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Graduate Course Information

* BIOL 430 Biological Chemistry

An introductory course describing the essential principles of biochemistry. Topics include the structure and characterization of biological macromolecules, the energetics and thermodynamics of coupled biological reactions, and enzymology. The most important metabolic pathways are described, emphasizing their cellular compartmentalization, integration and control. Prerequisites: BIOL 303 and CHEM 352. [4]
* Class is offered at both the graduate and undergraduate level

BIOL 600 Advanced Laboratory Projects in Biological Sciences

This course is primarily for graduate students at the M.S. level. It is designed to increase the student’s familiarity with modern experimental techniques employed in the biological sciences. Students will be assigned to individually supervised laboratory projects. A detailed account of the progress of the project will be required. [1-4]

BIOL 601 Advanced Tutorial Projects in Biological Sciences

Independent studies to be carried out by graduate students under the supervision of a faculty member. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. [1-4]

BIOL 602 Introduction to Laboratory/Field Research

The purpose of this course is to introduce incoming graduate students to the breadth of possible research areas at UMBC. A student taking this course will do research for roughly half a regular semester in each of two or three professors’ laboratories. This will provide the student with an acquaintance with laboratory techniques and faculty members in several areas before making a decision on his or her thesis advisor. One credit is earned per laboratory. [1-3]

BIOL 605 Advanced Topics in Comparative Animal Physiology

This course takes a comparative approach to the study of how various selective pressures have resulted in the evolution of specific solutions to physiological problems. These solutions are viewed within the context of the fundamental limitations to biological evolution that are set by the physical and chemical properties of matter. The exact topic will change from semester to semester. Representative topics might include vision, temperature regulation and thermal tolerance, renal physiology, or cognitive neurophysiology. Most of the material covered will be from original research reports that will be evaluated critically by each student. Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor. [4]

BIOL 610 Management of Municipal Aquaria

This course will focus on the organization and operation of aquaria and aquaculture facilities. The scientific and practical criteria used to select the mammals, fish, and invertebrates displayed at aquaria or the species grown commercially by aquaculture methods will be described, as will the taxonomy, ecology, population dynamics, collection methods, transportation, nutrition, methods of handling, and health maintenance of those species. Finally, the roles and missions of such facilities will be discussed, with particular attention to aquaria. This segment of the course will demonstrate how marketing and visitors’ services as well as programs in education and research are used to meet civic responsibilities and public concerns. [2]

BIOL 611 Bacterial Physiology

The combined approaches of bacterial genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry are applied to the study of bacterial physiological processes. An emphasis is placed on examining adaptation strategies used by bacteria upon encountering alterations in environment. Topics include mechanisms of transcriptional and pos translational control, regulation of carbon and nitrogen metabolism, biosynthesis, energy transduction, signal transduction systems, and bacterial development, Prerequisites: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 or consent of instructor. BI0L 430 or CHEM 437 is recommended. [4]

BIOL 612 Microbial Systems and Synthetic Biology

This advanced course analyzes principles and current topics in bacterial physiology, genetics, and metabolism. The study of microorganisms as a complex system will be considered in the context of the transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome. Topics will include regulatory networks used for complex metabolic processes, how microbes sense their surroundings, mechanisms microbes use to survive in extreme environments, and biotechnological applications of studying microbial systems.[4]

BIOL 614 Eukaryotic Genetics and Molecular Biology

Genetics and molecular biology of lower and higher eukaryotes and their viruses. The course will focus on the maintenance and expression of genetic material as it relates to cell growth and development. It will cover current topics in the molecular genetics of several lower and higher eukaryotes at an advanced level, including mechanisms of genetic control that operate at the level of DNA replication, transcription and translation. Topics to include the molecular basis of phenomena, such as gene amplification, global control of transcription initiation, protein sorting and secretion, control of yeast mating type as a model for development, the origin of antigen diversity, oncogenesis, pattern formation in Drosophila and sex determination in mammals. Prerequisite: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 615 Systems Biology

This course introduces the fundamentals of Systems Biology from an interdisciplinary perspective. Topics include the design of biological systems, network structures and motifs, their dynamic and emergent properties, and methods to infer them from experimental data. The course will study biological systems and their control mechanisms at all levels from gene to population networks, and will cover recent applications in science and medicine that allows us to predict cellular behaviors and design optimal drug responses. Prerequisite: BIOL 313 or CMSC 201 or MATH 152 or permission of instructor. [4]

BIOL 618 Human Molecular Biology

The approaches of molecular biology and modern cell biology as applied to the study of both normal and diseased human states. Where appropriate, the analysis of other mammalian experimental systems may be included. The course will involve the critical reading and discussion of the relevant research literature and the preparation of one or more papers on specific issues or topics. The precise topics covered in any one semester will depend on the interest of the faculty and students and with current developments in the field. Possible topics include: the molecular and cellular basis for human disease, human molecular genetics, the human genome and proteomic project, human genetic therapy and human evolution. Note: My be repeated for credit with a different topic. Prerequisites: Undergraduate courses in genetics (e.g. BIOL 302) and cell biology (e.g. BIOL 303) consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 620 Advanced Topics in Cell Biology

A course designed to acquaint graduate students with contemporary problems of structure and function at the cellular level through a critical examination of the current literature. The course will include both lecture material, with an emphasis on the experimental basis of current knowledge, and presentations by students of oral and written reports on selected topics. The area covered in any semester will vary according to recent developments in the field and according to the interests of the students and faculty. The list of available areas includes: structure and function of biomembranes; composition, structure, and replication of chromosomes; assembly, growth, and reproduction of cytoplasmic organelles; cellular growth and division; regulation of cellular function; nuclear-cytoplasmic interactions. May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: BIOL 303, and/or consent of the instructor. [4]

BIOL 622L Biological Electron Microscopy

Theory and practice of the study of biological materials with the high resolution of electron microscope. Specimens will be prepared for examination by a variety of modern procedures. These include: tissue and cell fixation, embedding for ultrathin sectioning; carbon film preparation, mounting of particulate materials and macromolecules; positive and negative staining; metal shadowing in the vacuum evaporator; critical point drying. An introduction to scanning electron microscopy will be provided. The photographic darkroom procedures required for the production of finished electron micrographs are included. Prerequisites: BIOL 303 and/or the consent of the instructor. [3]

BIOL 625 Immunology

This course will pursue in depth the rapidly expanding areas of cellular, humoral and tumor immunology. Following a brief overview of the immune system?s response to exogenous antigen, the course will concentrate on such topics as anti-body production, structure and gene organization, lymphocyte subpopulations, cell-cell interactions, cell-mediated immune responses, cell surface alloantigens, histocompatability, immunogenetics, transplantation and tumor immunology. Note: The exact content of the course will vary from year to year depending on the status of research in the field. Prerequisite: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 or consent of instructor. Recommended: BIOL 430. [4]

BIOL 626 Approaches to Molecular Biology

This course will focus on the molecular biology of eukaryotic cells and will include such topics as the sequence organization of DNA and genes, chromosome structure, messenger RNA synthesis and processing, messenger RNA translation, and the regulation of the expression of genetic information. Prerequisites: BIOL 302, 303, or consent of the instructor. [4]

BIOL 628 Computer Applications in Molecular Biology

This course is designed as an introduction for biology and biochemistry students to the use of applications software in the analysis of DNA, RNA and protein sequence data. The course will be taught in a lab/lecture format with two lecture hours and four lab hours per week. Topics will include operating systems; telecommunications with off-campus databases and specific software packages for general and analytical treatment of DNA, RNA and protein sequence data. Some elementary programming will be included. Prerequisite: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303. [4]

BIOL 634 Microbial Molecular Genetics

The approaches of microbial genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry are combined for the study of the molecular mechanisms regulating gene expression in bacteria. Emphasis is placed on critical reading of research literature. Application of the combined approaches of microbial genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry to the study of fundamental biological processes will be demonstrated. Research literature will be used to describe the current state of knowledge of the molecular mechanisms of prokaryotic gene regulation and the genetic biochemistry of chromosome structure and DNA replication, repair and recombination. Prerequisite: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 or consent of instructor. Recommended: BIOL 430 or CHEM 437. [4]

BIOL 635L & 636 Advanced Molecular Biology Laboratory

This two-semester course is designed to demonstrate the approaches and methodologies of molecular biology used to study the organization, expression and regulation of genes. Emphasis is on acquiring facility in the design of experiments, analysis of data and troubleshooting, as well as on developing a broad range of technical skills and the ability to use modern laboratory equipment. The first part of the course focuses on in vitro or recombinant DNA/cloning techniques and emphasizes the isolation, manipulation and molecular characterization of DNA and RNA. The second part involves in vivo genetic analysis in selected prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms. It includes mutagenesis and genetic mapping in E.coli, as well as use of gene fusions to assess gene expression in vivo. Eukaryotic cell culture and immunological techniques are used to illustrate their utility in molecular biology. Note: Enrollment priority will be given to AMB students. Prerequisite: BIOL 624, CHEM 437 and CHEM 437L. [7]

BIOL 642 Introduction to Developmental Biology

A lecture and discussion course that considers the two major aspects of animal development: 1) the means by which, starting with a fertilized egg, progeny cells progressively differentiate from their precursors and one another to produce the ultimate diversity of the multicellular organism and 2) the processes by which this increasingly complex population of cells is synthesized into a single integrated organism. [4]

BIOL 643 Topics in Advanced Developmental Biology

Designed to emphasize cellular, molecular and biochemical aspects of basic developmental questions, this course will introduce the student to modern approaches to determination, differentiation and morphogenesis. Experimental design and analysis of data are emphasized. Topics include molecular and cellular aspects of gametogenesis, fertilization, embryogenesis and continuous development in the adult; mechanisms of intra- and inter-cellular communication developmental model systems using unicellular organisms will be considered. Note: May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: BIOL 642 and/or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 644 Development and Cancer

This course will explore at the molecular level the interface between animal development and cancer. Through a combination of didactic lectures, reading of the primary scientific literature, and in-class presentations students will explore the latest advances in understanding how the processes that govern normal cell growth and differentiation become altered in cancer. Topics will include signaling mechanisms, stem cell biology, and cell cycle control. Prerequisite: BIOL 642 and/or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 645 Signal Transduction

This course will examine some of the methods by which the reception of signals from the environment leads to the changes in gene and protein activity in responding cells, which constitute a biological response. Signal transduction in the context of developmental biology and neurobiology will be the main areas of study. Six to eight topics will be covered in detail. The design and interpretation of scientific experiments will be emphasized through critical reading, analysis and presentation of original articles from the primary literature. The use of genetic, molecular and biochemical techniques to address questions in the field of signal transduction will be examined. Prerequiste: Undergraduate-level courses in genetics and cell biology and permission of instructor. [4]

BIOL 651 Neurobiology

A study of nervous-system function at the cellular and organismic level. Topics include mechanisms underlying electrical activity in nerve cells and synapses, transduction and integration of sensory information, action of certain drugs and neurotoxic agents, activity in population of neurons, trophic and plastic properties of nerve cells and neural systems analysis. Prerequisite: BIOL 305 or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 653 Physiological Bases of Behavior

Studies of behavioral patterns and their physiological bases. The course begins with an extensive review of the fundamentals of neurobiology and basic principles of animal behavior, followed by neurophysiological analyses of specific invertebrate behaviors such as locomotion, feeding, prey capture and predator evasion and learning. Prerequisite: BIOL 305 or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 654 Vision Science

This course will focus in depth on visual systems of animals and humans. Coverage will span the range of modern research from the biochemistry and physiology of the photoreceptiors to the ecology, evolution and functional optimization of visual systems. Topics include visual pigments, biochemical basis of phototransduction, visual processing and organization of visual centers of the brain, eyes, optical arrays, visual evolution and ecology. Prerequisite: BIOL 305 or equivalent. Recommended: BIOL 451. [4]

BIOL 656 Plant Molecular Biology

Following a brief review of some important principles and techniques in molecular biology, this course will pursue in depth such topics as the cloning and characterization of chloroplast, mitochondrial and nuclear genomes in plants, interactions of the nuclear and chloroplast gene products, genetic engineering of the nitrogen fixation genes, DNA plant viruses and the Agrobacterium Ti plasmid. The course content will reflect the status of research in this rapidly developing area. Prerequisite: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 657 Physiology of Marine and Estuarine Animals

A study of the physiological specializations demanded by marine/estuarine environments, including the following topics: physiological mechanisms for coping with stresses imposed by extremes of temperature, salinity, aerial exposure and low oxygen concentrations; sensory physiology, including visual, chemical and mechanical modalities; exogenous and endogenous rhythms related to tidal or diel cycles and bioluminescence. Note: The course will include one or more trips to field laboratories. Prerequisite: BIOL 305. [4]

BIOL 663 Theoretical and Quantitative Genetics

Mathematical, statistical and computer techniques used in quantitative analysis of biological phenomena. Topics will include the theoretical bases for commonly used uni-variate tests, as well as multi-variate techniques, such as discriminant, canonical factor and cluster analyses. Applications of methods will be discussed. Data sets will be assigned for analysis. Note: Also listed as STAT 350. Prerequisites: BIOL 301 and BIOL 309. [4]

BIOL 666 Population and Quantitative Genetics

The emphasis in this course will be the study in natural populations of characters whose variation is controlled by multiple genes. The foundations in Mendelian and population genetics will be described, followed by a comprehensive treatment of the field of quantitative genetics and then by a discussion of the place of quantitative genetics in behavioral genetics, physiological ecology and in population biology in general. Prerequisite: STAT 350, BIOL 301 and BIOL 309 or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 676 Antibiotics: Origin, Mechanism, Resistance

Infectious agents, the bacteria and viruses, accounted for 57 percent of the deaths in the United States in 1900 and less than 4 percent in 1990. The discovery and application of antibiotics and other chemotherapeutic agents are largely responsible for this dramatic reversal. In this course, the origin of selected chemotherapeutic agents, their detailed mode of action and the basis for emergence of resistant microbial populations will be discussed. Similarly, the action of selected drugs used in chemotherapy, which attempts to control cancer cell growth, will be outlined. The principle of “rational drug design” and radical “new” methods of attacking microbial populations will be explored. Prerequisites: BIOL 302, BIOL 303, CHEM 351, BIOL 352 and BIOL 275 are recommended. [4]

BIOL 677 Applications of Biodetection Approaches

The ability to detect and identify genetic and protein markers forms a common theme for many different fields of biological sciences including medical diagnostics, environmental microbiology, food/water safety, biodefense/homeland security, and veterinary science. Because of its central role throughout a diverse set of biological disciplines the methods and approaches for biodetection are extremely varied and wide-ranging. This course begins with basic detection approaches and continues with examples of principles guiding biodetection by relating each approach to important present-day challenges facing society. The course will also include an in-depth analysis of biological principles guiding detection strategies to understand not only the potential but also the limitations of each approach. Prerequisite: BIOL 302 and BIOL 303 with a grade of C or better. [4]

BIOL 683 Genes to Genomes

Life science at the whole genome level represents a rapidly expanding new paradigm that defines a new field: genome science. This course provides students with the requisites for understanding genome science and includes experimental basics of functional genomics and analytical basics of bioinformatics. Biomedical and agricultural research are developing the potential of genome science in both the public and private sectors. Important questions that have been unapproachable are now thought to be within reach. For example, students will learn how genome science may provide tools to unravel the arcane genetics of complex diseases and traits. Information sources will include textbook(s), the primary literature and computer methods. Prerequisite: BIOL 303, CHEM 351 and either STAT 350 or STAT 355. [4]

BIOL 685 Problems in Vertebrate Evolution

This course will provide a comprehensive survey treatment of the five vertebrate classes, emphasizing paleontological approaches, their morphological and behavioral adaptations and evolution in relation to climatic and geologic change. Both past and present vertebrate communities will be considered. The laboratory component of this course will stress structure and composition of past communities, species identification and biomechanics. Prerequisite: BIOL 301 or consent of instructor. [4]

BIOL 700 Introduction to Graduate Experience

This seminar course is designed for first year graduate students who have just matriculated in the Department of Biological Sciences. This course introduces new graduate students to the graduate culture in the Department of Biological Sciences. Students are required to attend the Department?s weekly seminars as well as a one hour class discussion with the instructor. [1]

BIOL 709 Literature Research Tutorial

Tutorial designed for non-thesis M.S. candidates to research and write a scholarly paper to complete the requirements for the non-thesis master?s degree. [3]

BIOL 710 Graduate Seminar: Topics in Genetics

An examination of current problems in prokaryotic and eukaryotic genetics. Such problems may include transcription and translation, recombination, DNA and chromosome replication, chromosome organization, gene regulation and extrachromosomal inheritance. Note: May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and passage of the genetics qualifying examination. [3]

BIOL 712 Mentoring in the Sciences

This seminar course is designed for graduate students working in the sciences and addresses key concerns and challenges faced by mentors at all levels in scientific disciplines. The topics covered in this seminar include intellectual issues (scientific teaching, comprehension and learning how to ask questions), technical issues (experimental design, precision, accuracy), personal growth issues (developing confidence, creativity and independence) and interpersonal issues (dealing with students of diverse experiences and backgrounds, motivation, honesty between mentor and student, scientific integrity and discrimination). The course uses a discussion format using case studies and reading materials relevant to each topic to provide tangible starting points for discussion. The grade is based on participation in discussion, completion of written assignments and presentations in class. Prerequisites: Graduate student/post-doctoral status in a scientific discipline. [1]

BIOL 720 Graduate Seminar: Cell Structure and Function

Critical discussions on current problems in cell biology, concentrating on the structure and function of the various cellular structures and the relations among them. The topics will include the structure and function of cell membranes, the cell nucleus, mitochondria, chloroplasts and other organelles. Additional topics will include genetic transcription and translation, cell growth and division, cell motility and regulation of cellular processes. Note: May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and passage of the cell biology qualifying examination. [3]

BIOL 721 Research Seminar in Membrane Biology

Designed primarily for students currently engaged in some aspect of membrane research. Critical discussion of literature and ongoing research, a seminar presentation and a paper are required. Note: May be repeated for credit with the consent of the instructor. Prerequisite: Graduate standing in biochemistry and consent of instructor. [1]

BIOL 725 Research Seminar in Immunology

Intended primarily for students engaged in research in immunology. Students and faculty will present results of their recent experiments and/or important papers from current literature for critical discussion. Participation in the discussion of the work of others is expected. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 730 Graduate Seminar: Plant Biology

An examination and critical review of current problems in plant biology, concentrating on molecular approaches to these problems. Topics may include control of growth and development, responses to the environment, improvement of crop production in agriculture, molecular analysis of photosynthesis, host/pathogen interactions, plant reproduction and model systems for molecular genetic analyses. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor. Recommended: BIOL 304 and BIOL 456 or equivalent. [3]

BIOL 737 Research Seminar in Bioinformatics

This is a research and literature review seminar course intended primarily for students engaged in research in bioinformatics, computational biology and related disciplines. The course is based on critical discussion of current literature and ongoing research. Students are required to make seminar presentations on their work and on important new developments in these research areas. [1]

BIOL 739 Research Seminar in Molecular Biology

This course is intended primarily for students engaged in research in molecular biology. Students and faculty will present results of their recent experiments and/or important papers from current literature for critical discussion. Participation in the discussion of the work of others is expected. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 740 Graduate Seminar: Analysis of Development

An examination and critical review of literature pertaining to persistent problems in developmental biology and the differentiation of cell types. Topics to be covered include gametogenesis, fertilization and cleavage patterns, biochemical events during early embryogenesis, nucleocytoplasmic interactions in development, inductive phenomena, the role of cell contact specificities in morphogenesis, stability of the differentiated state and the hormonal controls in differentiating cell systems. The theory of differential gene expression will be evaluated by examining the cytological and biochemical evidence for time and tissue specificities of gene action. Note: May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and passage of the developmental biology qualifying examination. [3]

BIOL 745 Research Seminar in Developmental Biology

This is a research and literature review course focused on the field of developmental biology. Recent primary scientific literature and reviews reporting on important developments in the broad area of developmental biology will be presented by students and faculty for critical discussion. Topics chosen may come from work on prokaryotic, animal or plant model systems. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 750 Graduate Seminar: Advanced Topics in Organismic Biology

This seminar course is designed to familiarize the student with contemporary problems and experimental approaches in the field of regulatory biology at the organismic level. Emphasis will be placed on critical evaluation of current literature in one of the following areas: respiratory and circulatory systems, ion and water balance, mechanisms of hormonal regulation, biological basis of behavior, temperature regulation and compensation or sensory neurophysiology. The topic chosen will vary each semester. Note: May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and passage of the organismic biology qualifying examination. [3]

BIOL 754 Research Seminar in Animal Physiology and Behavior

This course is designed primarily for students engaged in research into aspects of animal physiology and behavior at the organismic and cellular levels. Critical discussion of current literature and ongoing research and a seminar presentation are required. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 755 Research Seminar in Cellular Neurobiology and Behavior

This is a research and literature review seminar course in the area of cellular neurobiology. Primary scientific literature and recent reviews reporting on important new developments in research on nervous systems will be presented and discussed. One or two general topics will provide the focus for each semester?s study. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 759 Research Seminar in Plant Biology

This course is intended primarily for students engaged in research in plant biology. Students and faculty will present results of their recent experiments and/or important papers from current literature for critical discussion. Participation in the discussion of the work of others is expected. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 760 Graduate Seminar in Ecology and Evolution

This seminar emphasizes critical examination of the literature in one or more current research areas in ecology and evolutionary biology. Possible topics include mechanisms of adaptation at different levels of organization, multi-variate interpretation of data from natural populations, evolution of life history patterns, population growth and regulation, inter-specific competition, predator-prey interactions, mutualisms and indirect effects in food webs, community structure and function and nutrient cycling and energy flow. Note: May be repeated for credit. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor and passage of the population biology qualifying examination. [3]

BIOL 769 Research Seminar in Evolution and Ecology

This course is intended primarily for students engaged in research in ecology and evolution. Students and faculty will present results of their recent experiments and/or important papers from current literature for critical discussion. Participation in the discussion of the work of others is expected. Note: May be repeated for credit. [1]

BIOL 770 Graduate Seminar in Molecular Biology

The class will consist of a series of studentled seminars related to a specific topic in molecular biology. The topic will change from year to year and normally will be in an area where substantial progress recently has been reported. Each weekly session will include student presentation of several papers assigned by the class director upon discussion with the student in charge of a given seminar. The presentation will be intermingled with discussion among the seminar participants. All students are expected to have read assigned papers before each seminar and to contribute to the discussion. Note: Grading will be based on the quality of the presentation(s) and the participation in the discussion. [3]

APMB 798 Research in Applied Molecular Biology

Students will write and submit for evaluation a scholarly paper on research undertaken in BIOL 635L and BIOL 636L during their applied molecular biology program. Enrollment is limited to students in the APMB program. [1]

MEES 799 Masters Thesis Research

Master’s thesis research under the direction of a UMBC MEES faculty member. Note: Six credit hours are required for the master’s degree. [1-6]

BIOL 799 Masters Thesis Research

Master’s thesis research is conducted under the direction of a faculty member. Note: Six credit hours required for the master’s degree with thesis. [1-6]

MEES 899 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Doctoral thesis research under the direction of a UMBC MEES faculty member. Note: Eighteen credit hours are required for the doctoral degree. [9]

BIOL 899 Doctoral Dissertation Research

Research on doctoral dissertation is conducted under direction of faculty advisor. Note: A minimum of 18 credit hours are required. [9]