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Field Stations    NSF REU    NIH Summer Research

Bio 111, General Biology (fall 2015)

Required handouts (date assigned):
Syllabus (17 Aug),  First day questions (17 Aug),  Chemical bonds (19 Aug),  Biochemical structures (26 Aug),  Biochemical functions (26 Aug),  Exam #1 Key (2 Sep),  Cell structure (14 Sep),  Problem set (16 Sep),  Problem set (21 Sep),  Exam #2 Key (23 Sep),  Membrane transport (25 Sep),  Problem set (30 Sep),  Thermodynamics (3 Oct)

Required videos (date assigned):
Biochemicals (26 Aug),  Membrane transport (28 Sep),  Thermodynamics (30 Sep)

Kinetics (tba),  Aerobic respiration (tba),  Anaerobic fermentation (tba),  Complex inheritance (tba)

Slides (date first used in lecture):
Protein structure (31 Aug),  PDB 3-D structures: 1ppi, 2ptc (31 Aug),  Biochemistry questions (9 Sep),  Cell structures (14 Sep)

Specific, highly recommended sources:
Thermodynamics: Unit 1.3 of "Essentials of Cell Biology".
Organelles:  An owner's guide to the cell;  Inner life of a cell  (excellent video)
Proteins:  Protein Data BankWhat is a protein? (excellent video), Molecular machinery.
Chemical bonds:  Khan Academy videos Atoms, molecules and ions; and Types of chemical bonds (1st 3 videos only). 
Mitosis, meiosis, and classical genetics:  Units 2.2, 2.3, 2.4 and 3.3 from "Essentials of Genetics".
Molecular genetics:  Units 1.2, 1.4, 1.5 and 1.6 from "Essentials of Genetics"; and The genetic code; and these animations: DNA replicationtranscriptiontranslation.

General recommended  sources:
1.  An introductory textbook for biology majors.  Two good examples are Campbell et al., and Sadava et al.
2.  Online books from Nature Education: GeneticsEssentials of Cell Biology, and Cancer.
3.  Inside the Cell, from NIH. The structure and function of organelles.
4.  Glossaries of biological terms: 12.

Other resources:
Metabolic pathways (interactive map of all the pathways).
Searchable books: Molecular Biology of the CellThe Cell, and Biochemistry.
Exams and keys from previous years.
Drop-in tutoring hours, at the Office of Student Learning.


Biol 444/544, Evolutionary Biology (fall 2015)

Required handouts (date assigned):
Syllabus (17 Aug),  Major ideas in evolutionary biology (17 Aug),  Problem set (19 Aug),  Non-graded "exam" (21 Aug),  Problem set key (26 Aug),  Review papers (28 Aug, Bio 544 only),  Exam key (28 Aug),  Phylogeny definitions (31 Aug),  Problem set key (2 Sep),  Exam key (4 Sep),  Genetics questions (9 Sep, non-graded),  Population genetics #1 (14 Sep),  Problem set key (16 Sep),  Exam key (18 Sep),  Population genetics #2 (21 Sep),  Problem set key (23 Sep),  Exam key (25 Sep, revised),  Quantitative genetics (28 Sep),  Problem set key (30 Sep),  Exam key (2 Oct)

Slides (date used in class):

Hominin carbon isotopes (24 Aug),  Phylogeny (31 Aug),  Mutations (11 Sep)

References and websites cited in class:

Cerling et al. 2013.  Stable isotope-based reconstructions of Turkana Basin hominins.
Tree of Life Web Project.
Kong et al. 2012.  Rate of de novo mutations and the importance of father's age to disease risk.
Denver et al. 2000.  High direct estimate of the mutation rate in the mitochondrial genome of Caenorhabditis elegans.

Other resources:
Annual Review of Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics.  Good examples of review papers, for students taking Bio 544.

Teaching and learning

This is not the official NMT logo, but it should be, proudly:

Minerva University: A new 4-year college that teaches skills, not facts.  It may be a glimpse of what will replace typical colleges and universities.
The future of college?  An article in The Atlantic about Minerva.

Oakley (2014).  A mind for numbers: How to excel at math and science (even if you flunked algebra).   An excellent book on the neurobiology of learning, with practical advice.
Rules of good (and bad) studying, by Barbara Oakley.
Richard Felder's research on science and engineering education.

Karpicke and Blunt (2011).  Retrieval practice produces more learning than elaborative studying with concept mapping.    Don't study passively.  Instead, quiz yourself, over and over.

Belluck (2011).  To really learn, quit studying and take a test.  A New York Times article about the findings of Karpicke and Blunt (2011).

Tufte E. The Cognitive Style of PowerPoint.  PowerPoint weakens reasoning.  Never read aloud from slides.

Excellent books

Austad SN. Why We Age. Both the physiological why and the evolutionary why.
Brand, S. Whole Earth Discipline: An Ecopragmatist Manifesto.   Only science and engineering can solve environmental problems.
Csikszentmihalyi M. Finding Flow.   Happiness comes from doing difficult things.
Dawkins R. The Selfish Gene.   Evolution is stranger than you thought.
Diamond J. Guns, Germs, and Steel.  Why didn't Native Americans invade Europe?
Kelly, K. What Technology Wants.  Biology and technology are inseparable.
Simpson, GG.  Quantitative Zoology.  A classic, readable introduction to the biological applications of statistical methods.
Vogel S. Life in Moving Fluids.   The interface between physics and biology.
Weiner J. The Beak of the Finch.   A lifetime of field work on the evolution of Galapagos finches.
Weiner J. Time, Love, Memory.   How to be an experimental biologist, and why fruit fly behavior matters.
Wilson EO. The Social Conquest of Earth.  Ants and humans rule because of their social structures.  Group selection can work.