Selected List of Course Descriptions
Penn State Altoona offers a diverse selection of lecture, laboratory, and field biological science courses for students majoring in the sciences and general education courses for the non-science majors. Courses marked with *** are disallowed for biology majors.
BIOL 110 (GN) BIOLOGY: BASIC CONCEPTS AND BIODIVERSITY ( 4) A study of the evolution of the major groups of organisms including the fundamental concepts of biology. (Generally offered every semester)
BIOL 129 (GN) MAMMALIAN ANATOMY ( 4) Anatomy of a mammal, with special reference to that of man. Students who have passed BIOL 421 may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
BIOL 141 (GN) INTRODUCTORY PHYSIOLOGY ( 3) Explanation of the normal structure and function of the animal body, with special emphasis on human body systems. Students who have passed BIOL 472 may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
BIOL 142 PHYSIOLOGY LABORATORY ( 1) Experiments demonstrating basic physiological principles, with special reference to man. Prerequisite: or concurrent: BIOL 141 (Generally offered every semester)
BIOL 220W (GN) BIOLOGY: POPULATIONS AND COMMUNITIES ( 4) A study of the structures and functions of organismic interactions from simple populations to complex ecosystems. (BIOL 220W, 230W, and 240W each carry only 1 credit of "writing"; all three courses must be taken to meet the writing requirement.) Prerequisite: BIOL 110 (Generally offered spring semester)
BIOL 222 GENETICS ( 3) Variation and heredity in plants and animals, including man; relationships of genetical knowledge to evolution and breeding practices. Prerequisite: 3 credits in biological sciences Generally offered Spring semester)
BIOL 230W (GN) BIOLOGY: MOLECULES AND CELLS ( 4) A study of cellular phenomena including molecular genetics and metabolic interactions. (BIOL 220W, 230W, and 240W each carry only 1 credit of "writing"; all three courses must be taken to meet the writing requirement.) Prerequisite: BIOL 110, CHEM 012 (Generally offered Fall semester)
BIOL 240W (GN) BIOLOGY: FUNCTION AND DEVELOPMENT OF ORGANISMS ( 4) A study of development and physiological processes at the organismic level. (BIOL 220W, 230W, and 240W each carry only 1 credit of "writing"; all three courses must be taken to meet the writing requirement.) Prerequisite: BIOL 110, CHEM 012 (Generally offered spring semester)
BIOL 402W BIOLOGICAL EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN (3) Discussion of experimental design, analysis and presentation, with a practicum providing for student design, analysis and presentation of biological experiments. Students may not take this course if they have taken BIOBD 350W. Prerequisite: at least two of the following three courses:BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W, BIOL 240W;STAT 250 Alternate Spring semesters
BIOL 409 BIOLOGY OF AGING (3) Examination of biological mechanisms of aging. The course will familiarize students with functional and structural alterations that occur with age. An emphasis will be placed on physiological and pathological changes in the human body and theories of aging.
BIOL 412 ECOLOGY OF INFECTIOUS DISEASES ( 3) This course consists of the study of infectious diseases and the evolutionary and ecological adaptations that have allowed for the emergence of microorganisms as pathogens. Prerequisite: BIOL 220W Alternate spring semesters
BIOL 413 CELL SIGNALING AND REGULATION (3) This course examines the mechanisms cells employ to communicate with each other through extracellular signaling molecules (e.g., hormones and neurotransmitters). Classes will consist of formal lectures as well as student-led reviews of pertinent primary literature. Subject matter will consider a wide variety of cellular signaling mechanisms, including discussions of receptors, G-proteins, protein kinase cascades, cell cycle regulation, and apoptosis. Prerequisite: BIOL 240W Alternate fall semesters
BIOL 414 TAXONOMY OF VASCULAR PLANTS ( 3) Vascular plants are the dominant life forms of terrestrial habitats and there are approximately 260,000 species world-wide. In Pennsylvania, we have approximately 3000 species. Plant identification is essential to understanding our natural heritage for the professional biologist as well as for anyone who loves the outdoors. In Biology 414, we learn the characteristics of the major plant groups and families, learn to use dichotomous keys to identify the more common species, and study current concepts of plant systematics and phylogenetics and their application to evolutionary relationships among the families of flowering plants. Several field trips are scheduled early in the semester. A plant collection and a research paper on a plant taxon are required. Prerequisite: BIOL 240W Fall semester
BIOL 416 BIOLOGY OF CANCER ( 3) Biology of Cancer is designed to illustrate basic aspects of cancer development, and to discuss how molecular genetic approaches can be used to reveal fundamental processes of carcinogenesis. Such molecular cellular and genetic information has been instrumental in devising strategies for prevention, detection, and treatment of cancer. Prerequisite: BIOL 222 or 230W Alternate spring semesters
BIOL 417 INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY ( 4) Over 98% of all animal life is invertebrate animals. This laboratory course provides a broad survey of invertebrate animals. The course focuses on the evolutionary relationships between and within the 30+ animal phyla. Invertebrate ecology, anatomy, physiology, development, and behavior as well as environmental and medical issues related to invertebrates are emphasized in lecture. The laboratory provides a survey of major animal phyla and the diversity within them. Many dissections are performed to compare form and function between groups. Field trips to collect invertebrates in various habitats and to museums are part of the course as well. Prerequisite: BIOL 110 Alternate fall semesters
BIOL 421 COMPARATIVE ANATOMY OF VERTEBRATES ( 4) The comparative anatomy of representative vertebrate animals discussed from a descriptive and an evolutionary viewpoint. Prerequisite: BIOL 240W. Alternate fall semesters
BIOL 422 ADVANCED GENETICS ( 3) Chromosomal mechanism of heredity; cytoplasmic and polygenic inheritance, chemical genetics, and experimental evolution. Prerequisites: Biol 133, or Biol 222 or Biol 230. Fall semesters.
BIOL 424 SEEDS OF CHANGE: THE USES OF PLANTS (3) Interdisciplinary approach to the biology, chemistry, history, and culture of the interactions between plants and people. Prerequisite:BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W or BIOL 240W
BIOL 427 (GEOSC) EVOLUTION ( 3) Evolution aims to familiarize students with basic principles of biological evolution. These principles include their process of natural selection, speciation, adaptation, population genetics, molecular evolution, and systematics. This course will be taught primarily in a lecture/discussion format. Students participate and lead discussions. A variety of field trips, guest lectures, and some films also illustrate the principles presented in the course. Prerequisites: BIOL 220W, BIOL 230W Spring semester
BIOL 429 ANIMAL BEHAVIOR (3) Physiological mechanisms, ecological relevance, and adaptive significance of animal behavior. Prerequisite: BIOL 110, BIOL 220W Alternate Spring semesters.
BIOL 430 DEVELOPMENTAL BIOLOGY ( 3) Molecular and genetic analyses of mechanisms involved in differentiation and determination in biological systems. Prerequisite: Biol 222, Biol 230W, or BMB 252 Alternate Fall semesters.
BIOL 435 ECOLOGY OF LAKES AND STREAMS ( 3) This course examines the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of freshwater systems. Attention is given to rivers, streams, groundwater, wetlands, ponds, and lakes and the biological communities that inhabit them. Special emphasis is put on the relationship between humans and freshwater and how humans negatively impact these systems. Prerequisite: BIOL 220W Alternate fall semesters
BIOL 437 HISTOLOGY ( 4) This course provides an in depth study of the tissues that comprise the vertebrate body with an emphasis on human tissues. Lectures are supplemented by labs involving microscopic study of stained sections of various tissues and organs. Consideration is given to the functions performed by the tissues and organs studied, as well as to their embryonic development. Microscopy and histological techniques are explained. Prerequisite: Biology 230W Alternate spring semesters
BIOL 441 PLANT PHYSIOLOGY (3) Classical and current concepts in plant constituents, mineral nutrition, water relations, respiration, photosynthesis, photoperiodism, plant hormones, growth, and development. Prerequisite: BIOL 230W, BIOL 240W Alternate Spring semesters.
BIOL 450W EXPERIMENTAL FIELD BIOLOGY ( 5) The course involves the implementation of various field techniques and several out-of-class field trips, and also projects utilizing the temperate ecosystems in Central Pennsylvania. The course includes a common class project and requires individual research studies. Field techniques and data analyses are emphasized. This is a writing-intensive course; thus, a significant portion of the final grade will be based on students' written reports. Prerequisites: BIOL 220W, BIOL 240W Fall semester
BIOL 469 NEUROBIOLOGY ( 3) Neurobiology is an intensive, but not exhaustive, course covering the basic cell biology, physiology, and anatomy of the nervous system. This course is conducted as a combination of lecture and discussion. As neurobiology is a rapidly changing and developing field, students are required to read, discuss, and provide written critiques of current and classic literature pertaining to class subjects. Prerequisite: BIOL 240W Fall semester. Alternate Spring Semesters.
BIOL 472 MAMMALIAN PHYSIOLOGY ( 3) Biology 472 is covers the fundamentals of mammalian physiology for advanced undergraduate students. A working knowledge and understanding of basic physiological principles is developed and then used to explore the normal function of various organ systems and to analyze various abnormal situations that occur. These include respiratory disturbances, hypertension, heart failure, endocrine imbalances, neurological and muscular disorders. Prerequisite: BIOL 240W Fall semester
BIOL 473 LABORATORY IN MAMMALIAN PHYSIOLOGY ( 2) This course consists of laboratory experiments demonstrating fundamentals in physiology. Prerequisite or concurrent: BIOL 472. Spring semester
BIOL 497C HUMAN DIMENSIONS OF HEALTH CARE (3) Health care from the point of view of patients, their families, and health care providers by on-site experience in family and community medicine settings. Fall semester
BIOL 497D FRESHWATER ECOLOGY LABORATORY A laboratory course that covers physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of freshwater environments. The course includes field trips to local lakes and streams to conduct field-work utilizing common limnological sampling techniques. Prerequisites: Biology 110; Biology 220W; Biology 435 (concurrent).
*MICRB 106 (GN) ELEMENTARY MICROBIOLOGY ( 3) Elementary microbiology is primarily a lecture based course aimed at introducing students to the clinical and environmental impact of microorganisms. Topics will include the history of microbiology, microbial genetics, immunology, epidemiology, food microbiology, and medical microbiology. (3 credits) This course serves as a descriptive course for students not planning advanced study in microbiology. Both MICRB 106 and MICRB 107 must be completed to fulfill the general education (GN) requirement.
*MICRB 107 (GN) ELEMENTARY MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY ( 1) Elementary microbiology laboratory will introduce students to basic microbiological laboratory methods. Students will actively learn about microscopy, culture methods, and identification techniques. Other lab activities will examine the effects of chemical and physical agents on microorganisms; test various water sources for bacterial contamination; and survey clinical microbiological applications. (1 credit) Prerequisite or concurrent: MICRB 106. Both MICRB 106 and MICRB 107 must be completed to fulfill the general education (GN) requirement.
(*) Both MICRB 106 and MICRB 107 must be completed to fulfill the general education (GN) requirement.
MICRB 201 INTRODUCTORY MICROBIOLOGY ( 3) Elementary principles of microbial and viral interrelationships, morphology, and physiology; relation to food, water, soil, industry, and disease processes. This course is designed for students in technical majors. (3 credits)
MICRB 202 INTRODUCTORY MICROBIOLOGY LABORATORY ( 2) Qualitative and quantitative techniques with regard to recognition of bacteria and their processes on a microscopic, colonial, and physiological basis. Prerequisite: CHEM 012. Prerequisite or concurrent: MICRB 201. (2 credits)
ENVST 100 (GS) VISIONS OF NATURE ( 3) An interdisciplinary introduction to environmental studies, including perspectives from ethics, economics, public policy, art, literature, history, geology, biology, and ecology. (Generally offered every semester)
ENVST 200 RESEARCH METHODS IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES ( 3) Focus on interdisciplinary research methodologies from biology, social sciences, and humanities for the study of environmental issues and problems. Prerequisite: BIOL 110, ENGL 015, ENVST 100 (Generally offered spring semester)
ENVST 395 INTERNSHIP ( 1 -18) Supervised off-campus, nongroup instruction including field experiences, practica, or internships. Written and oral critique of activity required. Prerequisite: prior approval of proposed assignment by instructor
ENVST 400W SENIOR SEMINAR IN ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES ( 3) Writing-intensive study of a specified topic in environmental studies integrating approaches and research from a variety of disciplines. Prerequisite: ENVST 200
B M B 401 GENERAL BIOCHEMISTRY 1 (2 credits, 3 credits in conjunction with BMB 497) This investigates the principles of the structure and function of biological molecules, including carbohydrates, lipids, membranes, proteins, and enzymes. Prerequisites: CHEM 039 and BMB 251 or BIOL 230W Fall semester
B M B 402 GENERAL BIOCHEMISTRY 2 (3) This course continues the exploration of biological molecules through a comprehensive survey of the pathways and regulation of intermediary metabolism. Building on BMB 401, this course will expand on the biochemical pathways that control everyday bodily functions, both when the body is healthy, and what goes wrong to create a diseased state. Prerequisite: BMB 401 Spring semester
WFS 408 MAMMALOGY (3) Identification, systematics, characteristics, adaptations, ecology, behavior, natural history and conservation, and socio-economic aspects of mammals. Prerequisite: BIOL 110
WFS 409 MAMMALOGY LABORATORY (1) Laboratory and field identification of mammals, ecology and behavior of mammals, field survey techniques. Prerequisite: or concurrent: WFS 209 or WFS 408
WFS 430 CONSERVATION BIOLOGY (3) The application of biological principles to issues in the conservation of biodiversity. Prerequisite: Biol 220W or For 308
***BI SC 001 (GN) STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION OF ORGANISMS ( 3) An exploration of cellular components and processes and their contribution to the structure and function of living organisms. Students who have passed BIOL 027, 041, or 102 may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
***BI SC 002 (GN) GENETICS, ECOLOGY, AND EVOLUTION ( 3) The study of how living organisms inherit their traits, how plants and animals evolved, and how they now interact. Students who have passed BIOL 033, 110, 220W, or 222 may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
***BI SC 003 (GN) ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE ( 3) Kinds of environments; past and present uses and abuses of natural resources; disposal of human wastes; prospects for the future. Students who have passed BIOL 220 or any other upper-level ecology course in biology may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
***BI SC 004 (GN) HUMAN BODY: FORM AND FUNCTION ( 3) A general survey of structure and function--from conception, through growth and reproduction, to death. Students who have passed BIOL 029 and 041 may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
***BIOL 033 (GN) GENETICS AND EVOLUTION OF THE HUMAN SPECIES ( 3) Human heredity and evolution, individual and social implications. The course is for non-majors; students who have passed BIOL 222, 230W, B M B 251 or any upper-division biology course may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
***BIOL 055 (GN) INTRODUCTION TO THE BIOLOGY OF AGING ( 3) Examination of human aging from a biological perspective. Population demographics, physiological and pathological changes, and healthy lifestyles are discussed. Students who have passed BIOL 409 may not schedule this course. (Generally offered every semester)
Contact:Dr. Edward P. Levri
Associate Professor of Biology
Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Office: 202 Hawthorn Building