Undergraduate Courses

Undergraduate Courses offered in the Biology Department

Please consult your academic counselor and the Wake Forest Information Network for openings and availability.

101. Biology and the Human Condition. (4h) An introductory course that focuses on the relevance to society of recent breakthroughs in biology. Basic principles of biology will be covered, but the course will emphasize recent advances in biology placed in the context of their ethical, social, political, and economic implications. This non-majors course is intended for students with little or no previous experience in biology and does not count toward the major or minor in biology. Lab—three hours.

111. Biological Principles. (4h) A study of the general principles of living systems with focus on the cellular, organismal, and populational levels of biological organization, emphasizing the role of heredity and evolution in these systems. This course is intended for students with little or no previous experience in biology and does not count toward the major or minor in biology. Lab—three hours.

113. Evolutionary and Ecological Biology. (4h) An introduction to the principles of genetics, ecology, and evolution as they apply to organisms, populations, and communities, with emphasis on evolutionary processes within an ecological context. Intended as a beginning course in biology for prospective majors and for any students with adequate high school preparation in biology. Lab—three hours. (QR)

114. Comparative Physiology. (4h) An introduction to the form and function of organisms, with emphasis on physical principles, structural organization, and critical function of plants and animals. Intended as a beginning course in biology for prospective majors and for any students with adequate high school preparation in biology. Lab—three hours.

213. Genetics and Molecular Biology. (4h) An introduction to the principles and processes of heredity, information flow, and gene function. Topics covered include Mendelian genetics, molecular genetics, and the origin of genetic variation. Lab—three hours.

214. Cellular Biology. (4h) An introduction to the principles and processes of cellular biology and their impact on organismal function. Topics will include molecular organization of cellular structures, regulations of cellular functions, bioenergetics, and metabolism. The course will also introduce cancer, immunology, and developmental biology. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and Chemistry 109 or 111, or POI.

216. Biodiversity. (4h) An introductory course that traces the history of life on earth and looks at its diversification in an evolutionary and ecological context. Lectures cover the mechanisms of biological diversification and surveys life on earth. Labs introduce students to the broad diversity of life through exercises with living organisms. Lab—three hours.

237. Plants and People. (3h) A course that explores various associations between plants and people, their interrelationships, medical as well as ethical, and the impact of these interrelationships on various contemporary societies.

301-306. Topics in Biology. (1-4h) Seminar and/or lecture courses in selected topics, some involving laboratory instruction. May be repeated if the course title differs.

307. Biophysics. (3h) An introduction to the structure, dynamic behavior, and function of DNA and proteins, and a survey of membrane biophysics. The physical principles of structure determination by X-ray, NMR, and optical methods will be emphasized. P—BIO 114 or 214, Physics 113, 114, or POI.

311. Genetics. (3h) A lecture course on the use of genetic analytical methods to establish the principles of inheritance and the mechanisms of gene function. Covered topics include mechanisms of genetic change, the genetics of development, and population genetics. Students may not receive credit for both Biology 311 and Biology 312. P—BIO 114, 113, and 214.

312. Genetics. (4h) A lecture and lab course on the use of genetic analytical methods to establish the principles of inheritance and the mechanisms of gene function. Covered topics include mechanisms of genetic change, the genetics of development, and population genetics. The lab will include projects involving classical and current techniques of genetic investigation. Students may not receive credit for both Biology 311 and Biology 312. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114, 113, and 214.

314. Evolution. (3h) Analysis of the theories, evidences, and mechanisms of evolution. P—BIO 113.

315. Population Genetics. (3h) A study of the amount of distribution of genetic variation in populations of organisms, and of how processes such as mutation, recombination, and selection affect genetic variation. The lecture will present both an introduction to theoretical studies, and discussion of molecular and phenotypic variation in natural populations. P—BIO 113. (QR)

320. Comparative Anatomy. (4h) A study of the vertebrate body from an evolutionary, functional, and developmental perspective. Laboratories emphasize structure and function, primarily through the dissection of representative vertebrates. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

321. Parasitology. (4h) A survey of protozoan, helminth, and arthropod parasites from the standpoint of morphology, taxonomy, life histories, and host/parasite relationships. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

322. Biomechanics. (4h) An analysis of the relationship between organismal form and function using principles from physics and engineering. Solid and fluid mechanics are employed to study design in living systems. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114.

323. Animal Behavior. (4h) A survey of laboratory and field research on animal behavior. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

324. Hormones and Behavior. (3h) Introduction to the hormonal regulation of behavior in a broad range of animals, including humans and invertebrates. Topics include reproductive behavior, parental behavior, social behavior, sex differences, aggressive behavior, stress, mood, and the regulation of molting in insects. P—BIO 114.

326. Microbiology. (4h) The structure, function, and taxonomy of microorganisms with emphasis on bacteria. Covered special topics include microbial ecology, industrial microbiology, and medical microbiology. The lab emphasizes microbial diversity through characterizations of isolates from nature. P—BIO 213 and 214; Chemistry 122.

331. Invertebrates. (4h) Systematic study of invertebrates, with emphasis on functional morphology, behavior, ecology, and phylogeny. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

333. Vertebrates. (4h) Systematic study of vertebrates, with emphasis on evolution, physiology, behavior, and ecology. Laboratory devoted to systematic, field, and experimental studies. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

335. Insect Biology. (4h) A study of the diversity, structure, development, physiology, behavior, and ecology of insects. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

335S. Insect Biology. (4h) A five-week course taught during the summer. A study of the diversity, structure, development, physiology, behavior, and ecology of one of the most diverse taxa on earth. Course location and field trip destinations to be announced each summer. P—POI.

338. Plant Systematics. (4h) A study of the diversity and evolution of flowering plants. Lectures emphasize the comparative study of selected plant families, their relationships and the use of new information and techniques to enhance our understanding of plant evolution. Labs emphasize more practical aspects of plant systematics such as the use of identification keys, recognition of common local plants, molecular techniques, and basic phylogenetic analysis.

339. Principles of Biosystematics. (4h) An exploration of the current theoretical and practical approaches to the study of macroevolution in plants and animals. Topics include theory and methods of constructing evolutionary trees, sources of data, and cladistic biogeography. Lab—three hours.

340. Ecology. (4h) Interrelationships among living systems and their environments; structure and dynamics of major ecosystem types; contemporary problems in ecology. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113. (QR)

341. Marine Biology. (4h) An introduction to the physical, chemical, and biological parameters affecting the distribution of marine organisms. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

342. Aquatic Ecology. (4h) A course designed to cover the general principles and concepts of limnology and aquatic biology as they apply to lentic and lotic habitats. A major portion of the field study is centered at the Charles M. Allen Biological Station. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 113.

343. Tropical Ecology. (3h) An exploration of the ecology, biodiversity, history, and future of tropical ecosystems. Lectures emphasize ecological principles and rely heavily on the primary literature. An upper-level ecology course is recommended. P—BIO 114 and 113.

344S. Tropical Marine Ecology. (4h) An intensive field-oriented course focusing on tropical marine ecosystems and their biological communities. Emphasis will be placed on biodiversity, the ecology of dominant taxa, the interactions between physical and biological processes, and the structure and function of representative communities. Includes 2.5 weeks at the Hofstra University Marine Laboratory, Jamaica. P—Minimum of one year of college biology including BIO 113 and POI. Offered in the summer only.

345. Neurobiology. (3h) Introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system including the neural basis of behavior. Anatomical, physiological, and neurochemical approaches will be integrated in the study of the peripheral and central nervous systems. P—BIO 114 and 214.

346. Neurobiology. (4h) Introduction to the structure and function of the nervous system including the neural basis of behavior. Anatomical, physiological, and neurochemical approaches will be integrated in the study of the peripheral and central nervous systems. The laboratory will emphasize electrophysiological techniques with experiments from the cellular to the behavioral level. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 214.

347. Physiological Plant Ecology. (3h) A course designed to provide a fundamental understanding of how plants have adapted to the stresses of their habitats, particularly in harsh or extreme environments such as deserts, the alpine, the arctic tundra, and tropical rain forests. P—BIO 114 and 113.

348. Physiological Plant Ecology. (4h) A course designed to provide a fundamental understanding of how plants have adapted to the stresses of their habitats, particularly in harsh or extreme environments such as deserts, the alpine, the arctic tundra, and tropical rainforests. The laboratory will introduce students to a broad array of field instrumentation. P—BIO 114 and 113.

349S. Tropical Biodiversity. (4h) An intensive field course in tropical biodiversity. Students will travel to major tropical biomes, including deserts, glaciated peaks and rain forests. Lectures emphasize the basic ecological principles important in each ecosystem; laboratories consist of student-designed field projects. Course location varies yearly. P—BIO 114 and 113 and POI. Offered in the summer only.

350. Conservation Biology. (3h) Lectures, readings, and discussions examining biological resources, their limitations and methods for sustainability. Genetic, aquatic, terrestrial, and ecosystem resources will be examined. P—BIO 113.

351. Vertebrate Physiology. (4h) A lecture and laboratory course examining regulatory principles, integration in the nervous system and the physiology of the cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal systems of vertebrates. P—BIO 114 and 214.

352. Developmental Neuroscience. (4h) This course focuses on the development of neural structures and the plasticity of the mature nervous system. Special attention is given to ex-perimental model systems, particularly Drosophila melanogaster. The laboratory will feature molecular, immunocytochemical, and cell culture techniques for the study of neurons. P—BIO 213 and 214.

354. Vertebrate Endocrinology. (3h) A lecture course which considers the evolution of the endocrine glands and hormones and the physiology of the main hormonal pathways of vertebrates. P—BIO 114 and 214.

355. Avian Biology. (4h) A lecture and laboratory course emphasizing ecological and evolutionary influences on the physiology, behavior, and population biology of birds. Includes taxonomy of the world’s major bird groups. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

359. Genomics. (3h) An introduction to the acquisition, analysis, and utility of DNA sequence information. Topics covered will include structural, comparative, and functional genomics, genetic mapping, bioinformatics, and proteomics. P—BIO 213.

360. Development. (4h) A description of the major events and processes of animal development, with an analysis of the causal factors underlying them. Special attention is given to the embryonic development of vertebrates, but consideration is also given to other types of development and other organisms. Topics include fertilization, early development, growth and cell division, cell differentiation, the role of genes in development, cell interaction, morphogenesis, regeneration, birth defects, and cancer. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 214.

361. Microbial Pathogenesis. (3h) This course explores the molecular mechanisms by which microorganisms attack hosts, how hosts defend against pathogens, and how these interactions cause disease. P—BIO 114, 214, and POI.

362. Immunology. (3h) A study of the components and protective mechanisms of the immune system. P—BIO 114 and 214.

363. Sensory Biology. (3h) A lecture course with emphasis on sensory physiology and other aspects of sensory systems, e.g. molecular biology and anatomy. Credit not allowed for both Biology 363 and 364. P—BIO 114 and 214.

364. Sensory Biology. (4h) A lecture and laboratory course with emphasis on sensory physiology and other aspects of sensory systems, e.g. molecular biology and anatomy. Credit not allowed for both Biology 363 and 364. P—BIO 114 and 214.

365. Biology of the Cell. (4h) A lecture and laboratory course on classic experiments and recent advances in cell biology. Lectures emphasize analysis and interpretation of experimental data in the primary literature, focusing on topics such as the targeting of macromolecules, cell-cell communication, and the control of cell division. The text for this course consists of papers that have led to the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine and more current work using biological tools. The laboratory introduces basic techniques in cell biology and leads to an independent project. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 214.

367. Virology. (3h) A course designed to introduce students to viruses, viral/host interactions, pathogenicity, methods of control and their use in molecular biology, including gene therapy. P—BIO 114 and 214.

368. The Cell Biological Basis of Disease. (3h) This course examines some of the defects in basic cellular mechanisms that are responsible for many diseases. P—BIO 114 and 214.

369. The Cell Biological Basis of Disease. (4h) This course examines some of the defects in basic cellular mechanisms that are responsible for many diseases. The laboratory will use advanced microscopic and histological techniques to investigate basic properties of cells. P—BIO 114 and 214.

370. Biochemistry: Macromolecules and Metabolism. (3h) A lecture course introducing the principles of biochemistry, with an emphasis on the experimental approaches that elucidated these principles. Major topics will include structure, function, and biosynthesis of biological molecules, analysis of enzyme function and activity, bioenergetics, and regulation of metabolic pathways. P—BIO 214 and either Chemistry 223 or 230, or POI.

371. Biochemistry: Macromolecules and Metabolism. (4h) A lecture and laboratory course introducing the principles of biochemistry, with an emphasis on the experimental approaches that elucidated these principles. Major topics will include structure, function, and biosynthesis of biological molecules, analysis of enzyme function and activity, bioenergetics, and regulation of metabolic pathways. The laboratory emphasizes approaches for isolation and analysis of proteins and enzymes. P—BIO 214 and either Chemistry 223 or 230, or POI.

372. Molecular Biology. (4h) An analysis of the molecular mechanisms by which stored genetic information directs cellular development. Emphasis is placed on storage and transmission of genetic information, regulation of gene expression, and the role of these processes in development. The laboratory focuses on modern techniques of recombinant DNA analysis. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 214.

376. The Biology of Fishes. (4h) A comparative study of structure/function, classification, and phylogeny of fish. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114 and 113.

377. Community Ecology. (4h) An advanced ecology course covering mechanisms that determine the dynamics and distribution of plant and animal assemblages: life-history, competition, predation, geology, climate, soils, and history. Lectures focus on ecological principles and theory. Lab includes local field trips and discussion of the primary literature. Several weekend field trips. Lab—three hours. P—BIO 114, 113, and 214. (QR)

379. Molecular Techniques in Evolution and Systematics. (4h) A lecture and laboratory course that explores molecular methods that are basic to many disciplines within biology, especially ecology, evolution, and systematics. Laboratories focus on the acquisition of molecular techniques, including allozyme electrophoresis, mitochondrial plastid, and nuclear DNA restriction fragment length polymorphism analyses, gene amplification, PCR (polymerase chain reaction), direct and/or cycle sequencing, and RAPDs (randomly amplified polymorphic DNAs). Lab—three hours. P—BIO 113 and 214.

380. Biostatistics. (3h) An introduction to statistical methods used by biologists, including descriptive statistics, hypothesis-testing, analysis of variance, and regression and correlation. A student who receives credit for this course may not also receive credit for Anthropology 380, Business 201, Health and Exercise Science 262, or Sociology 371. (QR)

381. Biostatistics Laboratory. (1h) Application of computer-based statistical software. This course may not be used to satisfy one of the three 300-level four-hour courses required for the major if paired with Biology 380. (QR if paired with 380)

385. Oceanography. (3h) An introduction to geological, chemical, physical, and biological oceanography taught at the Sea Education Association program at Woods Hole, Mass. P—Admission to the Sea Education Association program and approval of departmental chair and/or his or her designate.

386. Practical Oceanography. (4h) A two-part lecture/laboratory course offered at sea in which students observe and apply in the field the concepts and sampling techniques introduced in the shore component. This course is a part of the Sea Education Association program taught at Woods Hole, Mass. P—Admission to the Sea Education Association program and approval of departmental chair and/or his or her designate.

391, 392. Research in Biology. (2h,2h) Independent library and laboratory investigation carried out under the supervision of a member of the staff. P—POI. Pass/Fail or for grade at discretion of the instructor.*

393, 394. Research in Biology. (2h,2h) Courses designed for students who wish to continue research projects beyond Biology 391 and 392. Not to be counted toward major.* P—POI. Pass/Fail option.

396. Biomedical Ethics. (3h) Lectures and seminars examining contemporary issues in biomedical ethics including the proper role of biomedical research and current controversies in health care and medical practice. P—BIO 114 and 214.

397S. Marine Models in Biological Research. (5h) An eight-week course that is taught at the Marine Biology Laboratory (MBL) in Woods Hole, Mass. Students attend lectures and seminars in areas of cell and developmental biology and marine ecology. Each student is guided in a research project selected from the area of expertise of participating faculty and which takes advantage of the special facilities of the MBL, such as confocal microscopy and intracellular Ca++ imaging.