The Saint Louis University Biology Department offers courses with hands-on learning opportunities from cellular structures to fish, birds, reptiles and mammals.
For a complete list of courses offered through the program, check out the College of Arts and Sciences Academic Catalog.
BIOL 1040: Principles of Biology I (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. First semester of a two-semester course covering the basic principles of biology. Course emphasizes origin and definition of life; cells, their organization, chemical composition, and metabolic activity; the basis of heredity; evolution.
BIOL 1060: Principles of Biology II (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. A continuation of BIOL 1040. Course emphasizes plant and animal development, ecology, behavior, structure and function or organ systems, and phylogeny.
BIOL 1090: Biodiversity and Conservation (4 credit hours)
Introduction to aspects of conservation of natural and managed ecosystems, as well as human environments. Foundations and applications of genetics and ecology of populations. Population growth and demographics, with special emphasis on human population and the implication on the sustainable use and management of resources and ecosystems. A continuation of BIOL 104 for Conservation Biology students.
BL X1040: Principles of Biology (4 credit hours)
1818 ACC program only. Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. Two-semester course covering the basic principles of biology. Course will emphasize origin and definition of life; cells, their organization, chemical composition and metabolic activity; the basis of heredity; plant and animal phylogeny. Students register in the spring.
BIOL 1960: Inquiry-Based Principles of Biology (5 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. This course is designed for first year students who are interested in an inquiry-based approach to the study of biodiversity, form and function, and ecology.
Prerequisite: BIOL 1040.
BIOL 2090: Our Living Environment (3 credit hours)
Environmental problems treated within the framework of fundamental ecological principles. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2150: Genetics and Human Diversity (3 credit hours)
Genetics and evolution, emphasis on human populations and forces acting to change the genetic structure of human populations; mutation and natural selection. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2200: Ecological Issues and Society (3 credit hours)
This course provides scientific insights into a variety of popular press topics and everyday decisions about ecological issues. Other topics presented: population harvesting and the collapse of fisheries, the 'destruction' of habitats by fire, pest outbreaks and control, lawn and garden decisions, and global warming; and how ecological principles apply to political and personal decisions. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2340: The Diversity of Life (3 credit hours)
This course will provide an overview of the diversity of life on Earth, as well as the diversity of the human species. Students will combine lectures and virtual exercises to understand how diversity is generated, maintained, and modified at all levels of the biological hierarchy. Important local, national, and international issues and policies relative to biodiversity and conservation will be discussed. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2360: Concepts of Biology (3 credit hours)
A one-semester course covering scientific methodology and the basic concepts of biology ranging from the chemical to the ecological levels of organization. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2400: Biology of Health and Disease (3 credit hours)
Topics include: nature of life, chemical basis of life, basic foodstuffs, vitamins, diseases caused by microbes, plants, and animals, drugs and the mind, and biology and the future of humanity. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2410: Biological Basis of Health (3 credit hours)
This course will examine the relationships that exist between basic biological information and today's wide range of health-related topics and issues. Topics include: the chemistry of life and nutrition; biologically important molecules; cells and metabolism; common diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, plants, and animals; effects of drugs; and the biology and the future of our species. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 245): Drugs We Use and Abuse (3 credit hours)
This course surveys the effects that legal and illegal biologically/pharmacologically-active compounds/drugs have on the brain, central nervous system, and other organ systems. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2610: Molecular Cell Biology (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, three hours of laboratory per week. Modern research laboratory topics and techniques will introduce the fundamentals of structure and biochemical function of mammalian cells in this entry-level course for BME students. Lecture and parallel laboratories will stress the determination of cellular function by membrane composition, specific intracellular organelles, intracellular signal transduction, extracellular matrix, and interactions between cells. Prerequisites: CHEM 1610 and 1620, or equivalents.
BIOL 2640: Microbes, History, and Society (3 credit hours)
Microbes - unseen bacteria, viruses, fungi, and protozoans - have dramatically influenced history, and they are shaping the future of our society. This course will take an integrative/exploratory approach to examine how microbes have shaped world history, impacted our food chain, posed health threats (bioterrorism and AIDS), and how microbes may guide our future. Satisfies the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2700: Plants and Cultural Diversity (3 credit hours)
An introduction to economic botany and ethnobotany through the uses of plants in medicine, nutrition, religion, recreation, etc. in different cultures over time, including a minimum of three field trips to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Satisfies the Arts and Sciences Cultural Diversity and the Science Core requirement.
BIOL 2800: Biology for Education Majors (4 credit hours)
Three hours lecture, three hours of laboratory per week. This course is offered for elementary education majors. A variety of teaching methods will be used so that students with different learning styles may master the material. Curiosity and creativity are encouraged.
To enroll in 3000- or 40000-level Biology courses, students must have achieved a grade of "C" or better in BIOL 1040, BIOL 1060 and CHEM 1610, CHEM 1620.
BIOL 3010: Evolutionary Biology (3 credit hours)
This course explores the principles of evolutionary biology through a discussion/lecture format. Topics covered include the theory of evolution, origin of new species, genetics of populations, relative roles of selection, drift, mutation, and migration in the evolutionary process, evolutionary rates, and pre-biotic evolution.
BIOL 3020: Cellular Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
This fall course covers cellular organization and function at the molecular level; the structural building blocks of the cells (lipids, nucleic acids, amino acids, and carbohydrates) and their functional integration into macromolecules and organelle compartments. Also covered is DNA replication, RNA structure and function, and transcriptional and translational controls of protein biosynthesis. Co-requisite: CHEM 3420, 3440.
BIOL 3030: Principles of Genetics (3 credit hours)
This course covers the basic concepts of the transmission and function of genes at the molecular, organismal, and population levels. Recombinant DNA technology and its utility in research and industry will also be covered. Prerequisite: CHEM 3420, 3430 or concurrent enrollment, and BIOL 3020.
BIOL 3040: Cellular Structure and Function (3 credit hours)
Detailed topics of this spring course include membrane structure/function, mitochondrial and chloroplast energy transduction and cellular thermodynamics, nuclear-cytoplasm information flow, protein sorting and modification in the ER and Golgi, the cytoskeletal framework, cell-cell signaling, cell cycle control, and the extracellular matrix and cell adhesion. Prerequisite: BIOL 3020.
BIOL 3060 Cell Structure and Function Laboratory (2 credit hours)
Laboratory four hours per week. Basic concepts in cell biology stressed in a laboratory setting (spring semester). Protein and lipid components of biological membranes, DNA comparison of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms, principles of protein synthesis, establishment of primary cell cultures, analysis of the cytoskeleton and the extracellular matrix. Techniques stressed will include microscopy (light/fluorescent), SDS-PAGE and protein determination, thin layer chromatography, receptor analysis and the application of sterile culture to the study of cells. Prerequisite: BIOL 3040 or concurrent enrollment .
BIOL 3100: Experiments in Genetics (2 credit hours)
Laboratory four hours per week. Advanced experiments in classical and molecular genetics will be conducted by the students. Data will be collected, analyzed, and reported. Prerequisite: prior completion of BIOL 3030 or its equivalent.
BIOL 3120: Experimental Cell Biology (5 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory five hours per week. This course in the sophomore biology major series is designed to integrate lab and lecture experiences as they are applied to the study of cell biology. Research approaches that stress how core information in cell biology has been obtained and how novel techniques continue to enrich this discipline will be explored. This is a laboratory intensive course that will substitute for the required second semester BIOL 3040 and 3060 courses for biology majors. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 with a grade of 'B' or better and a recommendation from a student's advisor.
BIOL 3220: Biology of Invertebrates (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. This course surveys the invertebrate phyla with emphasis on evolution, comparative morphology, life cycles, physiology, and ecology.
BIOL 3260: Biology of Plants and Fungi (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory four hours per week. An introduction to algae, fungi, and true plants comparing life cycles (alternation of generations) and functional anatomy/morphology. Half of the course emphasizes the four developmental stages in the life of seed plants: germination, establishment, maturation, and reproduction.
BIOL 3280: Ethnobotany (3 credit hours)
A modern synthesis of plant biology and the principles of cultural anthropology to compare the use of domesticated and wild plants. A comparison of tropical and temperate zone 'cases' requires four field trips to the Missouri Botanical Garden. Satisfies the Arts and Sciences Cultural Diversity requirement.
BIOL 3400: General Ecology (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. An introduction to the science of ecology: study of general theories, models, and problems in population, community, and ecosystem levels.
BIOL 3420: Comparative Anatomy (4 credit hours)
Lecture two hours, two three-hour laboratories per week. Evolution of chordate morphology. Laboratory consists of the study of the structures of each major group of chordates with emphases on the dogfish shark and cat.
BIOL 3440: Embryology (5 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, and two two-hour laboratories per week. Development of the vertebrate embryo from a single cell into a multicellular organism. Topics include: fertilization, changes in shape and form, increase in complexity and diversity, organ formation, processes by which cells with the same genetic endowment become different from one another. Prerequisite: Sophomore standing.
BIOL 3460: General Physiology (3 credit hours)
Cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the regulation and function of human organ system physiology. Topics include: membrane biology; endocrinology; signal transduction; neurophysiology and nervous systems; smooth and striated muscle; cardiovascular, pulmonary, and renal physiology; and fluid and electrolyte homeostasis. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 and 3040, or BIOL 2610 for BME students.
BIOL 3470: General Physiology Laboratory (2 credit hours)
Laboratory three hours per week. This laboratory course is designed to supplement and reinforce material presented in the BIOL 346; largely through computer-based interactive physiology programs, and the acquisition and analysis of cardiovascular, neuromuscular, and respiratory systems data using the PowerLab human physiology teaching system. Problems involving inquiry-based learning are also assigned. Pre- or co-requisite: BIOL 3460.
BIOL 3490: Plant Physiology (3 credit hours)
Principles of plant physiology: growth, phytohormones, flowering, photosynthesis, water relations, mineral nutrition, translocation in higher plants.
BIOL 3500: Biodiversity of Africa I (0 credit hours)
Lecture three hours per week. An introduction to the biodiversity of the tropical rain fores of equatorial Africa and the role this biodiversity plays in the culture of the native peoples of Gabon and Cameroon. This course is a prerequisite for BIOL 3510.
BIOL 3510: Biodiversity of Africa II: Field Trip (3 credit hours)
A field trip to study the biodiversity of the tropical rainforest and the role this biodiversity plays in the culture of the native peoples of Gabon and Cameroon. Satisfies the Arts and Sciences Cultural Diversity requirement.
To enroll in 3000- or 4000-level Biology courses, students must have achieved a grade of "C" or better in BIOL 1040, BIOL 1060 and CHEM 1610, CHEM 1620.
BIOL 4010: Sex, Evolution, and Behavior (3 credit hours)
This course is an in-depth examination of evolutionary theories concerning the sexual reproduction, parthenogenesis, mate choice, sexual selection, life history strategies, and sex allocation. Specialized topics such as pheromone communication will also be covered. Prerequisite: BIOL 3010.
BIOL 4020: Vertebrate Reproductive Physiology (3 credit hours)
This course is an in-depth examination of reproduction in the vertebrates. Topics include the development of the sex organs, gametogenesis, hormone function, and regulation of gonadal function, pregnancy, and parturition. Prerequisite: BIOL 3040.
BIOL 4040: Pollination Biology (3 credit hours)
The function and evolution of the reproductive organs of seed plants based on their morphology, biochemistry, breeding system, genetics, and ecological relationships between flowers and such pollinators as insects, vertebrates, and air currents. Includes two field trips to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
BIOL 4050: Molecular Technique Lab (2 credit hours)
This course will provide students with experience in the theory and practice of molecular biology techniques. Topics to be covered include DNA isolation, cloning, PCR, DNA sequencing, and bioinformatics. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 and BIOL 3030.
BIOL 4060: Structure and Function of Ecosystems (3 credit hours)
Principles of ecology developed through an understanding of the nature and properties of ecosystems. Prerequisite: BIOL 3400, or permission of instructor.
BIOL: 4090 Plant Ecology (3 credit hours)
Principles of plant autecology and synecology. The nature and properties of plant communities-structure, development, and distribution. The interaction of the individual plant with its environment.
BIOL 4100: Natural History of Vertebrates (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. Prominent morphological, behavioral, physiological and ecological features of fishes, amphibia, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Weekend field trips are required.
BIOL 4110: Natural History (1 credit hour)
An extended field trip to study the ecology of vertebrates, and the ecological features of fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals. Weekend field trips are required. Prerequisite: Permission of instructor required. (Note: This course does not fulfill a B.Sc. area requirement.)
BIOL 4150: Nerve Cell Mechanisms in Behavior (3 credit hours)
A comprehensive introductory neuroscience course which covers electrophysiology of action potentials and synapses, channels, neurotransmitters, sensory and motor systems, development, neuroanatomy, and integrative brain function.
BIOL 4200: Aquatic Ecology (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. An exploration of freshwater ecosystems in Missouri including springs, rivers, and lakes. The course will explore the diversity of living organisms, both animals and plants, found in these ecosystems. A major goal will be to understand how the physical and chemical properties of water affect the abundance and diversity of aquatic organisms. Weekend field trips are required. This course is also taught during the summer at the Reis Field Station.
BIOL 4210: Biology and Classification of Orchids (3 credit hours)
An introduction to the evolution, classification, and distribution of the Orchidaceae (the largest family of flowering plants). The course will cover how their functional anatomy/morphology encourages their unique interactions with trees, fungi, and a range of insects. Includes one field trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden.
BIOL 4240: General and Medical Entomology (4 credit hours)
Lecture two hours, laboratory four hours per week. This course is a survey of the natural history, classification, and phylogeny of insects, with an emphasis on common insects. Field trips during laboratory hours.
BIOL 4260: Biology of Amphibians and Reptiles (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory four hours per week. This course is a survey of the diversity, natural history, evolution, and biology of amphibians and reptiles. Weekend field trips are required.
BIOL 4270: Field Studies with Amphibians and Reptiles (1 credit hour)
An extended field trip to study the ecology of amphibians and reptiles. This course does not fulfill a B. Sc. area requirement.
BIOL 4280: Biology of Fishes (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory involves 3-4 outdoor Saturday or Sunday field trips, and one may involve two of these weekend days to visit and behind scenes tour of either Shedd Aquarium or Tennessee Aquarium. Introduction of the biological aspects of fishes: systematics, ecology, behavior, evolution, and the economic importance of freshwater and marine fishes. Extra costs may be required for one of the aquarium field trips.
BIOL 4290: Biology of Fishes: Field Trip (1 credit hour)
An exploration of the freshwater fishes of Florida. Offered as a 10-day field trip during Spring Break. This course does not fulfill a B.Sc. area requirement.
BIOL 4310: Biology of Birds (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. Introduction to the study of birds including discussion of ecology, structure and function, evolution, behavior, and systematics. Laboratory includes field trips to the St. Louis Zoo, Missouri Botanical Garden, and other birding areas. Also, taught occasionally at the Reis Field Station.
BIOL 4320: Cave Biology (4 credit hours)
An introduction to the study of caves. Emphasis will be placed on the systematics of cave organisms and on the adaptations that cave organisms possess to exist in an energy poor environment. Field work will involve studying cave systems in the Ozarks of Missouri. This course is taught during the summer at the Reis Field Station.
BIOL 4330: Spring Flora of the Ozarks (4 credit hours)
A field-based course designed to acquaint students with the spring flora of the Ozarks. Emphasis will be placed on sight recognition of plant families and on identifying plant species using taxonomic keys. Taught at the Reis Field Station.
BIOL 4340: Systematic Biology (3 credit hours)
This course is a general survey of the principles of systematics and taxonomy. Topics to be covered include a history of taxonomic and systematic methods, classification, species and speciation; population variation and its analysis; taxonomic publications; and rules of zoological nomenclature.
BIOL 4350: Biology of Parasitic Organisms (4 credit hours)
Lecture three hours, laboratory three hours per week. Discussion of symbiotic relationships between animal and plant parasites and their hosts, evolution of parasitism, and current approaches to chemotherapy. In the laboratory, parasite form and function will be studied.
BIOL 4360: Animal Behavior (3 credit hours)
This course surveys the vast diversity of behaviors among all taxa of animals, including humans. Topics covered: the mechanisms that produce and modify behavior at the genetic, endocrine, and neural levels; and how the environment interacts with the biology of species in order to modify behaviors that lead to optimized evolutionary fitness.
BIOL 4370: Animal Behavior Laboratory (1 credit hour)
Laboratory three hours per week. This laboratory course will introduce hypotheses testing, techniques, designing protocols, and statistical analyses used in the study of animal behavior in the laboratory and in the field. Prerequisite: Concurrent or prior enrollment in BIOL 4360.
BIOL 4400: Applied Ecology (3 credit hours)
This course will concentrate on the identification and possible solutions of ecological problems faced by managers today. Introduction to general methods of ecological risk assessment. Special emphasis on sustainable use of land, marine, and aquatic resources. Prerequisite: BIOL 3400.
BIOL 4410: Comparative Animal Physiology (3 credit hours)
Functional adaptations of vertebrates and invertebrates to their environment (e.g., desert, Arctic, high altitude, etc.).
BIOL 4440: Vertebrate Histology: Structure and Function of Tissues (4 credit hours)
Lecture two hours, laboratory four hours per week. Function and microscopic morphology of vertebrate tissues.
BIOL 4450: Ecological Risk Assessment (3 credit hours)
This course will review the federal laws pertaining to environmental protection, including NEPA, RCRA, CERCLA, and the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts. The course will also examine the sources of risk for ecological entities and discuss how to determine and manage those risks. The main focus will be on risk determination and management of wild populations, ecosystems, and landscapes. Prerequisite: BIOL 3400.
BIOL 4460: Exercise Physiology (3 credit hours)
Using exercise biochemistry as a foundation, this course will examine the responses and adaptations to physical exercise and /or inactivity, with special emphases on nutrition, energy metabolism, and endocrinology, and their relations to health. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 and BIOL 3040.
BIOL 447: Electron Microscopy (3 credit hours)
A techniques-based course in the fundamentals of transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The theory of electron microscopy and related techniques will be covered in lectures and the labs will provide the practical skills required for tissue preparation, sectioning, microscope operation and photography.
BIOL 4480: Conservation Biology (3 credit hours)
Fundamental principles of biodiversity maintenance through the management of ecosystems and populations. This course will examine conservation at the level of species, population, and ecosystems.
BIOL 4500: Introductory Endocrinology (3 credit hours)
General principles of vertebrate endocrinology, including biochemistry, metabolism, cellular activity, and organismal and behavioral effect of systemic hormones and neurotransmitters.
BIOL 4510: Behavioral Endocrinology (3 credit hours)
The effects of hormones and neurotransmitters on reproductive, parental, aggressive, and social behavior; as well as on homeostasis, biological rhythms, learning, and mood. Introductory Endocrinology and Animal Behavior recommended but not required.
BIOL 4540: Human Cellular Physiology (3 credit hours)
This course focuses on the cellular/molecular underpinnings and integration of human systems physiology, including the general principles of homeostasis, endocrinology, neurophysiology, muscle, cardiac, pulmonary and renal physiology including fluid and electrolyte balance. Prerequisite: BIOL 3020 and BIOL 3040.
BIOL 4550: Biology of Aging (3 credit hours)
A review and discussion of the theories associated with aging with a survey of the mechanisms of aging and a discussion of age-related changes in animals and humans.
BIOL 4600: Developmental Biology (3 credit hours)
This course explores the development of multicellular organisms from fertilization to the establishment of the adult body form. Topics include the key processes of animal embryogenesis, as well as the molecular and cellular mechanisms that control these developmental processes. Selected topics in plant development will also be considered. Textbook reading assignments will be supplemented by selected articles from the scientific literature. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 or BIOL 3030.
BIOL 4610: Developmental Biology Lab (2 credit hours)
This laboratory course is designed to supplement and reinforce material presented in BIOL 460 through observation and experimental manipulation of developing organisms. Living invertebrate and vertebrate model organisms will be used. Approximately two hours for observations will be required outside of scheduled lab times to be arranged at the mutual convenience of each student and the instructor. Corequisite or Prerequisite: BIOL 4600.
BIOL 4630: Foundations of Immunobiology (3 credit hours)
The cellular and molecular basis of immune function. Topics include receptors on T, B, and antigen presenting cells, cytokine networking, complement, function of the major histocompatibility complex, hypersensitivity of the immune system, and infection by HIV.
BIOL 4640: General Microbiology (3 credit hours)
General introduction to the diversity, bioenergetics, growth, genetics, and ecology of microorganisms. Special emphasis will be placed on molecular and genomic methods used in the characterization of microorganisms. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 and 3040.
BIOL 4650: General Microbiology Laboratory (2 credit hours)
Two two-hour laboratories per week. Basic techniques in handling bacteria, identifying microorganisms and investigating microbial growth and metabolism.
BIOL 4670: Population Biology (3 credit hours)
This course covers theoretical and empirical investigations at the population level. Major topics include population and growth dynamics, population regulation, the evolution of life, histones, ecological interactions between populations, and the evolutionary ecology of populations.
BIOL 4680: Landscape Ecology (3 credit hours)
This course will concentrate on the ecology and management of landscapes. Topics will include formation of spatial patterns, flux of materials and organisms across space, and natural and human-mediated disturbance; as well as the relevance of scale in identifying patterns and how it relates to management decisions. Case studies with relevance to state and federal lands will be covered. Prerequisite: BIOL 3400.
BIOL 4700: Molecular Biology (3 credit hours)
A study of genes and genomes, and the processes that control their expression. Special emphasis will be placed on techniques used to analyze and manipulate nucleic acids and proteins, including bioinformatic approaches. Prerequisites: BIOL 3020 and BIOL 3030.
BIOL 4760: Plant Biochemistry (3 credit hours)
A comparative survey of higher plant anabolic and catabolic processes. Topics include: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, polyketides, terpenoids, aromatics, tetrapyrroles and alkaloids. Prerequisites: Organic chemistry, and BIOL 3020, or an equivalent introductory biochemistry course.
BIOL 4800: Internship in Conservation (3 credit hours)
Students will work with professional conservation/environmental biologists to get practical experience. Students may work with conservation biologists associated with the EPA, Missouri Conservation Department, Corps of Engineers, or private environmental consulting firms. Environmental problems treated within the framework of fundamental ecological principles. Prerequisite: BIOL 4480.
BIOL 4840: Senior Inquiry: Library Project and Thesis (1-3 credit hours)
Permission of instructor required.
BIOL 4850: Senior Inquiry: Graduate Level Course (0 credit hours)
Permission of Instructor, Chair, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate Dean required for registration in the graduate course. Prerequisites: Permission of Instructor, Chair, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Graduate Dean required for registration in the graduate course.
BIOL 4880: Senior Inquiry: Research Project (1-3 credit hours)
Permission of instructor required.
BIOL 4890: Senior Inquiry: Comprehensive Examination (0 credit hours)
Permission of department chairperson required.
BIOL 4950: Senior Residency (0 credit hours)
Required of all graduating seniors.
BIOL 4980: Advanced Independent Study (1-4 credit hours)
Individual study and research. Permission of instructor required.