Spring 2012, Enrollment is limited to 20.
In this class we will discuss concepts and applications of modern DNA technology including an introduction to the basic concepts pertaining to the field of genomics. We will begin by describing key molecular methods (cloning, sequencing, blotting, PCR) and how they are used in gene analysis. We will then move on to consider how entire genomes are analyzed, and will familiarize ourselves with some of the basic bioinformatics' tools that are commonly used by working biologists. Finally we will consider the methods used to manipulate genomes as a means to determining gene function. This course is intended for sophomores and juniors, and should serve as a bridge between 200-level courses and more advanced, specialty courses (e.g., 500-level courses). Prerequisite: Biology 285 or Biochem 285.
Spring 2013, Enrollment is limited to 40.
This course covers current topics and advanced concepts and techniques in genetics and their use in answering fundamental questions in biology. Theoretical background and experimental approaches will be emphasized. Topics will include, but are not limited to, gene and genome structure and function, tools and approaches of genetic analysis, recombination and mapping, and developmental and quantitative genetics. Prerequisite: Biology 283 with grade of C or higher.
Fall 2012, Enrollment is limited to 300.
We have two goals in this course. The first, and most important, is to introduce undergraduate Biology students to some of the many fascinating aspects of Plant Biology, especially as these differ from animal biology. For instance, did you know that plants are moving (on a large scale) all the time? It’s the truth, but in a very different time scale than we animals use. How do plants do that without the benefit of muscles and skeleton? Have you ever thought about how, in the absence of a pumping heart, plants’ circulatory systems work? After all, the water at the top of a tree got there from roots in the ground, but no pump was involved. Plants don’t have an immune system, and yet, they ‘stand and fight’—literally rooted to the spot—taking on all types of pathogens, as well insects and other predators. What strategies do plants use to overcome these attacks? Have you ever wondered about how biotechnology is used in agriculture? We have all heard news stories about GMO’s (genetically modified organisms). What are these and what makes them useful or dangerous? These are the types of topics we will be covering in this course. The second goal for this course is to provide a convenient way for UMass Biology majors to accomplish their plant biology course requirement. The course is open to any student who has successfully (with a C or better) completed the Introductory Biology series Biol 100 and Biol 101.
Sam Hazen has been selected as a 2015 Marion and Jasper Whiting Fellow. The award will support sabbatical research in France on using phenomics as a teaching and research tool to understand how energy crops grow.
Scientific American article "How to manipulate plants to build a better biofuel" describes our recent paper in the journal Nature as does a New & Views article in the same issue.
Scott Lee receives a DOE Office of Science Graduate Student Research Award. Scott will conduct part of his Ph.D. research with Dr. John Vogel at the DOE-Joint Genome Institute.
Undergraduate researchers Chrismery Gonzalez and G Robert Mmari were awarded 3rd Best Poster at the GEM G.R.A.D. LAB Symposium in Boston.
Scott Lee has received the 2014-2015 Constantine J. Gilgut Fellowship.
Graduate student Josh Coomey will present the exciting development of a synthesized library of Brachypodium distachyon transcription factors at the DOE-JGI Genomics of Energy and Environment meeting in Walnut Creek California.
New special topic issue published in Frontiers in Plant Science on Lignocellulosic feedstocks: research progress and challenges in optimising biomass quality and yield.