Issues in Biotechnology
Applications and developments in biotechnology are among the most provocative and socially relevant topics today. Issues in Biotechnology is intended for a broad audience. There are no prerequisites for this course. This is not a course meant to ‘weed out’ biology majors or pre-med students, but rather to include the many perspectives on the broad ranging topics in biotechnology today.
This course has been enormously popular with students, often enrolling hundreds of students per semester.
The COVID Lecture Series: The Pandemic: Biology, Biotechnology and Social Impacts
The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in profound worldwide personal tragedy, loss, mourning and grief for all of us. The pandemic brought pervasive and cataclysmic social, economic, and global health consequences, with more than 910 million cases and 7 million deaths, one million in the United States.
By any measure, the turbulent impact of the pandemic on global health, the world economy and this period of history will be a lasting and dark legacy. These impacts, and their ramifications, will continue long into the future. Future generations will be defined by it. And this situation may not be ended as soon as some hope, as past eradication campaigns demonstrate. This virus and its variants are now a global endemic. This course examines all aspects of the pandemic from primary source literature.
This course was borne out of pure frustration when confronted with the torrent of misinformation regarding the pandemic.
Issues in Agriculture and Technology
Dr. Albert Kausch and Dr. David Songstad
Humans invented agriculture. The origin of agriculture is widely understood as a crucial event in human history that has been truly one of the most significant and impactful for humanity. The accumulation of surplus food supplies correlates all the other achievements of Neolithic civilization including writing, developments in mathematics, philosophy, and science, property law, and government. Now nearly all the plants, fruits, vegetables and grains, available in our grocery store do not grow in the wild. – all cultivated plants are the result of human intervention. Most of these plants would not exist if not for humans and would not persist without them.
The development of plant cultivation for food by humans has grown increasingly sophisticated, starting with selection of wild plants and domestication, to the use of genetics, hybrid plant development, and directed crosses, making wide crosses and the use of mutagenesis and polyploidy, and now more recently the application of genomics, bioinformatics, association genetics, marker assisted breeding, advanced tissue culture, modern conventional genetics and transgenics. This course examines the history, technology and ethics of modern agriculture.
Baby Green Garlic. In this excerpt from the course I discuss developing a brand new vegetable from “lab to table.”