Biological Research

Follow your passion for Biological Research

The Loras Biology program offers majors in biology and biological research. The biological research major is designed for students pursuing research experience after graduation. In addition, an optional specialization in biology for secondary teaching is also offered.

The experience available at Loras is unlike that of any other private institution in the Midwest. Our DNA Lab’s sequencer puts recombinant DNA technology directly in the hands of students for use in research projects. Many of our courses emphasize field-sampling techniques and local conservation issues. Our J-Term classes take students to Florida, Texas and Costa Rica.

Of course, the best method to learn about our curriculum, our students and our faculty is to come to Dubuque for a campus visit. Campus visits can be scheduled through the Admissions Office at 563-588-7236 or by contacting Tom Davis at 563-588-7767 or tom.davis@loras.edu.

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LORAS COLLEGE BIOLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL RESEARCH INTERNSHIP OPPORTUNITIES

The following are some of the opportunities Biology and Biological Research students have pursued to gain valuable experiences.

  • Summer Research Program in Microbiology at the University of Iowa
  • Various programs at the Biosciences Summer Research Program at the University of Iowa
  • Fellowships in Wildlife Education and Rehabilitation — Willowbrook Wildlife Foundation, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • Integrated Biological Sciences Summer Research Program (IBS-SRP) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Summer Laboratory Science Program at Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Program at the Center for Protease Research at North Dakota State University
  • National Nanotechnology Infrastructure Network summer research experience for undergraduates at Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
  • Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURP) Program at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center
  • Iowa DNR seasonal natural resources aide positions with the Multiple Species and Monitoring Project
  • Marine Biology Summer Research at Grice Marine Lab, College of Charleston, SC
  • Summer Internships with the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
  • SeaWorld College Experience internships

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THE BIOLOGY CURRICULUM AT LORAS HAS PROVEN EFFECTIVENESS

Many Loras Biology graduates have used their experiences here to find challenging and rewarding positions in education, health science, graduate school and many other jobs.

The Biology Program exists within the framework of a liberal arts college and is dedicated to:

  • Providing access to fundamental concepts of biology for all students and
  • Providing access to specialized biological knowledge for Biology majors and minors

The program also serves as a source of expertise, both research and instructional, for the local community, state of Iowa and beyond. In both instances, this access and service is afforded in a Christian and Catholic atmosphere where moral and ethical implications of biological knowledge are conveyed to the students and various publics. The program faculty are fully committed to teaching and achieving the highest level of professional competence as biologists.

Small class sizes and personal attention from our faculty will help you not only learn biology but experience it, question it and internalize it. Majors get hands-on, up-close learning opportunities. Our curriculum will help you prepare for a specific field of interest but will also give you the chance to learn about many aspects of the natural world from biomolecules, genes and cells to plant and animal ecology and human physiology. Almost all of our courses have laboratory experiences with them. These labs are student-centered, focused around asking questions and using the Scientific Method to answer them.

To learn more about our curriculum, students and faculty, please come to Dubuque for a campus visit. Not only will you get a tour of the Loras campus, but you can talk with a Biology faculty member about questions that you have or learn about what a typical day or week is like. We would be happy to have you attend one of our classes while you are here and/or we will give you a tour of our program facilities. Campus visits can be scheduled through the Admissions Office at 563-588-7236 or by contacting Tom Davis, Program Chair, at 563-588-7767 or tom.davis@loras.edu. Please check out the information below to learn more about what the Biology Program at Loras has to offer you.

Top Ten Features of the Loras Biology Program

What to do with a Biology Major

Typical courses taken 1st year and 4 yr course sequence

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LORAS COLLEGE HEALTH SCIENCE CLUB

The Health Science Club is a student-run group whose focus is to engage and inform Loras undergraduates of the opportunities available in many of the health science fields.

Activities include panels of seniors who talk about their experiences in the application and interview processes; professor panels for students to ask about classes to take and requirements for various programs; guest speakers including current and past medical students, residents, PAs, physicians, nurse practitioners, dentists, optometrists, and other health professionals; fundraising events; service projects and social nights with science and other faculty like bowling or softball.

The club is open to any undergraduate at Loras. Please contact Dr. Davis at 7767 or email tom.davis@loras.edu for additional details or to sign up as a speaker. 

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Major Requirements

Division of Molecular, Health & Life Sciences
Sara Glover, Ph.D., Chair

The Biology program exists within the framework of a liberal arts college, in the fulfillment of its mission, and as such is dedicated to (1) provide access to fundamental concepts of biology for all students and (2) provide access to specialized biological knowledge for majors who rely on this knowledge for their particular career goals. The program also serves as a source of expertise, both research and instructional, for the local community, State of Iowa, and beyond, and provides students the opportunity to learn through participation in this service experience. In both instances, this access and service is afforded in a Catholic atmosphere where moral and ethical implications of biological knowledge and earth’s stewardship are raised to the students and various publics.

The Biology program offers majors in biology and biological research. The biology major is designed for those students wishing a broad background in biology, but who do not wish to pursue a research orientation; the biological research major is designed for those students wishing research experience. Successful completion of a comprehensive examination given during the senior year is required of all majors.

L.MAT-117: Pre-Calculus Mathematics-FM or equivalent is required for all Biological Research major and Biology major courses. The mathematics courses can be completed before or concurrently with the biology courses.
L.BIO-115: Principles of Biology I cannot be fulfilled with transfer credit once a student matriculates at Loras College.

Requirements for the major in Biological Research (B.S.):  
The required and supporting courses for the Biology Research major must be completed with a cumulative 2.0 GPA. At least 8 credits of required biology courses, numbered 240 or above, must be completed at Loras College.

Req Course Cr’s
1   L.BIO-115: Principles of Biology I 4
2   L.BIO-116: Principles of Biology II 4
3   L.BIO-240: Plant Biology 4
4   L.BIO-250: Genetics 4
5   L.BIO-279: Experimental Design and Biostatistics-AH 3
6   L.BIO-330: Evolutionary Ecology 4
7   L.BIO-389: Junior Seminar 1
8   L.BIO-489: Senior Seminar 1
9   L.BIO-410: Cell and Molecular Biology 4
10   L.BIO-420: Vertebrate Physiology 4
11   Elective: Any additional L.BIO course except for 400 or 401 3 to 4
12   L.CHE-111: General Chemistry I 4
13   L.CHE-112: General Chemistry II 4
14   L.CHE-233: Organic Chemistry I 4
Select one from Req 15
15   L.PHY-210: Elements of Physics I 4
15   L.PHY-223: Physics for Scientists and Engineers I 5
Select one from Req 16
16   L.BIO-400: Senior Thesis 1
16   L.BIO-401: Honors Senior Thesis Research 1
53 to 55 total required credits

 
Requirements for the major in Biology (B.S.):
The required and supporting courses for the Biology major must be completed with a cumulative 2.0 GPA. At least 8 credits of required biology courses numbered 240 or above, must be completed at Loras College. It is highly recommended that students minor in chemistry and take L.MAT-150.

Req Course Cr’s
1   L.BIO-115: Principles of Biology I 4
2   L.BIO-116: Principles of Biology II 4
3   L.BIO-240: Plant Biology 4
4   L.BIO-250: Genetics 4
5   L.BIO-279: Experimental Design and Biostatistics-AH 3
6   L.BIO-330: Evolutionary Ecology 4
7   L.BIO-410: Cell and Molecular Biology 4
8   L.BIO-389: Junior Seminar 1
9   L.BIO-489: Senior Seminar 1
10   L.BIO-420: Vertebrate Physiology 4
11   Elective: Any additional L.BIO course except for 400 or 401 3 to 4
12   L.CHE-111: General Chemistry I 4
13   L.CHE-112: General Chemistry II 4
14   L.CHE-233: Organic Chemistry I 4
Select one from Req 15
15   L.PHY-210: Elements of Physics I 4
15   L.PHY-223: Physics for Scientists and Engineers I 5
15   L.PHY-230: Modern Physics 3
51 to 54 total required credits

 
Requirements for the minor in Biology:
Courses L.BIO-296, 389, 397, 400, 401, 489, 496 or 497 can be taken for credit toward the minor only with the permission of the division chairperson.

Req Course Cr’s
1   L.BIO-115: Principles of Biology I 4
2   L.BIO-116: Principles of Biology II 4
3   Elective: L.BIO-220 or higher (LBIO-279 highly recommended) 3 to 4
4   Elective: L.BIO-220 or higher (LBIO-279 highly recommended) 3 to 4
5   Elective: L.BIO-220 or higher (LBIO-279 highly recommended) 3 to 4
6   Elective: L.BIO-220 or higher (LBIO-279 highly recommended) 3 to 4
20 to 24 total required credits

 
Course requirements for teacher licensure in Biological Science, Grades 7-12:
State of Iowa endorsement for the teaching major follows the basic course requirements of the biology major but with the following Core differences: L.BIO-489 will be fulfilled by L.EDU-490 with the additional requirements that students present their thesis in L.BIO-489 and write a thesis approved by their Biology advisor. It is also recommended that students complete L.BIO-220 and L.PHI-349. For professional education courses, refer to the appropriate section listed under teacher education.

Course Descriptions

L.BIO-100: Population Biology
This course explores both theoretical and practical approaches to understanding populations of resident bird populations during the winter. Students will use mist nets to capture wild birds and will learn to identify, band, and measure common species. Mark-recapture computer models will be used to estimate population sizes and survival probabilities of selected species, during this intensive, three-week field project. This course is intended for students with an interest in, environmental science, or wildlife conservation. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-115: Principles of Biology I
This is the first of a two-semester sequence to introduce fundamental principles of biology (designed primarily for science majors). An investigative-inquiry approach is employed with emphases on molecular cell biology, development, genetics, and physiology. Three lecture periods and one three-hour laboratory period per week. Can be taken before or after L.BIO-116. 4 credits. Each semester.

L.BIO-116: Principles of Biology II
This is the second of a two-semester sequence to introduce fundamental principles of biology (designed primarily for science majors). An investigative-inquiry approach is employed with emphases on evolution, ecology and biodiversity. Three lecture periods and one three-hour laboratory period per week. Can be taken before or after L.BIO-115. 4 credits. Each semester.

L.BIO-205: Diabetes, Heart Disease, & Cancer
This in-depth study course will address one of these major diseases each week. Students will generate questions about each disease and learn answers via research, visits to treatment centers and dialogue with researchers, doctors, caregivers, insurance experts, patient advocates and government officials. The course will be an investigative inquiry-driven attempt to get the latest information on three of the biggest health challenges that face every American today. Teams of students will try to understand and present both sides of controversial issues related to these diseases. Second-term first-year students only. Prerequisite: L.BIO-115 or L.BIO-116 with a C or better. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-220: Microbiology
A basic course in microbiology stressing growth processes, culturing techniques, the role of microorganisms in disease and their control and applied microbiology. Prerequisite: L.BIO-115 and 116 or equivalent. Three lecture periods and one two-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-222: Evolution in Darwin’s Culture
This course is an in-depth introduction to the fundamentals of evolution and an exploration of cultural conflicts that arose because of the idea of evolution. The Origin of Species was published by Charles Darwin in 1859 and immediately started the first worldwide scientific debate. At this time in Victorian England the connections between science and nearly every other aspect of culture were becoming increasingly evident, and there was great tension about the role that science should play in a modern, industrial society. This course uses the “Reacting to the Past” experiential, role-playing game format where students will be reading, writing, and speaking from the perspective of a person in this time and place. The scientific and cultural issues of the time that will be discussed include natural selection and design; implications of Darwinism for: social reform, racial theories, and women’s rights; professionalization of science; and inductive/deductive reasoning. Cultural conflicts related to evolution have continued today even after years of verification of Darwin’s ideas. In the last week of the class, students will read and discuss a book on modern evolutionary facts, comparing it to Darwin’s writings, creationism, and Intelligent Design. Has the debate changed in modern culture? Prerequisites: L.LIB-220. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-225: Human Anatomy & Physiology I
This course provides an introduction to anatomical terminology and provides instruction related to understanding of how the body is organized both regionally and systemically. Topics include the organization of the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiopulmonary, digestive, renal, and sensory systems. This course provides students with an anatomical foundation for understanding the physiology of the human body. 4 credits. Each Fall semester.

L.BIO-226: Human Anatomy & Physiology II
This course applies the anatomical features of the body as they relate to body function. Topics include the functioning of the musculoskeletal, nervous, cardiopulmonary, digestive, renal, endocrine and sensory systems. This course will allow students to understand the encompassing role of all body systems in maintaining homeostasis within the body. Prerequisite: L.BIO-225. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-231: Vertebrate Zoology
An introduction to the basic principles of ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology and mammalogy emphasizing life histories of local vertebrates. Laboratory experiences include use of identification keys, collection and preservation of specimens, and field observations. Course fee assessed for trip to Mississippi River Museum. Prerequisite: L.BIO-116 or equivalent. Two lecture periods and one three-hour laboratory period per week. 3 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-235: Plants & Human Health
This course is designed to help students articulate the role of plants in human health and well-being in both historical and modern contexts. Over time, the human ability to manipulate and use plants has become increasingly sophisticated;. The major themes that students will explore during this course will be the role of plants in human nutrition and food security, human health and medicinal, psychoactive and hallucinogenic plants, biotechnology and alternative medicine. A wide variety of laboratory projects and travel within the Dubuque area as well as to Madison will reinforce the various themes covered during the class sessions. Prerequisites: An introductory course in biology. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-240: Plant Biology
A course designed to introduce students to the basic biology of members of the Plant Kingdom, primarily the vascular plants. Major topical coverage will include evolution, reproduction, physiology, anatomy, developmental morphology, ecology and systematics. Minor topical coverage will include discussion of other photosynthetic groups and plan allies. Prerequisite: L.BIO-116 or equivalent. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Each Fall semester.

L.BIO-242: Microbes-AH
This course is designed to furnish students with a basic knowledge of Microbiology and its impact on humans. Students will design their own experiments and, through the example of Microbiology, explore the strengths and weaknesses of this approach for problem solving. Topics will include the role of microorganisms in disease, body defenses against microbes, and the impact of microbes on human history, biotechnology, and germ warfare. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Math Modeling (-FM) course. 3 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-248: Science of Food & Cooking-AH
This is an in-depth study course that will immerse students in a close examination of the science behind the food they eat and the methods used to prepare it. Scientific topics explored may include botany of seeds and edible plants, the chemistry of cooking at high and low temperatures, protein structure and function in yogurt production, the chemical activity of different leavening agents in cake baking, the science of bacterial contamination and food safety, among many others. A primary learning technique will be independent student-led kitchen research projects outside of class. Students must have reliable access to a kitchen, basic cooking and baking equipment, and transportation to a grocery store for supplies, which must be purchased separately from the course fee. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Math Modeling (-FM) course. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-250: Genetics
An introduction to the principles of Mendelian and biochemical genetics. Prerequisite: L.BIO-115 or equivalent. Three lecture periods and one three-hour laboratory per week. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-255: Evolution
An introduction to the principles of organic evolution, mechanistic origins of life and diversity. Concepts of natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow and mutation are used to explain changes in gene frequency. One three-hour lecture period per week. 3 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-259: Issues in Environmental Biology-AH
This course will give students hands-on experience in learning the science behind several current environmental issues like clear-cutting, species diversity, erosion control, water quality, prairie habitat restoration, urban sprawl, or neotropical bird migration. Outdoor and indoor projects will be used to help students learn how science is used to make decisions about various issues in environmental biology. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. 4 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-260: Human Anatomy & Physiology-AH
A course designed for non-biology majors that investigates everyday structure and normal function of the human systems. In addition, some common diseases, the role of genes, health issues and interactions with our environment will be discussed. Other topics may include the biology of cancer, AIDS, and effects of alcohol and drugs upon bodily function. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. Three lecture periods and one two-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-265: Issues in Bird Biology-AH
This is a student-centered, active learning based course on basic bird biology; students will generate questions about aspects of bird biology and use the scientific method, computers, scientific equipment, statistical analysis and basic field sampling techniques to collect data and test hypotheses about birds in their natural outdoor environment and/or caged birds; students will learn basic identification, behavior, ecology, and controversial environmental issues of birds; students will spend at least 6 class periods outside observing, identifying and collecting data from local bird populations. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-270: Human Exercise: Measurements & Limits-AH
Students will be working in groups to pose questions about human exercise, predict their outcome, measure the body’s response to exercise with various equipment and then interpret its meaning and application from the experimental output. Thus, students will be immersed in the scientific method, learning to do science and applying it to everyday exercise. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course, and one college-level science course. 4 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-272: Biology of Women-AH
This course is a study of basic biological principles in the context of the unique biology of women. Areas of study include what it means biologically to be female, reproductive anatomy and physiology, genetics and development, women and cancer, pregnancy, infertility, contraception, menopause, and research biases in the study of women’s health. Lab experiments will focus on using the scientific method and explorations in developmental biology. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. 4 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-273: Human Genetics-AH
This course will help students understand the importance and impact of genetics in their lives. Topics will include genetic testing and prenatal diagnosis, genetic engineering, use of DNA evidence in the courts, and eugenics. Labs will include use of PCR and Gel electrophoresis in DNA fingerprinting, genetic engineering and testing for genetically modified foods. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. 3 credits. Each Fall semester.

L.BIO-279: Experimental Design & Biostatistics-AH
Students will learn the hypothetico-deductive methods of science and experimental design, and the appropriate statistical means to evaluate these outcomes. The course involves the design and implementation of a semester-long group research project culminating in a formal scientific paper or poster presentation. Students will learn to use computer software to gain competence in common statistical applications, such as z- and t-tests, analysis of variance (one-way and factorial), correlation and regression analysis, and chi-square tests of frequency distributions. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Math Modeling (-FM) course, as well as one college-level biology course (L.BIO-115 or L.BIO-116). Three one-hour lecture periods (covering statistics) and one two-hour laboratory (research) period per week. 3 credits. Each Fall semester.

L.BIO-300: Intensive Science Research Experience
This is an in-depth course designed to give students majoring in one of the sciences an intense, full-time research experience in their sub-discipline. The intensive research experiences will allow the student to perform experiments toward novel scientific findings, not simply a pre-packaged lab with the results already determined. Topics to be covered in the seminars include: Why are controls so important in research? How do I evaluate if research I read or hear about in the news is valid and sound scientifically? How do I read a scientific research paper? Prerequisites: L.BIO-115, and consent of mentor and instructor. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-310: Animal Behavior
This is a seminar course designed to explore current topics in the area of animal behavior in the context of evolutionary theory. Topics may include mate choice, parental care, group formation, or habitat selection, with emphasis on birds and mammals. Students will learn to read and critically evaluate articles from the primary literature, and will be responsible for leading class discussion on a topic of their choice. Prerequisite: L.LIB-110, L.BIO-110 or L.PSY-101 or higher. 2 credits. Spring semester, odd-numbered years.

L.BIO-315: Bird Conservation in South Texas
This course is a 14 day study travel field course in south Texas. Students will visit 12 different regional and national wildlife refuges as well as private sanctuaries that contain unique habitat and bird species that depend on these habitats. They will talk directly with wildlife managers in these areas to get answers to student questions and understand the challenges that these people and birds face each day. Each student will learn basic bird identification, current conservation issues and ecology at each of the sites. 3 credits. January term. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-320: Subtropical Ecology
This course consists of a two-week field trip (lecture/laboratory) to several subtropical natural communities in Florida. Study sites and topics include, exotic plant biology and management, migratory birds, cypress and mangrove swamp biology, Everglades, water resource management, and intertidal zone and coral reef biology of the Keys. Prerequisites: One college biology course and permission of the instructor. An additional fee will be charged for transportation, meals and campsite costs. 2 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-325: Environmental Issues in Costa Rica-AH
This course is a 12 day study travel field course in Costa Rica. Students will visit and compare three different forest ecosystems: tropical wet forest, tropical dry forest, and high elevation tropical cloud forest. Environmental issues including hydroelectric power, rainforest logging, agricultural land use, coffee production, and maintenance of biodiversity will be discussed. Not open to first year students. Additional fee charged for travel, lodging, food and activity costs. Prerequisites: an introductory course in biology; L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. 3 credits. Every third January term.

L.BIO-330: Evolutionary Ecology
This course investigates the relationships between organisms and their physical and biological environments. Both theoretical and experimental approaches will be used to examine factors regulating populations and the structuring of natural communities and ecosystems. Prerequisite: L.BIO-115 and 116 or equivalent; L.BIO-279 highly recommended. Three lecture or discussion periods and one three-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-345: Neurobiology
An introduction to regulatory homeostasis as mediated by the vertebrate nervous system with emphases on cellular communication, formation of neural circuits and afferent-interneuron efferent pathways. Implications of neurotransmitter imbalance during disease and various mental disorders is also discussed. Two lecture periods per week. Prerequisite: L.BIO-115 or equivalent. 3 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand

L.BIO-348: Immunology
This course will provide a basic overview of the human immune system, including both innate and adaptive immunity and the recent discoveries on the interaction of the two systems. The topics will include: immune cell functions, antibody production and function, immune response to infectious diseases (AIDS, others), allergies, and vaccine and transplant biology. Defects of the immune system leading to autoimmune diseases and immunodeficiencies will also be discussed. Lectures and class discussions, including many case studies and “Disease Fridays” will be utilized to meet course objectives. Prerequisite: L.BIO-115. Not open to first year students. 3 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-365: Human Anatomy
A course on the detailed structure of the human body, including systems, organs and tissues. Prerequisite: L.BIO-110 or 115 or equivalent. Open to seniors only – instructor permission required. Three lecture periods and one two-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-375: Conservation Biology-AH
This course examines basic concepts of biological conservation. Topics include structure and function of ecosystems and threats to global biodiversity, including environmental degradation, extinction, and exotic species introductions. Students will use computer simulations and field techniques to learn effective conservation practices. One lecture period and one four-hour laboratory/field period per week. Prerequisites: L.LIB-100, L.LIB-105, L.LIB-110, and a Mathematical Modeling (-FM) course. 4 credits. Dependent upon staff and demand.

L.BIO-389: Junior Seminar
Develops communication skills, both written and oral, for the dissemination of research in the biological sciences. Assignment of thesis advisor and signed approval of introduction, materials and methods and literature cited sections required to receive credit. Prerequisite: L.BIO-279 and declared biology or biological research major. Prerequisites may be modified to accommodate Honors Program students. 1 credit. Each Fall semester.

L.BIO-392: Field Experience
This course gives credit for shadowing professionals in the work place. Students usually do only observation for a total of 45 hours per semester. Can be taken only once for credit. Liability insurance must be checked before placement. Prerequisite: junior standing. Hours of participation are arranged between student and mentor. 1 credit. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-400: Senior Thesis Research
Intensive research project and written thesis. Required for all biology research majors. Prerequisite: L.BIO-389. 1 credit. Each semester.

L.BIO-401: Honors Senior Thesis Research
Intensive individual research project and written thesis terminating with a presentation of results at a regional, national or international scientific forum. Prerequisite: L.BIO-389. 1 credit. Each semester.

L.BIO-410: Cell & Molecular Biology
A study of the cellular basis of life processes, particularly the molecular, macromolecular, organelle and intercellular structural and functional interrelations. The structure, assembly and functions of macromolecular organelles will also be investigated. Prerequisites: L.BIO-115 or equivalent and L.CHE-233. Three lecture periods and one three-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-420: Vertebrate Physiology
A course in the basic physiological processes of humans and other vertebrates. The function and coordination of cells, organs and systems of human and some vertebrates are studied. Prerequisites: L.BIO-110, 115 or 116; L.CHE-233. Three lecture periods and one two-hour laboratory period per week. 4 credits. Each Spring semester.

L.BIO-489: Senior Seminar
Presentation of thesis research for the biological research major; presentation of selected topic of current interest for the biology major. Prerequisite: L.BIO-279 and senior standing. 1 credit. Each Spring semester.

RELATED COURSES: Chemistry, Neuroscience

Career Opportunities

After receiving your degree from Loras, your career could take off into one of these fields or venues:

  • High School Biology teacher
  • DNR Representative
  • State, Federal, Local, or County Conservation Agencies
  • Government Agencies (Wildlife, Fisheries, Habitat Management)
  • Pharmaceutical Sales
  • Research and Development
  • Museum Education / Management
Loras College Department Staff

Kate Cooper, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
563-588-7956 | Kate.Cooper@loras.edu

Dr. Cooper teaches introductory biology, cell and molecular biology, immunology, the Science of Food and Cooking and the Biology of Women (both for non-science majors). Her research interests include investigating cell migration with live-cell imaging of the social amoeba Dictyostelium using light and fluorescent microscopy. Dictyostelium are easy to work with in the laboratory and are avid migrating cells that can be used as a model for other migrating cells since they move in a similar way to immune cells that must migrate throughout the human body to fight infections.

Thomas Davis, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
563-588-7767 | Thomas.Davis@loras.edu

Dr. Davis teaches Vertebrate Physiology, Human Anatomy, Human A&P for non majors, Issues in Environmental Biology, Environmental Issues in Costa Rica, Human Exercise: Measurement and Limits, and Modes of Inquiry First Year Seminar. His research interests include: effects of environmental variables on embryos of bird and turtle eggs; shell-less chick culture; nesting biology of Prothonotary Warblers; Effects of soil water content on map turtle eggs and hatchlings; maintaining student engagement in the A&P classroom: a constant challenge. Other activities: Health Science advisor; co-developer/maintainer of Loras College edible landscape garden; maintenance of Science Hall prairie restoration plot; Life Member of the Association of College and University Biology Educators (ACUBE).

Sara Glover, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Kinesiology
Division Chair of Molecular, Life and Health Sciences
563-588-7006 | Sara.Glover@loras.edu

Dr. Sara Glover is an Associate Professor of Kinesiology and serves as Kinesiology Program Coordinator. She has been with Loras since the Fall of 2006. Dr. Glover teaches courses in exercise physiology, research methods, and exercise psychology. Her research interests are in the areas of motor skill learning and re-learning and, more recently, strategies for enhancing student engagement and learning in the Kinesiology classroom.

Originally from California, Dr. Glover earned her master’s in Kinesiology with an emphasis in sport performance from California State University, Sacramento. She earned her doctorate from The University of Virginia, where she focused her studies in the areas of motor learning and sport and exercise psychology

Elaina Mertens, Ph.D., C.S.C.S., H.F.S.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Assistant Professor of Sport Science
563-588-2297 | Elaina.Mertens@loras.edu

Elaina Mertens holds a Doctorate Degree and Master’s Degree in Exercise Physiology from Springfield College. Dr. Mertens completed her Bachelor’s Degree at Coe College with a major in Fitness Development, specializing in Strength & Conditioning and Health & Wellness. She is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the NSCA and a certified Health and Fitness Specialist through ACSM. She has experience as a personal trainer, track and cross country coach at the high school and college level, and also as an educator. She has taught coursework including: Exercise Physiology, Sports Nutrition, Principles of Personal Training, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Kinesiology. She currently teaches Musculoskeletal Anatomy and Personal and Community Health at Loras.

Her research interests include physiological performance factors for athletes, specifically distance runners and triathletes, including metabolic factors and performance enhancement through sports nutrition. Dr. Mertens’s research interests developed not only through the study of exercise physiology but also through her experience as a practitioner. She is an experienced triathlete and distance runner, completing the Boston Marathon several times and competing on Team USA in Long Course Triathlon. Dr. Mertens hopes her research exploring performance issues specific to endurance sports will inspire and engage her students to begin to investigate areas of their own interest within the field of Exercise Science.

Fred Schnee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
563-588-7247 | Fred.Schnee@loras.edu

Dr. Schnee is division chair and teaches genetics, human genetics, microbiology and introductory biology. His interest is in the behavioral genetics of Drosophila. He also advises students in Biology Secondary Education.

David Shealer, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
563-588-7678 | David.Shealer@loras.edu

Dr. David Shealer has taught Biology, Vertebrate Zoology, Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation among other courses. His interests include the ecology and behavior of aquatic birds, particularly terns (Sternini).

Aditi Sinha, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
563-588-7231 | Aditi.Sinha@loras.edu

Dr. Aditi Sinha has taught classes in Life Sciences, Plant Biology and Principles of Biology. Her interests include invasive species—their ecology and management, plant population dynamics and demography and plant-animal interactions, among other topics.