Courses Taught

Bio 130: Biology

Bio 130: Biology is the freshman-level ‘entry’ course in the life science core curriculum and serves as a gateway to all of your subsequent learning in biology at BYU.  This ‘entry’ status reflects what we deem the minimum exposure to what is the breadth of the discipline – the minimum a student in the life sciences should experience.

Two key elements will unify your introductory study of biology, both of which were first published in the year 1859.  The first is the discovery that all living things are made of cells (which of course seems very obvious to us today, but has deep implications for modern biological discovery)—we call this The Cell Theory.  The second is the great discovery that all living things share common ancestry—The Theory of Evolution.

Without an understanding of evolution, the biological sciences would exist as a set of isolated, specialized fields.  Indeed, Theodosius Dobzhansky was right when he said, “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”  More recently, the National Academy of Sciences has stated that evolution is “the most important concept in modern biology, a concept essential to understanding key aspects of living things” (1998).  Why focus on these two ideas as an introduction to biology, and in what ways are these theories unifying concepts in biology?  The purpose of this class is to help you answer these questions, and in so doing provide you with an intellectual foundation upon which you can build your own set of advanced skills and knowledge in the biological sciences.  In addition, it is our purpose to help students develop character traits, intellectual abilities, and basic literacy in the biological sciences to “think clearly, communicate effectively, and act wisely” (The Value of a General Education, BYU) as stewards and citizens in their homes, communities, and the world.

Winter 2017 Syllabus

Bio 463: Genetics of Human Disease

In this course we will examine the application of genetics to the understanding and treatment of human disease. We will also cover basic methods for design, analysis, interpretation and follow-up of rare variant, genome-wide association, and whole genome sequencing studies.  In addition, we will examine the various methods for understanding the functional consequences of genetic variants, the role of model organisms, the use of genetic information for treatment of disease and ethical considerations that arise from our advancing knowledge of the genetics of human disease.

Winter 2016 Syllabus