North Central College - Naperville, IL

Biology Courses

NOTE: This page contains all of the regular course descriptions for this discipline or program. Academic credit for each course is noted in parenthesis after the course title. Prerequisites (if any) and the general education requirements, both Core and All-College Requirements (ACRs), which each course fulfills (if any) are noted following each course description. Not all courses are offered every year. Check Merlin, our searchable course schedule, to see which courses are being offered in upcoming terms.

BIO 100 Principles of Biology (3.50)
The study of biological principles as they relate to modern society. Discussion groups and laboratory work are an integral part of the course. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 104 Human Biology (3.50)
An introduction to the fundamental concepts in biology through the study of human beings. Intended for students not majoring in the laboratory sciences. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 106 Introduction to Environmental Science (3.50)
This course is an overview of biological and physical processes that affect the environment in the context of current environmental issues. Topics include population, community, ecosystem ecology, conservation biology, water and air pollution, and natural resource management. Same as: ENV 106. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 108 Water, Food, and Sex (3.50)
This course focuses solely on five systems, exploring them in depth; excretory, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, and reproductive. Complementing the biological concepts material is discussion from ethical and public health/public policy perspectives. Special consideration is given to topics such as water and food policy, environmental policy, and issues of bioethics (e.g., research ethics, informed consent, eugenics, moral status of animals, and the Human Genome Project). Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 109 Genes, Genomes and Genethics (3.50)
This course introduces key concepts of modern biology while focusing on important questions at the interface of science and modern society. Both the science and the implications of such advances in genetic technology as screening for genetic diseases, DNA fingerprinting, stem-cell therapy, genetically modified organisms, and gene therapy are discussed. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 120 Topics in Modern Biology (3.50)
An in-depth investigation of a topic in modern biology. Topics are current issues encountered in day-to-day life. The course is presented in a highly interactive seminar format. Topics vary (see course schedule). Laboratory activities emphasize an inquiry approach. Prerequisite: H.S. BIO or BIO 100. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 147 Anatomy and Physiology (3.75)
The structure, function, and integration of systems of the human body. Laboratory studies in mammalian dissection and physiology. Prerequisite: BIO 100 or BIO 104 or one year of both H.S. BIO and CHM. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 151 Biological Investigations I (4.00)
This course is the first in a two-course integrated study of the major principles at the course of modern biology: information, evolution, cells, emergent properties and homeostasis. These principles will be examined by exploring current biological problems from the perspective of molecules, cells, organisms, populations and ecological systems. Includes investigative, hands-on laboratory and field experience and development of skills in experimental design, scientific writing and presentations. This course is intended for first-year biology and biochemistry majors. Prerequisites: High School biology and chemistry. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 152 Biological Investigations II (4.00)
This course is the second in a two-course study of the major principles at the core of modern biology; information, evolution, cells, emergent properties and homeostasis. These principles will be examined by exploring current biological problems from the perspective of molecules, cells, organisms, populations and ecological systems. Includes investigative, hands-on laboratory and field experience and development of skills in experimental design, data analysis, scientific writing and presentation. The course is intended for first-year biology and biochemistry majors. Prerequisite: BIO 151. Core: Science (Lab).

BIO 222 Estuarine Ecology (2.00)
How living organisms, including humans, interact with the estuarine environment. The course is taught in this coastal environment during Interim. Prerequisite: BIO 152.

BIO 228 Desert Ecology (2.00)
How living organisms, including humans, interact with the desert environment. The course is taught in the desert during Interim. Prerequisite: BIO 152.

BIO 242 Introduction to Bioinformatics (3.00)
Introduction to the field of bioinformatics. Computational methods for study of biological sequence data in comparative biology and evolution. Analysis of genome content and organization. Techniques for searching sequence databases, pairwise and multiple sequence alignment, phylogenetic methods, and methods for pattern recognition and functional inference from sequence data. Database theory, information extraction, algorithm analysis, and data mining are utilized. Same as: CSC 242. Prerequisites: BIO 100 or BIO 151; CSC 160; BIO 102 recommended. Core: Science.

BIO 251 Genes and Evolution (3.75)
Genetic analysis and applications of genetics to the understanding of cellular processes and evolution. Investigation of classical, molecular and population genetics, including mechanisms of inheritance, DNA structure and function, chromosomes and genetic mapping, genotyping and genomic analysis, mutation, gene regulation and an introduction to population genetics and genetic mechanisms in evolution. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in Drosophila genetics, gene cloning, human genotyping and Drosophila evolution. Prerequisite: BIO 152, CHM141.

BIO 252 Cells and Systems (3.75)
Structure and function of cells and application to physiological systems of plants and animals. Topics include cell membranes, enzymes, energy metabolism, cell movement and cell communication and their roles in nerve and muscle function, photosynthesis, vascular transport, digestion, excretion and other systems. Laboratory required, includes investigative projects in protein and enzyme function, metabolism and signal transduction. Prerequisite: BIO 251 and CHM 141.

BIO 253 Ecology and Environment (3.75)
Interactions among diverse communities of living organisms and between organisms and their environment. Emphasis on region natural history. Laboratory required, investigation of ecological problems including field observations, laboratory experiments and computer modeling. Prerequisite: BIO 252.

BIO 290 ACCA Seminar in Organismal Biology and Ecology (0.00)
Current topics in botany, zoology, ecology, evolutionary biology, or related fields. Course content is provided by the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area and consists of a 10-week seminar held one evening per week during Fall term, usually at an off-campus site. Attendance is required. May repeat once with new content. Either BIO 290 or 291 may substitute for one of the two required non-credit BIO 475 seminars. Prerequisites: One 200 level biology course.

BIO 291 ACCA Seminar in Molecular and Cellular Biology (0.00)
Current topics in cellular biology, molecular biology, microbiology, genetics, or related fields. Course content is provided by the Associated Colleges of the Chicago Area and consists of a 10-week seminar held one evening per week beginning in Winter and continuing into Spring, usually at an off-campus site. Attendance is required. May repeat once with new content. Either BIO 290 or 291 may substitute for one of the two required non-credit BIO 475 seminars. Prerequisite: BIO 200 or BIO 260.

BIO 297 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

BIO 299 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

BIO 300 Human Sexuality: A Clash of Values (3.00)
In traditional topics in human sexuality (e.g., natural essence of sexuality, reproductive biology, sex research, marriage and other arrangements, reproductive issues) there is a clash of values both within a culture and between cultures. This course includes such controversial issues as religious perspectives, pornography, the media, prostitution, and female circumcision. The latter components serve to explore problems that result from the clash of values. Same as: GWS 301. Prerequisite: Junior standing. ACR: Intercultural.

BIO 301 Plant Physiology (3.75)
Fundamental principles of plant physiology including photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration, nutrition, translocation, and development are investigated. The impact of both biotic and abiotic factors on these processes are emphasized. Laboratory work includes field observations and laboratory experiments. Prerequisite: BIO 253.

BIO 302 Animal Physiology (3.75)
Basic functional mechanisms of the higher animals. Laboratory investigations including relatively long-term experimentation. Prerequisite: BIO 252; BIO 253 recommended.

BIO 310 Biology of Animals (3.75)
A study of the basic biology of animals with special emphasis on adaptive strategies and evolutionary relationships of the major animal groups. Areas investigated include, but are not confined to, diversity, function, and evolution of animals. Laboratory introduces students to the extensive taxonomic diversity of animals and provides an introduction to animal morphology, particularly as it is used to infer evolutionary relationships within the group. Laboratory also involves field work studying local animals. Laboratory required. Prerequisite: BIO 253.

BIO 320 Evolution (3.75)
Investigation of the history of evolutionary thought and the processes by which populations change over time. Laboratory work includes experimental selection, phylogenetics and computer simulations of population genetics, plus discussions of current reading. Laboratory required. Prerequisite: BIO 253.

BIO 340 Microbiology (4.00)
Biology of microorganisms, emphasizing the physiology, genetics, and ecology of bacteria and their relationships (pathogenic and otherwise) with other organisms. Archaea, viruses, eukaryotic microorganisms, and basic concepts of immunology are introduced. Laboratory emphasizes the application of microbiological techniques to investigative studies. Prerequisite: BIO 252; BIO 253 recommended.

BIO 360 The Molecular Biology of Cancer (3.75)
In-depth investigation of current concepts and topics in molecular biology, using cancer as a theme. Major topics include: regulation of gene expression, control of the cell division and death, and drug development. Reading of the primary literature and understanding current experimental methods are emphasized. Prerequisite: BIO 252; BIO 253 recommended.

BIO 395 Directed Research (0.00)
Students work in collaboration with faculty on ongoing research. Activities will vary according to project needs and student background. Prerequisites: BIO 152.

BIO 397 Internship (0.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

BIO 399 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.

BIO 405 Animal Behavior (4.00)
Behavioral mechanisms of animals as they interact with their environment, including topics such as development of behavior, learning and motivation, communication, mating systems, sexual reproduction, aggression, orientation and navigation, habitat selection. Examines physiological, evolutional and ecological aspects of behavior with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in research ethics and scientific leadership are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on the ethics of animal research. Laboratory required: independent animal behavior project. Research course. Prerequisite: BIO 302. ACR: Leadership, Ethics, & Values.

BIO 416 Environmental Biology (3.75)
Investigation of the effects of human activities on biological resources and ecosystem structure and function, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in research ethics and scientific leadership are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on the ethics and politics of ecological research, sustainability and human impacts on the environment. Laboratory required: independent project exposing students to some of the most important field methods and analytical techniques used to examine human impacts. Research course. Prerequisite: BIO 253. ACR: Leadership, Ethics, & Values.

BIO 430 Developmental Genetics (3.75)
Analysis of genetic mechanisms of animal development. Consideration of the genetic establishment and regulation of developmental pathways, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Issues in research ethics and scientific leadership are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on the ethics of animal and stem-cell research and the clash of values in the political arena. Laboratory required: independent project investigating the effects of specific developmental genes. Research course. Prerequisite: BIO 360. ACR: Leadership, Ethics, & Values.

BIO 440 Infectious Disease (3.75)
Biology of pathogenic microorganisms, including bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the mechanisms by which they cause disease, with extensive use of the primary scientific literature. Epidemiological modeling of disease spread and the role of public-health intervention will be important topics, as will the immune response to disease. Issues in research ethics and scientific leadership are discussed, including core values of science, ethical standards of conduct and peer review as well as a focus on human-subject research and clinical trials. Laboratory required: independent project dealing with the spread and prevention of infection. Research course. Prerequisites: BIO 200, BIO 260.

BIO 475 Seminar (0.00-1.00)
Each student presents the results of a laboratory research project in a scientific meeting format. Same as: CHM 475. Prerequisite: None if taken for zero credit; if taken for one hour, one research-type course or independent study.

BIO 499 Independent Study (1.00-9.00)
Instructor consent required.