Here are some classes that Steve teaches – for detailed course catalog and class schedules, see the Smith College course catalog page.


BIO 101 Modern Biology for the Concerned Citizen

A course dealing with current issues in biology that are important in understanding today’s modern world. Many of these issues present important choices that must be made by individuals and by governments. Topics include cloning of plants and animals, human cloning, stem cell research, genetically modified foods, bioterrorism, emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola, SARS and West Nile, gene therapy, DNA diagnostics and forensics, genome projects, human origins, human diversity and others. The course includes guest lectures, outside readings and in-class discussions.  Credits: 4


BIO 150 Cells, Physiology and Development

Students in this course investigate the structure, function and physiology of cells, the properties of biological molecules, information transfer from the level of DNA to cell-cell communication, and cellular energy generation and transfer. The development of multicellular organisms and the physiology of selected organ systems is also explored. In addition to attending lectures, each student participates in discussion sections that focus on data analysis and interpretation while integrating mechanisms across scales. Laboratory (BIO 151) is recommended but not required. {N} Credits: 4


BIO 230 Genomes and Genetic Analysis

An exploration of genes and genomes that highlights the connections between molecular biology, genetics, cell biology and evolution. Topics include DNA and RNA, and protein structure and function, gene organization, mechanisms and control of gene expression, origins and evolution of molecular mechanisms, and gene networks. The course also deals with the principal experimental and computational tools that have advanced relevant fields, and introduces students to the rapidly expanding databases at the core of contemporary biology. Relying heavily on primary literature, we explore selected topics including the molecular biology of infectious diseases, genetic underpinnings of development, the comparative analysis of whole genomes and the origin and evolution of genome structure and content. Prerequisites: BIO 150, 152 or 154 or permission of the instructor. Laboratory (BIO 231) is recommended but not required.  Credits: 4


BIO 332 Molecular Biology of Eukaryotes

Advanced molecular biology of eukaryotes and their viruses (including Ebola and HIV). Topics include genomics, bioinformatics, eukaryotic gene organization, regulation of gene expression, RNA processing, retroviruses, transposable elements, gene rearrangement, methods for studying human genes and genetic diseases, molecular biology of infectious diseases, genome projects and whole genome analysis. Reading assignments are from a textbook and the primary literature. Each student presents an in-class presentation and writes a paper on a topic selected in consultation with the instructor. Enrollment limited to 16. Prerequisite: BIO 230. Laboratory (BIO 333) is recommended but not required. Credits: 4


BIO 350 Seminar: Topics in Molecular Biology

Changes from semester to semester – for example: Application of Molecular Biology to the Study of Infectious Diseases:
This seminar focuses on the study of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) and parasitic and viral diseases that are of great concern in the public health community. The spread of diseases such as Ebola, Chikungunya, Dengue Fever, West Nile, SARS, avian influenza, malaria, river blindness and many other parasitic infections is also a worrisome trend. What can we learn from the great pandemics of the past (the great influenza of 1918, the Black Death of the Middle Ages, the typhus epidemic of 1914–21, and others)? How can modern biotechnology be applied to the development of new drugs and vaccines to prevent such pandemics in the future? In addition to natural infections, we now must also be concerned with rare diseases such as anthrax and smallpox that may be introduced to large populations by bioterrorism. The challenges are great but new tools of molecular biology (genomics, proteomics, RNA interference, nextgeneration sequencing and others) provide unprecedented opportunity to understand infectious diseases and to develop new strategies for their elimination. Prerequisite: BIO 152 or permission of the instructor.  Credits: 3