BIOL436, Molecular Physiology

Course Description: This course is designed for advanced undergraduate and graduate students who are interested in molecular physiology of sensory detection and processing.  The major topics will be signal transduction mechanisms used by membrane ion channels and receptors that detect the sensory stimuli (light, sound, temperature, smells and tastes, for example) and transmit the signals to the nervous system.  Modern molecular physiology techniques such as molecular genetics, electrophysiology, protein purification and structural biology will be introduced along with each topic.  References will be primary research articles.  Students will critically evaluate research discoveries by reading and presenting original research papers.  Each student is required to write a 10-page research proposal and to critique presentations by fellow students.  Students are expected to learn 1) basic sensory physiology on how we detect stimuli such as light, temperature, pain, taste, smell and sound, 2) modern cellular/molecular/biophysical/genetics research techniques, 3) to critically evaluate research findings, 4) to present scientific papers and 5) to write a research proposal.  The course is offered every fall semester.

Canvas site, https://canvas.upenn.edu/courses/1571930

BIOL444, Molecular Evolution of Physiological Functions 

Course Description: This course is designed for students who are interested in understanding how physiological functions are achieved over time scales of millions to billion years.  Taking advantage of the recent explosion in genetic data and high-resolution protein structure analysis across organisms, the course focuses on the evolution of physiological functions at the genetic, structural, circuit and organismal levels.  Examples include the evolution of the nervous system and locomotion control in animals, the co-evolving of toxins and toxin resistance between hunter and prey, the evolution of substance transportation across cell membrane, intracellular signaling cascades and intercellular communication.  The course is offered every other fall semester.

Canvas site, https://canvas.upenn.edu/courses/1423248