This course examines the diversity of life on Earth with emphasis on form and function of organisms.

Cell and molecular biology is the study of the molecular basis of life. It is based on the foundations of four classical disciplines: biochemistry, cell biology, microbiology and genetics. We will combine the principles of these four disciplines to explore the cellular and molecular levels of biological organization. We will investigate the structure and function of archaeal, bacterial, and eukaryotic cells, and the numerous, complex events that occur during the life cycle of a cell. The laboratory will provide you with experience using modern molecular biological and cellular techniques to further explore these concepts, and give you the opportunity to design, execute, analyze and present your own questions in cell and molecular biology.

This course will introduce you to classical, molecular and evolutionary genetics. Through mini-lectures, labs, readings, activities, problem-solving and discussions, you will answer five "Big Questions” in modern genetics:

1.What is a gene?

Students will be able to model the anatomy of a gene, explain what a gene does, and demonstrate how and why it functions.

2.What is "genomics”?

Students will be able to explain what a genome is and work directly with sequenced genomes to answer biomedically relevant questions.

3.How do we find (identify) genes for particular traits?

Students will be able to discover the location of a gene on a chromosome, and perform reverse genetic techniques to identify gene function.

4.How do we figure out how genes work?

Students will be able to predict the outcome of a cross with respect to simple genetic traits, and directly manipulate the expression of the genes of living organisms in order to identify gene function.

5.How can we use genetics/genomics to improve our lives?

Students will determine when animal models are useful in answering questions regarding gene function, and describe the possible roles of genetics research and applications in modern society.