Microbial Science Courses - Microbial Sciences Initiative

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MICROBIAL SCIENCES COURSES at HARVARD
Existing and Upcoming Departmental Courses
(Revision 1/20/09 CH/RM)
Summary
- Note: Further details and descriptions for currently offered and upcoming courses can be found in the
next section of this document. This summary only lists courses for Spring 2009.
- Please consult the official Harvard Course Catalog for latest updates as this document is for reference
purposes only.
Microbial Sciences Initiative sponsored courses:

Life Sciences 110. A Microbial World. A. Pearson, R. Kolter, J. Clardy. T/Th., 8:30-10. Geological
Museum 310.

Life Sciences 100r. Experimental Research in the Life Sciences (formerly *MCB 100r, offered each
semester). A. Vail, Lead Instructor, with 1 or more sections led by MSI-associated faculty and
postdocs). F., 2-4. Biological Labs 1058.
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology

OEB 191. Physiological and Biochemical Adaptation. P. Girguis and S. Combes. T/Th., 11:30-1.
Biological Labs 1075/1077.

OEB 227. Molecular Approaches to Environmental Microbiology. C. Cavanaugh. Consult
department for meeting time and location.
Earth and Planetary Sciences

EPS 8. History of the Earth. Peter John Huybers and Andrew H. Knoll. T/Th., 1-2:30. Haller Hall
102.

EPS 137. Biogeochemistry. A. Pearson. T/Th., 2:30-4. Consult department for location.
Chemistry and Chemical Biology

CHEM 27. Organic Chemistry of Life. G. Verdine and C. Walsh. M/W., 2:30-4. Science Center B.
Molecular and Cellular Biology

MCB 212. Topics in Biophysics. H. Berg. F., 2:30-4. Biological Labs 2062/2064.
Biophysics

BIOPHYSICS 242r. Special Topics in Biophysics. J. Hogle, P. Silver, and J. Szostak. T/Th., 3:30-5.
HMS: Warren Alpert Building 436.
Harvard Medical School (Microbiology)

Microbiology 200. Molecular Microbiology and Pathogenesis. S. Lory (Medical School) and members
of the Faculty. M/W/F., 9-10:30. HMS: Warren Alpert Building 341.

Microbiology 209. Molecular Biology of Bacteria. R. Kolter (Medical School). Consult department for
meeting time and location.

Microbiology 213. Social Issues in Biology. J. Beckwith and R. Kolter. Th., 1-4. HMS: Warren Alpert
Building 341.

Microbiology 300. Advanced Topics in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. M. Goldberg and S.
Dove. T., 9:30-11:30. Consult Marcia Goldberg for location.
Details for each course:
Note: Highlighted text indicates changes in course information that are not yet reflected in the online
catalogue. Brackets [ ] indicate the course is not taught in the current term.
Microbial Sciences Initiative sponsored courses:
Life Sciences 110. A Microbial World
Catalog Number: 5701
Ann Pearson, Jon Clardy (Medical School), and Roberto G. Kolter (Medical School)
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., 8:30-10. EXAM GROUP: 10, 11
This course will cover the broad spectrum of microbial sciences from biodiversity to the crucial
impact of microorganisms on geological history, the environment, climate, and world health. The
course will be taught by an academically diverse team of three Microbial Sciences Initiative
(MSI) faculty at a rigorous and fast-paced level appropriate for upper-level undergraduates.
Topics include the origins and molecules of life, biogeochemical cycles, microbial diversity, and
ecology.
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1a and Life Sciences 1b or higher, or Physical Sciences 1 or higher,
or permission of the instructor.
[Life Sciences 190r (formerly Life Sciences 190hf): Diverse Microbial Strategies for
Metabolism, Pathogenesis, and Chemical Signaling]
Harvard College/GSAS: 7185
Enrollment: Limited to 30.
Michael Gilmore (Medical School), and members of the Faculty
Meeting Time: Fall: F., 8:30-11:45. EXAM GROUP: 2, 3, 4
This is an interdisciplinary graduate-level and advanced undergraduate-level course in which
students explore topics in molecular microbiology, microbial diversity, and microbially-mediated
geochemistry in depth. This course will be taught by faculty from the Microbial Sciences
Initiative.
Note: Expected to be given in 2009-2010.
Prerequisite: For advanced undergraduates, Life Sciences 1a and 1b are required, or
permission of the instructor. MCB 52 is recommended.
*Life Sciences 100r. Experimental Research in the Life Sciences
Catalog Number: 2122 Enrollment: Limited to 30.
Alain Viel and members of the Department
(with 1 or more sections led by MSI-associated faculty and postdocs)
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). Spring: F., 2-4. EXAM GROUP: Spring: 7, 8
A laboratory course that immerses students in a dynamic project-based research environment.
Participate in experimental projects directly linked with ongoing faculty research. Students select
a project from the following research tracks: neurobiology, microbial sciences, cell biology, and
synthetic biology. New projects, including some in other research fields, are offered every term.
In a highly collaborative atmosphere, students form a fully-functional research group based on
the sharing of ideas and progress reports between projects.
Note: Location of the first meeting will be announced on the course website. Open to freshmen,
sophomores, juniors, and seniors, regardless of concentration, and suitable for students either
with or without extensive laboratory experience. The course may only be repeated once and
the second enrollment must be approved by the instructor.
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1a or permission of the instructor. Students interested in a
neurobiology project will need MCB 80 or permission of the instructor.
Organismic and Evolutionary Biology
OEB 54. Biology of the Fungi
Catalog Number: 9326
Donald H. Pfister and Anne Pringle
Half course (fall term). Tu., Th., 1-2:30 and a weekly laboratory on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 5.
EXAM GROUP: 15, 16
This intensive course explores the fascinating diversity of the kingdom fungi, including evolution,
ecology and morphology. All the major groups of fungi from smuts to molds will be included.
Students will use a variety of techniques to learn about fungi and their activities.
Note: There is a weekly laboratory and at least one weekend field trip and several afternoon
field trips are required (dates to be announced).
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1a and 1b or permission of instructor.
OEB 107. Evolution of Plant Life in Geologic Time
Catalog Number: 1318
Andrew H. Knoll
Half course (fall term). M., W., at 10 and a weekly 2-hour lab to be arranged. EXAM GROUP: 3
Origin, evolution, dispersal, paleoecology, and geologic history of the major groups of the plant
kingdom. Laboratory study of representative groups, living and fossil.
Prerequisite: OEB 10 or permission of instructor.
[OEB 118. Biological Oceanography]
Catalog Number: 7752
James J. McCarthy
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., 10-11:30. EXAM GROUP: 12, 13
The ocean as an ecological system, with focus on environmental-organismal interactions that
regulate plankton production and transfer to higher trophic levels. Specific topics include bloom
events, the limits to fish harvest, and the effects of climate change on ocean systems. Plankton
demonstrations and optional coastal research vessel day trip.
Note: Expected to be given in 2010-2011. For biology and other natural science concentrators.
Prerequisite: OEB 10 or BS 51, and Life Sciences 1a or LPS A, Physical Sciences 1, or
permission of instructor.
[OEB 119. Deep Sea Biology]
Catalog Number: 1397
Peter R. Girguis
Half course (will be taught in fall term in 2009, but is usually taught in spring term -starting again
in 2010). M., W., 1–2:30. EXAM GROUP: 6, 7
The oceans contain 97% of Earth’s water, and host the most disparate ecosystems on the
planet. This course provides an introduction to deep ocean habitats, macrofauna and
microorganisms. Emphasis is placed on the physiological adaptations of organisms to their
environment, as well the role of microbes in mediating oceanic biogeochemical cycles.
Note: Expected to be given in 2009–2010.
[OEB 123. Biology of Symbiosis]
Catalog Number: 0508
Colleen M. Cavanaugh
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., 11:30-1. EXAM GROUP: 13, 14
An examination of the major aspects of endosymbiosis with emphasis on mutualism, although
some parasitic interactions are covered. Topics include origins of the eukaryotic cell, specificity
and recognition of partners, distribution and diversity of associations, and coevolution of host
and symbiont.
Note: Expected to be given in 2009-2010.
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1b (or BS 50), OEB 10 (or BS 51), and MCB 52 or equivalent, or
permission of instructor.
OEB 191. Physiological and Biochemical Adaptation
Catalog Number: 2314
Peter R. Girguis and Stacey A. Combes
Half course (spring term). T., Th., 11:30-1. EXAM GROUP: 13, 14
This course examines how metabolic systems in organisms, from microbes to mammals, have
evolved to maintain function throughout the wide range of habitats found on Earth. Emphasis is
placed on organismal physiology and biochemical evolution in response to the environment,
including the oxygenation of earth's atmosphere and the so-called "extreme" environments.
Topics will include pH regulation, thermo-tolerance, desiccation, locomotion, as well as
numerous novel physiological adaptations.
Prerequisite: OEB 10 or BS 51 or MCB 56 (formerly BS 56) or permission of the instructor.
OEB 192. Microbial Evolution
Catalog Number: 5019
Christopher Marx
Half course (fall term). M., W., 2:30-4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
An examination of the evolution of microbes through an integration of lectures and discussion of
primary literature. Additionally, students will be involved in two experimental evolution projects:
one involving microbes in the laboratory, the other with 'digital organisms.' We will focus on a
series of broad questions for which we will draw upon knowledge from both lab-based study of
experimental microcosms and comparative studies of natural populations.
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1a and Life Sciences 1b or equivalent required. OEB 53 (formerly
BS 53) or equivalent recommended but not required.
[OEB 221. Microbial Diversity]
Catalog Number: 1234
Colleen M. Cavanaugh
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Examines the remarkable diversity of prokaryotes. Physiological, genetic, ecological, and
evolutionary characteristics of Bacteria and Archaea divisions are discussed, as well as the
relation of phenotype to phylogeny.
Note: Expected to be given in 2009-2010.
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1b (formerly BS 50) and OEB 10 or BS 51, and MCB 52 or
equivalent, or permission of instructor.
OEB 227. Molecular Approaches to Environmental Microbiology
Catalog Number: 4444
Colleen M. Cavanaugh
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged.
Critical review and discussion of current advances in our understanding of biodiversity,
community structure, and metabolic activities in Bacteria and Archaea resulting from the
application of cellular and molecular approaches in diverse environments.
Prerequisite: Earth and Planetary Sciences 30 or permission of instructor.
Earth and Planetary Sciences
Earth and Planetary Sciences 8. History of the Earth
Catalog Number: 0166
Peter John Huybers and Andrew H. Knoll
Half course (spring term). T., Th., 1-2:30; two hours of laboratory weekly and a one-day field
trip. EXAM GROUP: 15, 16
Examines the major stages and critical events in the history of the Earth, with emphasis on the
interactions between global tectonics, the climate system, and biological evolution. Topics range
from the formation of the Earth and other planets, to catastrophic events that drove mass
extinctions, to the most recent period of human interaction with the environment. Laboratories
introduce methods of investigation and analysis of the geological record.
Note: Weekend field trip.
Prerequisite: Secondary-school courses in science (physics, chemistry, biology) and calculus.
Earth and Planetary Sciences 137. Biogeochemistry
Catalog Number: 1923
Ann Pearson
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., 2:30-4. EXAM GROUP: 16, 17
Introduction to biological and organic chemistry of the Earth's environment. Primary focus on the
cycles of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen with emphasis on processes occurring at the
molecular level. Includes an introduction to light stable isotope geochemistry and the isotopic
records of individual biomolecules in marine and terrestrial environments.
Note: Given in alternate years.
Prerequisite: A course in college-level chemistry or equivalent. Chemistry 17 or 27 strongly
recommended.
Engineering Sciences
ES 164/264 Aqueous and Environmental Chemistry
Catalog Number: 4099
Colleen M. Hansel and Steven C. Wofsy
Half course (fall term). M., W., 1-2:30. EXAM GROUP: 6, 7
Present basic concepts, principles, and applications of environmental chemistry for students in
environmental engineering, geology, chemistry, biology and related fields. Goal is to explore
and apply the fundamental chemical principles of thermodynamics, kinetics, chemical bonding,
and mass transfer to understand Earth processes and solve complex environmental problems.
Survey a variety of environmental chemistry topics, including acid-base chemistry, aqueous
speciation, solution-mineral-gas equilibria, oxidation-reduction reactions, kinetics,
precipitation/dissolution, and atmospheric chemistry.
Note: Cannot be taken for credit by students who have already taken ENG-SCI 264.
Prerequisite: Physical Sciences 1 or permission of the instructors.
Engineering Sciences 166/266 : Environmental Microbiology
Catalog Number: 3177
Colleen M. Hansel
Half course (fall term). T.,Th., 2-4:30. EXAM GROUP: 16, 17
This course is designed to introduce students to the fundamental concepts of microbiology and
biochemistry in the context of Earth systems and environmental engineering. The goal is to
explore the diverse role of microorganisms in biogeochemical cycling, biotechnology, and
biodeterioration. General topics include cell structure and chemistry, microbial metabolism,
bioenergetics, microbial ecology, energy generation, and pollutant degradation.
Prerequisite: LS 1 or permission of instructor.
Chemistry and Chemical Biology
Chemistry 27. Organic Chemistry of Life
Catalog Number: 5978
Gregory L. Verdine and Christopher T. Walsh (Medical School)
Half course (spring term). M., W., 2:30-4, and a discussion section, and a five-hour laboratory
each week, to be arranged. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
Chemical principles that govern the processes driving living systems are illustrated with
examples drawn from biochemistry, cell biology, and medicine. The course deals with organic
chemical reactivity (reaction mechanisms, structure-reactivity relationships), with matters
specifically relevant to the life sciences (chemistry of proteins, nucleic acids, drugs, natural
products, cofactors, signal transduction), and with applications of chemical biology to medicine
and biotechnology. An understanding of organic reactions and their "arrow" pushing
mechanisms is required.
Note: Chemistry 27 and 30 may both be taken for degree credit. See note for Chemistry 17.
This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Core area requirement for Science A.
Prerequisite: Chemistry 17 or Chemistry 30 or Chemistry 20 with permission of the instructor.
Molecular and Cellular Biology
MCB 52. Molecular Biology
Catalog Number: 1938
Richard M. Losick and A. Thomas Torello
Half course (fall term). M., W., F., at 10, and one laboratory/discussion session weekly. EXAM
GROUP: 3
An integrated and quantitative introduction to the basic principles of molecular biology, with an
emphasis on experimental methods and problem solving. The course begins with the
biochemistry and structure of DNA; continues with the Central Dogma of molecular biology
including DNA replication and repair, transcription and RNA processing, and translation; and
concludes with an overview of gene regulation and systems biology.
Note: This course, when taken for a letter grade, meets the Core area requirement for Science
B.
Prerequisite: Life Sciences 1a and Life Sciences 1b, or by permission of the instructor.
[MCB 140. Introduction to Biophysics]
Catalog Number: 9736
Enrollment: Limited to 40.
Howard C. Berg and Aravinthan D. T. Samuel
Half course (fall term). Hours to be arranged.
An introduction to the biology and physics of stochastic processes that affect the behavior of
cells, biopolymers, and biological motors. Elements of probability and statistics, entropic
elasticity, the random walk, diffusion, sedimentation, and electrophoresis. Applications to
sensory physiology, cell motility, stretching and twisting of DNA, and the motion of motors along
biopolymers.
Note: Given in alternate years. Expected to be given in 2009-2010. Lectures, problem sets, and
discussions. May not be taken for credit by students who have taken Physics 140.
Prerequisite: Mathematics at the level of 21a, Physics 15a/15b or Physics 11a/11b or
permission of the instructor. Some familiarity with elementary statistical mechanics helpful.
MCB 212. Topics in Biophysics
Catalog Number: 3351
Howard C. Berg
Half course (spring term). F., 2:30-4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8
A reading course covering topics of motility and sensory transduction; chemotaxis in bacteria;
flagellar motility; prokaryotic and eukaryotic motor molecules.
Note: Given in alternate years. A term paper and seminar are required.
Biophysics
Biophysics 242r. Special Topics in Biophysics
Catalog Number: 6011
James M. Hogle (Medical School), Pamela A. Silver (Medical School), and Jack Szostak
(Medical School)
Half course (spring term). Tu., Th., 3:30-5. EXAM GROUP: 17, 18
This year, the focus will be on Synthetic Biology. We will cover the design and implementation
of novel cell-based systems, construction of novel genomes and the chemical basis for building
new self-replicating systems.
Note: Weekly lectures with occasional discussion sections.
Harvard Medical School
Microbiology 200. Molecular Microbiology and Pathogenesis
Catalog Number: 7773
Stephen Lory (Medical School) and members of the Faculty
Half course (spring term). M., W., F., 9-10:30.
Devoted primarily to bacterial structure, physiology, genetics, regulatory mechanisms and
pathogenesis. Class consists of lectures, presentations emphasizing methods, results and
interpretation of classic and contemporary literature, guest seminars, and small group
discussions of papers.
Note: Offered jointly with the Medical School as MG 726.0.
Microbiology 205. Mechanisms of Microbial Pathogenesis
Catalogue Number: 2480
Clyde S. Crumpacker II (Medical School) and associates
Half course (fall term). Tu., Th., 8:30–1.
The mechanisms of bacterial, mycoplasmal, fungal, and viral pathogenesis are covered. Topics
are selected for intrinsic interest and cover the spectrum of pathophysiologic mechanisms of the
infectious process. Emphasis on pathogenesis at the molecular level.
Note: Offered jointly with the Medical School as HT 040.
Prerequisite: A background course in molecular biology is strongly encouraged.
Microbiology 209. Molecular Biology of Bacteria
Catalog Number: 2698
Enrollment: Limited to 12.
Roberto G. Kolter (Medical School)
Half course (spring term). Hours to be arranged. One meeting per week.
Provides in-depth coverage of bacterial development and genomics. Students research topics
and prepare lectures. Lectures are followed by discussions of key publications. The specific
topics covered vary every year depending on student interest.
Note: Given in alternate years. Open to graduate and advanced undergraduate students.
Contact the instructor at least two weeks before the start of spring term via email at
[email protected] Offered jointly with the Medical School as MG 727.0.
Microbiology 213. Social Issues in Biology
Catalog Number: 7905
Enrollment: Limited to 18.
Jonathan R. Beckwith (Medical School) and Roberto G. Kolter (Medical School)
Half course (spring term). Th., 1-4.
Readings, discussion of social/ethical aspects of biology: history, philosophy of science;
evolution vs. creationism; genetics and race; women and science; genetic testing; stem cell
research; science journalism; genetics and the law; scientists and social responsibility.
Note: Offered jointly with the Medical School as MG 722.0. Alternates yearly between the
Longwood and the Cambridge Campuses.
Prerequisite: Some background in genetics.
Microbiology 300. Advanced Topics in Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Catalog Number: 2304
Marcia Goldberg (Medical School) and Simon Dove (Medical School)
Half course (fall term; repeated spring term). T., 9:30-11:30.
A series of reading and discussion seminars, each running for a half term (7 weeks). Two
seminars, which can be taken in different terms, are required for credit.
Note: Non-DMS students must get permission from the Division of Medical Sciences before
registering for this course. Please contact us at 617-432-0605 or visit the DMS Office at T-MEC
435, 260 Longwood Avenue, Boston.
Prerequisite: Dependent on seminar.
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