Assistant Professor of Molecular Biology
Biochemistry is the study of the molecules and chemical reactions of life. Considering the vast diversity of living organisms, one might also expect them to be composed of significantly different biomolecules, and to use unique mechanisms for obtaining energy and communicating different biological information. To the contrary, the principles and language of biochemistry are common to all life: in general, the same chemical compounds and the same metabolic processes found in bacteria exist in organisms as distantly related as whales. To fully appreciate life, people should consider their biochemistry. Classroom topics will include the structure and function of proteins and carbohydrates, metabolism and bioenergetics, but will not include nucleic acids. Prerequisite: none, but Organic Chemistry is desirable.
This course is intended for Div III and advanced Div II students who are committed to proposing, developing, or carrying-through research projects involving techniques commonly used in a molecular biology lab. Students will integrate advanced approaches, protocols, and strategies for molecular biology. Depending on student projects, methods may include advanced PCR (inverse, nested, multiplexed, primer-based mutatagenesis), qPCR, genomic and cDNA library construction, RNA and protein expression, hybridization methods, cloning and transformation strategies, imaging, cell-tissue culture, bioinformatics, and assessment of genomic variation. Readings will draw from primary literature, and students will present papers and project reports in written and oral formats. Students may explore projects in development of, or in conjunction with, Div III work or independent studies. Selected students will develop projects in preparation for TAing a spring lab course in basic molecular biology methods. Prerequisites: NS 235, Methods in Molecular Biology, or equivalent lab experience is required.
From the basic structures of biological compounds, to the movement of compounds within a cell, to the combined activities of tissues that contribute to the function of an organ, to the structures of complete organisms, the phenomena of life are both intellectually and aesthetically stimulating. This course will explore the complexities of life and use them as inspiration for creating art. We will learn the science in the classroom and laboratory and then move to the studio where students will utilize their comprehension of biological phenomena to create design and art projects. The characteristics of design that are apparent when observing biological forms (such as bundling, branching, repetition, variation, etc.) will be used as a starting vocabulary to develop works of art. Our goal is to use the relationship between art and science to foster a greater sensitivity to the aesthetics of natural forms, and to leave the classroom looking at our integrated and fragile relationship to the natural environment with new eyes. The course will culminate in an exhibition at the end of the semester.
This introductory course will explore the process of doing scientific research in a molecular biology lab. Students will learn numerous techniques in the lab, including DNA isolation, PCR, gel electrophoresis, restriction enzyme mapping, cloning, and basic microscopy. Additionally, we will investigate the historical and conceptual aspects of these approaches. Students will engage in semester-long research projects where they design and carryout experiments, collect and analyze data, and report their conclusions in written and oral formats. This course is intended for students with little or no experience in a molecular biology lab, and it will prepare students for more advanced molecular lab courses and training.
Genetics is traditionally the study of heredity - the passing of traits from parent to offspring. We have come to know that much of heredity is based on the information encoded in our genes. However, increasing evidence supports the notion that external factors can significantly influence this passing of traits. We will investigate many "traditional" areas of genetics, ranging from basic topics such as DNA structure and Mendelian inheritance to more advanced topics such as regulation of gene expression. As we progress through the semester, we will progress to extensive utilization of primary literature for the course content. In all, we will learn how the various aspects of heredity relate to the current understanding of human disease. Students will be evaluated on presentations, weekly problem sets, and a semester-long research paper.