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Core Course Descriptions


BGGN 200: Graduate School Fundamentals

Description: Course will cover fundamental issues in academia, including campus resources, research design, ethical issues in research, scientific publishing and review, grant preparation, etc. Required of all first-year PhD students in the Division of Biological Sciences.

Instructor(s): Jim Golden

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 203: Topics in Community & Population Ecology 

Description: This course teaches different topics on theory and key concepts in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution. Students will read materials in depth, attend weekly discussions, and explore relevant topics, theories and models with advanced analytical tools.

Instructor(s): varies by quarter

Quarter Offered: varies / multiple


BGGN 204: Topics in Community & Population Ecology 

Description: This course teaches a different topic each quarter on the theoretical or conceptual side of community and population ecology. Students will read materials in depth, attend weekly discussions, and explore theories and models with statistical, analytical, and algorithmic tools of the trade.

Instructor(s): varies by quarter

Quarter Offered: varies 


BGGN 208: Biological Sciences Boot Camp

Description: Intensive lecture-, seminar-, and laboratory-based course for incoming first year students in the biological sciences PhD program. Topics covered: evolution and quantitative biology, including biostatistics, image analysis, bioinformatics, genomics, evolution, and analysis of DNA proteins. During the first 2 weeks in September, students commit to 10-15 hours per day.

Instructor(s): Andrew Chisholm

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 214: Introduction to Q-Biology

Description: The course goal is to discuss and work through examples where quantitative biology approaches were necessary to yield novel biological insights.  Problems will be presented with a historic perspective to instill a philosophy for when, how and why q-bio approaches are most effective.

Instructor(s): Gurol Suel

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 220D: Chromatin Structure and Transcriptional Regulation

Description: The course covers chromatin structure and dynamics as well as the regulation of transcription initiation by RNA polymerase II. The format includes lectures and discussion of selected papers.

Instructor(s): TBD

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 220E: Post-Transcriptional Gene Regulation

Description: The course covers mechanisms of gene regulation at the post-transcriptional level, including RNA processing, translation and mRNA turnover. The format includes lectures and discussion of selected papers.

Instructor(s): TBD

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 220F: Shaping Cellular Function Through Post-Translational Regulation

Description: The course will cover post-translational control mechanisms governing cellular activity. The course will traverse molecular and systems level approaches aimed at understanding the governing principles of post-translation regulation and the consequences of improper regulation. The format includes lectures and discussion of selected papers.

Instructor(s): TBD

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 222: Graduate Cell Biology

Description: Coverage of modern cell biology for first-year graduate students. There is an up-to-date discussion of topics such as: structure and function of membranes; ion pumps, ion channels, transmembrane signaling; receptor mediated endocytosis; protein targeting; the role of RER and Golgi apparatus; the biosynthesis of intracellular organelles in animal and plant cells; the cytoskeleton, motility, molecular motors, cell-cell interactions, mitosis; and the control of cell division. Also included are extensive coverage of cell signaling mechanisms and discussions on molecular approaches to cell biology.

Instructor(s): Randy Hampton, Douglass Forbes, Maho Niwa, Jim Wilhelm

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 223: Graduate Genetics

Description: Provides a broad and extensive advanced-level coverage of molecular and formal aspects of genetics for first-year graduate students. Topics covered include: bacterial genetics, recombination in prokaryotes and eukaryotes, mammalian somatic-cell genetics, developmental genetics, sex determination, dosage compensation, and immunogenetics. Extensive coverage of the use of model systems like Drosophila and C. elegans is included. General and specific aspects of cellular signaling mechanisms will be covered.

Instructor(s): Lorraine Pillus, Ralph Greenspan

Quarter Offered: Spring


BGGN 224: Graduate Neurobiology

Description: Course covers modern molecular, cellular, developmental, and physiological aspects of neurobiology. Extensive discussion of original research articles will be included.

Instructor(s): Brenda Bloodgood, Byungkook Lim

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 225: Graduate Immunology

Description: The course is devoted to immunology and is organized as a combined lecture-tutorial course stressing classical as well as current literature. Each week will compose an independent section. Topics will include cellular interactions involved in the immune response and the molecular biology unique to lymphoid factor and receptors.

Instructor(s): Cornelis Murre, Elina Zuniga

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 226: Graduate Virology

Description: This course consists of a review of fundamental concepts together with an in-depth analysis of the structure, genetics, multiplication and oncogenicity of animal viruses. Particular emphasis will be given to the DNA and RNA tumor viruses. The format of this section includes lectures and discussion of selected papers.

Instructor(s): Debbie Spector

Quarter Offered: Spring


BGGN 227: Graduate Topics in Plant Biology

Description: This course covers advanced topics in plant biology in the areas of molecular genetic developmental and physiological biology. We will discuss plant-microbe interactions, transposable elements, protein trafficking, ion transport, and organ development. The format of this section includes lectures and discussion of selected papers.

Instructor(s): Julian Schroeder, Yunde Zhao, Joseph Ecker

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 228: Graduate Developmental Biology

Description: This course covers graduate level lectures on developmental biology, emphasizing the use of genetically tractable model systems. Discussion of recent research articles is an integral aspect of this course. Students are introduced to classical experiments and given detailed coverage of recent fundamental findings in developmental biology.

Instructor(s): Jim Poliano, Amy Kiger

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 230: Graduate Signal Transduction

Description: The course will introduce students to a variety of signal transduction pathways and their function in the regulation of cellular processes. Special emphasis will be given to signaling cascades regulating immunological responses and alterations of signaling pathways during oncogenesis.

Instructor(s): Michael David

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 231: Current Concepts in Stem Cell Biology

Description: Research papers from all aspects of stem cell biology will be read, presented, and discussed. Papers will range from landmark to current studies, spanning many developmental organisms and cell types. Students will present one paper, provide relevant background, and lead discussions.

Instructor(s): David Traver, Karl Willert

Quarter Offered: Fall


BGGN 238A: Integrative Microbiology I

Description: To introduce students with structural and functional properties of microorganisms and with the role of microbes in the world. Course will emphasize the integrative aspects of microbiology. First course in series.

Instructor(s): Joe Pogliano

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 238B: Integrative Microbiology II

Description: This course introduces students to structural and functional properties of microorganisms and to the role of microbes in the world. Course will emphasize the integrative aspects of microbiology. Second course in series.

Instructor(s): Doug Bartlett

Quarter Offered: Spring


BGGN 249B: Basic Neuroscience II

Description: These courses are designed for graduate students in the neurosciences and other departments that are part of the interdisciplinary program (e.g., Biology, Cognitive Science). These courses have been designed to cover as much basic neuroscience as possible in 3 quarters of study. They will combine 2 3-hour meetings each week with a 1.5-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour discussion of papers. These are required courses for all first-year neurosciences graduate students.

Quarter Offered: Winter


BGGN 249C: Basic Neuroscience III

Description: These courses are designed for graduate students in the neurosciences and other departments that are part of the interdisciplinary program (e.g., Biology, Cognitive Science). These courses have been designed to cover as much basic neuroscience as possible in 3 quarters of study. They will combine 2 3-hour meetings each week with a 1.5-hour lecture and a 1.5-hour discussion of papers. These are required courses for all first-year neurosciences graduate students.

Quarter Offered: Spring