Undergraduate minor: biology
Graduate degrees: M.S. in integrated biology; Ph.D. in integrated biology
The Department of Biology offers undergraduate and graduate programs that prepare students for careers in a wide variety of fields such as health science or biological research, technology, and education. It also offers several courses that undergraduate students in all majors may use to satisfy the General Education Program Natural Sciences requirement and other courses on topics of general interest for undergraduate non-biology majors, including a First-Year Seminar course designed for entering students. The department also administers the interdisciplinary Biomedical Sciences major leading to a Bachelor of Science degree.
Undergraduate Programs of Study
Graduate Programs of Study
The department is housed in two contiguous buildings, with modern facilities and equipment for state-of-the-art research.
Facilities include the Keck Dynamic Image Analysis Facility, which couples sophisticated state-of-the-art microscopy and computerized motion analysis to permit three-dimensional real-time analysis of cell movement in vitro and in situ. The Roy J. Carver Center for Genomics houses the department's DNA sequencing, oligo synthesis, quantitative PCR, functional genomics/microarray facilities, and informatics facilities. The Roy J. Carver Center for Imaging is a microscopy and imaging facility; its confocal microscope is available for teaching and research.
A large greenhouse is used in plant research and education.
The department also houses animal-care facilities suitable for mice, rats, rabbits, Xenopus laevis, and zebra fish. These facilities are managed by the University's animal care unit, which is accredited by the Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care. A central University facility provides assistance in the preparation of transgenic mice.
The department is home to the Developmental Studies Hybridoma Bank, which is affiliated with the National Institutes of Health. The hybridoma bank collects and distributes monoclonal antibodies that originate in laboratories all over the world. Its collection now contains more than 3,500 monoclonal antibodies that are distributed to users internationally for a modest fee.
In addition to department facilities, the University offers a genomic sequencing service, a DNA oligonucleotide synthesis and enzyme lab, oligopeptide synthesis and sequencing equipment, and mass- and NMR spectroscopy facilities. The Center for Biocatalysis and Bioprocessing is available for growing large amounts of microorganisms (e.g., 100 liters) for use in protein isolation.
Iowa Lakeside Laboratory
The Iowa Lakeside Laboratory is a field station run cooperatively by the University of Iowa, Iowa State University, and the University of Northern Iowa. Located on West Lake Okoboji, in northwestern Iowa, the laboratory affords excellent conditions for summer study in field biology, limnology, phycology, aquatic ecology, pollination biology, and plant taxonomy. It offers a wide variety of summer courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Students should check with their advisors to determine whether specific courses may be counted toward requirements for graduation. See Iowa Lakeside Laboratory (University College) in the Catalog or visit the Lakeside Laboratory website.
Many courses include laboratory, discussion, and/or field components.
The following courses are not open to graduate students and do not provide credit toward a biology major: BIOL:1000 First-Year Seminar, BIOL:1060 Big Ideas: Origins of the Universe, Earth, and Life, BIOL:1061 Big Ideas: Evolution of Life on Earth and the Search for Life in the Universe, BIOL:1140 Human Biology, BIOL:1141 Introductory Animal Biology, BIOL:1251 How the Brain Works (and Why it Doesn't), BIOL:1260 Plants and Human Affairs, BIOL:1261 Introduction to Botany, BIOL:1311 Human Genetics in the Twenty-First Century, BIOL:1360 Spring Flora, BIOL:1370 Understanding Evolution, and BIOL:2211 Genes, Genomes, and the Human Condition.
BIOL:1000 First-Year Seminar1 s.h.
Small discussion class taught by a faculty member; topics chosen by instructor; may include outside activities (e.g., films, lectures, performances, readings, visits to research facilities, field trips). Requirements: first- or second-semester standing.
BIOL:1060 Big Ideas: Origins of the Universe, Earth, and Life3 s.h.
Fundamental questions (How old is the universe? What is the nature of life? How has life evolved on Earth? What are our human origins? Are there other habitable planets in the universe?) that revolve around understanding origins from different perspectives (i.e., astronomy, physics, geoscience, biology, chemistry, anthropology); work with faculty from several departments to investigate these questions; inquiry-based activities to build success in critical thinking, teamwork, effective written and oral communication; origin of the universe, biochemistry of life, and origin of life on Earth; first of a two-part sequence. Recommendations: first-year or sophomore standing. GE: Natural Sciences without Lab. Same as ASTR:1060, EES:1060.
BIOL:1061 Big Ideas: Evolution of Life on Earth and the Search for Life in the Universe4 s.h.
How has life evolved on Earth? What are our human origins? Are there other habitable planets in the universe? These fundamental questions revolve around understanding the origins of life from different perspectives—astronomy and physics, geoscience, biology, chemistry, and anthropology; students will work together with faculty from across four different departments to investigate these questions using inquiry-based activities to build success in critical thinking, teamwork, and effective written and oral communication; second half of the origins sequence (though either course also may be taken alone). GE: Natural Sciences with Lab. Same as ANTH:1061, ASTR:1061, EES:1061.
BIOL:1140 Human Biology4 s.h.
Molecular and cellular basis of human life; integration of humans and the biosphere through photosynthesis, respiration; structure, function of human tissues, organs, organ systems; reproduction, genetics, impact of molecular biology and genetic engineering; lecture, laboratory. GE: Natural Sciences with Lab.
BIOL:1141 Introductory Animal Biology4 s.h.
Fundamental principles: cells and macromolecules, energy metabolism, organismic physiology, genetics, development, ecology, and evolution. Requirements: one year of high school chemistry. Recommendations: CHEM:1070. GE: Natural Sciences with Lab.
BIOL:1251 How the Brain Works (and Why it Doesn't)3-4 s.h.
Introductory survey of neuroscience; structure and function of the brain; nature of consciousness; brain function in mental illness and degenerative disorders; genes and the mind; perception, sensation, memory, and emotions. Requirements: non-biology major. GE: Natural Sciences without Lab.
BIOL:1260 Plants and Human Affairs2-3 s.h.
How plants are useful to people: food, clothing, shelter, medicines, psychoactive agents; plants' social, economic, ecological significance. GE: Natural Sciences without Lab.
BIOL:1261 Introduction to Botany4 s.h.
Biology of plant life; emphasis on structure, function, reproduction, inheritance, diversity, evolution. Requirements: one year of high school chemistry. GE: Natural Sciences with Lab.
BIOL:1311 Human Genetics in the Twenty-First Century3 s.h.
Organization and inheritance of human genes and genomes; genetic basis of simple and complex traits; genetic aspects of cancer; paleogenomics and tracing human migrations with DNA. GE: Natural Sciences without Lab. Same as ANTH:1310.
BIOL:1360 Spring Flora3 s.h.
Recognition and identification of spring-flowering herbaceous plants, native woodland trees and shrubs, woody landscape plants; family characteristics, use of taxonomic key.
BIOL:1370 Understanding Evolution3 s.h.
Evolution and diversity of living things, their patterns on Earth, their organization in ecological systems; dynamics of evolutionary processes. GE: Natural Sciences without Lab.
BIOL:1411 Foundations of Biology4 s.h.
Unifying concepts of living systems; emphasis on common properties and processes; chemical and cellular basis of life, genetics, and evolution. Prerequisites: CHEM:1110. GE: Natural Sciences with Lab.
BIOL:1412 Diversity of Form and Function4 s.h.
Underlying unifying concepts of life; emphasis on diversity of living systems; the tree of life, cellular evolution, prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversity, plant and animal form and function; interactions among diverse forms of life and their environment. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 with a minimum grade of C-. GE: Natural Sciences with Lab.
BIOL:1808 Ways of Knowing Science1 s.h.
Science as a powerful way of knowing based on experimentation and observation of natural world; introduction to subdisciplines of scientific research; scope and methods of scientific research; questions that scientific research seek answers for; methods that scientists use to obtain answers to their questions; how science affects us personally and how it affects the rest of society; research seminars, discussion, and exploration.
BIOL:2211 Genes, Genomes, and the Human Condition3 s.h.
Organization, expression, and evolution of genes in context of genomes; focus on human genome; distribution and transmission of variation in human population. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411. Recommendations: BIOL:1412.
BIOL:2254 Endocrinology3 s.h.
Production and effect of hormonal chemical messengers of secretory glands; emphasis on cell signaling in vertebrate systems; actions of hormones in regulating growth, physiology, and reproduction; organ to molecular levels. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 and (HHP:3500 or BIOL:1412). Recommendations: CHEM:2210.
BIOL:2346 Vertebrate Zoology4 s.h.
Vertebrate diversity, success in relation to evolutionary history, and adaptive radiation of fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals; physiological, morphological, behavioral, life history adaptations; vertebrate zoogeography, systematics, patterns of reproduction, social systems. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 and BIOL:1412.
BIOL:2374 Biogeography3 s.h.
Introduction to processes that lead to the patterns of plant and animal distributions we see across the globe; processes of focus include plate tectonics, climate, and human-ecological interactions; species management and conservation in relationship to climate and change in human patterns of environment. Prerequisites: BIOL:1141 or BIOL:1370 or BIOL:1261 or GEOG:1020 or BIOL:1412. Same as GEOG:2374.
BIOL:2512 Fundamental Genetics4 s.h.
Nature, function of genetic material: classical, molecular, developmental aspects. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 with a minimum grade of C- and BIOL:1412 with a minimum grade of C- and CHEM:1120. Corequisites: CHEM:2210, if not taken as a prerequisite.
BIOL:2603 Mechanisms of Aging3 s.h.
Evolutionary theories of aging, cellular and genetic basis of aging and repair, disruption of homeostasis in aging; focus on studies of biological and environmental causes of age-related diseases. Prerequisites: (BIOL:1412 or HHP:3500) and BIOL:1411.
BIOL:2673 Ecology3-4 s.h.
Adaptations of organisms to their physical and biological environments; organism-environment interactions; population biology; interactions between species; ecology of communities, ecosystems; human impact on ecosystems. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 and BIOL:1412 and (MATH:1460 or MATH:1850 or MATH:1550). Recommendations: a basic statistics course. Same as ENVS:2673.
BIOL:2723 Cell Biology3 s.h.
Structures of cells and organelles in relation to their functions at molecular, cellular levels; emphasis on higher eukaryotic cells. Prerequisites: (BIOL:1412 or HHP:3500) and CHEM:1120 and BIOL:1411.
BIOL:2753 Introduction to Neurobiology3 s.h.
BIOL:3172 Evolution4 s.h.
Nature, evidence, analysis, implications, molecular/genetic basis; historical record, phylogeny, speciation, adaptation, investigative methods. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 with a minimum grade of C- and (STAT:2010 or STAT:3510 or MATH:1550 or MATH:1850 or MATH:1460).
BIOL:3233 Introduction to Developmental Biology3 s.h.
Fundamental mechanisms in differentiation, organogenesis, morphogenesis; and pattern formation; mechanistic approach at molecular, cellular, tissue levels of organizations. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 and CHEM:1120 and (BIOL:1412 with a minimum grade of C- or HHP:3500 with a minimum grade of C-). Recommendations: BIOL:2512.
BIOL:3244 Animal Behavior3-5 s.h.
Genetics, sensory physiology, migration, development of behavior, circadian rhythms, foraging strategies, aggression, sexual and parental behavior, group selection, social behavior. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 and BIOL:1412.
BIOL:3253 Neurobiology4 s.h.
Cellular neurobiology (cytoskeleton and transport, membrane physiology, synaptic transmission and plasticity, sensory transduction); systems neurobiology (peripheral and central sensory processing, autonomic and somatic motor systems); cognitive neurobiology (emotion, biological rhythms and sleep, memory, attention, language); developmental neurobiology. Prerequisites: BIOL:2753. Recommendations: BIOL:2723 and BIOC:3110.
BIOL:3314 Genomics3 s.h.
Major areas of genomics, including DNA and protein sequence analysis, structural diversity of whole genomes, microarray applications, proteomics; computer workshop experience in applying bioinformatics tools. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 or BIOC:3120. Same as IGPI:3314.
BIOL:3343 Animal Physiology3 s.h.
Principles of cellular and systems physiology; emphasis on experimental and quantitative aspects. Prerequisites: (BIOL:1412 or HHP:3500) and (PHYS:1511 or PHYS:1611) and BIOL:1411. Corequisites: PHYS:1512 or PHYS:1612, if not taken as a prerequisite.
BIOL:3363 Plant Developmental Biology3 s.h.
Developmental processes throughout life cycle of vascular plants; current knowledge of mechanisms, control; emphasis on molecular and genetic approaches to studying development. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512.
BIOL:3373 Human Population Genetics and Variation3 s.h.
Principles of evolutionary change of genes and genomes applied to human populations and to comparisons between humans and their closest primate relatives; emphasis on consequences of mutation, natural selection, and demographic changes. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 with a minimum grade of C- or BIOL:2211 with a minimum grade of C-.
BIOL:3383 Introduction to Systems Biology3 s.h.
Concepts and skills used to develop computer models that provide insight into the operation of cellular processes like metabolic pathways and genetic circuits. Prerequisites: BIOL:1412 and (MATH:1460 or MATH:1550 or MATH:1850).
BIOL:3626 Cell Biology Laboratory4 s.h.
Conceptual understanding and technical skills in fluorescence microscopy and digital imaging, mammalian cell culture, tissue fractionation, centrifugation, electrophoresis, and expression of recombinant proteins. Prerequisites: BIOL:2723.
BIOL:3656 Neurobiology Laboratory4 s.h.
Principles and practice of neurobiology research, including microscopy and imaging, cellular and molecular neurobiology, and electrophysiology. Prerequisites: BIOL:2753.
BIOL:3663 Plant Response to the Environment3 s.h.
BIOL:3676 Evolution Lab4 s.h.
Methods of sampling and describing variation in natural populations; application of molecular genetic, bioinformatic, and computational techniques to describe genetic variation through sequence analysis; use of controlled laboratory experiments and computer simulations to illustrate evolutionary principles. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 or BIOL:2211. Corequisites: BIOL:3172 or BIOL:3373, if not taken as a prerequisite. Recommendations: grade of C or higher in BIOL:3172.
BIOL:3713 Molecular Genetics4 s.h.
Mechanism, regulation of RNA, DNA, protein biosynthesis, with emphasis on methods of genetic analysis; application of modern recombinant DNA techniques to basic problems. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 or BIOC:3120.
BIOL:3716 Genetics and Biotechnology Lab4 s.h.
Expansion of genetic concepts introduced in BIOL:2512; introduction to genetic/molecular techniques currently used in genetic analysis and biotechnology. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411. Corequisites: BIOL:2512 or BIOL:2211, if not taken as a prerequisite. Recommendations: grade of C or higher in BIOL:2512.
BIOL:3736 Developmental Biology Lab4 s.h.
Experimental manipulation of embryos to examine mechanisms of early development, including gametogenesis and fertilization, cleavage, gastrulation, pattern formation and organogenesis; in vivo imaging of development, methods to visualize gene expression and independent research; model organisms including sea urchin, fish, frog, chick, mouse. Prerequisites: BIOL:3233.
BIOL:3743 Basic Biology of Human Disease2 s.h.
Basic problems of infectious disease; selected viral, bacterial, and fungal pathogens, with emphasis on fungal pathogenesis; DNA fingerprinting; epidemiological study of disease dynamics. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512.
BIOL:3898 Teaching Internship in Biology2 s.h.
Training in teaching the laboratory component of a large General Education biology course; weekly session with instructor, shadowing and assisting a graduate teaching assistant in a lab section, leading laboratory exercises. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 with a minimum grade of B and BIOL:1412 with a minimum grade of B. Requirements: junior or senior standing.
BIOL:3994 Introduction to Research2-3 s.h.
Conduct independent scientific research related to the field of biology.
BIOL:4213 Bioinformatics4 s.h.
Overview of bioinformatics topics, including access to sequence data, pairwise and multiple sequence alignment algorithms, molecular phylogeny, microarray data analysis, protein analysis, proteomics and protein structure analysis; emphasis on each topic includes biological motivation, computational approach (practical and theoretical), and interpretation of output. Prerequisites: BIOC:3120 or MICR:3170 or BIOL:2512. Recommendations: grade of B+ or higher in BIOL:2512 or BIOC:3120, or graduate standing. Same as GENE:4213, IGPI:4213.
BIOL:4273 Population Genetics and Molecular Evolution3 s.h.
Nucleotide sequences, genes, and mutation; rates and patterns of nucleotide substitution; selection at the molecular level and the neutral theory; population genetics theory; genome evolution. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 with a minimum grade of C- or BIOL:2211 with a minimum grade of C-. Requirements: grade of C- or higher in BIOL:2211 or BIOL:2512, or graduate standing. Recommendations: grade of C- or higher in BIOL:3172. Same as IGPI:4273.
BIOL:4316 Summer Practicum in Genomics2 s.h.
Major areas of genomics, including sequence similarity searching, whole genome comparisons, phylogenetic analysis, and regulatory informatics; computer workshop experience in application of bioinformatics tools. Prerequisites: BIOL:4213 or BIOL:3314.
BIOL:4333 Genes and Development3 s.h.
Mechanisms by which genes control development of multicellular animals; methodology of scientific research applied to developmental genetics. Prerequisites: BIOL:2512 with a minimum grade of C-. Recommendations: BIOL:3233.
BIOL:4353 Neurophysiology3-4 s.h.
Physiological properties of nerve cells, nervous systems; axonal conduction, synaptic transmission, sensory transduction, integrative processes, higher functions. Prerequisites: (MATH:1850 or MATH:1460) and (PHYS:1612 or PHYS:1512) and BIOL:2753. Same as NSCI:4353.
BIOL:4373 Molecular Phylogenetics3 s.h.
Theory underlying phylogenetic analysis with application of these methods to molecular data sets; analysis of multigene data, organellar, and nuclear genome sequences to reconstruct the history of cells. Prerequisites: BIOL:3172 with a minimum grade of C-. Same as IGPI:4373.
BIOL:4753 Developmental Neurobiology3 s.h.
Neural induction and nervous system patterning; neurogenesis, axon and dendrite outgrowth and targeting; synapse formation, specificity, refinement; mechanisms of neuronal cell death; myelination; neural stem cells; introduction to cellular, molecular, and genetic techniques in studies of neural development. Prerequisites: BIOL:2753 with a minimum grade of C-. Corequisites: BIOL:3253. Same as MPB:4753, NSCI:4753.
BIOL:4897 Teaching Internship in Biology2-3 s.h.
Training and practical experiences in the teaching of biology; includes a weekly training session with a Ph.D. instructor or course supervisor, active assistance of the primary instructor in one or more class meetings each week, and/or providing constructive written feedback on laboratory or classroom exercises; additional experiences may include leading a training session, co-teaching or lead-teaching one or more lab or classroom exercises, and assisting with the development of classroom activities or resources; specific experiences will vary depending on the course and supervisor needs. Prerequisites: BIOL:1411 with a minimum grade of B and BIOL:1412 with a minimum grade of B. Requirements: third- or fourth-year standing and interview with instructor.
BIOL:4898 Communicating Research1 s.h.
Independent, investigative research experience; research process and communication—establishing goals and expectations with a mentor, developing and framing a research hypothesis or question, communicating results in written and oral form to scientist and nonscientist audiences; supportive learning environment to share research experiences and develop identities as scientists, learn skills to become effective independent researchers and science communicators. Corequisites: BIOL:3994 or BIOL:4999.
BIOL:4998 Honors Seminar in Biology2 s.h.
Requirements: honors standing.
BIOL:4999 Honors Investigationsarr.
Conduct independent scientific research related to the field of biology. Requirements: honors standing in biology, UI g.p.a. of at least 3.33, and biology g.p.a. of at least 3.33.
BIOL:5127 Topics in Cell and Development1-2 s.h.
BIOL:5157 Topics in Neurobiology1-2 s.h.
Topics vary. Prerequisites: BIOL:3253 with a minimum grade of B-.
BIOL:5177 Topics in Evolution and Ecology1-2 s.h.
BIOL:5199 Critical Readings in Biologyarr.
BIOL:5211 Genes, Genomes, and the Human Condition Graduate Lecture3 s.h.
Organization, expression, and evolution of genes in context of genomes; focus on human genome; distribution and transmission of variation in human population. Recommendations: BIOL:1411 highly recommended. Same as IGPI:5211.
BIOL:5218 Microscopy for Biomedical Researcharr.
Basic microscopy methods for research including optics, preparation, and analysis of biomedical specimens; light, fluorescence, confocal, transmitting electron, scanning electron, atomic force microscopes, elemental analysis; immunochemistry and stereology techniques; individualized laboratory instruction. Prerequisites: BIOL:2723. Same as ACB:5218, MICR:5218.
BIOL:5220 Advanced Microscopy for Biomedical Researcharr.
Technically advanced microscopy and instrumentation for research; individualized laboratory experience with opportunity to explore applications of microscopy methods. Requirements: for ACB:5220 -- an introductory microscopy course; for BIOL:5220 -- ACB:4156 or ACB:5218 or CBE:4156 or EES:4156 or MICR:5218; for MICR:5220 -- an introductory EM course. Same as ACB:5220, MICR:5220.
BIOL:5320 Computational Genomics3 s.h.
Introduction to computational methods used in genome analysis and functional genomics; biological sequence analysis, sequence database search, microarray data analysis, biological network analysis; in-depth coverage of principal genome science challenges and recent solutions. Prerequisites: (BIOS:4120 or STAT:3510) and BME:5320 and (CS:3110 or ENGR:1300). Same as BME:5330, ECE:5220, GENE:5173, IGPI:5330.
BIOL:5412 Fundamental Genetics - Graduate Lecture3 s.h.
Nature and function of genetic material; classical, molecular, and developmental aspects. Corequisites: BIOL:5512.
BIOL:5512 Fundamental Genetics - Graduate Discussion1 s.h.
Critical evaluation of classic genetics papers. Requirements: biology graduate standing.
BIOL:5653 Fundamental Neurobiology4 s.h.
Neurobiology from molecular/cellular to systems levels, including cell biology of neuron; membrane electrophysiology, synaptic transmission and plasticity, functional neuroanatomy, sensory systems from periphery to CNS, peripheral and central motor systems, autonomic systems emotion, memory, sleep, language, attention and cognition, development of nervous system; discussion of classic and recent journal articles. Same as NSCI:5653, PSY:5203.
BIOL:5753 Developmental Neuroscience1 s.h.
Neural induction and nervous system patterning; neurogenesis, axon, and dendrite outgrowth and targeting; synapse formation, specificity, refinement; mechanisms of neuronal cell death; myelination; neural stem cells; introduction to cellular, molecular, and genetic techniques in studies of neural development. Prerequisites: BIOL:5653. Same as NSCI:5753.
BIOL:6188 Seminar: Writing in Natural Sciences2 s.h.
Writing and critiquing skills in the natural sciences.
BIOL:6199 Research: Biologyarr.
BIOL:6265 Neuroscience Seminar0-1 s.h.
BIOL:6298 Concepts, Models, and Systems in Biology (COSMOS) Seminar1-2 s.h.
Analysis and presentation of primary research on central biological questions utilizing a full array of model and non-model organisms and analytical approaches; development of effective skills in public speaking, presentation, and scientific writing.
BIOL:6899 Independent Study in Biologyarr.
BIOL:7090 Principles of Scholarly Integrity1 s.h.
Training in responsible conduct of research; student/mentor responsibilities; authorship and reviewing; plagiarism/falsification/fabrication of data; intellectual property; conflict of interest; fiscal, institutional, societal; treatment of human and animal subjects; data handling. Requirements: enrollment in graduate psychology or biology program. Same as PSY:7090.
BIOL:7604 Principles of Scholarly Integrity0 s.h.
Training in responsible conduct of research and scholarly activities; student/mentor responsibilities; authorship; plagiarism/falsification/fabrication of data; intellectual property; conflict of interest; fiscal, institutional, societal; treatment of human and animal subjects; data handling. Requirements: postdoctoral standing in psychology or biology. Same as PSY:7604.