The Human Microbiome: form and functionspecial topics: biol 504, spring semester 2013
The human body is home to a diverse array of microbes known to play an important role in modulating human development, physiology, immunity, and nutrition. Thousands of species in high numbers coexist with their human hosts in a mutualistic, relatively site-specific fashion, forming communities specific to the various ecological niches that line body surfaces and cavities. The types of organisms present at each site are influenced by the local environmental conditions that prevail and host factors, and thus differ between body sites. more...
In this course we provide advanced undergraduate students with insight to important scientific principles of microbial ecology and critical thinking skills. This is done in the context of global bioethics as espoused by Aldo Leopold1and Van Rensselaer Potter2, with a special emphasis on the obligation of scientists in community based initiatives that promote the sustainable use of Earth's resources. This intensive course involves considerable small group activities in which critical thinking skills are honed to improve research project development, written... more...
Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacksisem: 302, spring semester 2013
This course is based on the University’s Common Read, with accompanying lectures by the son of Henrietta Lacks and other scholars. The seminar will explore the life story and legacy of Henrietta Lacks. It is the story of a poor back tobacco farmer whose cells, scientifically known as HeLa, were taken without Henrietta’s knowledge in 1951, while undergoing cancer treatment. These cells have become one of the most important tools in modern medicine. Henrietta Lacks’ story intersects medical and scientific research, including development of the... more...
Bioethics is a word coined in the last 40 years to describe social issues at the intersection of biology and questions about right and wrong. Students will study, write, and think about these issues in an historical and scientific context. The course is a unique opportunity to learn key elements of biology and ethical theory that will enable students to make informed judgments about the uses and possible abuses of advances in medicine, scientific research, the environment, and many other interdisciplinary areas.
Looking Up: a crash course in global citizenshipcore 130 and 180
We live in exponential times, wherein the ever increasing tempo of marvelous technological advances hold the promise of a brighter future for humanity, while at the same time the depletion of natural resources, global climate change, and other by-products of world-wide economic development threaten our very existence. Some might think that Robert Malthus was essentially correct after all – the exponential growth of the human population places unsustainable ecological and economic pressures on the Earth and its inhabitants. While we can argue which problem is most important or whether all problems are critical to our future, it is hard to argue that none are important. Moreover, what has become increasingly clear is that the future is now, and everyone has a stake in the outcome. This means that the students of today, who will be the decision makers of tomorrow, need to be well equipped as global citizens to discuss, debate, and decide important issues in normative rather than simply descriptive terms with an awareness of, and a commitment to, global justice.
BIOL 553 encourages graduate students to face the ethical challenges presented by their research. While philosophical considerations serve as the foundation to the course, the focus is on applied problems rather than ethical theory.
This course is offered to biology majors as a capstone to their undergraduate studies. You have spent four or more years gaining knowledge of biology, but have probably spent little time considering how this knowledge is (or isn't) used in the ‘real world’ that you will enter upon graduation. The primary objective of the course is to provide you with an opportunity to do so. In this course you will critically read, consider, discuss, and write about specific scientific issues that are prominent in society today.
As you well know, few issues pertaining to scientific policies and practices are black and white, and almost all are complex. Conflicting data are not uncommon. Moreover, economic, political, and moral issues enter into decision-making, as do various prejudices and the momentum imparted by past practices. The goal of the course is to expose students to the complexity of these kinds of issues and provide an opportunity to wrestle with how the knowledge you have gained can be used to arrive at recommendations and decisions.
The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of evolution and how it has shaped life on our planet throughout history.
Teaching evolution and evolutionary theory provides an opportunity to engage students in understanding the process of scientific discovery; particularly how theories are developed and tested. It also provides a forum to show how science evolves over time as new knowledge is gained and integrated into existing knowledge. Finally, it allows us to develop data analysis and critical thinking skills in students that are needed to make well-reasoned decisions as members of society.more...
Dr. Forney led the team that developed the Biological Information Online Network (BIONet), which provide on-line content for Cells and Evolution of Life (BIOL 115) and Organisms and Environments (BIOL 116) at the University of Idaho. BIONet is accessible to students 24/7 and provides students with short lectures, animations and simulations, interactive exercises, online quizzes, and links to other related sites that help integrate and synthesize course material. Students enter these courses with very different backgrounds, interests, and levels of preparedness. The constant availability and electronic format of the material helps first-year biology students by affording students the opportunity to learn and review material at their own pace, and as many times as they wish.
BIOL 115BIOL 116