “C” or better. Advanced placement credit or credit by examination may not be used as prerequisites for upper–division biology courses. Biology courses may only be taken a maximum of three (3) times. Foreign language (6 credit hours) study is required for the Bachelor of Arts degree and strongly recommended for the Bachelor of Science degree. Students graduating with a degree in Biology, Cell and Molecular Biology or Computational Biology must have a minimum GPA of 2.00 in biology courses. Students completing any major in biology must take the Educational Testing Service Major Field Test in Biology (MFT) in the semester in which they graduate. Students who do not take the MFT will not be allowed to graduate with a major in biology.

Degrees and Certificates

Classes

BIOL 1151: Introduction to Biology Practicum

This course will introduce students to the four major themes of our curriculum: ecosystems, organisms, cell and molecules. Practicum in scientific methodology, critical thinking, reading and writing, focusing on analysis of scientific literature through discussion, team based learning and invited researcj presentations. Laboratory 3 hours per week. Co-requisite: BIOL 1351

BIOL 1152: Basic Lab Techiques in Biology

Introduction to biology as a scientific process as revealed through inquiry-based laboratories. Introduction to quantitative and qualitative laboratory methods in cell and molecular biology. Meets 3 hours per week. Corequisite: BIOL 1352. Prerequisite CHEM 1341/1141.

BIOL 1351: Introduction to Population Biology and Evolution

Overview of biological concepts underlying the unity and diversity of life. Focus on basic Mendelian genetics, population biology, evolutionary concepts, the origins of life, plant colonization of land, animal diversity and ecological concepts.

BIOL 1352: Introduction to Cell and Molecular Biology

Continuation of overview of biological concepts underlying the unity and diversity of life. Focus on the molecular and cellular foundations of life as revealed in study of water, macromolecules, membranes, cellular metabolism, photosynthesis, cellular reproduction, and the ,olecular basis of inheritance. Corequisite: BIOL 1152

BIOL 1422: Ecosystems, Society and Health

Combines the lecture and laboratory for a four credit, compressed track course that will investigate a local or foreign ecosystem and correlate features of that ecosystem with human health. The course includes a domestic or international fieldtrip and will allow students to integrate the concepts of ecology biodiversity and epidemiology through observation, data collection and data analysis.

BIOL 2201: Nutrition

A study of the nutrients in foods and the body's response. Nutrient requirements associated with health at various life stages will be explored. Teaching methodologies will include a combination of classroom-based lectures and online modules.

BIOL 3055: Computational Methods Research

This course will introduce students into different methods, techniques, and approaches for conducting computational research applied to different disciplines such as Biology, Health Sciences, Textual Analysis, Humanities, and more.

BIOL 3061: Cell Biology Lab

Study of cellular structure/function relationships. Focus on membranes, internal compartments, cytoskeleton and cellular communication. Laboratory will include inquiry-based investigations.

BIOL 3134: Biochemistry Lab

(CHEM 3134) Preparation of dilutions, buffer preparation, titration of amino acids, colorimetric tests for proteins, carbohydrates and nucleic acids, chromatography, preparation of standard curves for unknown identification, spectrophotometry, enzyme kinetics and electrophoresis. Accompanies CHEM 3334. Laboratory: 3 hours per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 2343, 2143.

BIOL 3162: Introduction to Computational Biology

Students will receive an introduction to the role of computation and programming in the biological sciences and work with a faculty member in the Biology Department to set up an internship with a computational biology laboratory or company. Prerequisites: BIOL 1315/1151, BIOL 1352/1152

BIOL 3163: Introduction to Computational Biology Internship

Students will receive an introduction to the role of computation and programming in the biological sciences and work with a faculty member in the Biology Department to set up an internship with a computational biology laboratory or company. Prerequisites: BIOL 1315/1151, BIOL 1352/1152

BIOL 3194: Introduction to Biological Research

This course is the introductory research course for all students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Biology or Cell and Molecular Biology. It will offer an introduction to conducting research in the biological field. Emphasis will be placed on the foundations of scientific literacy, writing and presentation. Students will meet all Biology research faculty and hear about open projects. This course will also offer safety and lab proficiency training.

BIOL 3300: Field Studies in Ecology and Environmental Science

Field course in ecology and environmental science. Survey of physical and biological processes and their interactions in different natural settings. Introduction to field techniques and methodologies, ecosystem dynamics, and issues in natural resource management and conservation in selected locations in the United States and abroad. Much of the course time will be spent outdoors.

BIOL 3321: Genetics

Organization and function of the genetic material in prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Includes basic principles and problems in molecular and biochemical genetics as well as study of patterns of inheritance.

BIOL 3331: Ecology

Principles governing interactions between organisms and their physical and biotic environments. Includes study of the biology of populations, communities and ecosystems. Prerequisite: BIOL 3321

BIOL 3339: Neuroscience

Study of the structure and function of the nervous system of vertebrates and invertebrates. Lecture: 3 hours. Prerequisites(With Grade of 'C' or Better): BIOL 3321. Offered when necessary.

BIOL 3341: Marine Biology

Description of the physical characteristics of the world ocean and of the plants and animals associated with marine habitats. Emphasis on ecological interactions and adaptations of marine organisms. Prerequisite: BIOL 3331.

BIOL 3345: Physiology

Introduction to the basic concepts of physiological regulation from cellular level to organ system level. Emphasis on mammalian systems. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321.

BIOL 3351: Molecular Biology

An examination of the structure, organization and replication of DNA and the control of gene expression through transcription and translation. Emphasis also on theory behind current techniques. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321; CHEM 2343.

BIOL 3362: Cancer Biology

This course will explore the basic biology of cancer using current knowledge in cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in cancer development, propagation, and metastasis. Students will learn about current cancer treatments, novel approaches for cancer therapeutics and explore ongoing cancer research by studying, presenting and critiquing the scientific literature, as well as through guest lectures from scientists and physicians.

BIOL 3435: Human Anatomy and Lab

A systems-based approach to understanding the major anatomical structures of the human body is essential to understanding human biological functions. This upper-division lecture and lab course will examine the major organ systems independently (muscles, cardiovascular, nervous, respiratory etc.) as well as how each system interacts with one another. The course will focus on gross anatomy (macroscopic; visible to the naked eye) via lectures, models, animal dissections and the Anatomage Table. Additionally, we will discuss relevant histological structures (microscopic anatomy) using mounted specimens Virtual Dissecto and virtual histological libraries. The course will also examine relevant applications of anatomical systems to the medical field. This comprehensive introduction to human anatomy and histology is designed for biology majors and/or those on a pre-health track.

BIOL 3440: Plant Physiological Ecology

Study of abiotic and biotic factors that influence the dynamics of plant communities. After initial study of individual leaves and whole plants, the physiological processes are scaled up to canopy and ecosystem level. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 3 hours. Laboratory methods in plant physiological ecology. Addresses ecological principles, vegetation sampling methods and physiological and biochemical techniques. Local field trips for sampling. Prerequisites: CHEM 2343, BIOL 3321, MATH 3430.

BIOL 3444: Invertebrate Zoology

A survey of the invertebrates, with emphasis on their evolution and their structural and physiological adaptations. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 3 hours. Prerequisites BIOL 1342, 1142, CHEM 1342,1142.

BIOL 3445: Developmental Zoology

Embryonic development in vertebrates and invertebrates. Emphasis on early embryonic events, molecular interactions and gene expression. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 3 hours. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321, 3351.

BIOL 3446: Comparative Histology

Comparison of the structure and ultrastructure of cells and tissues that constitute the organs and organ systems of vertebrates and invertebrates. Laboratories will feature the use of the light microscope for study of prepared slides of animal tissues. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 3 hours.

BIOL 3448: Comparative Anatomy

This course will study how the similarities in anatomy and physiology of vertebrates can be linked via phylogenetic associatins. The class will also use the evolutionary history to understand how morphology (anatomy) is intertwined with function (physiology). The class is enhanced via detailed dissections and examinations of the major organ systems of selected model vertebrates including the dogfish shark and cat. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321

BIOL 3450: Plant Physiology

Introduction to basic concepts of plant function, carbon metabolism, energy acquisition, regulation of growth and development, stress responses and nutrient uptake. Lecture: 3 hours, Laboratory: 3 hours: Study of the function and performance of plants in their environment. Focus on physiological and biochemical processes involved in plant growth, development and survival in the environment. Prerequisites: CHEM 2343, BIOL 3321, MATH 3430.

BIOL 3461: Cell Biology

Study of cellular structure/function relationships. Focus on membranes, internal compartments, cytoskeleton and cellular communication. Laboratory will include inquiry–based investigations. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 3 hours.

BIOL 4111: Bioscience Communication I

Discussion of current topics in biology. Students will be required to read, present and discuss current articles in the biological literature. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing

BIOL 4112: Bioscience Communication II

Discussion of current topics in biology. Students will be required to read, present and discuss current articles in the biological literature. Prerequisites: junior or senior standing

BIOL 4194: Guided Biological Research

This course is the second research course for all students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Biology or Cell and Molecular Biology. Students will perform biological research under the supervision of their Research Mentor. Research mentors will provide specific research goals that students are expected to meet through the semester. Students will also be expected to identify and read scientific literature relevant to their research project. At the end of the semester, students must present their project to a committee of faculty members. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321, BIOL 3194. Min. of 50 documented research hours with your Biology Faculty member.

BIOL 4195: Biology Senior Thesis

This course is the third and final research course for all students seeking a Bachelor of Science in Biology or Cell and Molecular Biology. This writing intensive course will focus on the production of an undergraduate research thesis. Students will learn effective strategies for scientific writing and apply those lessons by writing about their own research. Students will be required to perform multiple revisions prior to final submission and will conduct extensive peer-to-peer review. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321, BIOL 3194, 3195 and 100 documented research hours with your Biology Faculty member.

BIOL 4212: Neuropsychology Research Topics

This is a capstone class for students minoring in Neuroscience. Students will read and present on current primary literature and learn how to critically evaluate scientific claims. Students will study primary Neuroscience literature in order to learn and apply appropriate statistical methods, strategies for reading scientific literature, and tips for successful oral presentation of technical material. Students will be graded heavily on participation and performance on the final presentation. Prerequisite: PSYC 3434 or MATH 3450 and BIOL 3339

BIOL 4321: Nucleic Acids

Nucleic acids are a class of incredibly interesting biopolymers that make life possible. Once considered simply information molecules, we now know that nucleic acids are actually quite versatile in their activity and function. This class will delve into the different aspects of nucleic acid structure and function in detail. Pre/Co-requisite: BIOL 3321

BIOL 4332: Evolution

Introduction to modern evolutionary theory. Includes discussion of adaptation, speciation, phylogenetics and molecular evolution. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321, senior standing.

BIOL 4333: Research Methods in Biological Investigation

Introduction to methodology utilized in biological studies, including both field and laboratory techniques. Emphasis on student research, including preparation of research proposal and written as well as oral presentation of results. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321; junior standing.

BIOL 4334: Research Methods in Ecology

Introduction to methodology utilized in ecological research, including both field and laboratory techniques. Emphasis on student research, including preparation of research proposal and written and oral presentation of results. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321, 3331; junior standing.

BIOL 4336: Cells, Genes and Molecules

Cells, Genes and Molecules is a course that will address the latest advances in genetics, investigate developmental mechanisms, and explore human genetic disorders by understanding the underlying connection between genes, and the molecular and biochemical basis for the pathogenesis and pathophysiology of clinical disorders. Observations and phenomena will be described as they were discovered in a variety of model organisms, including humans, mice, nematodes, fungi, and fruit flies. The format of the course will be a combination of lectures, discussion of current literature, and group problem-solving sessions. The course will also feature presentations by guest speakers from Houston's world-class Medical Center.

BIOL 4354: Pathogenic Microbiology

Study of disease-causing microbes with a focus on host-pathogen interactions, virulence factors, host response, transmission, detection, and prevention. The course will stress important human, plant and animal diseases caused by viruses, bacteria and protozoans. Emphasis will be placed on the emerging molecular techniques used to understand, identify and control epidemics. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321

BIOL 4440: Microbial Ecology

Relationships between microorganisms and their biotic and abiotic environments. Includes the study of fundamental principles of the ecology of microorganisms as well as the significance of microbial interactions with plants and animals and their effect on human health and environmental quality. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory; 3 hours. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321, 3331.

BIOL 4449: Immunology

The study of the structure and function of the immune system. Lecture: 3 hours. Laboratory: 3 hours. Prerequisites: BIOL 3321. Co-requisites: BIOL 4049

BIOL 4450: Microbial Genetics

Study of all aspects of the genetics of bacteria, including DNA replication, bacterial genome structure, gene expression and regulation, gene transfer, and bacteriophage genetics. Students will learn about these topics in light of both classics and cutting-edge molecular and bioinformatics-based approaches. The class will also survey the latest applications of microbial genetics to the fields of biotechnology, genetics engineering, agriculture and medicine. 3 lecture hours, 3 hours laboratory per week. Prerequisties: BIOL 3321/3121