Bryan W. Brendley, Associate Professor, Chair
Frank P. Keegan, Raymond Binford Professor of Biology
Melanie J. Lee-Brown, Professor
Michele Malotky, Professor
Christine M. Stracey, Associate Professor
David East, Visiting Assistant Professor
The Department of Biology provides students with a strong foundation in the biological sciences, pre-professional, or forensic sciences. Using experiential, inquiry-based learning and scholastic rigor, our curriculum stimulates academic excellence through independent thinking, interdisciplinary applications and critical analysis to develop tomorrow’s leaders in the natural sciences. The major is divided into three possible tracks: (1) Biology A.B., (2) Biology B.S., (3) Pre-professional Biology B.S.
The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are offered in biology and in forensic biology.
In this course, students will be exposed to the discipline of biology by examining a particular topic in depth. Students will engage in the process of science through a research experience and will draw connections between biology and society. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
Possible courses include: Dendrology, Vertebrate Social Behavior, Genetic Engineering and Human Disease. May also be offered at the 250, 350 and 450 levels. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998& 2019).
An examination of the views of species origins prior to Darwin, Darwin’s theories and those of his contemporaries and the history of evolutionary theory in modern times. One of the weekly class periods will be used to give students practical experience in the methods of evolutionary study, such as techniques for determining protein all types, and examining species relationships through DNA analysis.
In this course, students will be exposed to the diversity of life on Earth. An evolutionary perspective will be taken throughout, as the course underscores the relationship between form and function of organisms. This course explores various aspects of animal and plant diversity with an emphasis on form and function. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
This course covers evolutionary biology and ecology, with the goal of exposing students to a broad range of topics and ideas in both disciplines and as an integrated whole. We will examine how organisms interact with their environment at the individual, population, and community levels, while also This course covers evolutionary biology and ecology, with the goal of exposing students to a broad range of topics and ideas in both disciplines and as an integrated whole. We will examine how organisms interact with their environment at the individual, population, and community levels, while also looking at the effects of humans on the natural world. Additionally, we will explore the mechanisms of evolution that have resulted in the diversity of life on Earth. This course is designed to help students develop skills of science, including observation, experimental design, written and oral communication, critical thinking, and problem-solving, in a collaborative environment. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
This course focuses on the molecular and cellular aspects of Biology, including the molecular building blocks of life, genetics and DNA, cellular structure/function, reproduction and the energy pathways of photosynthesis and respiration. In the laboratory, the students will become familiar with the scientific method, applying the concepts they are learning in class through a semester-long, authentic research project. Fulfills the natural science/ mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
An introductory study of the human body, including the basic structure and function of the major organ systems (nervous, endocrine, circulatory, reproductive, etc.) and the effects of diet, exercise, stress and environmental change on human health. Does not count toward the major. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
Study of the structure and function of ecosystems with reference to energy flow, nutrient cycling, population growth and regulation, and community organization and dynamics. Particular emphasis on the relationship between humans and the environment. Fulfills natural science and mathematics and social justice/environmental responsibility requirements (1998). Fulfills the natural science/mathematics and evaluating systems and environments requirements (2019).
Introductory study of the plant kingdom including morphology, anatomy, physiology, ecology and evolution. Laboratory study includes observation of the morphology and anatomy of typical plant species and a variety of plant physiology experiments. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
Taxonomic study of vascular plants involving classification, collection and identification in the field and laboratory.
A field course for those students desiring an outdoor lab science. Field studies introduce students to the diversity, distribution and ecology of North Carolina freshwater fishes.
Advanced study of vertebrates, emphasizing morphology, taxonomy, ecology and behavior of representative tetrapod species. Laboratory work includes field studies of the major groups of North Carolina tetrapod vertebrates.
Exploration of the natural systems around you inspires endless scientific questions. In this class, we’ll travel to a variety of sites near and far from campus, using each to become familiar with the types of ecosystems found in the region, to identify common plant and animal species, and to address ecological questions employing common methods used in the collection of ecological data. The course will be organized around an environmental theme that students investigate in a variety of habitats throughout the region. During this course we will spend a significant amount of time in the field, including overnight field trips.
Studies of the biology, geology, ecology and natural history of different field areas, including the American Southwest, the Galapagos, East Africa, Brunnenburg, North Carolina and other areas. Includes a one- to three-week trip to the area being studied, depending on when the course is offered; trip includes research project. When course is offered for a minimum of 4 semester credits, the course will fulfill natural science/mathematics and social justice/environmental responsibility requirements (1998); natural science/mathematics, evaluating systems and environments requirements, and embodied and creative engagement requirements (2019).
Introduction to in-depth study of the application of the biological, chemical and physical sciences to the examination of forensic evidence. Explores the underlying physiological and biochemical basis for forensic methods; laboratory analysis includes microscopy, chromatography, hair, fingerprints, serology and introduction to DNA profiling. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
May also be offered at 360 and 460 levels.
May also be offered at the 390 level.
This course is designed to 1) build students’ understanding and ability to judge scientific information from sources including, first, the media and common lay outlets, then secondary popular sources and finally peer- reviewed primary journals and research papers; and 2) help students use this knowledge to develop and refine their own writing.
This course embraces multiple aspects of community-based, interdisciplinary research. Prior to beginning research projects, students will learn about the changing demographics of Guilford County including refugees and underserved populations. They will also receive training in anti-racism and cultural competency to prepare students for working with community members. Through community outreach efforts, students will be involved in the formation and implementation of focus groups and community events to build trusting relationships with community members as well as to identify and assess community needs. Students will work with faculty and student leaders to design, implement and evaluate a community-based research project. Projects will address current community concerns ranging from access to health care to medical and nutritional needs. This instruction will help in the promotion of effective, focused research and will prepare students for developing sustainable relationships with the targeted community.
A study of the structure and function of eukaryotic cells including: microscopic structure, biochemical components, the organization of macromolecules into organelles, and coordinated function of organelles in the living cell. Includes a detailed study of chromosome structure and function; DNA, RNA and protein synthesis.
A study of microbial classification, structure, metabolism and genetics with primary foci on bacterial cells and viruses. This course includes a survey of microbial importance in human disease, immunology, environmental studies and industrial applications. The laboratory experience includes methods of aseptic technique, bacterial isolation, metabolic characterization and microbial identification with an introduction to molecular techniques.
This experiential team-taught, intensive, three-week, interdisciplinary study abroad course will take place in and on the grounds of Alnwick Castle in Northumberland, in the far northeastern reaches of England. The course explores the intersections and distinctions between the causal systems, modalities, and mechanisms of magic and medicine. With site visits to the island castle and priory of Lindisfarne, the Scottish city of Edinburgh, the Magic & Medicine Garden of Dilston, Alnwick town, and the castle’s bucolic gardens and park grounds, the course will begin with a rigorous investigation into the history of the importance of the concept of causality in both scientific and non-empirical thought, and with student projects about medicinal herbs. The centerpiece of the course will utilize the Reacting to the Past pedagogical engaged-learning collaborative theatrical scenario about Charles Darwin. The final week will involve classes on the castle grounds about postmodern intercultural understandings of magic and the mysteries of the mechanisms of medicine and health. Students will spend the full three-week course living in Alnwick Castle, famously the cinematographic setting of Harry Potter’s Hogwarts. There are no prerequisites for this course. Instructor permission required prior to registration. Fulfills the natural science/mathematics requirement (1998 & 2019).
Advanced study of invertebrate phyla with emphasis on taxonomy, physiology and ecology of the several groups.
Study of the diversity, distribution and ecology of the world fish fauna with emphasis on field studies of North Carolina populations. Basic anatomy and physiology will also be covered.
The zoological approach to the study of animal behavior (ethology), behavioral ecology, types of social organization and communication in animals, and the evolution of behavior in selected species. The laboratory section of the course will provide opportunities for students to observe and record the behavior of a variety of animals. Students will conduct individual research projects at the North Carolina Zoo.
This field-oriented course introduces students to the scientific study of birds, including broad concepts in avian biology, bird identification, and field research techniques. Through a combination of in-class learning, field trips, and student-led research projects, students will gain an understanding of avian ecology, anatomy, physiology, and behavior. During this course we will spend a significant amount of time in the field. Some semesters this course may be taught on campus and in other semesters as a study abroad experience.
Study of behavior from a biological point of view. Focus on the structure and function of the nervous system and on the relationships between behavior and the nervous system. Corequisite: laboratory work.
Detailed study of the structure and function of human nervous, sensory, endocrine, integumentary, skeletal, muscular and respiratory systems.
Detailed study of the structure and function of human cardiovascular, lymphatic, immune, digestive, excretory and reproductive systems.
Detailed study of each of the major sensory systems, including the anatomy and physiology of each system, an analysis of the stimulus and measurements of sensory abilities. Laboratory work.
Explores methods used to examine and identify evidence of criminal activity, including chemical techniques for developing fingerprints, the chemistry of explosives, drug identification, PCR for DNA profiling and STR analysis.
4. The study of human osteology and skeletal anatomy. Students learn how to collect and process skeletal remains, use tables and to use tales and apply formulae to identify bones and bone fragments. Skeletal remains are used to illustrate the range of normal variation, for the determination of sex, race and age and to determine the cause and manner of death. Additional topics include forensic odontology, forensic entomology and fiber analysis.
Brief survey of the main classes of vertebrates; detailed comparative study of the major vertebrate organ systems.
The various physiological processes characteristic of living organisms; functioning of the individual organ systems with emphasis on interrelationships between organ systems and functioning of organ systems in the maintenance of homeostasis; and selected topics in comparative vertebrate physiology.
A study of the chemical structure and physiological function of the biochemical building blocks of living organisms including proteins, carbohydrates, lipid metabolism and nucleic acid synthesis. The laboratory experience includes techniques used in the isolation and identification of proteins, lipids and nucleic acids.
Basic ecological principles governing the structure and function of populations, communities and ecosystems.
A study of structural and functional prokaryotic and eukaryotic molecular genetics including: replication, mitosis, meiosis, chromosome mapping, gene structure, expression and mutation. Mendelian inheritance and population genetics are also explored.
The study of human osteology and skeletal anatomy. Students learn how to collect and process skeletal remains, use tables and to use tales and apply formulae to identify bones and bone fragments. Skeletal remains are used to illustrate the range of normal variation, for the determination of sex, race and age and to determine the cause and manner of death. Additional topics include forensic odontology, forensic entomology and fiber analysis.
May also be offered at the 260 and 360 levels.
Individual experience in biological research and writing of a professional paper.
This course introduces the principles and concepts of presenting scientific research. Emphasis is placed on the preparation of oral and poster presentations and the implementation of proper etiquette for undergraduate symposia. This course also covers the preparation of funding proposals, curriculum vitae, Statements of Intent and the interview process for post-undergraduate programs. Students are required to present their research at two undergraduate meetings including the GuilfordUndergraduate Symposium.