Graduate Courses

Graduate Courses (updated August 2014)

Graduate students may enroll in any of the 300-level courses offered by the Department of Biology by using the comparable 600-level course number. For example, if an undergraduate course has the number of BIO 324, the corresponding graduate course has the number BIO 624. Graduate students taking 600-level courses can expect to be required to fulfill all course requirements imposed upon undergraduates PLUS a more advanced project related to course topics. Please consult your graduate mentor, the Biology Graduate Committee, and the Wake Forest Information Network for course offerings and availability. 700-level courses are seminar courses intended for graduate students only. Different 700-level seminars are offered each semester. Check in the departmental office and with faculty for up-to-date information. Many of the courses listed below in the General Listing are taught irregularly in response to student interest; some are taught primarily as journal clubs for a particular laboratory, although guests are often welcome (check with the instructor). 700- and 800-level designations are also used to award credit for thesis and dissertation research.

Fall Semester 2014 Offerings

701. Topics: Epigenetics. (3h) Review of recently published literature in the field of epigenetics. This course meets MW 12:30-1:45 PM. Led by Ke Zhang.

702. Topics: Stats using R. (2h) Introduction to R and hands on experience.  This course meets 10:15-11:15 W and 1-3 F. Led by Katie Lotterhos and Michael Anderson.

703. Earthworm Chemical Sensing. (1h) A review of the pertinent historical and contemporary literature. Meeting time TBD. Led by Wayne Silver.

767. Foundations of Ecology. (3h) Course traces the development of ecology as a discipline, explores the roots of modern ecological thought, and reviews contemporary philosophical debates about how ecology is done and what constitutes good science. This course meets 3-4 PM Tuesdays and Thursdays. Led by David Anderson and Miles Silman.  http://users.wfu.edu/silmanmr/foundations

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General Listing

701-708. Topics in Biology. (1-4h) Seminar courses in selected topics, some involving laboratory instruction. At least one offered each semester.

711, 712. Directed Study in Biology. (1h, 1h) Reading and/or laboratory problems carried out under and by permission of a faculty member.

715. Foundations of Physiology. (1-4h) Covers classical and current topics and techniques in comparative physiology. Format varies from seminar to a full laboratory course.

716. Signal Transduction. (2h) Focuses on the mechanisms of inter- and intra-cellular communication. Topics range from receptors to signaling molecules to physiological responses. Largely based on the primary literature and requires student presentation of primary research articles.

717. Developmental Mechanisms. (2h) Seminar course examining the molecular, biochemical, and cellular mechanisms of animal and/or plant development. Relevant topics selected from the current literature are discussed in lecture and presentation formats.

718. Gene Expression. (2h) Seminar covers gene expression in eukaryotic and prokaryotic systems. Topics range from transcription to translation to other aspects of gene regulation. Emphasis is on the experimental basis for understanding the mechanisms of gene expression. Students present, in seminar format, appropriate papers from literature. All students participate in discussion and evaluation of presentations.

725. Plant Genetics. (1,2) Covers various aspects of plant genetics in a seminar format. Topics range from classical Mendelian genetics to genomics and bioinformatics, depending on the interests of the students. Students present the results, conclusions, and significance of appropriate papers from the literature. All students participate in discussion and evaluation of presentations.

726. Plant Physiology. (1, 2) Covers various aspects of plant physiology and hormones in a seminar format. Topics range from auxin transport to properties of light within the leaf. Students present the results, conclusions, and significance of appropriate papers from the literature. All students participate in discussion and evaluation of presentations. Muday, Smith

727. Plant Evolution. (1 or 2h) Covers various aspects of plant evolution in a seminar format. Topics range from problems in phylogeny reconstruction and patterns of diversity to major evolutionary innovations in various plant groups. Students present the results, conclusions, and significance of appropriate papers from the literature. All students participate in discussion and evaluation of presentations.

728. Plant Ecology. (1 or 2h) Covers various aspects of plant ecology in a seminar format. Topics vary depending on graduate student interest. Students present the results, conclusions, and significance of appropriate papers from the literature. All students participate in discussion and evaluation of presentations.

736. Bioacoustics. (4h) Analysis of the mechanisms of sound production, transmission, and reception and their relevance to animal orientation and communication.

740. Physiological Ecology. (4h) Introduction to evolutionary/ecological physiology, with emphasis on the interactions between organisms and major abiotic factors of the environment including, water balance—hydration, gaseous exchange— respiration, temperature tolerance— thermal physiology.

757. Techniques in Mathematical Biology. (3h) Offers students a framework for understanding the use of mathematics in both biological theory and empirical research. Emphasis is on practical applications of mathematical techniques, and learning by doing. A central goal is to give students tools to use in their own research. Topics covered include continuous and discrete population models, matrix models, stochastic models, life-history theory, and fitting models for
data. Mathematical skills are taught and refreshed, but knowledge of basic calculus is required.

762. Immunology. (4h) Humoral and cellular immune responses are examined to understand the basic immunobiology of vertebrates with special emphasis on cell-cell interactions and immunoregulation. Labs introduce students to basic methods in immunological research.

763. Cellular and Molecular Interactions Between Hosts and Parasites. (3h) Examines the responses of animal hosts in attempting to immunologically and non-immunologically reject/control both endo- and ecto-parasites and responses of these parasites to the host environment. Consists of lectures and student presentations and requires a comprehensive review article by students.

764. Sensory Biology. (4h) Lecture and lab course involving a study of energy in the environment and how it is absorbed and transduced in sensory systems. Anatomical, physiological, biochemical, and biophysical approaches are integrated in the study of sensory mechanisms in plants and animals. A lab project implementing the scientific method and designed to produce new knowledge is required.

775. Microscopy for the Biological Sciences. (4h) Introduction to the various types of light, confocal, and electron microscopy. Students learn technical and theoretical aspects of microscopy, methods of sample preparation, digital image acquisition and analysis, and the preparation of publication quality images. Emphasizes practical applications of microscopy, microscopy experimental design, and hands-on use of microscopes and digital imaging systems. Students are expected to design and conduct a microscopy project and present their results to the class. Additionally, students are expected to participate in class discussions regarding newly emerging microscopy techniques in various biological disciplines.

777. Biophysical Ecology. (4h) Designed to introduce students to the interactions of the organism with the physical environment. Sunlight, temperature, water availability and humidity, wind, and longwave radiation (greenhouse effect) strongly influence an organism’s growth and reproductive potential. Differences in heat and mass transfer to and from the organism, plus corresponding organism responses in structure, physiology, and behavior to changes in the local environment, are addressed. These same principles are also important to the design of energy-efficient homes (passive solar), clothing design (Gortex), outdoor survival and gardening, to name only a few of humankind’s everyday activities.

778. Advanced Ecology. (4h) Covers current research in the field of ecology with a focus at the community level. Experimental design, data analysis, and interpretation are emphasized.

779. Molecular Techniques in Evolution and Systematics. (4h) Lecture and lab course that explores molecular methods that are basic to many disciplines within biology, especially ecology, evolution, and systematics. Labs 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).

780. Advanced Systematics. (3h) Literature-based course that covers various subdisciplines within systematics including cladistic biogeography, history and theory of systematics, analytical techniques and database management of systematic data.

782. Behavioral Ecology. (3h) Lecture course analyzing behavioral solutions to challenges faced by animals in nature, emphasizing the role of natural selection in shaping behavior. Topics include mating systems, optimal foraging, sociobiology, parental care, and evolution of sexual reproduction.

783. Teaching Skills and Instructional Development. (3h) Introduction to teaching college-level science courses. Emphasis is on: defining and achieving realistic course goals; mechanics of selecting, developing and refining topics for lecture or laboratory; effective presentation strategies; and creating an active learning environment. Students develop a teaching portfolio containing course syllabi, lecture outlines, and student-ready laboratory materials. Format combines didactic lectures, individual projects, and group discussions and critiques. Course meets for two, 2-hour periods each week.

791, 792. Thesis Research. (1-9h)

793. Summer Research. A course for summer research by continuing graduate students working with their adviser.

891, 892. Dissertation Research. (1-9h)