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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Horacio O. De La Iglesia
BIOL 410
Seattle Campus

Experiments in Biological Rhythms and Clocks

A laboratory-based course where students choose one organism (rodent, Drosophila or plants) on which they carry out a research project throughout the quarter. Lectures cover the basic theoretical background and discussion seminars are based on journal articles directly related to the students' research projects. Prerequisite: BIOL 350 or BIOL 355.

Class description

Circadian rhythms are daily near 24-hour oscillations of behavior and physiology that are present in virtually all living creatures on earth. Circadian rhythmicity relies on the existence of one or more biological clocks or oscillators. These oscillators act as pacemakers driving the rhythmicity of biological variables that range from biochemical processes in unicellular organisms, through the synthesis and release of hormones, to complex behavioral states like the sleep-wake cycle in mammals. Therefore, the study of circadian rhythms and clocks can be approached comparatively throughout the phylogenetic tree, at all levels of organization, and using an array of different techniques. This course is designed as an upper division undergraduate and graduate laboratory-based course on behavioral analysis of circadian rhythms. It will be based on a comparative approach, including both vertebrates and invertebrates. Students will follow a single research project throughout the quarter using three experimental models (Decapod crustaceans, Drosophila and laboratory rodents) to design experiments to explore properties of circadian systems.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

The first two weeks of class will provide the theoretical background on the different systems that the students will have available to design experiments with. By the end of the third week student will have an outline of their research projects to be carried out throughout the semester.

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

The evaluation will be based on the students: (1) Rationale for experimental design; (2) participation in discussions and quizes; (3) optimization of the use of the equipment; (4) conclusion of the project; (5) data analysis and interpretation; and (6) presentation of results in the form of an oral group presentation and an individual lab report.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Horacio O. De La Iglesia
Date: 09/27/2005