BIOLOGY 209 by TomDonnelly


									BIOLOGY 2120                          INTRODUCTION TO CELL AND                                            Spring 2009
                                         MOLECULAR BIOLOGY
Monday-Thursday                             10:00-11:20 AM                                                  Sage 3303

Instructor: Dr. George Plopper
            Email address:
            Phone: 276-8288, Office: Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies Building, Room 2115

          Office Hours: Location TBA
          Monday 2:00-2:50
          Tuesday 9:00-9:50
          Wednesday 10:00-10:50
          Thursday 9:00-9:50
          Friday 2:00-2:50

Required Texts:
The World of the Cell, 7th Edition, by Becker, Kleinsmith, Hardin and Bertoni
Stem Cells and Cloning, by Prentice and Palladino

Recommended Text: Biology, 5th Edition, by Neil Campbell, or equivalent introductory biology text

Course Description: This is an introductory course in cell structure and function. It is intended for Biology and
Biomedical Engineering majors, and covers such topics as chemical composition of cells, molecular structure and
function of organelles, and the basic biochemistry underlying cellular behavior. Introductory college courses in
biology and chemistry are prerequisites for this course.

Aims: To provide an understanding of the fundamental mechanisms of cellular function and to develop critical
thinking skills in the context of modern cell biology.

Learning outcomes/objectives: At the end of this course, students should understand:

   The structure, assembly, and function of cellular membranes, nucleic acids, and proteins
   How proteins are sorted in eukaryotic cells
   How metabolic energy is generated in cells
   How chemical signals are generated, dispersed, and interpreted by cells
   The structure and function of the cytoskeleton
   The molecular mechanisms responsible for cell division, and how they are regulated
   How to use common analytical tools and molecular methods to solve current problems in cell biology

Recitation Sections: All students will be required to attend weekly recitation section. These recitations are designed
to clarify subject matter covered in lecture, practice answering exam-type questions, and apply the subject matter to
real-world problems in biology. Sections will be taught by graduate teaching assistants, with help from
undergraduate students who have completed this course in previous years.

Computer accounts: Outside of office hours, the best way to contact the instructor is through electronic mail (email).
All students should have email accounts.

Course web site: There is a web page to support this course. There you will find course announcements, a copy of
the course syllabus, and links to relevant web pages. This web page can be found at:

Instructor’s Responsibilities: 1) To be prepared for each lecture, 2) To present the most important information from
assigned reading in a clear and concise fashion, 3) To be available outside of class to answer questions, 4) To reply

to electronic mail promptly, and 5) To return exams in a timely fashion. The instructor will not post lecture notes or
distribute past exams.

Student’s Responsibilities: 1) To be prepared for each lecture and each exam, 2) To seek assistance from the
instructor when appropriate, 3) To check electronic mail regularly, and 4) To bring a #2 pencil and a photo ID to all

Teaching Philosophy: Cell Biology is a core course for all Biology and Biomedical Engineering majors because the
cell is the fundamental unit of life. All biological processes, from virus replication to bird migration to gymnosperm
evolution, arise as a direct consequence of basic cellular mechanisms. Cell biology is therefore a study of the
mechanism of life. Because this course represents a significant stage in undergraduate training in biology, it is
assumed that students in this course will ask deeper questions than, “What do I need to know to get an A?” Instead,
students should ask themselves, “What should I be learning to advance my career as a biologist/biomedical
engineer?” You will be expected to think in this course, not just memorize. I will provide you the tools to understand
basic cellular functions, and will work with you to create a positive learning environment. To make the most of this
course, however, you must provide the motivation, and do the work. My job is to help you learn cell biology; your
job is to want to learn it.

Attendance Policy: Attendance in lecture is not required, but is strongly encouraged. Attendance in recitation
sections and laboratory sections is required.

Grades: For the lecture portion of the course, grades will be computed from performance on three midterm exams
(10%, 20%, and 30%, respectively ), and one comprehensive final exam (40%). Final grades will be computed from
lecture (60%), recitation (5%) and laboratory (35%) scores, and will be based on a standard percentage scale
(A=100-88%, A minus=87-85%, B plus=84-82%, B=81-73%, B minus=72-70%, C plus=69-67%, C=66-63%, C
minus= 62-60%, D plus=59-57%, D=56-50%, F=49% or lower) but may be curved or otherwise adjusted at the
discretion of the instructor. Thus, scoring 70% in lecture, 85% in recitation, and 90% in lab will result in a grade of
B: (70 x .60) + (85 x .05) + (90 x .35) = 78%.

Mid-semester assessment: By week 7 in this course (2/25-2/28), students will have received four graded quizzes,
one graded midterm exam, plus feedback from the laboratory instructor (Professor George Edick).

Makeup Exams: Midterm exams may be taken as makeup exams if arranged prior to the test date and approved by
the instructor. The format of these exams may differ significantly from the standard exams. No makeup exam will
be given for the Final Exam. No extra credit assignments will be given.

Students granted extra time for exams: Please present the instructor with a copy of the letter providing you with
extra time to take the exams. This must be done at least one week prior to the first exam, so we can schedule a room
for the extended exam time.

Academic Dishonesty: Academic dishonesty will not be tolerated in this course. A complete statement on academic
dishonesty can be found in the current Rensselaer Handbook of Student Rights and Responsibilities. Further
information can be found at If you have any questions, or require
clarification on the policy, please feel free to speak with us.

Disability: Students requesting support must contact Disabled Student Services at 276-2746

                                         Tentative Lecture Schedule

  Week   Date                                   Topic                         Becker Chapter
  1      1/12   Introduction to course; Chemistry and sugars                       2, 3
         1/15   Nucleic acids                                                     3, 18

         1/22   Methods: Microscopy, Image analysis                           Appendix, Ch. 1

  3      1/26   Proteins and protein methods                                        3
         1/29   Membrane structure                                                  7

  4      2/2    Cytoskeleton I: microtubules and intermediate filaments             15
         2/5    Cytoskeleton II: actin                                              15

  5      2/9    Extracellular matrix, receptors, cell junctions                     17
         2/12   EXAMINATION 1 (Chapters 1, 2, 3, 7, 15, 17, 18, Appendix)

  6      2/17   (TUESDAY = MONDAY)                                                  ---
         2/19   DNA replication and cell division                                   19

  7      2/23   Transcription, translation                                        21, 22
         2/26   Protein targeting                                                   22

  8      3/2    The endomembrane system I                                           12
         3/5    The endomembrane system II                                          12

  9      3/9    SPRING BREAK                                                        ---
         3/12   SPRING BREAK                                                        ---

  10     3/16   Membrane transport                                                  8
         3/19   Bioenergetics, photosynthesis, glycolysis                          5, 9

  11     3/23   Citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation                        10
         3/26   EXAMINATION 2 (Chapters 5, 8, 9, 10, 12, 21, 22)                    ---

  12     3/30   Signal transduction I                                               14
         4/2    Signal transduction II                                              14

  13     4/6    Regulation of gene expression                                      23
         4/9    Tissues: The neuromuscular junction                               13,16

  14     4/13   Stem Cell Biology I                                           Stem Cells and
         4/16   Stem Cell Biology II                                          Stem Cells and
  15     4/20   Stem Cell Biology III                                           Manuscript
         4/23   Stem Cell Biology IV                                            Manuscript

  16     4/27   EXAMINATION 3 (Includes chapters 13, 14, 16, 23, Stem Cells
                and Cloning)



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