BIOL W10 Tropical Ecosystems: Development. Tropical ecosystems contain the highest concentration of Earth’s biodiversity. Under the pressures of human population growth and resource use, tropical ecosystems are also experiencing the highest rates of biodiversity loss. How can successful conservation work be done such that the well-being of local people is not compromised or even promoted? And how can human-centered development work be done in such a way that the natural ecosystem to which humans belong is not degraded but possibly even enhanced? These are the fundamental questions we engage as we survey a variety of tropical habitats in Belize and Costa Rica-including coral reefs, mangrove swamps, rain forests, alpine cloud forests and mountain pinelands. Daily field trips will combine plant and animal identification, investigation of ecosystem processes and evaluation of human impact. Extended interaction with local inhabitants, including an overnight stay with villagers of Maya Centre in Belize will provide cross-cultural engagement credit for the course. This course will fulfill the CCE requirement. Course dates: January 8-28. Fee: $3755. R. Van Dragt, D. Warners. Off campus.
BIOL W40 Forgotten Diseases Forgotten People: Neglected Tropical Diseases and the poor. Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) have plagued humanity for millennia, with accounts of these painful and disfiguring diseases often appearing in the Bible and Talmud and also in the writings of Hippocrates. Over time effective treatment and control strategies have been developed and many of these diseases are largely eradicated in populations with good access to healthcare and reasonable standards of living. It is rather startling then to realize that 1.4 billion people (a sixth of the world’s population) are currently infected with at least one NTD. NTDs represent some of the leading causes of chronic disability in low and middle-income countries, the lost productivity trapping people in a cycle of disease and poverty. It is estimated that every person among the “bottom billion”-(poorest 1 billion people) are infected with at least one NTD and over half the world’s population remains vulnerable to infection. Importantly, these diseases are not restricted to impoverished tropical regions of the world. NTDs are increasingly prevalent among the poorest residents of the United States and other high-income countries.
This class provides a historical perspective of the impact of NTDs on human health, an analysis of past and present public health strategies used to control these diseases, and explores what needs to be done to confront new challenges posed by NTDs. The course will focus on the interaction between poverty and health, exploring the impact of disease on global development.
Students are responsible for reading assignments everyday and classes largely revolve around discussions of the assigned readings and/or documentaries watched during class. An extensive understanding of biological concepts is not required for this class and students from a variety of academic backgrounds are encouraged to enroll. This course may fulfill an elective for public health majors and minors. Y. Bediako. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
BIOL W60 Pathophysiology. Pathophysiology is the study of how the body’s normal function is changed when disease strikes. This course presents aspects of many human diseases, including the biochemical or cellular causes of the disease, structural and functional changes resulting from it, and the prognosis related to it. Diseases of the cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, hormonal, muscular, neural, renal, reproductive, and respiratory systems are covered using the classic organ system approach and case studies. Prerequisite: Biology 206 or 331. R. Nyhof. 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
BIOL W80 An Eye Care Mission Trip to Mexico. Lack of access to corrective lenses is a major problem for people in areas that are medically underserved. In contrast, in the US thousands of glasses are discarded everyday as prescriptions change. Used glasses can, however, be put to good use when volunteer eye care professionals and assistants visit underserved areas to perform eye examinations and provide patients with glasses that most closely match their refractive error. The students in this course will spend 13 days in suburban Tijuana and rural San Quintin, Mexico with an ophthalmologist and an ocular physiologist, performing eye exams and dispensing glasses. The course will take place in the context of church development activities of Christian Reformed World Missions in these areas. The goals of the course are to study ocular function and pathology, learn about medical missions and international development, participate in and critically evaluate a service-learning experience and provide glasses to an under-served population. The course will begin with three days of class on campus introducing ocular biology, training in vision screening techniques and organization of donated glasses. Students will help to collect glasses and will read literature related to the course. The class will travel via San Diego, CA to Mexico. Clinics will be set up in churches where the students will interview patients, perform initial visual screening, serve as translators and dispense glasses under supervision of the ophthalmologist. On the final weekend students will visit the ophthalmology department at UCLA in Los Angeles and participate in recreational and Calvin alumni activities in San Diego. The course is intended for pre-optometry, pre-medical, nursing, public health and international development students. This course may fulfill an interim elective in the Nursing major. This course will fulfill the CCE requirement. Prerequisite: one course in biology. Courses in anatomy or physiology and Spanish are desirable, but not required. Course dates: January 8-28. Fee: $1600. L. Gerbens, J. Ubels. Off campus.
BIOL W81 Ecotoxicology, Risk Assessment & Environmental Health. Today’s modern industrialized society uses approximately 60,000-80,000 different chemicals, including 1000-2000 new chemicals every year, in the form of pesticides, pharmaceuticals, personal care products, plastics, energy sources, and industrial chemicals and wastes. Some of these chemicals are significant environmental contaminants, presenting potential risks to individual organisms, including humans, and entire ecosystems. Ecotoxicology is the study of the effects of environmental contaminants on aquatic and terrestrial organisms, including relationships between chemical effects on the biochemical and physiological levels to impacts individuals, populations, and ecosystems. Ecotoxicology examines the local and global fate and transport of environmental contaminants as well as current approaches for assessing toxicity and chemical risks. Ecotoxicology provides important data to inform the development of environmental policies that promote safe and sustainable of chemicals. Ecotoxicology is an important sub-discipline of environmental science and public health, and as such this course is intended to benefit students interested in these fields as well as ecology, natural resources, pharmacology, medicine, environmental chemistry, and environmental policy. This course may serve as an upper-level elective in the environmental science major, environmental studies minor, public health major and minor, biology major and minor, biotechnology major, and biochemistry major. Prerequisites: BIOL 224 or 225 and CHEM 253 or 261. K. Grasman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
BIOL 354 Winter Ecology. This course will study field and laboratory investigations examining the unique abiotic conditions and biological adaptations that determine ecological processes under winter conditions. Interpretation of scientific literature, study design, and the collection, analysis, and presentation of data will be emphasized. Students will develop and conduct research projects related to the winter biology of animals and plants. This course will include extensive field work at the University of Michigan Biological Field Station in Pellston, Michigan. Completion of this course will fulfill the research/investigations requirement for the B.S. degree in biology. Prerequisites: BIOL 225 and BIOL 250. Course dates: January 8-28. Fee: $1200. D. Proppe. Off Campus
IDIS 150 02 DCM: Eugenics/Personal Genomics . A. Wilstermann. 8:30 a.m. to noon.