BIOL 1012: Human Biology: Concepts and Current Ethical Issues

4 CreditsBiological SciencesCivic Life and Ethics

One semester exploration of human anatomy and physiology within the context of ethics; topics such as human genetic diversity, organs and tissues, disease and reproduction. Weekly policy debates. Active learning format. Animal dissections required. Suitable for students in any major. Must be taken in addition to BIOL 1009 to fulfill prerequisites for allied health grad programs. This course explores several interdisciplinary questions, each of which addresses biology through an ethical and societal lens. In “What makes humans unique?”, we will consider the evolution of human traits, how the concept of race relates to human genetic diversity, and the fallibility of human memories. In “How does blood and organ donation work?”, we will examine how our bodies can recognize and respond to foreign materials, how vaccines work, and who should have access to life saving tissue and organ transplants. In “How do stress, diet and exercise affect health?” ,we will consider disparities in access to adequate nutrition, exposure to stress, and exercise, and how these affect our bodies and our mental health. Lastly, in “How does a unique individual develop from a single cell”, we will examine how a single cell develops into a fully functional human being, and how similar processes lead to cancer. We will also consider the role of genes and hormones in human reproduction and the development of reproductive structures in embryos, while explicitly addressing the ethics of the distinctions between the concepts of sex characteristics, sex assigned at birth, and gender. We will learn how a cell can become cancerous, as well as how a cell develops into a fully functioning human being. Additionally, we will consider the role of hormones in the development of male, female, and intersex organs, while being explicit about the differences between gender, sexual orientation, and sex assigned at birth. In lecture, instructors and teaching assistants will support students as they evaluate data and work through concepts in teams. Students will also dedicate significant time to the consideration of ethical questions in human biology, and work with teammates to organize and present a position on a policy related to an ethics question. In lab, students will further explore human anatomy and physiology, connecting structure and function through several dissections and activities. Students will read and share scientific papers, make observations, design experiments and analyze data. Students will work in teams to complete a multi-week project on the physiology of stress. We will continue our exploration of ethics topics in lab, where we will discuss and apply ethics in human subjects research and research on non-human animals. About ⅓ of the course grade will be based on four traditional lecture exams and a final lab exam. The remainder of the course grade is comprised of open notes quizzes, in class team assignments, individual assignments, and team projects. Course grading is based on mastery of concepts and skills, and students are encouraged to collaborate in understanding course material.

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B Average (3.056)Most Common: A (18%)

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