Introduction to Cell Biology

A tour of cells and their components, including an overview of molecules and their involvement in metabolism, the major classes of compounds that make up cells, and an introduction to genes, the regulation of gene expression, and proteins. Lab includes an exposure to numerous methods in cell and molecular biology as well as practice with formulating and testing hypotheses.

Food (Summer only)

This class aims to introduce concepts of biology and botany in the context of food. We study a different food each day, covering such delectable foods as chocolate, wine, coffee, bread, and fruits. The domestication, biology, preparation, and taste are common topics. Common themes include energy transformation, structure-function relationships, and the usefulness of plants for flavorings based on their production of defense compounds.

Plant Physiology

A mechanistic view of plant function, focusing on cellular and molecular-level processes like membrane transport, photosynthesis, secondary metabolism, and growth and development. The lab experience is almost entirely concerned with proposing, designing, conducting, and reporting an original research project touching on one of the topic areas covered in lecture. Read more →


Evolution is a ‘river of DNA’ flowing through time, and in this class we explore how that occurs by discussing the laws of heredity, the relationship between genes, chromosomes, and traits, how chromosomes are duplicated, how genes are expressed, and how gene expression influences cell activities. Read more →

Advanced Molecular Techniques

A lab-only class that tackles a molecular-level project relating to plant growth and development. The usual approach is for the class to decide on a gene of interest, clone it into an expression vector, and transform plants with it. Sometimes we get all of this done in one semester, sometimes we don’t. Read more →