biocore courses:

  • Semester 1 - Fall
  • Semester 2 - Spring
  • Semester 3 - Fall
  • Semester 4 - Spring


This course sequence is held in fall of the 1st year in Biocore:

Biocore 381 (formerly Biocore 301) - Evolution, Ecology & Genetics (3 cr.) -- Syllabus Fall 2014

This course is intended to serve as a foundation for the subsequent courses in the Biocore sequence. The basic concepts of evolution, ecology, and genetics each occupy about one third of the semester. Evolution is discussed in terms of the geological and biological history of the earth, the diversity and classification of organisms, and the development of our ideas about evolution and natural selection. The genetics unit focuses on transmission genetics and includes discussions of Mendel's laws, the structural and functional organization of chromosomes and their behavior in mitosis and meiosis, and linkage and crossing over. The ecology unit discusses the relationship of an individual organism to its environment and then goes on to consider populations, communities, and ecosystems. Biocore students apply some of the principles they are learning to a long-term prairie restoration project near Picnic Point.

Biocore 382 (formerly Biocore 302) - Evolution, Ecology & Genetics (2 cr. Lab) - Syllabus Fall 2014

The laboratory course gives students practical experience working with the concepts introduced in lecture. Activities at the Biocore Prairie restoration site in the UW Lakeshore Nature Preserve is a major focus during the first part of the semester. Later projects deal with genetic analysis of pigment production in Brassica rapa Wisconsin Fast Plants, and evolution of the Galapagos finches. This is a writing intensive course and is the first of three lab courses in Biocore that focus on the process and nature of "doing biology" with many opportunities to experience different aspects of scientific research in the laboratory and the field.


This course sequence is held in spring of the 1st year in Biocore:

Biocore 383 (formerly Biocore 303) - Cellular Biology
(3 cr.) - Syllabus Spring 2015

Biocore 383 deals with various aspects of life at the cellular and molecular levels. The course begins with an introduction to cells, membranes, and macromolecules, and then goes on to discuss the flow of energy in cells, considering how cells obtain, store, and use energy. Following the first unit on basic metabolism, the course continues into molecular genetics. The second unit focuses on the flow of biological information in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, including the storage, transmission, and expression of genetic information. The course then concludes with a unit on signal transduction, focusing especially on the importance of receptor-ligand interactions, cell signaling, cell motility, the regulation of the cell cycle, and cancer.

Biocore 384 (formerly Biocore 304) - Cellular Biology
(2 cr. Lab) -
Syllabus Spring 2015

Biocore 384 laboratory complements and integrates cell biology concepts from lecture with scientific reasoning and cell/molecular research methodology. This is the second lab in a three semester progression that focuses on the process and nature of "doing biology". The lab is research and writing-intensive, and introduces tools and procedures of cell and molecular biology together with statistics and an introduction to bioinformatics all integrated into three different research units. Current units are the biochemistry and enzyme kinetics of alkaline phosphatase, gene expression in C. elegans worms, and mating pheromone signaling in yeast.


This course sequence is held in fall of the 2nd year in Biocore:

Biocore 485 (formerly Biocore 323) - Organismal Biology (3 cr.) - Syllabus Fall 2014

This physiology course explores the means by which plants and animals interact with their environments to support the basic needs of surviving, obtaining nutrients, exchanging gases, and reproducing. The course examines the developments that have evolved in conjunction with the need of animals to search out and procure food (their nutrient and energy source) and contrasts this with plants, which are able to manufacture energy-rich molecules from simple inorganic raw materials. The course focuses on the complex systems of neural and endocrine regulation in animals and hormonal and environmental regulation in plants to understand how cells and organs within an organism maintain communication. We also discuss the regulation of respiration, circulation, and heart function, as well as the mechanisms that underlie the function of the brain.

Biocore 486 (formerly Biocore 324) - Organismal Biology (2 cr. Lab) - Syllabus Fall 2014

As members of a 3-4 person research team, students work each week on designing or carrying out their own experiments on plant or animal physiology. During the semester, each team has 3 opportunities to develop an experiment to test a hypothesis based on a novel research question, in many cases using themselves as subjects (e.g. electrocardiograms, respiration rate, electroencephalograms). Research topics are chosen by students and reflect concepts taught concurrently in the Organismal Biology (485) lecture course. We stress different elements of experimental design (development of good questions, review of relevant literature, hypothesis formation, protocol development: randomization, controls, sample size estimation) and analysis (data manipulation, graphing, statistical tests, comparison with previous findings). Emphasis is on critical thinking required in designing and conducting experiments and in analyzing and interpreting results. During the semester, research teams report their findings through oral PowerPoint presentations and by writing, peer-reviewing, and revising papers in the format of scientific journal articles.


This course is held in spring of the 2nd year in Biocore:

Biocore 587 (formerly Biocore 333) - Biological Interactions (3 cr.) -- Syllabus Spring 2015

Biocore 587 is intended as a capstone course for Biocore. Biological Interactions helps students integrate the concepts and skills from the previous three semesters of sequence. This course emphasizes the interconnection of biological systems that do not operate in isolation but are, instead, characterized by interactions at all levels of biological organization. Students learn and work together in small cooperative learning groups throughout the semester through the lens of bioscience research. The course focuses on a series of papers from the scientific literature and provides students with opportunities to gather information, visualize, analyze, explore, and plan strategies for the investigation of complex biological problems. Current topics may include: 1. Inheritance of Susceptibility: Colon Cancer as Genetic Disease, led by Dr. Amy Moser, Department of Human Oncology, 2. Cervical cancer; A Viral Disease, led by Dr. Anne Griep, Department of Anatomy, 3. Microbial Ecology and the Human Gut, led by Dr. Trina McMahon, Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Bacteriology and 4. The Dynamics of the Mitotic Spindle, led by Dr. Bill Bement, Zoology Department. At the end of the semester, student teams develop and present a multi-media project to communicate a complex topic in bioscience to the public.