Biology

Brain and Behavior  –  Jen Cummings
(Session 3)

Ever wonder how that gelatinous blob in your head controls everything you do and think? What exactly are neurons? How do they talk to each other? And to the rest of your body? Have you ever wondered about things like: how does stress affect your body? Is exercise really that good for your brain? What happens if you miss a few nights of sleep? It makes sense that your brain affects your experiences- but can experiences actually change your brain?? We will answer these questions (and more!) in Brain and Behavior, as we explore the amazing field of behavioral neuroscience. We will begin with a section on the basic functionality of the brain and nervous system, and then will go on to investigate how the system can be affected by things like stress, learning & memory, hormones, and neuropsychiatric disorders. We will leave some time for a session on student-selected topics in behavioral neuroscience, so if there’s something else you’ve been pondering with respect to the brain, don’t worry! We’ve got you covered.

Dissecting Life: Human Anatomy and Physiology  –  Glenn Fox
(Sessions 1, 2, & 3)

Dissecting Life will lead students through the complexities and wonder of the human body. Lecture sessions will cover human anatomy and physiology in detail. Students will gain an understanding of biology, biochemistry, histology, and use these as a foundation to study human form and function. Laboratory sessions will consist of first-hand dissections of a variety of exemplar organisms: lamprey, sharks, cats, etc. Students may also tour the University of Michigan Medical School’s Plastination and Gross Anatomy Laboratories where they may observe human dissections.

Human Identification: Forensic Anthropology Methods  –  Maire Malone
(Sessions 1 & 2)

Forensic anthropology methods are used to aid in human identification with skeletal remains. Applications of forensic anthropology lie in the criminal justice system and mass disaster response. In this course, we will address questions such as: What are important differences between male and female skeletons? Utilizing skeletal remains, how would you tell the difference between a 20-year old and an 80-year old? How do you distinguish between blunt force and sharp force trauma on the skull? In this hands-on, laboratory-based course, you will be become familiar with human osteology (the study of bones] and bone biology. Through our exploration of forensic and biological anthropology methods, you will learn how to develop a biological profile [estimates of age at death, sex, ancestry and stature], assess manner of death, estimate postmortem interval, investigate skeletal trauma and pathology, and provide evidence for a positive identification from skeletal remains. Additionally, we will explore various forensic recovery techniques as they apply to an outdoor complex, including various mapping techniques. Towards the end of the course, you will work in small groups in a mock recovery of human remains and analyze the case utilizing the forensic anthropological methods learned throughout the course.

Mathematical Modeling in Biology  –  Trachette Jackson and Patrick Nelson
(Session 3)
Mathematical biology is an exciting interdisciplinary field that combines applied mathematics, scientific computing, biology, ecology, physiology and medicine.  This branch of mathematics is growing with phenomenal speed! For the mathematician, biology opens up new and exciting areas of study, while for the biologist, mathematical and computational modeling offers another powerful research tool that can provide insight into the complexity of a biological system. Mathematical biologists typically investigate problems in diverse and exciting areas such as the topology of DNA, cell physiology, the study and spread of infectious diseases, population ecology, neuroscience, tumor growth and treatment strategies, and organ development and embryology. This course will be a venture into the field of mathematical modeling in biology and the biomedical sciences using techniques from calculus, dynamical systems and scientific computing.  Interactive lectures, group projects, computer demonstrations, and guest speakers will help introduce some of the fundamentals of mathematical modeling and its usefulness in biology, physiology and medicine.  For example, the cell division cycle is a sequence of regulated events which describes the passage of a single cell from birth to division. There is an elaborate cascade of molecular interactions that function as the mitotic clock and ensures that the sequential changes that take place in a dividing cell take place on schedule. What happens when the mitotic clock speeds up or simply stops ticking? These kinds of malfunctions can lead to cancer and mathematical modeling can help predict under what conditions a small population of cells with a compromised mitotic clock can result in a fully developed tumor.  Students who can speak the languages of mathematics and computation along with biology and medicine will be able to solve some of the most challenging problems of the 21st century.  Wouldn’t it be amazing if mathematics could guide future experiments that lead to a cure AIDS or Cancer?