Skip to main content
Menu Search & Directory
Close

Biology Courses at SLU

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.

1000-Level Course Descriptions

BIOL 1040: General Biology: Information Flow and Evolution (3 credit hours)
This course is part of the two-semester Principles of Biology sequence and is primarily focused on the core concepts of information flow and storage as well as evolution. Students will learn about the chemical and molecular basis of life, cell structure and function, gene structure, expression and heredity, reproduction, development, and evolution. As they learn concepts in biology, students will practice reasoning scientifically about real-world problems and applications.

BIOL 1245: Principles of Biology I Lab (1 credit hour)
This course covers experimental approaches used in molecular and cellular biology, genetics, and animal physiology. Students will learn to use scientific instruments and techniques implemented in these fields. Students will propose and test hypotheses, collect and analyze data, represent data visually, and practice written and oral scientific communication skills.

BIOL 1260: General Biology: Transformations of Energy and Matter (3 credit hours)
This course is part of the two-semester Principles of Biology sequence, and is primarily focused on the core concept of transformations of energy and matter in a diversity of biological systems at all levels of organization. Students will learn about the chemical and molecular basis of life, cell structure and function, cellular metabolism, metabolism of multicellular organisms, homeostasis, regulation, and energy and matter transfer in ecosystems. As they learn concepts in biology, students will practice reasoning scientifically about real-world problems and applications.

BIOL 1265: Principles of Biology II Lab (1 credit hour)
This course covers the basic experimental approaches used in studying evolution, ecology, and community biology. Students will be taught how to use scientific instruments and laboratory techniques implemented in these fields. Students will learn to propose and test hypotheses and to collect, analyze and present data. In addition, they will gain experience in written and oral scientific communication skills.

BIOL 1265: Principles of Biology II Lab (1 credit hour)
This course covers the basic experimental approaches used in studying evolution, ecology, and community biology. Students will be taught how to use scientific instruments and laboratory techniques implemented in these fields. Students will learn to propose and test hypotheses and to collect, analyze and present data. In addition, they will gain experience in written and oral scientific communication skills.

BIOL 1340: 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. Important local, national, and international issues and policies related to biodiversity and conservation will be discussed. For non-science majors.

3000-Level Course Descriptions

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 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 3400: Introduction to Neuroscience I (3 credit hours)
This course teaches the fundamental anatomy and physiology of the nervous system. Clinical cases and neuroscience technologies will be discussed. The course covers cellular, molecular and organ-systemic aspects of the nervous system and relevant neuronal disorders. The prerequisite is BIOL 3020.

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 3450: Economic Botany (3 credit hours)
Overview of plant form and function, followed by investigations into economic and social aspects of plants, including origin of important crops and health impacts. Learn how foods and spices drove world exploration, and develop your ability to critically assess modern agricultural practices, including ethics of bioprospecting and genetically modified foods. Satisfies upper-division plant biology requirement.

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 3460; 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 3480: 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 health, energy metabolism, and endocrinology.

BIOL 3490: Plant Physiology (3 credit hours)
Principles of plant physiology: growth, phytohormones, flowering, photosynthesis, water relations, mineral nutrition, translocation in higher plants.

BIOL 3550: Neuroscience Laboratory (1 credit hour)
This course introduces to students basic neuroanatomy, as well as cellular and molecular neuroscience through hands-on laboratory exercises using a variety of techniques such as electrophysiology, computational neuroscience, immunohistochemistry, pharmacology, and cell culture. Students will design and conduct their own group projects. Prereq: NEUR 3400/BIOL 3400.

4000-Level Course Descriptions

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 4030 - Introduction to Genomics (3 credit hours)
This course introduces core concepts, techniques and analytical methods of genomics. The topics of this course include: genome projects; structure, components and evolutionary dynamics of genomes; sequencing, mapping and assembly techniques; online resources, databases and analytical methods for genomic studies.

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 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 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 4250: Neurobiology of Disease (3 credit hours)
This course takes a problem-based learning approach to study fundamental aspects of diseases affecting the nervous system. Students will gain an understanding of basic cellular and molecular concepts related to neurobiological disorders and the experimental approaches used to investigate them. Prerequisite: BIOL 3040 and one of the following three courses: NEUR 3400/BIOL 3400/BIOL 4150 or permission of instructor.

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 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 4430: Principles of Virology (3 credit hours)
This class will explore the principles of: viral replication, viral spread within a host, viral maintenance within populations, viral pathogenesis, viral control by the immune system, and viral evolution. Students will learn the experimental and model systems that have been used to study viruses.

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 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 4520: Biochemical Pharmacology (3 credit hours)
This course is designed to give students a good understanding of fundamental principles of pharmacology. Specifically, the course will focus on how drugs interact with various targets in the body and how body affects these compounds. The course begins with basic principles of pharmacology, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics such as sites of drug action, agonists and antagonists, receptor theories and dose response relationships, drug absorption, distribution, metabolism, and elimination. It also covers GPCR, cell excitation, nitric oxide, eicosanoid mediators and related drugs, intermediate metabolism and related drugs, chemotherapy of infectious diseases and tumor, RNA as new drug targets, and pharmacogenomics. (Offered every Spring).

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 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 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 4720: Cancer Biology (3 credit hours)
This course focuses on the molecular, cellular, and genetic characteristics of cancerous tissues; cancer epidemiology, diagnosis, and therapies will also be discussed. The course is in lecture format with some classes reserved for student presentations and discussion of primary research articles.

BIOL 4750: General Ecology (3 credit hours)
An introduction to the science of ecology: study of general theories, models, and problems in population, community, and ecosystem levels.

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 4790: Biometry (4 credit hours)
This course is intended for students pursuing a biology major or minor. College-level algebra and general biology are required. The course will cover biological distributions and probabilities; the application of hypothesis testing; the relationship between biological and statistical hypothesis; the nature of biological data and sampling regimes, and how these fit within the scientific method.

BIOL 4890: Senior Inquiry: Comprehensive Examination (0 credit hours)
Permission of department chairperson required.

BIOL 4910: Internship in Conservation (1-6 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.

BIOL 4911: Integrated Bioinformatics Internship (1-3 credit hours)
Students will work with laboratories conduction molecular biology/bioinformatics research to gain practical experience. Internships will include research and development laboratories of local biotechnology companies, and in the departments of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Statistics or Computer Science.

BIOL 4912: Internship in Plant Science (1-3 credit hours)
Students work with professional plant scientists to gain practical experience. Students may work with scientists at botanical gardens or arboreta, the EPA, Missouri Department of Conservation, the Donald Danforth Plant Sciences Center, Monsanto, or other biotech firms.

BIOL 4930: Special Topics (1-4 credit hours)

BIOL 4960: Special Topics (1-3 credit hours)

BIOL 4970: Library Project (1-3 credit hours)

BIOL 4980: Advanced Independent Study (1-4 credit hours)  
Individual study and research. Permission of instructor required.