Spring 2009


Course Information:


 BIO 150 Cells, Physiology, and Development

Course credit:

4 hours

Class time:

TR 9-10:20 a.m.


McConnell 103

Teaching staff:






Christine White-Ziegler


SR 456


Carmen Say


Jacobsen Center


Carla Louis


Jacobsen Center


Graham Kent

Lab Instructor

SR 249


Wen Li

Lab Instructor

Burton 401


Judith Wopereis

Lab Instructor

SR 437


















Welcome to BIO150: Cells, Physiology, and Development.  The course is designed for all students who have an interest in biology and it also serves as part of the basis of the majors in Biological Sciences, Neuroscience, and Biochemistry.  The accompanying lab, BIO 151, is required for Biochemistry and Neuroscience Majors.  It also fulfills one of the 100 level lab requirements for the Biological Sciences major.  Thus, the lab is highly recommended! The topics covered in this course include the molecular composition of living systems and the structure, organization and function of prokaryotic, plant, and animal cells, the development of multicellularity, and the structure and physiology of selected plant and animal systems.

As the instructor for BIO150 I hope to provide you with a strong foundation of knowledge in biology pertaining to the areas of cellular, molecular, physiological, and developmental biology that will allow you to better define your interests and support your future studies in upper level courses.



Readings for the course will be predominantly from BIOLOGY, 8th edition, 2008, by Campbell and Reese.  You have the option to purchase the online version of the book (an ebook) or a hard copy of the textbook at the Grecourt Bookstore.  Several hard copies of the text will also be on reserve in the Young Science Library.  Any additional readings will be posted on Moodle as pdf files.  It is your responsibility to download these files.



I will rely heavily on Moodle ( for assignments, readings, online quizzes, lecture presentations, and announcements.  If you have any problems with your Moodle account, you should contact the ITS User Support Center in Stoddard Hall 23 (X4487 or as soon as possible.  I will also send class emails through Moodle – if your primary email is not your Smith address, it is your responsibility to have your emails forwarded (ask ITS).



As the instructor for this course, I have set my office hours just before the class and will hold them in the classroom (McC 103).  I am hoping this will allow easy access for help on the course material and facilitate group study within the course.  Review sessions will also be held at this time.  The tutors from the Jacobsen Center are a wonderful resource for getting additional help.  These are students who have recently gone through the introductory course.  They are available for individual appointments, small groups, or on a drop-in basis.  I have also included the office hours of the lab instructors if you have specific questions relating to the lab materials and assignments.

Also, please feel free to contact me in class, by email, or by phone.  Please be advised that in trying to maintain a good life/work balance, I do not necessarily check email/voicemail on the weekend, in the evening, and (frequently) not before class, so plan on a lag time in response to emails sent to me at these times.



Office Hours


Christine White-Ziegler

TR 8:15-8:50 am


Carmen Say

By appointment

Jacobsen Center

Carla Louis

By appointment

Jacobsen Center

Graham Kent

M 10-11 am, R 2-3 pm

SR 249

Wen Li

T 1-2 or by appointment

Burton 401

Judith Wopereis

F 9-10 am

SR 437













Percentage of Grade


Quizzes (3 x 20 points)



Exams (4 x 100 points)



Cell Type Essay

















Quizzes that will be available on the course Moodle Page.  You will take these quizzes online and immediately receive your score.  Quizzes will be made available on the dates noted on the class schedule. The purpose of these quizzes are to get you acquainted with the material and type of questions that would be on an exam.



There will be three 2 hour self-scheduled exams during the semester and a fourth exam during the final exam period.  Each exam emphasizes the material that was covered in lectures since the last exam.  Exams will consist of essay, short answer and multiple choice/matching questions.  Exams will be placed on reserve in the Young Science Library and you can sign out an exam from the library during regular library hours.  You will be given a multiple day time period in which you will be able to access the exam as noted on the class schedule.



1. Exams are given in the Young Science Library.

a. Tests will be available after 5:00 pm of the first day.

b. Pick up your test and record the time you pick it up on the sheet at the front desk.

c. You have 2 hours total to take an exam. Additional time taken will be considered a violation of the Academic Honor Code.

d. When finished, return your paper to the front desk, record the time returned and initial.

e. You are to complete the test on your own.  These are NOT open book tests; no books, notes, Powerpoints, or any other materials are to be used.

f. These tests must be taken in the Young Science Library during their regular hours.  Be familiar with the hours of the Young Science Library (

g. You have until closing on the last day of the exam period to take the test.  Please note that you must return the exam ½ hour before closing time to the reference desk so please plan accordingly.

2. Be sure to write legibly and make sure to include your name on your paper!

3. Never pick up a returned paper that isn't yours, even if you are asked to do so by your friend.

4. You are reminded that all aspects of the Smith College Academic Honor Code apply to exams and the other assignments in this course.  Be sure you understand what this means; if you are unsure, you can read about it at this website:

If you have any questions about academic honesty during the preparation of your work, ask your lab instructor or me. Importantly, you are not allowed to talk about the exam with anyone during the days of open testing.


Cell Essay:

There will be one writing assignment in this course, in which you must craft a one-page essay describing the structural composition and corresponding function of a specific cell type, and its significance to the physiological state of a multicellular organism.  More detailed instructions will be provided later in the semester.  This assignment will require significant research of primary literature utilizing proper citation and referencing.



Given the large size of the class, it is a bit difficult to judge participation.  The majority of students in the course will receive a similar score, assuming they attend class and complete all assignments on time.  Students who are noticeably and meaningfully involved in class discussion by asking questions, offering ideas, or in other ways show they are particularly motivated will be rewarded with increased participation points.



By providing you several days to take the exam, I am giving you the freedom to complete the test when you feel the best prepared, healthy, and alert.  In return, I expect that every student will be able to manage their time to get the exam completed in this time frame and you will be expected to still attend all of your classes.  There will be no extensions for inadequate time management for scheduling to take the exam during this period of time.  Make-ups are given only for reasons of family emergency or illness.  If a last-minute emergency or health problem prevents you from taking an exam or quiz at the scheduled time, you must notify your Class Dean and the course director as soon as possible in writing by email.




Stump the Scientist

5 points/presentation

Seminar Write Up

5 points/seminar


Stump the Scientist:

If a question arises during class that the instructor cannot immediately answer, then the student may do a literature search on the topic and give a 1-2 minute presentation on the topic at the beginning of the next available class.  Determination of whether the topic merits investigation and whether it is suitable for extra credit requires approval by the instructor.  The maximum extra credit is 5 points per presentation.  You are allowed to do up to 1 presentation every 4 lectures.  Overall, a single student can obtain a total of 30 points.  The availability of this type of extra credit encourages students to be interactive during class and to delve deeper into the subject matter outside of class.

Seminar Synopsis:

Certain seminars that cover material related to Cells, Physiology, and/or Development may also be considered for extra credit.  Attending and writing a one-page summary of the seminar’s main points can provide up to 5 points per seminar.  All seminars require professor’s approval. 


STUDY TIPS FOR BIO 150 (or any other class!)


1.             Skim Before: Skim (or read!) the readings before each lecture to familiarize yourself with the topic.  Pay close attention to figures/tables and to the terminology. 


2.             Focus Your Note Taking: Because the Powerpoint lectures will be posted for your later review, I strongly suggest you focus your note taking on the main concepts we discuss and spend time critically thinking about the material in class in rather then simply transcribing every detail on the slides.


3.             Read After: Carefully read over the relevant sections of the book that directly correlate with what was covered in lecture.  From this exercise generate what you think are the main concepts emphasized in both the book and lecture, significant questions or trouble areas you experience, and whether connections between previous lecture material can be made.


4.             Write Immediately: Review your notes as soon as possible after lecture.  This will ensure several things: 1- Clean and organized notes for later studying. 2- More comprehensive notes, as you will recall information from your short term memory that did not make initially onto your page.  3- Gets you studying immediately and consistently, which in turn reduces the amount of time and stressful studying often affiliated with “cramming” before an exam.


5.             Utilize the Powerpoint files:  All lectures will be presented in Powerpoint form.  All Powerpoint files will be available on Moodle after a specific topic is covered.  Therefore it is recommended your notes be rewritten with printed Powerpoint at hand or while simultaneously viewing the presentation from the downloaded file. 


6.             Online Resources: The main reasons I have required the purchase of “Mastering Biology” is due to the studying resources it provides.  I strongly suggest you review both the online tutorials and quizzes that Mastering Biology provides on a weekly basis.  Search out the tutorials and quizzes that pertain to the material we are covering that week and go through them after you have reviewed your notes and read the required pages in your text (ebook). These exercises will truly help to solidify the concepts.


7.              “Own the Material”: Much of studying for Biology is like learning a new language, as such it requires the memorization of terms and phrases so you can effectively communicate and interpret scientific data.  Common tips for memorization include but are not limited to repetitive writing, flash cards, and linking the terms with familiar attributes.  


8.             Study Groups: I highly recommend that you work together in study groups.  Teaching is one of the most effective methods to actually learn the material.  If you are capable of explaining the material to others it will solidify the knowledge for yourself as well as help others.  Additionally, group work to tackle problem sets such as those provided on the online quizzes is encouraged.  Discussing different methods for approaching problems is hugely beneficial for exam preparation.


9.             Seek Help: Seek out help from the tutors or professor during their office hours.  We are here to help!  It is most effective to do this frequently as questions come up, rather than just right before the exam.  To facilitate this, I have my office hours to be just prior to class.


10.          Time Management: Last but possibly the most important is time management.  As a rule of thumb, college courses are said to require approximately two hours of study for each hour in class, suggesting the average student should then be spending a minimum of eight hours a week outside of class working on Biology 150.  I would expect most would require more than 8 hours for this particular course. Do not fall behind, especially during the first couple of weeks; it will be extremely difficult to catch up.  Schedule out every day’s activities from eating and sleeping to studying and hitting the gym for a well balanced life!





January 26

Introduction to the course


January 28

Cell Type- Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes

Visualizing Cells

Cell Structure and Function

Ch 6, Ch 7



February 3

February 5

Take Moodle Quiz 1 between February 6-February 12

(Includes material covered in class January 26-February 5)

February 10

Cell Structure and Function


February 12

Biological Molecules

Ch 3, Ch 4, Ch 5

February 17

Biological Molecules


February 19

DNA Replication and Transcription

Ch 16

Take Exam 1 between February 19-23

(Includes material covered in class January 26-February 17)

February 24

Protein Synthesis, Folding and Modification

Ch 17

February 26

Protein Synthesis, Folding and Modification


March 3

Cell Signaling

Ch 11

March 5

Hormone Signaling

Ch 45

Take Moodle Quiz 2 between March 5-March 9

(Includes material covered in class from February 19-March 3)

March 10

Cellular Physiology: Catabolism

Ch 8, 9

March 12

Cellular Physiology: Catabolism


March 17,19



Take Exam 2 between March 26-March 30

(Includes material covered in class February 19-March 12)

March 24

Cellular Physiology: Anabolism

Ch 10

March 26

Plant Systems

Ch 35, Ch 36

March 31

Plant Development


April 2

Animal Development

Ch 47

Take Moodle Quiz 3 between April 2-April 6

(Includes material covered in class from March 24-March 31)

April 7

The Circulatory System

Ch 42

April 9

The Circulatory System


Take Exam 3 between April 10-April 13

(Includes material covered in class March 24-April 9)

April 14

The Immune System

Ch 43

April 16

The Immune System


April 21

Osmoregulation and Excretion

Ch 44

April 23

Osmoregulation and Excretion


Cell Paper

(due Thursday April 23)

April 28

The Nervous system

Ch 48

April 30

The Nervous system


Take Exam 4 between  May 4-May 8

(Includes material covered in class April 14-April 30)




BIO150: Cells, Physiology, and Development                              Spring 2009

Tuesday and Thursday 9-10:30, McConnell 103                                                                 


NOTE: This schedule is a list of topics in the order they will be covered.  It is subject ( and likely) to change.