BIOL W10 Fizzy, Fermented, and Funky. Typically, we try to avoid exposure to microorganisms whenever we can – equating them with sickness and disease. But do you enjoy Cheese? Chocolate? Coffee? Kefir? Pickles? Yogurt? Sourdough bread? Or, if you are of age, a taste of wine or sip of ale? All of these foods owe their very existence to microorganisms! In this course we will investigate how humans have harnessed microorganisms to make these foods by making these foods ourselves. Students will dig into the diversity of microorganisms used in making these foods, the nuanced metabolic processes that lend each food its particular flavor, and how changes in microbe community structure and function over time participates in the development of distinctiveness within a particular food (e.g. green tea vs. black tea). In addition, students will learn about the chemical/environmental drivers of these changes by performing hypothesis-driven experiments using different microorganisms, food components, and food preparation methods. These food-generating lab activities will be compared to industrialized processes, incorporating guided visits to West Michigan companies producing some of these foods. In addition we will consider the roles that microbes can play in food spoilage, safety and nutrition, evaluating these within historical and current contexts (the addition of food preservatives, probiotics, and the pro’s and con’s of pasteurization). Additionally, the rich cultural values and societal impacts associated with the long history of many of these foods will be discussed. Science and non-science majors are welcome; a science background is not assumed. Fee: $100. R. DeJong, J. Wertz. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
BIOL W80 Ecotoxicology. 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 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 will 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 or permission of the instructor. K. Grasman. 8:30 a.m. to noon.
STBR 310HA History of Science, Medicine and Religion: London. London, one of the world’s foremost cities, is a treasure trove of the history of religion, science and medicine, as well as all facets of culture. Throughout the Scientific Revolution and beyond, most scientists were individuals of significant Christian faith who perceived their work as both discovering the Creator’s handiwork and worshipping God. Many struggled with apparent tensions between their discoveries and traditional teachings of the church. This course will utilize London and its surrounding environs to explore predominantly the history of British medicine, science, and religion but also British life and culture. On-site visits within greater London will include the British Museum, British Library, Buckingham Palace, Churchill Museum, Florence Nightingale Museum, Hunterian Museum, Imperial War Museum, London Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Royal Observatory, Royal Society, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower of London, Victoria and Albert Museum, Westminster Abbey, and Windsor Castle. The course will include at least five day-long field trips to Stonehenge and Salisbury, Oxford, Cambridge, Downe, and Windsor. Class sessions will consist of lectures and discussions of assigned readings. This course will fulfill the CCE requirement. Prerequisites: One course in the Natural World and one course in Religion, Philosophy or History, or permission of the instructor. Honors course (will be graded). Course dates: January 6 - 29. Fee: $4,110. H. Bouma III. Off campus.