The SBD semester is organized as a series of 4 three-week modules; students chose a single course in each module. These courses are inspired by the MBL’s world-renown summer Advanced Research Training Courses and are an intense immersion focusing on experiential learning through laboratory research.
Module 1: Introduction to Parasitology
Module 2: Stem Cells and Regeneration or Waves, Optics, and Modern Physics or Fundamentals of Synapses
Module 3: Biodiversity or Imaging for Biological Research
Module 4: Dynamic Camouflage or Biological Oceanography
Cross module courses: Seminar: A History of Cell Molecular Biology
Parasitology: Kate Rawlinson
This course introduces the diversity of parasitic Protozoa and Metazoa, and explores the morphology, genomics, developmental life cycle, pathology, immunology, epidemiology, and treatment and control of the major parasite groups. The focus will be on aquatic species, including those that cause pathology in humans and other mammals. The course will involve lectures, fieldwork and lab experiments including designing and carrying out an independent research project.
Module 2 (Choose 1 of 3):
Stem Cells and Regeneration: From Aquatic Research Organisms to Mammals: Karen Echeverri
This course will explore contemporary stem cell biology and regeneration with emphasis on molecular mechanisms and applications, and will cover the history of stem cell discoveries through the latest advances, including genome-wide profiling, and targeted gene editing. A focus of the course will be around how discoveries in aquatic research organisms have driven the progress in regeneration biology.
This course, consisting of lecture and extensive inquiry-based lab work exploiting opportunities and resources unique to the MBL, is designed to fulfill intermediate-level requirements in Physics for biology majors and those with a pre-med focus. The course will focus on the physical principles underlying some of the instruments students will use in other portions of the program, such as fluorescence and polarized-light microscopes used in Biodiversity and Imaging, optical principles involved in camouflage and perception, and the acoustic doppler current profilers and chirp-based SONAR systems used in Biological Oceanography.
In this course, students will learn about the fundamentals of synapses, from molecular analysis to structure and function. Marine and aquatic models have historically provided a unique opportunity to investigate synaptic function due to the large size of their neurons, including the synaptic connections. Today, these synapse models are used to study basic principles of neuron-to-neuron communication (synaptic transmission), as well as disease mechanisms.
Module 3 (Choose 1 of 2):
Biodiversity: Exploring the Marine Diversity of Woods Hole Using Molecular Tools: Andrew Gillis
This course presents an overview of the diversity of living organisms, including archaea, bacteria, single-celled eukaryotes, fungi, plants, and animals, with an emphasis on their evolutionary histories, relationships, and the biological and evolutionary implications of the characteristic features of each group. We will explore how these different lineages have evolved remarkable solutions to challenges in locomotion, metabolism, and life in extreme environments.
Imaging for Biological Research: Louis Kerr and Carsten Wolff
This course will introduce students to the fundamentals of imaging, quickly advancing to cutting edge advances in the field. The course will focus on use state-of-the art microscopes, with students designing and executing an original research project including data acquisition and analysis using cutting-edge image analysis software.
Module 4 (Choose 1 of 2):
Dynamic Camouflage: Behavior, Visual Perception and Neural Skin Patterning in Cephalopods: Roger Hanlon
This course takes an integrative approach to understanding a neurally controlled system of dynamic defense against visual predators. Camouflage is a widespread form of defense throughout the animal kingdom in every known habitat - land or sea. In the oceans, cephalopods (cuttlefish, octopus, squid) have evolved a sophisticated sensorimotor system called Rapid Adaptive Coloration, which can instantaneously change their total body appearance within a fraction of a second to range from highly camouflaged to startlingly conspicuous for a wide range of behaviors.
This three-week course addresses fundamental oceanographic processes that maintain and structure marine biodiversity and productivity, including physical oceanographic processes of dispersal and upwelling, environmental selection, biogeography, nutrient dynamics, primary production, and food web dynamics. Students will design an original research project during an initial shore component at MBL, and then address their own questions by collecting samples and data aboard Sea Education Association (SEA)’s oceanographic research sailing vessel, the SSV Corwith Cramer, on an offshore voyage. During a 9-day voyage at sea, students will deploy oceanographic instruments, interpret various data streams, and work as research teams and watch members as they navigate and sail the vessel. During the final few days of the course on shore, students will analyze and interpret the data they collected and present their results in written and oral reports.