A mostly blue and white photo of a flower petal at such high magnification that individual cells can be seen, with walls surrounding each one.

Magnolia petals stained with methylene blue and shown at 100 times magnification. (Image courtesy of kaibara on Flickr.)

Featured Courses

The Department of Biology offers undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral training programs ranging from general biology to more specialized fields of study and research.

The quantitative aspects of biology - including molecular biology, biochemistry, genetics, and cell biology - represent the core of the academic program. Courses are designed to provide a solid background in the physical sciences and to develop an integrated scientific perspective.

Both the graduate program (ranked among the top three biological science graduate programs in the nation) and undergraduate program offer students an intellectually stimulating environment, with numerous research opportunities and state-of-the-art facilities. These programs emphasize practical experimentation by combining course-related laboratory exercises with research opportunities in project-oriented and faculty sponsored laboratories. Students at all levels are encouraged to acquire familiarity with advanced research techniques and to participate in seminar activities.

Biology Courses

Course # Course Title Level
7.01SC Fundamentals of Biology Undergraduate
7.012 Introduction to Biology Undergraduate
7.013 Introductory Biology (Spring 2013) Undergraduate
7.013 Introductory Biology (Spring 2006) Undergraduate
7.014 Introductory Biology (Spring 2005) Undergraduate
7.02 Experimental Biology & Communication Undergraduate
7.02CI Experimental Biology - Communications Intensive Undergraduate
7.03 Genetics Undergraduate
7.06 Cell Biology Undergraduate
7.08J Biological Chemistry II Undergraduate
7.13 Experimental Microbial Genetics (Fall 2008) Undergraduate
7.13 Experimental Microbial Genetics (Fall 2003) Undergraduate
7.16 Experimental Molecular Biology: Biotechnology II Undergraduate
7.18 Topics in Experimental Biology Undergraduate
7.22 Developmental Biology (Fall 2005) Undergraduate
7.27 Principles of Human Disease Undergraduate
7.28 Molecular Biology (Spring 2005) Undergraduate
7.29J Cellular Neurobiology Undergraduate
7.30J Ecology I: The Earth System Undergraduate
7.340 Unusual Biology: The Science of Emerging Pathogens Undergraduate
7.340 Regenerative Medicine: from Bench to Bedside Undergraduate
7.340 Learning and Memory: Activity-Controlled Gene Expression in the Nervous System Undergraduate
7.340 Under the Radar Screen: How Bugs Trick Our Immune Defenses Undergraduate
7.340 Avoiding Genomic Instability: DNA Replication, the Cell Cycle, and Cancer Undergraduate
7.340 Nano-life: An Introduction to Virus Structure and Assembly Undergraduate
7.340 Ubiquitination: The Proteasome and Human Disease Undergraduate
7.340 Immune Evasion: How Sneaky Pathogens Avoid Host Surveillance Undergraduate
7.341 Designer Immunity: Lessons in Engineering the Immune System Undergraduate
7.341 Harnessing the Biosphere: Natural Products and Biotechnology Undergraduate
7.341 Bench to Bedside: Molecularly Targeted Therapies in Blood Disorders and Malignancy Undergraduate
7.341 The DNA Damage Response as a Target for Anti-Cancer Therapy Undergraduate
7.341 Brightening up Life: Harnessing the Power of Fluorescence Imaging to Observe Biology in Action Undergraduate
7.342 Sweet Discoveries: Unraveling the Complex World of Sugars in Health and Disease Undergraduate
7.342 Personal Genomics and Medicine: What's in Your Genome? Undergraduate
7.342 Cell-material Crosstalk: Engineering Cell-Instructive Biomaterials Undergraduate
7.342 To Divide or Not To Divide: Control of Cell Cycle and Growth by Extracellular Cues Undergraduate
7.342 The Biology of Aging: Age-Related Diseases and Interventions Undergraduate
7.342 Powerhouse Rules: The Role of Mitochondria in Human Diseases Undergraduate
7.342 Systems and Synthetic Biology: How the Cell Solves Problems Undergraduate
7.342 The X in Sex: A Genetic, Medical, and Evolutionary View of the X Chromosome Undergraduate
7.342 Systems Biology: Stochastic Processes and Biological Robustness Undergraduate
7.342 Developmental and Molecular Biology of Regeneration Undergraduate
7.342 Chronic Infection and Inflammation: What are the Consequences on Your Health? Undergraduate
7.342 G-Protein Coupled Receptors: Vision and Disease Undergraduate
7.342 Reading the Blueprint of Life: Transcription, Stem Cells and Differentiation Undergraduate
7.342 Cancer Biology: From Basic Research to the Clinic Undergraduate
7.343 Biological Bases of Learning and Memory Undergraduate
7.343 Network Medicine: Using Systems Biology and Signaling Networks to Create Novel Cancer Therapeutics Undergraduate
7.343 When Development Goes Awry: How Cancer Co-opts Mechanisms of Embryogensis Undergraduate
7.343 Sophisticated Survival Skills of Simple Microorganisms Undergraduate
7.343 The Radical Consequences of Respiration: Reactive Oxygen Species in Aging and Disease Undergraduate
7.343 Neuron-glial Cell Interactions in Biology and Disease Undergraduate
7.343 Photosynthesis: Life from Light Undergraduate
7.343 A Love-Hate Relationship: Cholesterol in Health and Disease Undergraduate
7.343 Protein Folding, Misfolding and Human Disease Undergraduate
7.344 Tumor Suppressor Gene p53: How the Guardian of our Genome Prevents Cancer Undergraduate
7.344 Directed Evolution: Engineering Biocatalysts Undergraduate
7.344 The Fountain of Life: From Dolly to Customized Embryonic Stem Cells Undergraduate
7.344 Antibiotics, Toxins, and Protein Engineering Undergraduate
7.344 RNA Interference: A New Tool for Genetic Analysis and Therapeutics Undergraduate
7.345 The Science of Sperm Undergraduate
7.345 Using Simple Organisms to Model Human Diseases Undergraduate
7.345 Non-coding RNAs: Junk or Critical Regulators in Health and Disease? Undergraduate
7.345 Survival in Extreme Conditions: The Bacterial Stress Response Undergraduate
7.345 Vascular Development in Life, Disease and Cancer Medicine Undergraduate
7.345 Evolution of the Immune System Undergraduate
7.346 Fine-Tuning the Synapse: Synaptic Functions and Dysfunction Undergraduate
7.346 DNA Wars: How the Cell Strikes Back to Avoid Disease after Attacks on DNA Undergraduate
7.346 Virus-host Interactions in Infectious Diseases Undergraduate
7.346 Cellular Garbage Disposal: Misfolded Proteins in Normal Biology and Human Disease Undergraduate
7.346 RNAi: A Revolution in Biology and Therapeutics Undergraduate
7.346 Synaptic Plasticity and Memory, from Molecules to Behavior Undergraduate
7.347 Epigenetic Regulation of Stem Cells Undergraduate
7.347 Fueling Sustainability: Engineering Microbial Systems for Biofuel Production Undergraduate
7.349 Stem Cells: A Cure or Disease? Undergraduate
7.349 From Molecules to Behavior: Synaptic Neurophysiology Undergraduate
7.349 Biological Computing: At the Crossroads of Engineering and Science Undergraduate
7.36J Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology (Spring 2014) Undergraduate
7.38J Introduction to Bioengineering (BE.010J) Undergraduate
7.391 Concept-Centered Teaching (Spring 2006) Undergraduate
7.391 Concept-Centered Teaching (Fall 2005) Undergraduate
7.58 Molecular Biology (Spring 2005) Undergraduate
7.60 Cell Biology: Structure and Functions of the Nucleus Undergraduate
7.66J Cognitive & Behavioral Genetics Undergraduate
7.72 Developmental Biology (Fall 2005) Undergraduate
7.931 Concept-Centered Teaching (Spring 2006) Undergraduate
7.931 Concept-Centered Teaching (Fall 2005) Undergraduate
7.A12 Freshman Seminar: Structural Basis of Genetic Material: Nucleic Acids Undergraduate
7.24J Protein Folding Problem (Fall 2007) Graduate
7.51 Graduate Biochemistry Graduate
7.547J Principles and Practice of Drug Development Graduate
7.548J Perspectives in Biological Engineering Graduate
7.59J Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering (Fall 2012) Graduate
7.59J Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering (Spring 2009) Graduate
7.67J Genetic Neurobiology Graduate
7.68J Cell and Molecular Neurobiology Graduate
7.69J Developmental Neurobiology Graduate
7.81J Systems Biology Graduate
7.88J Protein Folding Problem (Fall 2007) Graduate
7.89J Topics in Computational and Systems Biology Graduate
7.90J Computational Functional Genomics Graduate
7.91J Foundations of Computational and Systems Biology (Spring 2014) Graduate
7.92J Neurology, Neuropsychology, and Neurobiology of Aging Graduate
7.98J Neural Plasticity in Learning and Development Graduate