(Always under construction)



Dr. Bernd's Seminars



Each year I host a seminar. I strongly believe that a biology major should be 'fluent in biology', that means they should be able to read and speak the language. To practice and perfect these skills each seminar is discussion based and focuses on articles in scientific journals. Assignments will include presentations of background material (oral and 'wwwritten'), leading class discussions, & critiques of scientific articles. The seminar topic will vary from year to year but the class format and assignments will be similar.

Current Seminar:

Fall 2012 Cases in Environmental Health (Bio 262) The field of Environmental Health focuses on factors external to people that have health implications. In this TR seminar, students will develop skills in literature research, critical analysis, and communication exploring the intersection between cell biology, public health and the environment. Broad topics include regional and global examples investigating air quality, water quality and exposure to environmental chemicals. Working in trios, students will define sub areas of interest, such as home air quality, water purification byproducts, or mercury. They will use their research, creativity, and communication skills to compile materials and develop case studies that are appropriate for use in undergraduate cell biology courses. Prereq: one 100 level Biology w/lab course or Env201. (FALL 2012 is the first offering of this course.)

Fall 2005-2012 : Forensic Serology--
Forensic Serology is the study blood, semen, saliva, or sweat in matters pertaining to the law. Using case studies as backdrops this seminar will focus on the science behind the courthouse headlines as we discuss the biological theory and analytical techniques that provide the basis for forensic serology. Topics will include the composition of blood and semen; the molecular basis for enzymatic and antibody based analytical techniques, DNA analysis (RFLPs, VNTRs and SNPs), modes of inheritance of different markers (nuclear or mitochondrial DNA and protein), and kinship analysis for the identification of remains. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of applying these techniques to samples collected in ‘real life’ situations and the potential ethical implications of DNA databases like CODIS. In addition to participating in discussions of technical literature, students will give oral presentations both to the class and to larger public audiences.

Spring '04 : Genetically Modified Organisms:
What does it mean when we say that something is genetically modified? How do scientists modify the genes of an organism? What are we genetically modifying? and Should we being doing that? These are the types of questions we will be addressing in this seminar. Along these lines we will read articles about GMOs that are currently available and their potential implications to our health and well being as well as the health and well being of the environment.

Fall '02: Genetically Modified Organisms: As of
The focus of this seminar is on genetically modified plant species although genetic modification of animals may enter into the discussion. I am a molecular biologist by training so expect discussions of cellular mechanisms and genetics. The seminar will bring together a wide variety of topics in the biological sciences including cell biology, genetics, ecology, evolutionary biology, experimental methods and bioethics

Fall '01: From Venoms and Toxins to Drugs Through student background presentations, journal article discussion and web projects this seminar included topics ranging from garlic's effects on vasodilation to marijuana, nicotine, nettles and cone snails. The class project explored the FDA approval process by developing ficticious drug that cures erectile dysfunction.

NOTE: Due to restructuring of the Biology webserver many of the image links in '00 and earlier projects do not work. These broken links are not the fault of the student webauthors.

Fall '00: From Venoms and Toxins to Drugs (The use and development of naturally occurring substances for 'good' or 'defense' --in medicine, religious rituals, warfare)

Spring '00: From Venoms and Toxins to Drugs (The use and development of natural substances into medical remedies)

Spring '99:  Vesicular traffic: Dogma or Myth (How to avoid bursting the bubble: Cellular mechanisms of vesicular transport) Site is no longer active.

 © Copyright 2002 Department of Biology, Davidson College, Davidson, NC 28035
Send comments, questions, and suggestions to: kabernd@davidson.edu