Screen Shot 2021-06-15 at 3.54.51 PMBIOL 404: Microbial Physiology

Description: This course builds upon BIOL 250 to develop a deeper understanding of how microbes overcome physiological challenges and survive in a stressful, changing world. Emphasis will be given to five major topics:

  • Structure, growth and division: how do cells manage the basic tasks of going from one cell to two?
  • Membrane energetics and transport: how do microbes use high-energy molecules and their membranes as batteries to run cellular processes and get thing in and out of cells?
  • Central metabolic pathways and transport: how can a wide variety of growth substrates get channeled into a common core of reactions that generate the suite of biomolecules needed to make all the components of a cell?
  • Stress response and regulation: how do microbes sense and respond to changes in their environment?
  • Cellular behaviors, biofilms and communication: how can single cells move, form physical communities, and affect their collective behavior in a coordinated manner?

Throughout these topics several overarching themes will be stressed:

  • How does physiology relate to evolutionary pressures and ecological interactions?
  • What aspects of physiology are universal across microbes versus being distinct in different groups?
  • What are the ways in which we can use quantitative concepts to move toward predictive understanding of cellular behavior?
  • How does phenotypic heterogeneity at the level of single, genetically-identical cells create challenges and opportunities for microbes to thrive?

And coming this spring, Microbiomes…

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Shelved for now – BIOL 426: Systems Biology
Fall 2019 (every other Fall; cross-listed as the graduate course BIOL 526)
Meeting Time: Tuesdays and Thursdays 2:00-3:15 pm

Systems Biology uses quantitative approaches including theory and computation to understand the dynamics and steady-state behaviors that emerge from physiological systems. Topics will include transcriptional networks and their common motifs, robustness in chemotaxis and development, noise and variability, and optimality in metabolism. Textbook is “An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits” (Uri Alon, Chapman & Hall/CRC).
Prerequisites: BIOL 115, MATH 170.

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