Traditional and molecular methods strategically applied to problems related to microbial biotechnology and environmental microbiology. Ranges from the diversity of microbial life to biodegradation. Seven general areas emphasized: 1) Statistical sampling and site characterization, 2) biomass determination, 3) enrichment techniques, 4) microbial activity measurements, 5) single cell detection in situ, 6) sequence and phylogenetic analysis followed by probe design, and 7) other modern techniques of environmental microbiology.
Humans have used breeding programs for the last 3000 years to increase yields of plants, to incorporate specific traits into farm animals and pets. Early motivation was probably first survival then commerce. Early tools were based in careful observation. Today, we have biotechnology: the ability to genetically engineer almost any organism. The ability to change and/or create any bio-molecule, drug, antibiotic, fuel or crop is almost at our fingertips. But what will make it happen? What is out motivation: survival in the face of global warming, increasing population, or to increase our own wealth through business? What are the political, social, and ethical implications of what we could do? What is doable, practical, profitable or necessary and what is a pipedream? Satisfies one of three required modules for the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-MicBio or BS-MicBio majors.
The main aspects of bacterial growth, including energy metabolism, biosynthesis of macromolecular precursor materials and their assembly into macromolecules, and the integration of these processes by various regulatory mechanisms. Emphasis on the isolation of mutant bacteria blocked in key cellular functions and on global control systems governing the adaptation of bacteria to different environmental conditions. Prerequisite: general background in microbiology and biochemistry.
Drug resistance is a major problem that complicates the treatments of infectious diseases. It is a consequence of genetic changes in a microbe, and molecular mechanisms vary widely including mutations of target enzymes, increased expression of efflux pump, horizontal transfer of resistance gene, and induction of inactivating enzymes. While understanding the molecular mechanisms of drug resistance is critical to introduce next generation drugs, we also need effort to fill in the gap between basic science discoveries and tackling socioeconomical issues associated with drug resistance such as noncompliance of patients, overuse of antibiotics, and lack of governmental support. Is discovering new antibiotics the only thing scientists can do? How can we reduce the chances of developing drug-resistant microbes? Are we really reducing the burden of infectious diseases by introducing more antibiotics? Students will have opportunities to gain wider integral perspectives on how to tackle infectious diseases. Satisfies one of three required modules for the Integrative Experience requirement for BA-MicBio or BS-MicBio majors.
Satisfies the Junior Year Writing requirement. Students develop their writing skills while completing a series of short assignments. Each participant will identify a biological topic of their choice to research and write about during the semester.
This course covers a detailed analysis of the molecular mechanisms that control the maintenance, expression, and evolution of prokaryotic and eukaryotic genomes. The topics covered in lectures and readings of relevant literature include DNA replication, transcription, gene regulation, genetic recombination, and translation. Class format will include lectures, journal clubs, presentations and group discussions.
The mechanisms by which microorganisms, including bacteria, protozoa, fungi, and viruses, infect animals and plants and cause disease, and the mechanisms of host defense against infectious microbes. Emerging and reemerging infectious diseases of plants and animals and development of resistance to antimicrobial chemicals. Prerequisites: BIOLOGY 100 and 101 and MICROBIO 310.