Department of Biological Sciences

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Department of Biological Sciences

103 Lennon Hall
(585) 395-2193
FAX: (585) 395-2741

Chairman and Professor: Stuart Tsubota, PhD, University of California-Berkley; Professors: Thomas Bonner, PhD, University of Cincinnati; Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and Professor: Anne Huot, PhD, University of Vermont; Vice Provost and Associate Professor: P. Michael Fox, PhD, University of Illinois-Urbana; Associate Professors: Craig Lending, PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison; Rey Sia, PhD, Columbia University; Assistant Professors: Laurie Cook, PhD, University of Rochester; Tracey Householder, PhD, University of Rochester; Adam Rich, PhD, SUNY at Stony Brook.


Concentration Areas

The Department of Biological Sciences offers a major in biological sciences and a major in medical technology, as well as a minor in biological sciences. Both the major and minor in biological sciences are designed for students with an interest in one or several of the many aspects of the life sciences. They are designed to provide excellent preparation for postgraduate training and careers in biomedicine, health and secondary education, as well as other fields that require an understanding and practice of scientific reasoning and methods. The major in medical technology culminates in a 12-month internship in a hospital laboratory-based training program. This results in eligibility for certification and licensure as a medical technologist.

Through courses taken during the freshman and sophomore years, students build a scientific foundation for understanding how biological systems function. In the junior and senior years, students may concentrate in one of several areas: pre-medicine, biotechnology, secondary education, or an individualized program. Research opportunities with departmental faculty as well as internships and cooperative programs with public and private organizations afford students the opportunity to apply their skills outside the classroom. Because of complex biological issues that face modern society, we also encourage non-majors to take selected courses in biological sciences.

Students majoring in biological sciences and medical technology are required to obtain a minimum grade of “C” in BIO 201 and BIO 202 before they are allowed to take further courses in the major.

Students may transfer the above courses from other accredited institutions to satisfy this requirement provided that the courses have been approved and that the students have earned a grade of “C” or higher in the courses transferred.

Major in Biological Sciences Biology Requirements

A total of 37 credits in Biological Sciences, as outlined below Credits
BIO 201 Biology I 4
BIO 202 Biology II 4
BIO 301 Cell Biology 4
BIO 302 Genetics 4

BIO 300-level electives (one or two courses by advisement, see list below) 4 - 8
BIO 303 Ecology (required for teacher certification students) 4
BIO 321 Anatomy and Physiology I 4
BIO 322 Anatomy and Physiology II 4
BIO 323 Microbiology 4
BIO 498 Seminar 1
BIO 400-level electives (by advisement) 12/16

Cross-disciplinary Requirements:
A total of 16 credits in Chemistry as outlined below:
CHM 205 College Chemistry I 4
CHM 206 College Chemistry II 4
CHM 305 Organic Chemistry I 4
One of the following:
CHM 306 Organic Chemistry II
CHM 303 Analytical Chemistry I 4

A total of 8 credits in Physics as outlined below:
PHS 115-116 General Physics I and II with lab
PHS 201-202 College Physics I and II with Lab 8

One of the following Mathematics courses:
MTH 201 Calculus I OR  
MTH 221 Calculus for Business, Social and Life Sciences OR  
MTH 243 Elementary Statistics 3

NOTE: In normal progress toward the degree, BIO 201, 202, CHM 205, 206 and the recommended mathematics courses are taken in the freshman year. BIO 301, 302, CHM 305, and 306 are taken in the sophomore year. The recommended physics courses are taken in the junior year and 400-level biology courses in the junior and senior years. Up to six credits of either BIO 424 Research Experience or BIO 499 Independent Study in Biology may be included in the 400-level electives for the major.

Transfer students must complete a minimum of 18 credits of upper-division courses in the Department of Biological Sciences at SUNY Brockport regardless of the numbers of credits transferred.

Advisement: To assure proper advisement in particular tracks, students should declare a major as early as possible, preferably in the freshman year. Majors are declared with the department secretary, Room 103, Lennon Hall.

Concentration Area

Pre-medicine, Pre-dentistry, Pre-veterinary, Health Careers

Each year, students from SUNY Brockport apply for admission to professional study in medicine, dentistry, osteopathy, optometry, podiatry, physical therapy and physicians assistant programs. Although at Brockport most pre-med professional students have majored in the biological sciences, there is no special major for pre-professional health care, and the requirements for admission can be met through a variety of majors available at the College. The program in biological sciences is well-established and our graduates successfully compete for positions in professional programs. We do arrange programs with local health care facilities, such as the Oak Orchard Community Health Center, to provide pre-med students with the experiential component necessary for successful application to medical school. Upon arrival at Brockport, students should contact the department for further information on these programs.

A Pre-professional Advisory Committee assists students interested in entering the medically related professions through formal meetings, counseling and a library of materials; provides application materials for the MCAT, DAT and OAT exams (the admissions tests for medical, podiatric, dental and optometry schools); and prepares a committee evaluation prior to application based on a formal interview with the applicant as well as test scores and GPA. This committee consists of faculty members from biological sciences, chemistry and physics. Contact the department, Room 103, Lennon Hall, for current contact information for this committee.


The department is well equipped to provide skills in cell and tissue culture, microbiology, microscopy, molecular biology and genetics. A substantial percentage of graduates who have obtained these skills have successfully entered master's and PhD programs or found jobs in academic, government or industrial laboratories.

Certification in Secondary Education (7/12): Biology and General Science

Students who intend to become secondary school biology teachers qualify for New York State Provisional Certification by completing the requirement of bachelor of science and the requisite courses toward certification in secondary education as arranged with the Department of Education and Human Development. Because the certification requirements are extensive and changeable, the student should meet with an advisor in each of the Departments of Biological Sciences and Education and Human Development.

Major in Medical Technology

The major in medical technology enables a student to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology from SUNY Brockport at the end of a four-year program, including three academic years here and a fourth calendar year at a school of medical technology approved by the College. During the first three years each student fulfills the General Education requirements and the major requirements. The fourth year at a school of medical technology includes both theoretical and practical work in a medical lab. The BS is awarded upon the satisfactory completion of the requirements of both institutions. Upon completion of the internship, the student is eligible to take the National Registry Examination, which must be passed for the student to be certified as a Registered Medical Technologist. The program is currently offered in affiliation with Rochester General Hospital. To enter this program, students declare a major in medical technology in the freshman year, to assure proper advisement. Majors are declared with the department secretary, Room 103, Lennon Hall. A formal application to the School of Medical Technology is made by the middle of the fall semester of the junior year. Based on the academic record for the freshman, sophomore years and mid-semester grades of the fall semester of the junior year and an interview, the decision is made as to which applicants will be formally admitted into the clinical year. This decision is competitive and made by the School of Medical Technology. Any students not accepted have the option to complete a major in biological sciences.

Biology Requirements  
  BIO 201 Biology I 4
  BIO 202 Biology II 4
  BIO 301 Cell Biology 4
  BIO 302 Genetics 4
  BIO 321 Anatomy and Physiology I 4
  BIO 322 Anatomy and Physiology II 4
  BIO 323 Microbiology 4
Cross-disciplinary requirements  
  CHM 205 General Chemistry I 4
  CHM 206 General Chemistry II 4
  CHM 305 Organic Chemistry I 4
  One of the following:  
  CHM 306 Organic Chemistry II  
  CHM 303 Analytical Chemistry I 4
  PHS 115, 116 General Physics I and II with Lab 8
  One of the following Mathematics courses:  
  MTH 201 Calculus I  
  MTH 221 Calculus for Business,  
    Social and Life Sciences  
  MTH 243 Elementary Statistics 3
Recommended Course
  BUS 365 Principles of Management 3

A minimum of 90 credits (including general education requirements) must be completed at Brockport during the first three years of the program. The following courses (34 credits) are usually required in the clinical year at an approved school of medical technology: microbiology (immunology), clinical chemistry, hematology, blood bank, urinalysis/clinical microscopy, principles of disease, and toxicology.

Minor in Biological Sciences

A minimum of 18 credits, of which at least 10 must be at the 300/400 level, is required for the minor. Students declaring a minor in biological sciences must earn at least nine credits of biological sciences courses at SUNY Brockport. Since no specific courses are designated, a variety of tracks is possible and it is important that students seek advisement through the Undergraduate Coordinator. (Inquire in Room 103, Lennon Hall.) Many students working toward teacher certification and/or majoring in other disciplines elect a minor to strengthen their degrees.

Biological Science Courses

BIO 111 Principles of Biology (A,L). For non-majors. Credit not applicable to the major in biological sciences. Through lectures and laboratory activities, examines the structure and function of living systems, from cells to the biosphere as a whole. 4 Cr. Every Semester

BIO 201 Biology I (A,L). For majors in biological sciences: (BIO 201 and 202 are not sequential; either may be taken first). Provides an integrated exploration of the fundamentals of biology as a science, the nature and origin of life, biological chemistry, cell biology, genetics and evolution. Draws upon plants, animals and microbes to illustrate structure and function relationships. 4 Cr. Every Semester

BIO 202 Biology II (A,L). For majors in biological sciences: (BIO 201 and 202 are not sequential; either may be taken first). Focuses on organismal biology by taking an evolutionary approach to examine how animals and plants adapt to the environment, to study structure and functions by examining both animal and plant physiology and to integrate this knowledge with laboratories that run parallel with the lectures. 4 Cr. Every Semester

BIO 221 Survey of Anatomy and Physiology (A,L). Primarily for physical education and dance majors. Credit not applicable to the major in biological sciences. Surveys human anatomy and physiology, encompassing structure and function of skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Presents development and integration of these units as a basis for understanding the anatomical and physiological aspects of humans at rest and during activity. Includes a lab. 4 Cr. Every Semester

BIO 281 Elements of Human Biology (A,N). Credit not applicable to the major in biological sciences. Provides an introduction for non-majors to the human organism-structure, physiology, metabolism, behavior, genetics, evolution and ecological relationships. Addresses important issues in health and human disease as well as current societal and ethical issues in readings, lectures and classroom discussions. 3 Cr.

BIO 301 Cell Biology (A). Prerequisites: BIO 201, BIO 202 and CHM 205. Covers cellular functions and structures and the interrelationship between them. Laboratory illustrates and reinforces principles covered in lecture. Covers techniques, including cell culture, light/fluorescence microscopy, subcellular fractionation, transfection, and protein isolation and analysis. 4 Cr. Fall

BIO 302 Genetics (A). Prerequisites: BIO 201, BIO 202, CHM 205 and CHM 206. Recommended: One semester of organic chemistry. Covers the gene as the basis of variation and principles of heredity. Includes Mendelian genetics and molecular genetics, including replication, transcription and translation. Covers topics in genetic regulation, conjugation, mutation and repair, recombinant DNA technology as well as population genetics. Laboratory illustrates and reinforces principles covered in lecture. Covers basic techniques in gene and chromosome mapping, DNA isolation and analysis, DNA fingerprinting, bioinformatics, and recombinant DNA technology, including plasmid isolation, transformation, and PCR. 4 Cr. Spring

BIO 303 Ecology (A). Cross-listed as ENV 303. Prerequisites: BIO 111 or BIO 201 or BIO 202. Ecology addresses interrelationships among organisms and the physical environment. Considers energy flow, nutrient cycling, population and community dynamics, principles of animal behavior, and natural history in lecture, laboratory and field study. 4 Cr.

BIO 305 Comparative Physiology (A). Prerequisites: either BIO 201 or BIO 202; CHM 205 and CHM 206. Takes a comparative and experimental approach to understanding how living organisms function. Examines fundamental but selective aspects of physiology, including homeostatic energy balance, metabolism, water and salt regulation, respiration, locomotion, adaptation to altitude/diving, and nervous and endocrine integration. 4 Cr.

BIO 317 Biology of Aging (A). Credit not applicable to the major in biological sciences. Introduces the study of aging in the human and a number of other animals at the molecular, cell, tissue and organ level to understand what is meant by aging and how it is measured. Includes effects of genetic composition, sex differences and other factors. 3 Cr.

BIO 321 Anatomy and Physiology I (A). Prerequisites: BIO 111, BIO 202 or BIO 221. Studies the structures and functions of cells, tissues and organs with examples drawn from the human body. Introduces students to the anatomy and physiology of the skeletal, muscular, nervous, endocrine and integumentary systems of the body through lectures and laboratories. Recommended for nursing, health science and pre-medical students (BIO 321 or 322 may be taken out of sequence). 4 Cr. Fall

BIO 322 Anatomy and Physiology II (A). Prerequisites: BIO 111, BIO 202 or BIO 221. Introduces students to the anatomy and physiology of circulatory, excretory, respiratory, digestive and reproductive systems of the human body through lectures and laboratories. Recommended for nursing, health science and pre-medical students (BIO 321 or 322 may be taken out of sequence). 4 Cr. Spring

BIO 323 Microbiology (A). Prerequisites: one of BIO 111, BIO 201 or BIO 202 and either CHM 205 or CHM 260. Provides lectures concerned with the structure, function, diversity, and control of microorganisms, including metabolism, growth and regulation, microbial genetics, disease, immunology, and microbial ecology. Provides lab experiences in techniques of pure culture, cultivation, enumeration, isolation and characterization of micro-organisms. 4 Cr. Spring

BIO 333 Contemporary Issues in Life Science (A,I). Credit not applicable to the major in biological sciences. What is life? When does human life begin? How do genes control life processes? Is it natural/ ethical to alter the genetic makeup of species, including humans? What drives pharmaceutical companies and drug development? Explores controversial issues raised by modern biotechnology. Reviews background information for identifying, understanding, and analyzing critical issues facing the life sciences. 3 Cr.

BIO 411 Evolution (A). Prerequisite: BIO 302. Commences with a review of philosophical and factual basis of evolutionary biology. Examines the physiochemical background for the evolution of life, mechanisms of evolution, population genetics, phylogeny, speciation, and consequences of the evolution of populations of living organisms. 3 Cr. Spring

BIO 414 Immunology (A). Prerequisite: BIO 301. Recommended: BIO 302. Emphasizes aspects of immunology, including the structure and function of immunoglobulins, the role of cell-mediated immunity, the protective role of the immune system, and disease and injury as related to malfunctions of the immune system. 3 Cr.

BIO 415 Molecular Biology (A). Prerequisites: BIO 301, BIO 302 and CHM 305. Covers the biosynthesis and function of macromolecules, especially nucleic acids. Includes topics in regulation, molecular virology, transposition and transformation, as well as recombinant DNA methods. Biology majors only or with instructor’s permission. 3 Cr. Fall

BIO 416 Laboratory Techniques in Exercise Physiology (A). Cross-listed as PES 416. Prerequisites: BIO 111 or equivalent, PES 310 and MTH 121 or instructor’s permission. Complements the theoretical preparation of students in exercise physiology. Provides experiences in the measurement of acute and chronic adaptations to exercise, the use of technology in the measurement and assessment of physiological functioning during such conditions, and the maintenance and calibration of such equipment. Actively immerses students in the subject to better conceptualize, and internalize, what it means to administer tests, and analyze and interpret data in a meaningful and systematic manner. 3 Cr.

BIO 417 Recombinant DNA Laboratory (A). Prerequisites: BIO 302 and CHM 305. Covers laboratory methods involved in the isolation and cloning of genetic material. Uses procedures such as bacterial and viral growth and selection techniques, gene isolation and detection, restriction analysis, use of DNA ligase and PCR methods, as well as site-specific mutagenesis. DNA “fingerprinting” methods. Utilizes non-radioactive detection methods in the above techniques. Biology majors only or with Instructor’s permission. 3 Cr. Fall

BIO 424 Experimental Research (A). Prerequisites: Junior status and instructor’s permission. Under the supervision of a faculty member in biology, allows the student to undertake a lab research project in some area of biological science. Establishes the topic and methodology by mutual consent of the student and faculty member. Requires all students enrolled to meet together with the involved faculty once a week to discuss the background, methods and results of their projects. Encourages students to present their results at Scholars Day. May be repeated; a total of six credits from either BIO 424 or BIO 499 may be applied toward the major in Biological Sciences. 1-4 Cr. Every semester

BIO 426 Recombinant DNA (A). Prerequisite: BIO 302. Considers theory and techniques in the recombinant DNA field. Includes topics such as cloning vectors, restriction analysis, PCR methods, and expression of cloned genes in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes. Also considers examples and implications of recombinant DNA methodology in plants and agriculture as well as in medicine, human genetics and disease. 3 Cr. Spring

BIO 428 Microtechnique (A). Prerequisite: BIO 202. Requires students to demonstrate competency in the preparation of tissue by paraffin sectioning and histochemistry. Discusses the theory underlying these techniques in lecture, and considers their application to a hospital pathology laboratory. 3 Cr.

BIO 429 Electron Microscopy (A). Prerequisite: BIO 301. Provides the theory of electron optics and skills in electron microscopy. Also includes methods of specimen preparation and skills of ultramicrotomy. Places a strong emphasis on lab. 4 Cr.

BIO 445 Histology (A). Prerequisite: BIO 202. Studies the microanatomy of animal tissue and organs with emphasis on functional correlations. Includes lab examinations of prepared slides and fresh materials, as well as normal and pathological tissues. 4 Cr. Fall

BIO 466 General Endocrinology (A). Prerequisite: BIO 202 or equivalent. Covers the relationship between the molecular structure of a hormone and its ability to regulate growth, metabolic and reproductive processes. Mechanisms of action at cell and molecular levels; various endocrine diseases. 3 Cr.

BIO 467 Biochemistry I (A). Cross-listed as CHM 467. Prerequisite: CHM 306. A college biology course is strongly recommended. Covers the chemistry of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and other biomolecules with an emphasis on buffers, structures, experimental methods, main energy production pathways and biosynthesis. Applies concepts and information to experimental data and deduction of structures, functional roles and mechanisms. Three hours lecture per week. 3 Cr. Fall

BIO 468 Biochemistry II (A). Cross-listed as CHM 468. Prerequisites: BIO 467 or CHM 467. Provides a continuation of BIO 467. Covers additional metabolic pathways, human nutrition, chromosomes and genes, protein biosynthesis, cell walls, immunoglobulins, muscle contraction, cell motility, membrane transport and excitable membranes and sensory systems. Investigates experimental evidence for the structures and functions of biomolecules. 3 Cr. Spring

BIO 470 Biochemistry Laboratory (A). Cross-listed as CHM 470. Prerequisites: BIO 467 or CHM 467 and CHM 303. Course fee. Covers biochemical analyses, including preparation, separations and characterization of products from a variety of biological sources; and experiments with enzymes and experiments designed to measure changes inherent in the dynamics of living systems. 1 Cr.

BIO 491 Biological Sciences Overseas Program (A). Prerequisite: Departmental approval. Requires students to attend classes in the biological sciences and/or related areas at the participating overseas university. 1-15 Cr.

BIO 495 Topics in Biology (A). To be defined by the instructor-sponsor in accordance with the specific topic to be covered that semester. Additional information may be obtained from the department office. 1-4 Cr.

BIO 498 Seminar (A). Prerequisite: Senior status and a major in biological sciences. Provides an opportunity to research a topic and organize and present a seminar on the topic. Provides experience in utilizing presentation and illustration software in oral presentations. 1Cr. Every Semester. 1 Cr.

BIO 499 Independent Study in Biology (A). Prerequisite: Instructor’s permission. To be defined in consultation with the instructor-sponsor and in accordance with the procedures of the Office of Academic Advisement prior to registration. 1-4 Cr.

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Last Updated 5/7/19

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