The Department of Biology endeavors to acquaint students with current biological principles, to educate them in the scientific approach to problems, to provide experience in laboratory and field methods of investigation, and to develop an appreciation for intellectual achievements in science. In addition, the courses are designed to prepare students concentrating in biology for research jobs, graduate study, teaching, or a career in a variety of medical areas. A semester of foreign study is feasible and recommended for four-year biology majors.
Saint Mary’s has a long history of providing quality international programs as an essential part of our educational mission—forming women leaders who will make a difference in the world. As this world becomes increasingly interdependent, the College offers an expanding range of semester, year, semester break, and summer study and service programs in a wide variety of countries, and encourages students to take advantage of them. Learn more about the various Study Abroad opportunities.
The Department of Biology, in conjunction with the Education Department, offers courses leading to state licensing for teaching sciences in secondary schools. This preparation includes successful completion of the degree in biology.
By fulfilling the requirements for a Bachelor of Science degree in biology, the student also has sufficient course work in mathematics, chemistry, and liberal arts for admission to graduate school.
One of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, Ecuador offers a unique opportunity to experience four distinct ecological settings. Witness 500-pound tortoises on the Galapagos Islands, hummingbirds in the cloud forest, alpacas of the Andes highlands, and Capuchin monkeys in the Amazon. Students will discover a fascinating world of unusual plants and animals. Open to students in all majors, the course (BIO 270 Environments of Ecuador) highlights the natural beauty of Ecuador in a 15-day travel experience during the summer in even years. Particular emphasis is placed on local conservation efforts, the intersections between biology and culture, and the rich diversity of life.
278 Science Hall
J. Eleff, T. Fogle, R. Khadka, L. Kloepper, C. Majetic, N. Nekvasil, D. Paetkau, C. Palmer, A., J. Ralston, J. Rowsell, S. Skube, C. Versagli, V. Young
This course, designed for the non-science major, details the way women’s physiology is unique. It includes the obvious ways women and men differ (e.g. the reproductive cycle and pregnancy) as well as less obvious ways a woman’s physiology is distinctive (e.g. heart disease and responses to stress). The lens through which all assignments are viewed will be the gender of experimental subjects used in the basic research upon which course information is based. Offered fall semester; 3 hours of lecture per week; no prerequisites.
This course is an introduction to marine biology. Topics include marine ecosystems, the diversity of marine organisms, interactions between marine organisms and their environment, and humans’ involvement with the marine environment. In this course students will investigate fundamental marine biological principles, learn to apply the scientific method to investigate marine biological questions, and critically analyze marine biological issues facing humans in today’s world. Students may enroll in the 3 -credit online summer course (without lab) or in the 4- credit fall semester course (with lab).
One lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 109.
Believe it or not, biology is all around us. From the food we eat, to the air we breathe, to the medicine we take when we are sick, it is all impacted by biology! A multitude of researchers are responsible for unveiling many of the biological mechanisms that have given us a clearer view of “how the disease works,” but often times we take this for granted and there is so much left to learn! In Bio 110, we will learn about basic principles in cell biology, biotechnology, molecular biology, and physiology as we take an in depth look at cancers that impact women worldwide. Throughout this course, we will identify the contributions of many individuals who are responsible for major advances in our understanding of these biological principles of cancer as well as uncover questions that remain unanswered. Furthermore, we will explore and think about these processes in the context of life choices and/or current issues that face each student and our communities. Three hours lecture and one 2-hour lab each week. Offered fall semester.
One two hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 110.
This course is designed for nonscience majors and will introduce students to the scientific method, major concepts in evolutionary biology, and will explore the many ways evolution shapes our daily lives. Our foods, relationships, personalities, beliefs, behaviors, and medical treatments are all influenced by natural selection. Evolutionary thinking can help students understand who we are as humans, how we interact in society, and what our place is in the natural world. Offered summers; online course; no prerequisites.
This course is an overview of the importance of human genetics in the modern world based on the study of heritable patterns, biological causes, and social impact of genetic information. Particular emphasis placed on biomedicine, genetic diseases, modern technology, the role of genetic counseling, and the intersections between knowledge and application. Three hours lecture each week
This course is the first of a two- part sequence for the intended nursing major that will cover the chemical basis of cells, cell microscopy, and tissue types as well as the integumentary system, skeletal system, muscular system, and nervous system (including special senses). Course content will also include discussions about health/disease issues of concern as they pertain to the current course material. Laboratory content will include use of the scientific method as well as acquisition and application of knowledge pertaining to physiological processes as discussed in lecture. This class meets the NS LO1 Sophia Program Liberal Learning designations. Offered fall semester for first year intended nursing majors; 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab per week; no prerequisites
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 141.
This course is the second of a two-part sequence for the intended nursing major that will cover the cardiovascular system, blood, lymphatics and immunity, respiratory system, digestive system, urinary system, endocrine system, and the reproductive system with some information about human development and heredity. Course content will also include discussions about health/disease issues of concern as they pertain to the current course material. Laboratory content will include use of the scientific method as well as acquisition and application of knowledge pertaining to physiological processes as discussed in lecture. This class meets the NS LO1 Sophia Program Liberal Learning designations. Offered spring semester for first-year intended nursing majors; 3 hours of lecture and 3 hours of lab per week. Prerequisite: C or better in BIO 141 recommended
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 142.
A survey of foundational concepts in biology, with a focus on molecular biology. Part of the introductory Foundations of Biology courses for biology majors, but available to non majors as well. This course will cover an introduction to biochemistry, the organic molecules important for life, and classical Mendelian and modern genetics. A half semester course that must be taken with a lab. Two Foundation courses must be completed to complete Sophia learning outcomes.
Lab. Corequisite: BIO 155.
A survey of foundational concepts in biology, with a focus on ecology and evolution. Part of the introductory Biology Foundations courses for biology majors, but available to non majors as well. This course will cover how organisms interact with one another and their environment, the dynamic functioning of ecosystem, the origin and diversification of life on Earth, and the evolutionary forces that shape patterns of biodiversity within populations and across lineages. A half semester course that must be taken with a lab. Two foundation courses must be completed to complete Sophia learning outcomes.
Lab Corequisite: BIO 156.
A survey of foundational concepts in biology, with a focus on cellular biology. Part of the introductory Biology Foundations courses for biology majors, but available to non majors as well. This course will cover basic structure of eukaryotic cells and the functioning of their organelles, the cell cycle and mitosis, and how cells produce and metabolize energy. A half semester course that must be taken with a lab. Two foundation courses must be completed to complete Sophia learning outcomes.
Lab. Corequisite: BIO 157.
This course provides a survey of foundational concepts in biology, with a focus on organismal biology. This course is part of the Introductory Biology Foundations courses for biology majors, but also available to non majors. This course will cover the diversity of life on Earth with a focus on the relationship between form and function. Specifically, the course will explore the functions all organisms must accomplish, such as movement, feeding, and reproduction, and the compare the different ways organisms accomplish these functions. This course also includes a laboratory component, in which students will conduct both guided and independent research experiments investigating form and function across taxa. This is a half semester course that must be taken with a lab. Two foundation courses must be completed to complete Sophia learning outcomes.
Lab Corequisite: BIO 158.
This course introduces students to the fundamentals of science writing and communication to both a technical and non technical audience through written, oral and visual media. Students will develop technical writing skills, public communication confidence, and communication of science with the public skills. Through AEL experiences, students will share science with the community. Prerequisite: One semester of any science course or permission of instructor.
A variable format (e.g. lecture, lab or seminar) course permitting discussion and analysis of topics not normally covered in detail in regularly scheduled courses. The course content and format will be determined by student and faculty interests. May be repeated with different topic.
This course introduces students to emerging infectious diseases and the ways in which they impact individuals, their societies and the world. Designed specifically for non-biology and non-nursing majors, this course aims to stimulate student interest in investigating the biological, environmental, cultural and other factors that contribute to the emergence and spread of diseases. This course also discusses bioterrorism and its effects, and the collective and individual approaches to control and prevent disease emergence. This course is offered in the fall on even years; and covers three hours of lecture per week. Pre-requisites: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158 and Junior or Senior.
A lecture, laboratory, and field-based introduction to marine systems. Topics include physical and biological properties of marine systems with emphasis on ecological interactions and human impact on the marine environment. (Three hours lecture, one two-hour laboratory; includes a one week field trip to the Caribbean and additional fee for travel and expenses.) Offered alternate years with BIO 320, spring semester. Pre-requisites: BIO BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158
One two hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 209.
Introductory course applying a systemic approach to the study of human form and function. Laboratory will focus on the study of human osteology, human models, and mammal dissection. Intended for students with interest in health professions, regardless of major. Fall semester; three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, or permission of instructor.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 213.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 214.
A general introduction to microorganisms, their cultivation, control and role in infectious disease with emphasis on the host-parasite relation ship and the host’s response to infection. For students majoring in areas other than biology. (Three hours lecture and three hours of laboratory) Offered spring semester. Prerequisites: BIO 141, BIO 142, and CHEM 118.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 216.
The student will develop an understanding of the evolution of the vertebrate body plan and how vertebrate animals, including humans, operate as highly integrated organisms. The student will also develop an appreciation of evolutionary vertebrate morphology as a dynamic field of research in modern biology. We will use the tools of comparative morphology and functional anatomy to explore the diversity of vertebrate form, and how the variety of structures and systems in vertebrates relates to the lifestyles and ancestry of these animals, including humans. We will use this knowledge to clarify our understanding of the coupling of form and function through almost 600 million years of vertebrate evolution. Offered spring semester in alternating years. This course is appropriate for Biology majors and students interested in pre-health (PT, PA, medical), and veterinary programs. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 156, BIO 158 or permission of instructor.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 220.
An introduction to principles including: Mendelian analysis, chromosome structure and function, DNA expression and regulation, quantitative and population genetics, genomics, mutations, and recombinant DNA technology. The laboratory incorporates both classical transmission analysis and modern molecular techniques of DNA manipulation. Spring semester; three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 121, CHEM 122, CHEM 221.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 221.
This class is designed to give students an introduction to the basis of diseases, disorders, and syndromes. Disease pathogenesis (how a disease progresses) and etiology (the study of the cause of disease) will be emphasized. Common diseases and disorders of organ systems will be examined via lectures, case studies, outside research, and class discussions. Offered in the spring semester primarily for sophomore nursing majors. Three hours lecture per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 118 and BIO 141, BIO 142.
A study of the structure and function of genes, their products and the interrelationship of these products in the cell. The experiments that led to our understanding of these processes and the molecular tools developed from these experiments will be emphasized. The lab provides students an opportunity to use these tools. Fall semester; three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 221.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 230.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 232.
The human brain is the most complex thus fascinating organ (machine) in the body. How is this system built? How does this system work? How does the brain respond to the environment and regulate movement? How does the body regulate physiological processes? These are the main questions that we will explore in this course. We will address these questions by learning about the components of the nervous system from single cells to complex networks. We will begin with an overview of the anatomy of the nervous system and then focus on how cells (neurons) within this system use electrical and chemical signals to communicate. This course will also cover early developmental events that result in the formation of the neural tube and subsequently the mature nervous system. We will then move to the sensory and sensorimotor systems where we will learn how sensory input dictates responses and how some inputs guide motor output (movement). Finally, we will investigate some of the physiological processes that are regulated by the brain. Prerequisite:(BIO 155 and BIO 157) or PSYC 234 or permission of instructor.
Lab Corequisite: BIO 235.
Biological phenomena are found at the root of many major environmental problems; by understanding the biology, we can find new solutions for many issues. This one-hour seminar class will provide students an opportunity to explicitly connect current environmental problems to their biological underpinnings using primary literature, writing assignments, and in-class discussions. Prerequisites:BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158.
In this travel course, students will explore the natural environments of Ecuador including the Andes Mountains, Amazon rainforest, and the Galápagos Islands. Topics include history and culture of Ecuador, native plant and animal diversity, evolutionary biology, environmental impact of human presence, and Ecuadorian efforts at conservation.Required pre-travel class sessions, two weeks of travel in Ecuador, and travel fees. Appropriate for both biology majors and non-majors. Offered summer, alternate years. Prerequisite: (BIO 155 and BIO 156) or (BIO 157 and BIO 158) or permission of instructor.
An opportunity for independent study for outstanding first and second-year students. Original research is encouraged. Consent of department chair required. May be repeated.
Survey of major groups of vertebrates, their characteristics, zoogeographic distributions, ecology, evolutionary history and adaptations. Emphasis on identification and field studies of Indiana species. Offered alternate years, spring semester. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 308.
Faculty-directed laboratory teaching experience for students majoring in biology. Includes preparation time for theory review and procedures, as well as time in the laboratory under faculty supervision. Application is required; final selection will be by faculty members concerned. Students may repeat up to three semester hours for electives. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: Application required
An examination of the theoretical and empirical framework of evolution, the most important unifying principle in modern biology; as evolutionary geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky noted in 1973, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” During the course, students will (1) develop and demonstrate a thorough understanding of the process and pattern of evolutionary change, and (2) develop and demonstrate the ability to analyze, interpret, and discuss recent research literature in evolutionary biology. Fall semester. Prerequisites: either (BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158) or ENVS 171 or equivalent.
An examination of the origin and evolution of crop plants. Emphasis will be placed on the classification, origin, and use of major crops including cereals, roots, fruits, vegetables, spices, beverages, fibers, medicines, and hallucinogens. Offered alternate years with BIO 315, fall semester: three hours lecture. Prerequisites: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221.
This course focuses on experimental design in the biological sciences and application/interpretation of statistical methods. Topics covered include types of data, sampling strategies, data presentation and statistical hypothesis testing using both parametric and non-parametric procedures. Offered alternate years with BIO 313, fall semester. Two hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Junior or Senior standing and (MATH 131, MATH 132) or MATH 133.
Conservation biology is a relatively new sub-discipline of biology concerned with exploring the under- lying causes of biodiversity declines and potential solutions to these problems. During the semester, students enrolled in this course will (1) learn and demonstrate a basic understanding of ecological and evolutionary processes involved in species diversity, (2) identify and describe the root causes of biodiversity decline in a number of settings, and (3) assess existing conservation strategies and generating new conservation tools. Fall semester; three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite:(BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158) or ENVS 171.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 316.
A cellular/molecular study of microorganisms and their roles in infectious disease, the environment, and industry. The laboratory covers basic methods for the study of microbes including aseptic technique, microscopy, safety, control of infectious organisms, molecular techniques and the generation and interpretation of quantitative data. Offered fall semester: three hours lecture; one two-hour and one one-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: CHEM 121, CHEM 122, CHEM 221.
One one-hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 317.
Cellular and molecular basis of immunity. The course emphasize how the healthy human immune system deals with infectious disease, and failures in that system including autoimmunity, immunodeficiency and allergy. Offered fall semester alternating with BIO 417: three hours lecture. Prerequisites:(BIO 155, BIO 157) and BIO 221 or permission of instructor.
Lab. Corequisite: BIO 318.
Survey of parasitic protozoa, helminths and arthropods of medical and economic importance. Emphasis on host-parasite relations, life histories, pathology and control. Spring semester: three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 320.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 323.
A study of flowering plant taxonomy with an emphasis on principles of classification, sources of taxonomic data and global diversity. Laboratory sessions emphasize the use of keys to identify plants in the local flora. Offered alternate years with BIO 323, fall semester. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 324.
Mechanisms and processes in cells, organs, and organ systems that work to maintain homeostasis in the organism. Basic physiological principles are the primary emphasis while all organ systems are discussed in order that students may learn to apply the information in any type of setting or in any organism. Critical thinking, problem solving, and understanding interactions among systems are emphasized throughout the course. Spring semester; three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisites: Junior standing, CHEM 121, CHEM 122, CHEM 221.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 328.
A one-hour seminar examining the latest research in the fields of molecular and cellular biology through weekly student presentations of published research articles and dis cus sion. Graded S/U. Prerequisite: BIO 230.
A study of the current topics in biotechnology, and its impact on society, focusing on the techniques and methods used to discover the function of genes and their products. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory per week. Prerequisite: BIO 230.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 331.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 332.
An overview of recent advances in biomedical technology and the ethical issues encountered by consumers when faced with the opportunity to utilize these technological advances. Using case studies, students will review the basic science supporting each new technology, its intended use, and subsequent risks and benefits. Offered spring semester: three hours lecture per week. Prerequisite:Junior standing, BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221.
The characteristics of all organisms are greatly shaped by their interactions with their environment, particularly other organisms. Our primary objectives in this class are to use plant-animal interactions as a framework to examine the morphology, physiology, ecology, and evolution of plants. Spring semester: three hours lecture and one three-hour lab per week. Prerequisites: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221.
One three hour lab per week. Corequisite: BIO 335.
This course is designed for students who need a medical terminology course for admission into a graduate or professional program. All body systems are covered as students learn the appropriate terms by studying the root words, prefixes, and suffixes used in medically-related fields. Offered fall semesters. Prerequisites: Junior standing, BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221.
Designed specifically for biology majors of junior standing in preparation for the required senior project. Includes critical reading of scientific literature, discussion of research methods and data analysis, compiling a bibliography, and writing a literature review and a proposal. Part of Advanced Writing requirement. Includes class meetings and conferences with advisors. Offered spring semester. Prerequisites:Junior standing and major.
Pathophysiology uses case studies to acquaint students with the abnormal physiology associated with states of disease. All organ systems are covered within the semester. Heavily grounded in knowing normal physiology, this class develops critical thinking skills through detailed analysis of alterations in normal mechanisms within the human body. Offered spring semester. Prerequisite: Junior or senior standing;Pre/corequisite: BIO 214 or BIO 328.
This course will investigate the factors that drive the emergence of infectious diseases and the effects of emerging diseases on global human health. The course will also address the impact of emerging diseases on the health of wildlife and plant populations. Additionally, the course will discuss the deliberate initiation of emerging infectious diseases; the mechanisms used to mitigate the impact of emerging infectious diseases; and the strategies used to control disease emergence. Offered every fall semester; three hours of lecture per week. Prerequisites: BIO 216 or BIO 317.
This course will introduce students to the process by which tissues are prepared (paraffin embedding, sectioning, staining) for viewing using a light microscope. The laboratory portion of the course will provide students with the opportunity to refine their skills in microscopy and visual identification of cells, tissues, and organs. Spring Semester every other year: three hours of lecture and three-hour laboratory each week. Prerequisites:Junior standing, BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 213 or BIO 220 highly recommended.
Welcome to Cellular Physiology! This course will is designed for the advanced undergraduate student and will take a deeper look into the biology of behind the necessary every day functions of a cell for survival. Therefore, this course will focus will be the study of membrane structure and properties, membrane trafficking, cellular metabolism, cell death mechanisms, and cell signaling. The course is designed to prepare the advanced undergraduate student for graduate and professional school study. Prerequisite: BIO 155, BIO 156, BIO 157, BIO 158, BIO 221, BIO 230.
Lab. Corequisite: BIO 416.
Independent research leading to the required Senior Comprehensive. Offered fall semester. Prerequisites: BIO 385, senior standing.
A variable format (e.g. lecture, lab or seminar) course permitting discussion and analysis of topics not normally covered in detail in regularly scheduled courses. The course content and format will be determined by student and faculty interests. Prerequisites: Junior standing and permission of the instructor. May be repeated with different topic.
An opportunity for independent study for outstanding Junior and Senior students. Original research encouraged. Prerequisite: Permission of faculty advisor and department chair required. May be repeated.
Practical off-campus experience with an approved medically or biologically related organization. Jointly supervised by a faculty member and a representative from the sponsor. Graded S/U. Prerequisites: Junior standing and permission of department chair. May be repeated.