Teaching --



Biology 410. Seminar in Disease Biology

The majority of organisms on earth cause disease or are parasitic, and it could be said that a thorough understanding of biology should necessarily involve the study of infectious disease.  Yet only within the past two decades has there been a realization that diseases may regulate populations, stabilize ecosystems, and be responsible for major biological features such as reproductive systems or genomic structures.  Disease is of course responsible for large amounts of human misery and death, and it is all the more remarkable that our understanding of disease as an ecological and evolutionary force is in its infancy.  In this course we will discuss our historical and current understandings of infectious disease biology.  We will include studies of human, animal, and plant diseases, as well as their impacts on wild and domestic populations. Three classroom hours per week. Requisites: Biology 23 or Biology 32. Limited to 15 students.    



Biology 380/381. Genome Biology

A study of the architecture and interactions of genetic systems. Advances in genomics are resulting in new approaches to a variety of important issues, from conservation biology to disease prevention and treatment. We will address how heritable information is organized in diverse types of organisms and the consequences for shaping species traits and long-term evolutionary potential. We will cover the major challenges of this emerging research field, including techniques for dealing with vast amounts of DNA sequence data. We will also critically review the concept of the genome as a “cooperative assemblage of genetic elements”. Three hours of lecture, and BIOL 381 also has three hours of laboratory per week.  Requisites: Biology 18 and 19. Limited to 30 students.  



Biology 181. Adaptation and the Organism

An introduction to evolutionary theory, and how evolutionary theory can be used to study the diversity of life. Following an exploration of the core components of evolutionary theory (such as natural selection, sexual selection, and kin selection), we'll examine how evolutionary processes have shaped morphological, anatomical, physiological, and behavioral adaptations in organisms to solve many of life's problems, ranging from how to maintain salt and water balance to how to attract and locate mates to how to schedule reproduction throughout a lifetime. We'll start with a familiar organism–ourselves–and then relate and compare adaptations of humans to those of their nearest (vertebrate) and not-so-nearest (bacteria and plants) relatives, examining how and why these organisms have arrived at similar or different solutions to life's problems. Laboratories will complement lectures and will involve field experiments on natural selection and laboratory studies of vertebrates, invertebrates, bacteria, and plants. Four classroom hours and three laboratory hours per week.





Previously I have taught or co-taught the following courses:

BIO 404 -- Biology of Green Plants (Instructor). This is a lab and lecture course on all aspects of plant biology from genetics to anatomy.

BIO 403 -- Experimental and Investigative Evolution Laboratory (Module-Instructor). This is an newly developed course emphasizing experimental approaches to studying evolutionary processes.

BOT 535 -- Plant Disease in Natural Systems (Co-Instructor). This is a field course taught at UVa’s Mountain Lake Biological Station.

(Link to M. E. Hood homepage - Ecological and Evolutionary Genetics, Amherst College)