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Lab Course Overview

Students preparing for nursing and physical therapy programs are required take the two-semester series of anatomy and physiology courses. BIOL 1134: Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab I (offered every fall semester) teaches students about anatomical terms, the use of light microscopy, cell and plasma membrane structure and function, histology, and the structure and function of skin, bones, muscles, central and peripheral nervous system and sensory organs. BIOL 1144: Human Anatomy and Physiology Lab II (offered every spring semester), focuses on the structure and function of cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, renal and reproductive systems. Students get an opportunity to study models of human body systems and how the various organs perform under normal and clinical situations. Histological preparations and digital animations are used to enhance the learning process.

Students majoring in biology initially take the two-semester introductory biology series covering laboratory principals and techniques over a broad range of disciplines. Students in BIOL 1161: Introduction to Biological Science I Laboratory first learn the steps and concepts of the scientific method, and then cover a survey of topics in biochemistry, cellular biology and physiology. Upon completion of the course, students will be equipped with a basic understanding of the laboratory skills used for biochemical analysis, spectrophotometric assay, and microscopic observation.  The exercises of BIOL 1162: Introduction to Biological Science II Laboratory provide students with practical knowledge of basic principles of inheritance, molecular biology, ecology and evolutionary biology. The development of a formal laboratory report, written in the format of a scientific paper, is a requirement for this course. The practical skills acquired in this course include use of the microscope, anatomical dissection, and student’s first experience writing in the scientific format.

After completing the introductory biology series, biology majors take BIOL 3311: Genetics Laboratory, a three credit-hour, junior level course that includes a laboratory and one-hour per week lecture component. Course participants study experimental aspects of basic Mendelian, molecular, and microbial genetics. The laboratory experience includes a semester-long independent research project where the students map a Drosophila melanogaster gene. This project is designed to not only demonstrate concepts of Mendelian genetics but also for the students to gain an in-depth understanding of the concepts of scientific method including hypothesis testing and generation of a scientific theory. As part of the requirements of the course, students report the findings of their research project in a scientific style manuscript fulfilling the core curriculum writing in the disciplines (WID) requirement.

To meet their advanced laboratory requirements biology majors have the option of choosing two of three courses offered in the department. One choice is BCHS 3201: Biochemistry Laboratory I, a junior level course based in experimental studies of basic principles and methods of biochemistry. Students in this laboratory are introduced to various biochemical techniques, including spectrophotometry, chromatography (thin layer, ion exchange, and gel filtration), protein gel electrophoresis, enzyme analysis, and DNA isolation and characterization.  BCHS 3201 is also a required laboratory in the undergraduate Biochemistry Degree. Another choice is BIOL 4272: Cellular and Developmental Biology Laboratory, a senior level course (offered every fall semester) teaching fundamental concepts and laboratory techniques in modern cell and developmental biology.  Students will gain experience in culturing bacteria, viruses, and mammalian cell lines.  Gel electrophoresis, the polymerase chain reaction, light and fluorescence microscopy and other techniques commonly employed in the typical cell biology research laboratory will be utilized to explore the relationship between cell structure and function and mechanisms of cell regulation and development.  The third choice is BIOL 4206: Ecology and Evolution Laboratory; a senior level course (offered every spring semester) using field and laboratory exercises to illustrate concepts in evolution, ecology, and animal behavior.

BIOL 3124: Human Physiology Laboratory is a one credit-hour junior level course that serves as an advanced biology elective in the biology degree. Students learn to use equipment commonplace in physiology research and medical testing including the electrocardiograph, sphygmomanometer, and atlas monitor for recording physiological responses. The laboratory offers an excellent opportunity to better understand the physiological mechanisms involved in various bodily functions and human health, and is recommended for students preparing for medical, dental, and optometry school, as well as other pre-professional health programs.

BIOL 3132: Elementary Microbiology Laboratory: In this course the fundamental principles of microbiology including the survey of pathogenic microorganisms and the diseases they cause. It is an introduction to the microbial world with an emphasis on the diversity of microbes and with a special focus on bacteria and viruses, their structural anatomy, how they are cultured and how their growth can be controlled. After completing this course, the student will have a better understanding of how microorganisms are essential to life and will be better able to read and interpret information regarding microbiology.

After completing the first level biochemistry laboratory (BCHS 3201), biochemistry majors take the advanced laboratory BCHS 4311: Biochemistry Laboratory II, which engages students in experimental study of contemporary techniques in biochemistry and molecular biology.  The techniques introduced include the expression and purification of recombinant protein, cloning a gene using the polymerase chain reaction method, transformation of bacterial cells with recombinant plasmids, Southern blotting, construction of a genomic library, and ELISA (enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay). As part of the requirements of the course, students report the findings of their research project in a scientific style manuscript fulfilling the core curriculum writing in the disciplines (WID) requirement.