4.3.4 Biological Sciences Theme Areas
4.3.4 Biological Sciences Theme Areas
I. Cell, Molecular and Developmental Biology: Students in the Department of Biological Sciences with an interest in the exciting field of cell and developmental biology can select the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology theme for focus. This theme will provide students a selection of courses that highlight fundamental principles and many important advances in this rapidly growing area of contemporary biology. Students can concentrate on aspects that deal with the molecular structures and processes of cellular life and their roles in the function, reproduction, and development of living organisms. The theme is structured such that students can choose from a broad range of disciplines, including biochemistry, molecular biology, morphology, genetics, cell biology, and developmental biology. The organisms under study in this theme are equally diverse, ranging from microbes through to invertebrates, vertebrates, plants, and fungi. The Department collaborates with many other life sciences departments and this theme allows student to develop a highly flexibly course portfolio that includes courses from the Departments of Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Microbiology, or Plant Science.
Specific courses required for the Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology Theme in addition to the core course requirements: BIOL 2540 (3); Plus a minimum of 6 Credit hours of Biochemistry: CHEM 2770 (MBIO 2770) and CHEM 2780 (MBIO 2780); or CHEM 2210 and CHEM 2360 (MBIO 2360) and CHEM 2370 (MBIO 2370).
II. Ecology and Environmental Biology: Ecology is the study of interactions between organisms and their environment, both in natural settings and human-influenced habitats. In our society ecology and environmental biology provides a scientific link to the living world. Ecologists study the lives of many organisms including animals, plants, fungi, protists, and bacteria. Interactions among these organisms are investigated at many scales ranging from the microscopic to the global. At the individual level, ecology investigates the impact of environmental factors on organisms through their physiology and behaviour. Ultimately, ecologists link these factors to survival and reproduction in variable environments. At the population level, ecology examines the causes of fluctuations in numbers and changes in distribution of a single species. This work is often the focus of agencies concerned with exploitation, extinction, and rehabilitation of both commercially and esthetically important species. At the community and ecosystem level, ecology considers many coexisting species. It examines the interactions between species within the communities (competition, predation, parasitism, mutualism, etc.) as well as broader investigations of community structure and composition. Ultimately, the skills developed within this theme prepare students for future careers in academia, government agencies, private consulting companies, or NGOs whose mandates encompass ecological and environmental concerns.
Specific courses required for the Ecology and Environmental Biology Theme in addition to the core course requirements: BIOL 3310 (3); BIOL 3312 (3); BIOL 3314 (3); STAT 2000 (3).
III. Environmental and Integrative Physiology: The Environmental and Integrative Physiology theme will be of interest to a wide array of students interested in pursuing employment opportunities in the Environmental, Consulting, Pharmaceutical, Healthcare, and Professional job markets. Based on the suggested courses and sub themes within this program students will be able to graduate with an all inclusive degree or specialize in particular disciplines ranging from molecular physiology to whole organism physiology and eco/environmental physiology, a subject area that is at the interface between ecology and physiology. Students will be exposed to modern research techniques in lab classes and will be taught by instructors and faculty with active research programs within the Department of Biological Sciences.
Specific courses required for the Environmental and Integrative Physiology Theme in addition to the core course requirements: 6 Credit hours of Biochemistry CHEM 2770 (MBIO 2770) and CHEM 2780 (MBIO 2780); or CHEM 2210 and CHEM 2360 (MBIO 2360) and CHEM 2370 (MBIO 2370); Plus: two of the following courses (one of which is already required in the four-year Biological Sciences Degree programs): BIOL 3470 (3), BIOL 3472 (3) BIOL 3450 (3), BIOL 3452 (3).
IV. Evolution and Biodiversity: Evolution is broadly defined as “descent with modification” and is the process that generates the earth’s biodiversity. The theory of evolution provides a unifying framework for biology because all organisms are descended from a common ancestor. As a result, evolutionary principles permeate research and teaching throughout biology.
Evolutionary biology addresses two overarching questions. (1) What was the history of life? (2) What processes account for adaptation and diversification? Systematics reconstructs the history of life by studying relationships among species, and involves comparisons of physical appearance, development, biochemistry, genetics, behaviour, ecology and biogeography. Evolutionary Genetics investigates how processes such as natural selection, mutation, and migration interact to cause evolutionary change within populations. Evolutionary history, genetics, and ecological context are required to fully understand the evolution of traits, for example body size, wing shape or leaf structure. Thus evolution integrates knowledge from a wide spectrum of sub-disciplines within biology.
Evolutionary biology has wide-ranging practical applications. Principles of evolution are required to understand: the evolution of pathogens such as HIV and avian influenza; domestication of wild species and consequences of genetic modifications; the identification of natural products; long-term responses to environmental change; and human biology. Courses from this theme will prepare students for academia, medicine, and government agencies or NGO’s that emphasize the cataloguing and conservation of biological diversity.
Specific course required for the Evolution and Biodiversity Theme in addition to the core course requirements:
List A: One of the following: BIOL 3360, BIOL 4240, BIOL 4242, BIOL 4362
List B: One of the following: BIOL 2262, BIOL 3200, BIOL 3242, BIOL 3250, BIOL 3270, BIOL 4212, BIOL 4214, BIOL 4216, BIOL 4218,
V. Integrative Biology: The Integrative Biology theme will be of interest to students planning to pursue careers in the various biology sub disciplines and who wish an undergraduate degree that is “interdisciplinary” within the life science departments that cuts across the traditional boundaries. This program will suit students who are interested in the “after degree” program in Education or who are intending to apply to a professional program (e.g. Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Medical Rehabilitation) and who would like a broad background in the Life Sciences. With the appropriate choice of Biological Science courses it would be possible to indicate the Integrative Biology theme along with a second theme from the department.
Specific courses required for the Integrative Biology Theme in addition to the core course requirements: All five of the following (three of which are already designated as core courses in the four-year Biological Sciences Degree programs): BIOL 2200 (3), BIOL 2210 (3), BIOL 2240 (3), BIOL 2242 (3), MBIO 1010 3); One of the following (one of which is already required in the four-year Biological Sciences Degree programs): BIOL 3450 (3), BIOL 3470; Plus: 18 credit hours in Biological Sciences (3000/4000 level courses) and 12 credit hours in Microbiology (3000/4000 level courses).
Note: a maximum of 15 credit hours of Biological Sciences and Microbiology courses at the 2000 level are permitted in the Integrative Theme for use toward the 3000/4000 level requirements of the degree.