Reviews selected issues including learning, cognition, perception, foraging and feeding, migration and navigation, defense, and social activities including conflict, collaboration, courtship and reproduction, and communication. The interacting contributions of environment and heredity are examined and the approaches of psychology, ethology, and ecology to this area of study are treated. The relation of human behavior patterns to those of nonhuman animals is explored. Additional readings and a paper are required for graduate credit.
This course studies the relations of affect to cognition and behavior, feeling to thinking and acting, and values to beliefs and practices. These connections will be considered at the psychological level of organization and in terms of their neurobiological and sociocultural counterparts.
This class analyzes complex biological processes from the molecular, cellular, extracellular, and organ levels of hierarchy. Emphasis is placed on the basic biochemical and biophysical principles that govern these processes. Examples of processes to be studied include chemotaxis, the fixation of nitrogen into organic biological molecules, growth factor and hormone mediated signaling cascades, and signaling cascades leading to cell death in response to DNA damage. In each case, the availability of a resource, or the presence of a stimulus, results in some biochemical pathways being turned on while others are turned off. The course examines the dynamic aspects of these processes and details how biochemical mechanistic themes impinge on molecular/cellular/tissue/organ-level functions. Chemical and quantitative views of the interplay of multiple pathways as biological networks are emphasized. Student work will culminate in the preparation of a unique grant application in an area of biological networks.
Most of the major categories of adaptive behavior can be seen in all animals. This course begins with the evolution of behavior, the driver of nervous system evolution, reviewed using concepts developed in ethology, sociobiology, other comparative studies, and in studies of brain evolution. The roles of various types of plasticity are considered, as well as foraging and feeding, defensive and aggressive behavior, courtship and reproduction, migration and navigation, social activities and communication, with contributions of inherited patterns and cognitive abilities. Both field and laboratory based studies are reviewed; and finally, human behavior is considered within the context of primate studies.
The lessons presented in this module on animal diversity are based on the social constructivist theory of learning. Learners construct their own understanding and develop their own skills, both individually and as part of a peer group. The activities presented here will help you, but a large part of the responsibility rests on you, in the aim of fostering learner empowerment.
The lethal poison Ricin (best known as a weapon of bioterrorism), Diphtheria toxin (the causative agent of a highly contagious bacterial disease), and the widely used antibiotic tetracycline have one thing in common: They specifically target the cell's translational apparatus and disrupt protein synthesis. In this course, we will explore the mechanisms of action of toxins and antibiotics, their roles in everyday medicine, and the emergence and spread of drug resistance. We will also discuss the identification of new drug targets and how we can manipulate the protein synthesis machinery to provide powerful tools for protein engineering and potential new treatments for patients with devastating diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy. This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.
In this class we will learn about how the process of DNA replication is regulated throughout the cell cycle and what happens when DNA replication goes awry. How does the cell know when and where to begin replicating its DNA? How does a cell prevent its DNA from being replicated more than once? How does damaged DNA cause the cell to arrest DNA replication until that damage has been repaired? And how is the duplication of the genome coordinated with other essential processes? We will examine both classical and current papers from the scientific literature to provide answers to these questions and to gain insights into how biologists have approached such problems. This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching.
" Where do new drugs and treatments come from? This class will take you from the test tubes and mice of the laboratory to the treatment of patients with deadly blood disorders. Students will learn how to think as a scientist through discussion of primary research papers describing the discoveries of several novel treatments. Topics such as gene therapy, the potential of drugs based on RNA interference and the reprogramming of somatic cells into stem cells for regenerative medicine will be discussed. This course is one of many Advanced Undergraduate Seminars offered by the Biology Department at MIT. These seminars are tailored for students with an interest in using primary research literature to discuss and learn about current biological research in a highly interactive setting. Many instructors of the Advanced Undergraduate Seminars are postdoctoral scientists with a strong interest in teaching."
This course focuses on the interaction of chemical engineering, biochemistry, and microbiology. Mathematical representations of microbial systems are featured among lecture topics. Kinetics of growth, death, and metabolism are also covered. Continuous fermentation, agitation, mass transfer, and scale-up in fermentation systems, and enzyme technology round out the subject material.
Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes and compounds, such as cellular makeup, that bring about life in organisms. This course will look at how these formed biomolecules interact and produce many of life's necessary processes. Also it will look at the most commonly used techniques in biochemistry research. Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: recognize and describe the structure of the following basic biomolecules: nucleic acids, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates; diagram how these basic biomolecules are used as building blocks for more complex biomolecules; differentiate between reactions that create biomolecules; describe how these biomolecules are used in specific cellular pathways and processes; analyze how feedback from one pathway influences other pathways; explain how energy is utilized by a cell; indicate how biomolecules and pathways are regulated; describe how enzymes play a key role in catalysis; assess which biochemical technique should be used to study a given biochemical problem. (Biology 401; See also: Chemistry 109)
Our goal is to present the key observations and unifying concepts upon which modern biology is based; it is not a survey of all biology! Once understood, these foundational observations and concepts should enable you to approach any biological process, from disease to kindness, from a scientific perspective. To understand biological systems we need to consider them from two complementary perspectives; how they came to be (the historic, that is, evolutionary) and how their structures, traits, and behaviors are produced (the mechanistic, that is, the physicochemical)
Covers the basics of R software and the key capabilities of the Bioconductor project (a widely used open source and open development software project for the analysis and comprehension of data arising from high-throughput experimentation in genomics and molecular biology and rooted in the open source statistical computing environment R), including importation and preprocessing of high-throughput data from microarrays and other platforms. Also introduces statistical concepts and tools necessary to interpret and critically evaluate the bioinformatics and computational biology literature. Includes an overview of of preprocessing and normalization, statistical inference, multiple comparison corrections, Bayesian Inference in the context of multiple comparisons, clustering, and classification/machine learning.
Imagine you are a salesman needing to visit 100 cities connected by a set of roads. Can you do it while stopping in each city only once? Even a supercomputer working at 1 trillion operations per second would take longer than the age of the universe to find a solution when considering each possibility in turn. In 1994, Leonard Adleman published a paper in which he described a solution, using the tools of molecular biology, for a smaller 7-city example of this problem. His paper generated enormous scientific and public interest, and kick-started the field of Biological Computing, the main subject of this discussion based seminar course. Students will analyze the Adleman paper, and the papers that preceded and followed it, with an eye for identifying the engineering and scientific aspects of each paper, emphasizing the interplay of these two approaches in the field of Biological Computing. This course is appropriate for both biology and non-biology majors. Care will be taken to fill in any knowledge gaps for both scientists and engineers.
This page, presented by MIT and made available online via the university's Open Courseware site, presents a series of materials on biological engineering. Topics include introduction to biological engineering design, systems microbiology, computation for biological engineers and molecular principles of biomaterials. Materials are at both the undergraduate and graduate school levels. OpenCourseWare is free educational material online. Video lectures, assignments and exams are included. No registration or enrollment is required to use the materials.
This course illustrates how knowledge and principles of biology, biochemistry, and engineering are integrated to create new products for societal benefit. It uses a case study format to examine recently developed products of pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries: how a product evolves from initial idea, through patents, testing, evaluation, production, and marketing. Emphasizes scientific and engineering principles; the responsibility scientists, engineers, and business executives have for the consequences of their technology; and instruction and practice in written and oral communication. The topic focus of this class will vary from year to year. This version looks at inflammation underlying many diseases, specifically its role in cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
This course covers sensing and measurement for quantitative molecular/cell/tissue analysis, in terms of genetic, biochemical, and biophysical properties. Methods include light and fluorescence microscopies; electro-mechanical probes such as atomic force microscopy, laser and magnetic traps, and MEMS devices; and the application of statistics, probability and noise analysis to experimental data.
In this course problems from biological engineering are used to develop structured computer programming skills and explore the theory and practice of complex systems design and construction.
Biology is designed to cover the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for science majors. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. Biology includes rich features that engage students in scientific inquiry, highlight careers in the biological sciences, and offer everyday applications. The book also includes clicker questions to help students understand—and apply—key concepts.