BI490 Advanced Topics in Biology:

for SP 2007

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BI490 Advanced Topics in Microbiology


SP 2007 HOZ


Burns, Douglas M.


Associate Professor of Biology


Ph.D. in Molecular Biology, Vanderbilt
B.A. (Honors) in Biological Sciences, MU-Columbia

Office Location

101A Science Hall

Office Hours

12-1 pm, TR; 10-12 W; 11-12 F

Daytime Phone


Other Phone



Web Page

None at this time. Look to E-companion ( for postings.

Semester Dates

16 January  -- 11 May, 2007

Class Days


Class Time

12:25 - 1:40 PM


Chemistry 105 or the equivalent

Credit Hours



Microbiology: A Systems Approach by Cowan and Talaro, McGraw-Hill Publishing, 2005 (ISBN: 0-07-291804-7).  This textbook will provide the basis of the material covered in both lecture and laboratory.

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:
Additional information and informational links and any suggested readings will be presented in class as they become available.

All class notes, laboratory notes, announcements, and cumulative assessment (grades) will be posted on-line at the "Park E-Companion" website. It is therefore crucial that each student find and learn how to use this important site ( The instructor is more than willing to help, but it is the responsibility of each student to make certain that they get the posted information. 

McAfee Memorial Library - Online information, links, electronic databases and the Online catalog. Contact the library for further assistance via email or at 800-270-4347.
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Resources for Current Students - A great place to look for all kinds of information

Course Description:

     A study of microorganisms that commonly affect man, including their morphology, physiology, taxonomy, and ecology. Focus will be on the process of pathology and the epidemiology of representative diseases by organ system. Additional assignments for this class will focus more fully on the basic mechanisms for horizontal genetic change (recombination and conjugation).   

Prerequisite: CH 105 or permission of instructor. 3:3:4

Educational Philosophy:

       Learning is an active and interactive process. Ideally, it would best be promoted by a combination of questioning and feedback that involves each student. Within the requirements of this course, the instructor will emphasize an organized interactive consideration of lecture material, readings, quizzes, projects, research papers, problem sets, examinations, internet websites, and similar exercises. Each student should strive to participate in class.         Learning requires actual work; it is a real job. Rigor leads to achievement, and practice familiarizes you with course materials. Thus, each student should expect to spend approximately 3 hours of study outside of class for each credit hour of class. Doing less will get you less. In a science class, it is important that students transform main elements, themes, and concepts into their own words and thoughts.

        True knowledge apparently results from active construction/reformulation and repeated cross-referencing of new material to old (stored) material. This can only be done by the learner, and it is my job to entice you into doing this. Do not expect to succeed by simple memorization; building conceptual frameworks and internalizing new detail are essential skills in all college-level science course.


Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Varies depending on topic (approved by the department)

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Delineate between the major groups of microbes and microbial particles.
  2. Discuss microbe/host interations that result in infectious disease.
  3. Discuss physical and chemical agents that can control the growth and proliferation of microbes and microbial particles.
  4. Describe the major diseases of the main human organ systems.
  5. Describe microbial genetics and major mechanisms of change.
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:

      There will be 4 major lecture examinations, covering the 4 main units of this class (see class schedule). These exams are estimated to constitute approximately 70% of the points possible in this course (approximately 650 points out of 930 total points). Exams will be composed of multiple-choice, short answer, matching, and short essay questions.
       In addition, BI490 students will be expected to submit a well-developed and completely cited 10-page research paper focusing on some fundamental aspect of microbial genetics, in particular mechanisms of horizontal gene transfer that lead to resistance against various therapeutic agents.

     It is important that you keep up with the reading and review class material before each class meeting; therefore, at least 5% of your point jeopardy will come in the form of unannounced lecture quizzes.

      There will be no extra-credit assignments in this class.





It is not anticipated that this class will be graded on a curve. Instead, a traditional grading scale will be followed with: greater than 89.9% being an A, greater than 79.9% being a B, greater than 69.9% for a C, greater than 59.9% for a D, and less than 59.9% being an F. Your cumulative percentage in the class is simply your accumulated points divided by the points possible and then multiplied by 100%.

Do not anticipate any extra-credit work in this class.  

Late Submission of Course Materials:

Homework is due at the start of an assigned class period. Work will not be accepted after the stated deadline without penalty -- except under only the most severe of extenuating circumstances or prior arrangements recorded in writing. Any such emergency must be documented by specific written evidence -- which will then be judged by the instructor as to its acceptability. Nothing else will work as an excuse.

Late homework and assignments (including lab notebooks when called in or lab projects) will be reduced in credit by 25% for each day that the work is late. Students missing class due to participation in atheletic or other university-sponsored events must turn in all due assignments PRIOR to their expected absence (see below).



Classroom Rules of Conduct:

     All students must follow the common rules of acceptable and courteous behavior while within class. There can be no disruptive or crude behavior during class, and students should be careful not to attend under the influence of an intoxicant of any sort. Students should prepare in advance of each class and expect to be called on from time to time to make the class more interactive.

      Disruptive or intoxicated behavior will result in removal of the student from the class and a recorded absence. Notable problems will be reported to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs so that suitable discipline can be officially determined.

      All cell phones, CD players, iPODs, beepers, bells, whistles, and video devices should be turned off during classtime. do not bring a laptop computer, cell phone, or commication device into class during any examination or quiz.

       ENROLLMENT STATUS OF THE STUDENT:  This is solely the responsibility of the student. Be certain to file the appropriate paperwork with the Registrar if you seek to change your status in this course. If you decide to drop, be careful to file the appropriate forms before the deadline; otherwise, not finishing the course, or inadequate attendance will result in an F. 

       You should learn to take responsibility for competing assignments and turning them in on time. For this reason especially, there is no extra-credit work in this course.



Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
The following schedule is TENTATIVE and therefore still subject to change by the instructor.  




Week-1: Introduction; Prokaryotes

Chapters 1 & 4

Week 2: Prokaryotes

Chapter 4

Week 3: Eukaryotes

Chapter 5

Week 4: Viruses and Examination I

Chapter 6

Week 5: Human-- Microbe Interactions

Chapter 13

Week 6: Nonspecific Host Defenses

Chapter 14

Week 7: Specific Immunity

Chapter 15

Week 8: Immune Disorder and Examination II

Chapter 16

Week 9: Infectious Diseases of Skin & Eyes

Chapter 18

Week 10: Infectious Diseases of the Nervous System

Chapter 19

Week 11: Infectious Diseases of the Cardiovascular and Lymphatic System AND Examination III

Chapter 20

Week 12: Infectious Disease of the Upper and Lower Respiratory Tract

Chapter 21

Week 13: Infectious Diseases of the GI Tract

Chapter 22

Week 14: Infectious Diseases of the Genitourinary System

Chapter 23

Week 15: Emerging Human Diseases

To be determined.

FINALS WEEK and Examination IV,FINALS WEEK and Examination IV,FINALS WEEK and Examination IV






Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87-89
   Please do not share or copy answers for any assignment, including lab write-ups, exam answers, and lab projects. Students should never copy verbatim from books, manuals, or internet sources (see below). Do not  copy from someone else's exam paper or whisper answers to each other during exams. (Both students will receive a 0 for that exam.)

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 87
Please be careful not to plagiarize; we have programs that will detect such behavior within the patterns of your written work.

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "W".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2006-2007 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89-90
It is MANDATORY that you attend all class meetings and all scheduled laboratories. Part of a university education is preparation for professional conduct in your future life. Attendance at work or graduate/professional school is mandatory -- if you wish to remain employed or enrolled. In addition, education is a cooperative effort, and you are as responsible for furthering the education of your fellow classmates and the instructor as the instructor is for educating you. Get in the habit of being here on time, for this is a behavior you will need to cultivate if you wish to succeed.

    Be advised that a student is always responsible for any class material, whether they are present in a particular class session -- or not. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain notes and any notice of assignments due or announcements made on their own.

     There are no excused absences in this course for any reason (medical, personal, job-related, mechanical failure, death in the family, death of a beloved pet, death of ambition, and so forth). However, since personal emergencies may occur during the semester, your first four (4) absences are free and will draw you no penalty.
    HOWEVER, with each additional absence after the first four, 5% will be deducted from the student's final grade for the course. Furthermore, eight (8) absences in a twice-a-week semester class is an excessive number, and you will automatically be given an F after you miss eight (8) lecture or lab sessions (for ANY reason).

    TARDINESS or LEAVING:  If you are more than 10 minutes late by my watch or just happen not to be present when the attendance sheet is passed around, you will be counted tardy even if you do attend the remainder of class. If you decide to leave class before we are finished, this will also count the same as a tardy. Two tardies constitute one absence, and this will count towards your limit of four.

      EXCEPTION FOR SCHOOL ACTIVITIES:  Athelets who miss class for an atheletic event or contest or students who miss class due to a other school sponsored events will not be penalized IF AND ONLY IF THE INSTRUCTOR IS GIVEN TWO LECTURE MEETINGS (ONE WEEK) PRIOR NOTICE IN WRITING -- AND -- BOTH WORK ASSIGNMENTS AND EXAMS ARE TAKEN BEFORE THE CLASS IS ACTUALLY MISSED! This is the rule; please follow it.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .
Although you have the right to keep all conditions private, my desire is to help anyone who has any sort of trouble taking the class. If you come and talk with me about known problems, we can make certain that you are getting the help you deserve.

Additional Information:


This material is protected by copyright and can not be reused without author permission.

Last Updated:1/23/2007 2:16:40 PM