- About the Lab
The second semester freshman course, Quantitative Systems Biology applies the theme of modeling to core concepts in evolution, physiology and functional morphology, and ecology. Cutting-edge research in each of these fields relies heavily on mathematical modeling to understand how organisms function, interact with their environments, and change over evolutionary time. Students will learn how scientists use mathematical models for thinking abstractly about biological concepts. This course uses a combination of lectures that integrate applied math and the study of organism-level systems and labs in which students use in silico, in vitro and in vivo models to investigate those systems in detail. The course will be organized into three modules that flow naturally from one to the next: evolution (the genotype), comparative physiology and functional morphology (the phenotype), and ecology (organismal and environmental interactions).
For science and nonscience majors. Students will use multimedia techniques to develop science outreach materials in conjunction with the Massachusetts Academy of Sciences. Students will learn how to create audio and video podcasts, and use blogs to generate content for the organization's website. Students will also take part in an outreach event during the semester by visiting a local K-12 classroom to give interesting and fun science demonstrations. The goal of this course is to explore the different ways to stimulate public interest and excitement in science. Also serves as a great resume builder.
Molecular evolution is a young and exciting field that combines advances in molecular and evolutionary biology with those in computer science and bioinformatics. Although the field now influences most areas of biological research, it has had a particularly strong recent impact in the areas of genome evolution, the evolution of infectious disease, and the evolution of development. Perhaps most important, it has led to a fundamentally new, molecular-based, perspective of biological diversity. This course will provide a detailed introduction to the field of molecular evolution and will emphasis the use of comparative methods to solve evolutionary questions. Although the course is lecture-based, there will be a series of computer labs that will provide practical experience in applying the methods and tools described in the lectures to address specific evolutionary questions.
Microbes run the world. It’s that simple. Although we cannot usually see them, microbes are essential for every part of human life—indeed all life on Earth. Every process in the biosphere is touched by the seemingly endless capacity of microbes to transform the world around them. This course is designed for undergraduates with little background in the biological sciences, who are curious about this unseen life on Earth and who want to understand how microbe have influenced essentially every aspect of biological evolution.
This seminar will consist of one 50 minute meeting and 2 hours of additional reading outside of class per week. Popular articles will be assigned and students will discuss their content in class. As needed, lectures will present critical background information.