Course introduction and teaching purpose:
How do scientists discover the basic biology underlying human health and diseases? Human experimentation is often unfeasible or unethical. Researchers carry out experiments in a small group of organisms, which are called model organisms, such as E. coli, budding and fission yeast, slime mold, nematodes, fruit flies, zebrafish, Xenopus, chick embryos, mice, and monkeys to understand particular biological phenomena. Because all living organisms have common ancestors and share similar mechanisms that control the developmental, metabolic, behavioral, and aging pathways, scientists expect that discoveries made in these organisms will provide insight into the biological processes workings in other organisms, including humans. Therefore, model organisms serve as proxies for understanding the biology of human beings. Moreover, when scientists discover a link between a gene and a disease, they typically investigate how this gene works in model organisms and aim to establish a disease model, which helps them to develop potential diagnosis and treatment. The course is designed to blend basic concepts, core ideas and frontiers researches in life science. There are six topics: Structure and function, Genetics and heredity, Metabolism and energy, Immune system, and Brain functions. We try to put a good variety of forms in the course, including lecture, discussion, project design, data analysis as well as presentation. We hope students make sense of life sciences, and build up ideas about human health and diseases. Most important, the course expectations for high school students improving scientific investigation, project management, professional analysis as well as efficient communication. In this course students will learn: What are common features between human and model organisms? Why particular model organisms are useful for studying particular diseases? How to build an appropriate disease model? What are the limitations of using simple organisms to analyze human diseases? This course is tailored for senior undergraduate and graduate students not major in Biology.
|C. elegans II||Donald L. Riddle, Thomas Blumenthal, Barbara J. Meyer, James R. Priess||Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Pr||1997||978-087969532-3|