Biology 173: Discover the Remarkable World of the Human Microbiome

Instructors: Prof. Thomas Schmidt & Prof. Kristi MacCready

  • Section 003: Lecture (Friday 2:00pm – 3:00pm)
  • Section 201 or 202: Lab (Thursday 9:00am – 12:00pm)
  • Section 203 or 204: Lab (Thursday 2:00pm – 5:00pm)



Selection begins December 4th.

Note: Please submit only ONE application form no matter how many courses you are applying to. There is just one application link and you will be prompted to select all courses you wish to apply for and then rank your preferences. If you apply more than once, we will consider your most recent application as the valid one and disregard previous applications.



The community of bacteria on and within us (our microbiome) modulates every imaginable aspect of our health ranging from digestion to happiness. In the research sections of Biology 173, rather than performing traditional laboratory exercises, you will conduct research on your own microbiome by:

  • Characterizing the bacteria in your gut
  • Measuring the activity of your microbiome
  • Identifying how the composition of this microbiome can be managed
The Fall 2017 course was featured in a segment on the Korean Educational Broadcast System. Watch it on youtube here.

News Articles:




Syllabus Fall 2015 Biology 173

Student Testimonials:

“I think that’s how it’s different: We’re doing actually research instead of doing labs where the teachers already know what’s supposed to happen. This might sound cheesy, but I feel like a scientist. It’s fun.” Bio173 Fall 2015

“So doing something that other scientists have done is really cool, especially being an undergraduate….But now that I actually understand what I’m doing and can apply it to my knowledge in lab, I could see myself in a research position along with becoming a doctor or an educator.” Bio173 Fall 2015

“I was originally business — I’m a business major now — but this makes the clinical and practical side more interesting. So I think what I will end up doing will be going more into something clinical and practical like research so I can see the usefulness of what I do everyday.” Bio173 Fall 2015

“Because those teaching the courses had other interests vested in this, the teaching was very good and there were a lot of faculty in the laboratory.” Bio173 Winter 2015