Biology 260: Microbiology

Credits 4

Organisms at the micron scale (single-cell organisms) are ubiquitous, fascinating, and mysterious entities that orchestrate biogeochemical cycling, impact the well-being of multicellular organisms, and potentiate transformative biotechnologies. Entire microbial ecosystems thrive within a single droplet of water, persist in the barest landscapes, and survive the harshest environments. This course will explore the physiological mechanisms that microbes have evolved to inhabit almost every habitat on Earth. It will also provide a survey of biology at the microbial level and will outline specific techniques commonly used to identify, study, and harness the power of microbial entities. We will integrate concepts from cell physiology, chemistry, evolution, epidemiology, and biotechnology. Lab work will utilize microscopy, spectrophotometry, and bioinformatic tools to study and manipulate bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Students will learn how to work in a sterile controlled environment, identify bacterial strains, isolate microbes from several environments, and test the metabolic capabilities of isolated microbes. Applies to the Molecular/Cell requirement for the Biology major.


Includes a required corequisite lab, Biology 260L.