Undergraduate Special Topics Spring 2018

Cancer Biology

ZOO4926 section 187B

Instructor: Dr. Oppenheimer

Credits: 03
Class meetings: Monday, Wednesday & Friday, period 6; 211 Bartram Hall
Text Recommended: Becker’s World of the Cell 9th Edition
By Jeff Hardin, Gregory Paul Bertoni, and Lewis J. Kleinsmith
Pearson (Publisher)

Brief Description:
This course is an introduction to the molecular and cellular basis of cancer. The course will take a mechanistic view of the dysregulation of cellular processes that occurs in cancer cells, including the mechanisms of action of anti-cancer drugs and radiation treatments. This course provides a strong foundation for Biology students, pre-med, and pre-health students. This course will include lectures, in-class activities, and discussions. Topics will include, but are not limited to: dysregulation of the cell cycle, the role of the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix in cancer metastasis, oncogenes and cell signaling, tumor suppressors and cell cycle checkpoints, the Warburg effect and cancer cell metabolism, and how our knowledge of these processes is leading to new and effective anti-cancer drugs. Grades will be assigned based on performance on multiple types of assessments including: in-class exams, in-class (clicker) quizzes, homework assignments, and in-class activities. Exams will emphasize material covered in lecture, assigned reading in the textbook, and assigned supplemental information. Quizzes will cover information presented in the previous lecture, and the assigned reading for the current lecture. See attached syllabus.


ZOO4926 section 07EE

Instructor: Dr. Karen Bjorndal

Credits: 03
Class meetings: Tuesday, periods 4-5 and Thursday, period 4; Class Location: TBA
Text Recommended: No textbook is required.

Brief Description:

This course will cover the biology of sea turtles and their roles in marine ecosystems. We will focus on current major issues in sea turtle biology and challenges in their conservation and management. See attached syllabus.


ZOO4926 section  DEPTX

Instructor: Dr. Nicole Gerlach

Credits: 03
Class meetings: TBA
Text Recommended: No textbook is required.

Brief Description:

A scientific investigation of both the mechanistic and the evolutionary causes of animal behavior, including communication, foraging and anti-predator behavior, spatial behavior, mating behavior, parental care, and social behaviors.


ZOO4926 section 06H8

Instructor: Dr. Derek Cummings

Credits: 03
Class meetings: Tuesday and Thursday, period 7; 273 Weil Hall
Text Recommended: TBA

Brief Description:
This course will investigate biological and quantitative aspects of emerging pathogens. We will investigate transmission dynamics of infectious diseases during multiple phases of outbreaks.  We will review biological, immunological, epidemiological, policy and logistical aspects of outbreaks of emerging pathogens in humans as well as other species. Students will gain familiarity with basic metrics used to quantify transmission dynamics, biological characteristics that contribute to the emergence of pathogens and policy actions taken in response to emerging pathogens. There are no prerequisites for the course.

The Physiology of environmental change

ZOO4926 section 12E1

Instructor: Dr. Jamie Gillooly

Credits: 03
Class meetings: Tuesday, periods 5-6 and Thursday, period 6; 316 CHE Hall
Text Recommended: TBA

Brief Description:

Environmental change affects ecological communities through its effects on the physiology of organisms. This course will be focused on better understanding how individual-level physiology affects and is affected by ecological phenomena across the diversity of life. The course aims to provide a general understanding of the functional processes required for life, how these vary across diverse animals, and how these are being impacted by environmental change. The course will consist of i)background readings and discussion on the structure and function of animals from a broadly comparative perspective ii) readings and discussion from the primary literature that relate structural or functional changes in animals to environmental change, iii) and group research projects on these topics. The course will be small, with a strong emphasis on student participation.  See attached syllabus.

Curatorial Methods- Intro to Natural History Museums

BOT4935, BSC2930 & ZOO4926 sections: 06EG, 06BD & 06ED

Instructor: Adania Flemming and David Blackburn

Credits: 03
Class meetings: Thursday, periods 7-8, Location: TBA
Text Recommended: There are no required textbooks. Various readings will be handed out during the semester or made available by email to help inform students about the collections and collection uses.

Brief Description:

This course is an exploration of careers in museum-based research. Students will be introduced to alternative career paths from pre-professional fields, through observation of and immersion into the roles of collection personnel. Many undergraduate students begin their Biology careers on a pre-professional track, without knowledge of careers as a naturalist; though naturalist have the ability to inform the medical field through museum research. Additionally, most people are familiar with the public face of natural history museums, but research collections remain in the shadows, even though they can help us understand climate change, the spread of diseases, and the impacts of draining a wetland. Museum collections are like libraries, but instead of containing an abundance of books they contain and abundance of specimens.  Download Flyer and  attached syllabus.

florida vertebrate paleontology

ZOO4926 section 2383

Instructor: Dr. Bloch and Dr. Hulbert

Credits: 02
Class meetings: Tuesday, periods 6-7; Turlington Hall, Rm# 2328
Optional Text: Fossil Vertebrates of Florida.  Edited by Richard C. Hulbert, Jr. University Press of Florida, February, 2001. Hardbound; 384 pages; 341 drawings and black and white photographs; glossary; index; and references. ISBN 0-8130-1822-6

Brief Description:
Come help us dig up fossils! This special topics course is designed to provide an overview of Florida fossil vertebrates through weekly lectures and discussions plus direct experience with vertebrate paleontology fieldwork in Florida. We will be especially focused on digging at a late Miocene fossil vertebrate locality close to Williston, Florida. Please see Download Flyer and attached syllabus.


ZOO4926 section 03H5

Instructor: Dr. Brad Barbazuk

Credits: 04
Class meetings: Tuesday, periods 6-7 and Thursday, periods 6-9; 133 CGRC
Text Recommended: Dale, Schantz and Plant. 2012 From Genes to Genomes, 3rd ed. Pearson, New York.

Brief Description:
Big data and genomics are prominent in the medical and agricultural life-sciences. Students will be introduced to modern next-generation sequence based molecular biology through a combination of lectures and hands-on wet-lab exercises. This course will introduce students to the theory behind basic molecular biology techniques (i.e. nucleic aid biochemistry and isolations, cloning, PCR, DNA/RNA hybridization, traditional and NGS sequencing), basic analysis (basic UNIX and command line familiarity, annotation, sequence alignment, data file formats, variant detection, expression analysis), and supplement these with wet-labs where students will perform RNA and DNA isolations, sample QC, NGS library construction; and, dry-lab sessions where students will learn to perform basic assembly, alignment and expression detection analysis using a locally implemented instance of GALAXY. See attached syllabus.