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Genetics, Development and Cell Biology
The Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology (GDCB) is dedicated to biological discovery and excellence in undergraduate and graduate education. The research and teaching mission of the department is to achieve a greater understanding of fundamental principles of life by focusing on basic cellular and subcellular processes, including genome dynamics, cell structure and function, cellular response to environmental and developmental signals, and molecular mechanisms of development. Recognizing that student education is of paramount importance, GDCB strives for excellence in teaching and research. GDCB plays a leading role in undergraduate and graduate training through a variety of activities including traditional courses, undergraduate internships in research laboratories, and advanced graduate seminar and literature-based courses. Innovative approaches to learning are emphasized throughout the curriculum.
The GDCB Department offers undergraduate majors in conjunction with other departments. Students interested in the areas of genetics, development and cell biology should major in Biology or Genetics. The Biology Major is administered and offered jointly by the GDCB and EEOB departments. The GDCB faculty, together with those in EEOB and BBMB, administer and offer the Genetics Major. Each of these majors are available through the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences or through the College of Agriculture.
The Biology Major and the Genetics Major prepare students for a wide range of careers in biological sciences. Training in Biology or Genetics may lead to employment in teaching, research, or any of a variety of health-related professions. Some of these careers include biotechnology, human and veterinary medicine, agricultural sciences and life science education. These majors are also excellent preparation for graduate study in bioinformatics, molecular genetics, cell and developmental biology, neuroscience and related fields. Faculty members in GDCB contribute to the undergraduate courses listed below. The full descriptions of these courses can be found in the Biology and Genetics sections of the catalog.
Biol 101, 110, 155, 211, 211L, 212, 212L, 255, 255L, 256, 256L, 258, 305, 305L, 313, 313L, 314, 314L, 330, 335, 352, 394, 423, 423L, 428, 436, 490, 494, 495, 498, Gen 110, 260, 308, 320, 410, 411.
Understanding the genetic blueprint and the functions of cells is critical to virtually all aspects of biology. The basic mission of the Department of Genetics, Development and Cell Biology is to achieve a greater understanding of fundamental principles of life. The GDCB faculty and students conduct hypothesis-driven research into the biology of animals, plants and microbes. While research in GDCB is often based on discovery and analysis of molecular mechanisms of life processes, we recognize that a true understanding of living organisms will ultimately require the integration of molecular mechanisms in the context of dynamic structural components of the living cell. Thus, research efforts within GDCB use molecular, genetic, biochemical, computational and imaging techniques to address questions at increasingly complex levels of organization.
GDCB faculty contribute to a broad but integrated array of cutting-edge research topics, implementing interactive and multidisciplinary approaches that bridge conventional boundaries, and incorporating experimental and computational biology as complementary approaches. Examples include using genetics and molecular biology to investigate the cellular basis of development, or combining biochemical and computational approaches to study basic subcellular functions, signal transduction or metabolism.
The faculty in the GDCB department train graduate students in several interdepartmental majors/programs including Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Immunobiology, Plant Physiology, Interdisciplinary Graduate Studies, Microbiology, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Neuroscience and Toxicology. Graduate work leading to both Master of Science (M.S.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) degrees are available.
Prospective graduate students need a sound background in the physical and biological sciences, as well as mathematics and English. Interested students should check the links for the GDCB web site (www.gdcb.iastate.edu/) for specific admissions procedures and the latest information about specific faculty and their research programs. The interdepartmental majors and programs require submission of Graduate Record Examination (GRE) aptitude test scores. Advanced GRE scores are recommended. Foreign students whose native language is other than English must also submit TOEFL scores with their application.
Students who are enrolled in the interdepartmental graduate majors with affiliations with GDCB are required to actively participate in seminars, research activities, and to show adequate progress and professional development while pursuing their degree. For both the M.S. and Ph.D. degrees, it is expected that research conducted by the student will culminate in the writing and presentation of a thesis or dissertation. The Graduate College, the GDCB Faculty, and the individual student's major professor and Program of Study Committee provide requirements and guidelines for study. General information about graduate study requirements can be found at the web site for the Graduate College (www.grad-college.iastate.edu/) and requirements for the interdepartmental majors can be found by following the links from the GDCB web site above. Although not a formal requirement, the GDCB faculty recommends that students pursuing the Ph.D. include teaching experience in their graduate training.
Courses primarily for graduate students, open to qualified undergraduate students
GDCB 508. Biotechnology in Agriculture, Food, and Human Health. (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: Biol 211 and 212. Scientific principles and techniques in biotechnology. Products and applications in agriculture, food, and human health. Ethical, legal, and social implications of biotechnology. A research paper is required for graduate credit.
GDCB 510. Transmission Genetics. (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Gen 410 or graduate standing. An in-depth investigation of the modern research practices of transmission genetics. Designed for students interested in genetic research. Topics include: Mendelian genetic analysis, analysis of genetic pathways, mutational analysis of gene function, chromosomal mechanics, gene mapping, extranuclear inheritance, human genetic analysis.
GDCB 511. Molecular Genetics. (Same as MCDB 511.) (3-0) Cr. 3. S. Prereq: Biol 313 and BBMB 405. The principles of molecular genetics: gene structure and function at the molecular level, including regulation of gene expression, genetic rearrangement, and the organization of genetic information in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
GDCB 512. Plant Growth and Development. (Same as MCDB 512, P Phy 512.) (2-0) Cr. 2. S. Prereq: Biol 330 or a course in developmental biology; GDCB 545 or BBMB 404, 405 or GDCB 520. Plant growth and development and its molecular genetic regulation. Hormone biosynthesis, metabolism, and action. Signal transduction in plants.
GDCB 513. Plant Metabolism. (Same as P Phy 513.) (2-0) Cr. 2. F. Prereq: Biol 330, Phys 111, Chem 331; one semester of biochemistry recommended. Photosynthesis, respiration, and other aspects of plant metabolism.
GDCB 520. Genetic Engineering. (Same as BBMB 520, MCDB 520.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2005. Prereq: Gen 411 or BBMB 405. Strategies and methods of gene cloning, restriction endonuclease mapping, southern hybridization, isolation and manipulation of plasmid DNA, and detection of specific genes in bacteria.
GDCB 528. Cellular Growth and Regulation. (Same as MCDB 528.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2005. Prereq: Courses in cell biology and BBMB 404, 405. Cell cycle, regulation of cell growth, cell division, membranes, transport processes, and regulation of cellular activities.
GDCB 529. Plant Cell Biology. (Same as MCDB 529.) (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt F., offered 2006. Prereq: Biol 313, 314, 330 or BBMB 405. Organization, function, and development of plant cells and subcellular structures.
GDCB 533. Principles of Developmental Biology. (Same as MCDB 533.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2005. Prereq: Biol 314. Fundamental principles in multicellular development. Emphasis on celluar and molecular regulation of developmental processes, and experimental approaches as illustrated in classical studies and current literature.
GDCB 536. Statistics for Population Genetics. (Same as Stat 536.) See Statistics
GDCB 537. Statistics for Molecular Genetics. (Same as Stat 537.) See Statistics.
GDCB 538. Computational Genomics and Evolution. (Same as BCB 538.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2007. Prereq: Biol 313. Introduction to evolutionary sequence analysis at the genome level. Topics include sequence alignment, phylogenetic inference, molecular clock analysis, ancestral state inference, sequence/structure relation, functional divergence and prediction, evolutionary development, genome duplication, and comparative genomics. Focus will be on data analysis and biological interpretation.
GDCB 539. Statistical Methods for Computational Biology. (Same as BCB 539.) (2-0) Cr. 2. Alt. S., offered 2006. Prereq: BCB 594. Advanced discussion about statistical modeling of DNA and amino acid sequences, micoarray expression profiles and other genome-wide data interpretation.
GDCB 542. Introduction to Molecular Biology Techniques. (Same as BBMB 542, BCB 542, BMS 542, EEOB 542, FS HN 542, Hort 542, NREM 542, VDPAM 542, V MPM 542.) Cr. 1 per module. F.S.SS. Prereq: Graduate classification. Workshops in basic molecular biology techniques and related procedures. Offered on a satisfactory-fail grading basis only.
GDCB 545. Plant Molecular Biology. (Same as MCDB 545, P Phy 545.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. F., offered 2005. Prereq: Biol 314, 330. Organization and function of plant nuclear and organelle DNA; regulation of gene expression. Methods of generating novel genetic variation. Impact of plant biotechnology on agriculture.
GDCB 556. Cellular, Molecular and Developmental Neuroscience. (Same as Neuro 556.) (3-0) Cr. 3 or (3-3) Cr. 4. F. Prereq: Biol 335 or Biol 436; physics recommended. Fundamental principles of neuroscience including cellular and molecular neuroscience, nervous system development, sensory, motor and regulatory systems.
GDCB 557. Advanced Neuroscience Techniques. (Same as Neuro 557.) See Neuroscience.
GDCB 590. Special Topics. Cr. var. Prereq: Permission of instructor.
GDCB 594. Computational Molecular Biology. (Same as BCB 594, Com S 594, Math 594.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F.S. Prereq: BCB 484, BCB 495, Stat 432 or equivalent courses and programming experience (C, C++, or Perl). State-of-the-art introduction to bioinformatics with emphasis on concepts and principles, combined with hands-on (keyboard) applications. Topics typically include: molecular databases, score-based sequence analysis, amino acid substitution scoring matrices, query search problems, dynamic programming and other methods for pairwise sequence alignment, motif identification, multiple sequence alignment, construction of phylogenetic trees from sequence data, gene structure prediction, protein structure prediction.
GDCB 596. Genomic Data Processing. (Same as BCB 596, Com S 596.) (3-0) Cr. 3. F. Prereq: Some knowledge of programming. Practical aspects of genomic data processing. Emphasis on projects that carry out major steps in data processing using important bioinformatic tools. Topics include base-calling, raw sequence cleaning and contaminant removal; shotgun assembly procedures and EST clustering methods; genome closure strategies and practices; sequence homology search and function prediction; annotation and submission of GenBank reports; and data collection and dissipation through the Internet.
Courses for Graduate students
GDCB 632. Current Topics in Signal Transduction. Cr. 2 to 3 each time taken. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Selected topics in signal transduction events, their molecular mechanisms and their relation to cellular processes. Topics may include cell recognition, second messenger systems, information integration and transfer, cell cycle, cell differentiation, and pattern formation.
GDCB 640. Signal Transduction. (Same as BBMB 640, MCDB 640.) (3-0) Cr. 3. Alt. S., offered 2006. Prereq: GDCB 528, BBMB 404. Mechanisms and components of cellular signal transduction including receptors, G-proteins, second messengers, protein phosphorylation, other post-translational protein modications, and transcriptional regulation.
GDCB 661. Current Topics in Neurobiology. (Same as Neuro 661, BBMB 661.) Cr. 2 to 3 each time taken. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Topics may include communication, hormones and behavior, neural integration, membrane biophysics, molecular and cellular neuroscience, developmental neurobiology, neuroanatomy and ultrastructure, sensory biology, social behavior, techniques in neurobiology and behavior.
GDCB 679. Light Microscopy. (Same as EEOB 679, Micro 679.) (2-9) Cr. 5. Every fourth semester beginning Fall 2006. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Current theories encompassing light optics and their applications for specimen preservation, paraffin and resin sectioning, general staining, histochemistry, cytophotometry, immunocytochemistry, autoradiography, image digitization, processing and presentation, and digitalmacro and digitalmicrography. Limit of 10 students.
GDCB 680. Scanning Electron Microscopy. (Same as EEOB 680, Micro 680.) (2-9) Cr. 5. Every fourth semester beginning Fall 2005. Prereq: Permission of instructor. Current theories encompassing scanning electron optics and their applications for high and low vacuum microscopy, specimen chemical and cryopreservation methods, x-ray microanalysis, backscattered and topographic imaging, image digitization, processing and presentation. Limit of 10 students.
GDCB 681. Transmission Electron Microscopy. (Same as EEOB 681, Micro 681.) (2-9) Cr. 5. Every fourth semester beginning Spring 2005. Prereq: GDCB 679 and permission of instructor. Current theories encompassing electron optics and their applications for chemical and physical specimen preservation, ultramicrotomy, general staining and cytochemistry, immunocytochemistry, autoradiography, negative staining and shadowing, x-ray microanalysis, image digitization, processing and presentation. Limit of 10 students.
GDCB 690. Seminar in GDCB. Cr. 1 each time taken. Journal article critique and discussion by faculty and graduate students. Offered on a satisfactory-fail grading basis only.
GDCB 691. Faculty Seminar. Cr. 1 each time taken. Faculty research series.
GDCB 696. Research Seminar. Cr. 1 each time taken. Research seminars by faculty and graduate students. Offered on a satisfactory-fail grading basis only.
GDCB 698. Seminar in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. (Same as MCDB 698.) See Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology.
GDCB 699. Research. Cr. var. Research for thesis or dissertation. Offered on a satisfactory-fail grading basis only.
GDCB 699I. Research. (Same as Ia LL 699I.) See Iowa Lakeside Laboratory.