Molecule to Organism

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, and Spring 2017 quarters

Taught by

Robin Forbes-Lorman
behavioral neuroendocrinology, molecular neuroscience, physiological psychology
veterinary medicine
organic chemistry, polymer chemistry, biochemistry
  • UG


One year of college-level general biology with laboratory and one year of college-level general chemistry with laboratory. 

This program will develop and interrelate concepts in laboratory biology, organic chemistry, and biochemistry, thus providing a foundation for students who plan to continue studies in chemistry, laboratory biology, field biology, and medicine. In a yearlong sequence, students will carry out upper-division work in genetics, organic chemistry, biochemistry, cellular and molecular biology, developmental biology, and physiology.

The program will examine the subject matter through the central idea that structure defines function, integrating a scaled theme from the organismal to the cellular to the molecular level. As the year progresses, the scaled theme will continue through studies of cellular and biochemical processes in biological systems. We will examine organic chemistry, the nature of organic compounds and reactions, and carry this work into biochemistry and the fundamental chemical reactions of living systems. Biological concepts of inheritance will be covered through the study of Mendelian and population genetics, leading to an understanding from a molecular DNA perspective. Building on these fundamental processes, we will study how multicellular organisms develop.

The program will contain a significant laboratory component. Students will write papers and maintain laboratory notebooks weekly. All laboratory work and approximately half of non-lecture time will be spent working in collaborative problem-solving groups. In spring quarter more in-depth laboratory and library research projects will be a culmination of all major concepts learned throughout the year.

This is an intensive program. The subjects are complex and the sophisticated understanding we expect to develop will require devoted attention and many hours of scheduled lab work each week. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

biochemistry biology chemistry physiology

Preparatory For

biology, chemistry, education, medicine, and health science.


Fall Signature Winter Signature Spring Signature

Location and Schedule

Campus Location


Time Offered


Advertised Schedule

First spring class meeting: Monday, April 3 at 9am (Lecture Hall 4)

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning

May be offered again in



2017-02-16Twelve credit option now offered spring quarter.