BIOLOGY | A World of Experience


Biology students at Baker are accepted into dental school at a 100 percent rate and accepted into medical school at a 90 percent rate. Why? Between Baker’s excellent faculty members, personalized learning, and incredible resources, our students are limited only by the goals they set for themselves.

Biology majors have a choice of four tracks: molecular bioscience, vertebrate structure and function, ecology and evolution, and certification to teach biology at the secondary level.

ORIGINAL RESEARCH

All students have the opportunity to do original research with a faculty member and present their research at regional and national conferences. Some have even traveled internationally.

NATURAL AREAS

Baker maintains the Baker Wetlands and the Ivan L. Boyd Arboretum for in-depth research and observation.

SUMMER RESEARCH

Students can gain experience during summer research programs at major research institutions such as the Stowers Institute for Medical Research, University of Kansas, University of Missouri, and Quintiles.

HEALTH-CARE OBSERVATION

Students preparing for a career in health care participate in shadowing experiences with health-care professionals.

THE BAKER WETLANDS & DISCOVERY CENTER

The Baker Wetlands and Discovery Center is paradise for our student biologists, ecologists, biochemists, and prehealth professionals. But our students aren’t the only beneficiaries of the stunning 927-acre natural habitat. Stargazers, bird watchers, and exercise enthusiasts are always bustling around the area, which is open to the public. Located just 10 miles north of the Baldwin City campus, the Baker Wetlands is a true regional distinction for the university. Learn more >


JAMISON | Biology Major, Class of 2016

After serving as a featured presenter at Baker’s Dialogos research symposium and internships with several pharmacies, Jamison was accepted into the University of Kansas School of Pharmacy before walking across the stage to get his diploma. “The professors in Baker’s Biology Department offer an expanse of knowledge and altruism, insurmountable in comparison to others. Their entirety exceptionally prepares all incoming students to perform beyond their perceived limits. This expertise not only forges a strong foundation in the core principles of biology, but furthermore establishes each student as a formidable competitor for post-undergraduate work, schooling, and research.”

CAREERS

Our biology majors go on to land these jobs:

  • Science teachers
  • Junior scientists in research labs and for the Environmental Protection Agency
  • Wildlife biologists for Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks
  • Park rangers
  • Army Corps of Engineers

%

of graduates are employed full time or enrolled in graduate school within six months of receiving their diploma.

Course Descriptions

R: course can be repeated for credit; P/NC: course graded on a pass/no credit basis

Courses required for these programs are listed in the current catalog.

BI 120 – Human Ecology

This course is intended for the non-science major. It presents the terminology, methodology, and worldview of biological science through a consideration of the impact of modern technology on human ecology. (This course may not be counted towards either the major or minor in Biology.) (3 credit hours)

BI 125 – Human Genetics

This course is intended for the non-science major. It will focus on the role of genetics in health, medicine, society, ethics, and evolution. Students will discover how biology and genetics affects them directly. (This course may not be counted towards either the major or minor in Biology.) (3 credit hours)

BI 151 – Molecular and Cellular Biology

This course is an entry-level course for Biology majors. The course will address the relationship between structure and function of the major biological molecules (proteins, nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and fats) as well as the relationship between structure and function of cells and organelles. The students will also be introduced to the basic principles of molecular genetics and evolution. Co-requisite: BI 151L. (3 credit hours)

BI 151L – Molecular and Cellular Biology Laboratory

The laboratory that accompanies BI 151. Co-requisite: BI 151. (1 credit hour)

BI 152 – Genetics

Genetics is the study of heredity at the population, organismal, cellular, and molecular levels. This course will focus on the Mendelian rules of inheritance in individuals and in populations. The molecular mechanisms that control cell division and gene expression will also be discussed. There will be three lecture/discussion periods per week, and one laboratory session per week where students will learn techniques used to study inheritance patterns. Prerequisite: BI 151. (4 credit hours)

BI 246 – Human Anatomy and Physiology I

This course is the first of a two-semester sequence in which human anatomy and physiology are studied using a body systems approach, with emphasis on the interrelationships between form and function at the gross and microscopic levels of organization. Human Anatomy and Physiology I is required for students in Exercise Science and Physical Education, and for pre-professional students in Nursing and other allied health sciences. This course is not recommended for pre-medical and pre-dental students. The course covers the basic anatomical and directional terminology; homeostasis; cell biology; histology; skeletal, muscle, nervous, cardiovascular, and respiratory systems; and the digestive system and metabolism. There are three lecture and discussion sessions and one laboratory session each week. This course does not count towards a major or minor in Biology. Prerequisite: Sophomore status or instructor permission. (4 credit hours)

BI 247 – Human Anatomy and Physiology II

Human Anatomy and Physiology II is a continuation of Human Anatomy and Physiology I, and is required for pre-professional students in many of the allied health sciences. This course is not recommended for pre-medical and pre-dental students. The course covers the integumentary system; neural integration; general and special senses; the endocrine system; blood; the lymphatic system and immunity; the urinary system, fluid/electrolyte and acid/base balance; and the reproductive system and human genetics. Homeostasis is emphasized as a unifying theme throughout both semesters. There are three lecture and discussion sessions and one laboratory session each week. This course does not count towards a major or minor in Biology. Prerequisite: BI 246 with a grade of “C” or higher. (4 credit hours)

BI 251 – Ecology and Evolution

This course is an entry-level course for Biology majors. The course will work from an evolutionary perspective to address the basic ecological levels of structure and function including populations, communities, and ecosystems. Three lecture/discussion and one laboratory session will occur each week. (4 credit hours)

BI 254 – Organismal Diversity

This course is an entry-level course for Biology majors. The course is a survey of prokaryotic and eukaryotic animal diversity. The evolutionary relationships, taxonomy, and characteristics of major organismal groups, especially plants and animals, will be emphasized. There are three lecture/discussion periods and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: BI 251. (4 credit hours)

BI 262 – Microbiology

This course is an introduction to microbiology. Topics include a survey of microbes including viruses, bacteria, archaea, fungi, protozoa, and algae. In addition to consideration of the taxonomy, genetics, anatomy, and physiology of these organisms, we will also consider how they interact with their environments. For pathogenic organisms, this will entail an introduction to the field of immunology. Co-requisite: BI 262L or QS 211. (3 credit hours)

BI 262L – Microbiology Laboratory

The laboratory that accompanies BI 262. Co-requisite: BI 262. (1 credit hour)

BI 298 – Experimental Design Workshop

Students who have completed BI 151, BI 152, and BI 251 with a minimum grade of “C” and are interested in pursuing a major in Biology will enroll in this course in the spring of their sophomore experience. Students will design an original research project with the help of the faculty. Prerequisite: BI 151, 152, and 251, all with grade of “C” or higher, and sophomore status. (1 credit hour)

BI 342 – Plant Physiology

This course covers the biology of plants from an evolutionary perspective at the population, organism, cell, and molecular levels of organization. It also emphasizes how plant biology can be used to better understand aspects of ecology, agriculture, and medicine. There are three lecture and discussion sessions and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: BI 251 (4 credit hours)

BI 344 – Forest Ecology

This course will provide a basic introduction to the ecology of forests, with special consideration given to the relationships between plants and animals adapted to eastern deciduous forests found in Northeastern Kansas. The course will include lab- and field-based exercises as well as assigned readings from texts and primary literature to provide a fundamental understanding of ecological principles and field techniques that are unique to forest ecology. Prerequisite: BI 254. (4 credit hours)

BI 356 – Ornithology

This course covers the biology of birds, including their classification, physiology, behavior, ecology, evolution, and speciation. The field identification of local species is emphasized. This course is recommended as an elective for Biology majors, teachers, and anyone seriously interested in birds. There are three lecture sessions and one laboratory field session each week. Prerequisite: BI 254 (4 credit hours)

BI 360 – Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

This course is a thorough exploration of anatomical similarities and differences among the vertebrate classes and an analysis of the anatomical evidence for evolutionary relationships. In the laboratory, students will gain experience dissecting a series of representative vertebrates to study anatomical diversity. This course is fundamental for Biology majors who plan careers in vertebrate biology and for pre-medical and pre-dental students. There are three lecture and discussion periods and one laboratory dissection period each week. Prerequisite: BI 246 or BI 254. (4 credit hours)

BI 361 – Developmental Biology

In this course students will address the fundamental questions: how does the fertilized egg give rise to the adult body, and how does the adult body produce gametes that can result in the fertilized egg? There are three lecture/discussion sessions and one laboratory session each week in which the students will learn how scientists are using information gleaned from cell/molecular biology, physiology, anatomy, cancer research, neurobiology, immunology, evolutionary biology, and ecology to answer these questions. The scope of this course makes it advisable to have a solid background in biology prior to attempting this study. Prerequisite: BI 152. (4 credit hours)

BI 363 – Virology

The world between the living (cellular organisms) and the non-living is occupied by a variety of microbes including viruses, viroids, virusoids, and prions. Though minute, these particles have a huge impact on human society. In proof, consider the fact that more humans died between the years 1917 and 1920 from the flu than in the battles of World War I. This course is designed to allow students who have completed the introductory microbiology course an opportunity to expand their knowledge concerning these subcellular microbes. Prerequisite: BI 152 or BI 262. (3 credit hours)

BI 375 – Evolution

This course is an examination of the theory of evolution, including its historical and social implications. It emphasizes the intellectual skills associated with the testing of evolutionary hypotheses. There are three lecture and discussion sessions each week. Prerequisite: BI 254. (3 credit hours)

BI 377 – Population and Community Ecology

This course covers the relationship between organisms and their environment. Field and laboratory techniques are covered in the laboratory sessions. This course is recommended for all Biology majors and other serious students of ecology. There are three lecture and discussion periods and one field or laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: BI 254. (4 credit hours)

BI 380 – Animal Behavior

This course explores the proximate and ultimate evolutionary explanations for the behavior of animals. The role of scientific process in producing research discoveries is emphasized. There are three lecture and discussion periods and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: BI 254. (4 credit hours)

BI 382 – Comparative Physiology

This course covers the comparative function of animal organisms from the molecular to the organismal level. The physical and chemical basis for the similarities and differences in function are analyzed. Mechanisms for meeting common problems, such as water and ion balance, feeding and digestion, gas exchange, internal transport, and nerve and muscle functions are studied. The theme of physiological adaptations to the environment will be emphasized. This course is recommended for junior and senior Biology majors and for pre-medical and pre-dental students. There are three lecture and discussion periods and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: BI 246 or BI 254. (4 credit hours)

BI 383 – Advanced Cell Biology

This course is designed to provide students who will become career scientists or health professionals a solid and deep understanding of the biology of the cell. We will introduce the students to important factual information, terminology, and methodology concerning modern cellular biology via reading assignments in the text and in the primary literature, lectures, and discussions. A secondary goal is to help students develop a clearer understanding of the ethical challenges involved in science. Prerequisite: Junior status and BI 152. Prerequisite or co-requisite: CH 251. (3 credit hours)

BI 385 – Advanced Molecular Biology

This course will allow students to expand on their previously acquired knowledge of genetics. Students will study classical and current experiments in molecular biology that are used to determine how the molecules involved in DNA replication, RNA transcription, and protein translation interact and function at the molecular level. Prerequisites: Junior status, BI 152, and CH 251. (3 credit hours)

BI 386 – Methods in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

This intensive laboratory course will give students the opportunity to carry out modern molecular experimental techniques such as recombinant DNA, electrophoresis, protein purification, blotting, and DNA sequencing. Today these techniques are utilized to answer questions in cell biology, molecular biology, and biochemistry. Students should have completed most other biology and chemistry requirements prior to taking this course so that they are prepared to both understand and design molecular experiments. Prerequisites: Senior status and BI 383 or 385 or CH 370. (3 credit hours)

BI 388 – Immunology

This course focuses on the cellular and molecular structure and function of the human immune system. It will provide a conceptual background for understanding the development and function of the cells and mechanisms that produce innate and adaptive immunity. The role of pathogens in the immune response, abnormal immune responses, and experimental manipulation of the immune system will also be discussed. Prerequisite: BI 152. (3 credit hours)

BI 392 – Wetland and Prairie Ecology

This course examines the plants and animals of a variety of habitats classified within the context of wetlands and prairie. Both of these areas have been greatly reduced in size within the North American continent through agriculture and development. Several areas near Baldwin City provide rare opportunities for study of these areas. The upland community at the Ivan Boyd Prairie Preserve, prairie savannahs at the Ivan Boyd Woodlands, and a variety of wetland types at the 573-acre Baker University Wetlands Research and Natural Area will be the focal points of field study. This course is designed for upper-college Biology majors with an interest in field research. There are three lecture and discussion periods and one laboratory session each week. Prerequisite: BI 377. (4 credit hours)

BI 410 – Senior Seminar in Biology

This is the senior capstone course for all seniors graduating with a degree in Biology. The students will consult with the course instructor and project mentor in order to choose a topic that is relevant to their career interests and goals. Through research of the literature, each student will develop a significant paper that will demonstrate their ability to research, interpret, and write in their chosen field. Prerequisite: Senior status, Biology major. It is strongly suggested that students have completed at least two biology courses at the 300 level prior to taking this seminar. (2 credit hours)

BI 498 – Research in Biology

Students who have completed BI 298 with a minimum grade of “C” will enroll in two credit hours of BI 498 at some point during their junior experience in order to carry out the research project planned. Students may repeat this course in subsequent semesters to further their research; however, only the original term will count toward the major in Biology. Prerequisite: BI 298 with a “C” or higher. R (1-3 credit hours)


Do you want to teach biology?
Baker University’s undergraduate education programs license teachers in biology (6-12). Students pursuing a degree in education and teacher licensure work closely with faculty advisors from the School of Education to fulfill the requirements for a degree from Baker University and teacher licensure in Kansas. Candidates are required to complete education course work and the required course work in at least one content area. Learn More >>


Scholarships

The Department of Biology and Chemistry gives these awards with financial prizes to be applied to the following year’s tuition:

  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Biology
  • Mildred Hunt Riddle Departmental Recognition Scholarship for Chemistry
  • Howard T. Bonnett Scholarship and Mrs. Ivan L. Boyd Memorial Scholarship
  • Margaret E. Scanlon Endowed Memorial Scholarship
  • Outstanding Senior in Biology
  • Outstanding Junior in Biology
  • Outstanding Sophomore in Biology
  • Outstanding Freshman in Biology
  • J. Cragoe Scholarship
  • Chemical Rubber Company Press Freshman Chemistry Achievement Award
  • Sonia Browning Endowed Scholarship
  • Doris Cink and Kathryn Zimney Endowed Scholarship

STUDENT LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

DIALOGOS RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM
Dialogos creates opportunities for the free exchange of ideas among scholars. Students from every part of the academy present original works, in a variety of forms and mediums, and engage with an interdisciplinary community of peers, staff and faculty. The symposium also features a keynote address from a prominent Baker alum. Through open and critical discussion, participants learn from and contribute to the betterment of the whole. At Dialogos, to quote John Wesley, we "think and let think."
Dialogos creates opportunities for the free exchange of ideas among scholars. Students from every part of the academy present original works, in a variety of forms and mediums, and engage with an interdisciplinary community of peers, staff and faculty. The symposium also features a keynote address from a prominent Baker alum. Through open and critical discussion, participants learn from and contribute to the betterment of the whole. At Dialogos, to quote John Wesley, we "think and let think."
BOOK Program
Students are encouraged to participate in the BOOK Program (Baker Organizational Observation for Knowledge) to enhance their internship experiences. The program encourages students to look deeper into organizations by researching the history, mission, structure, products and services, finances and management of the company. At the conclusion of the program, presentations are given in front of a panel of judges who choose the winner of a cash prize.
BOOK Program
Students are encouraged to participate in the BOOK Program (Baker Organizational Observation for Knowledge) to enhance their internship experiences. The program encourages students to look deeper into organizations by researching the history, mission, structure, products and services, finances and management of the company. At the conclusion of the program, presentations are given in front of a panel of judges who choose the winner of a cash prize.

FACULTY

Dr. Darcy Russell

Dr. Darcy Russell

Professor of Biology & Duboc Chair, Chair of the Department of Biology & Chemistry | darcy.russell@bakerU.edu
Curiosity is what drove Dr. Darcy Russell into the lab, and working with students is what has kept her there. To her, the best thing about the department is its laboratory and field experiences, which are tied into the curriculum. And when she’s not studying how cells and viruses combat each other, she feeds her Jane Austen/George Eliot/Charlotte Bronte addiction.

B.S. Baker University, Ph.D. Kansas State University
Expertise: microbiology
Office: Boyd Science Center 229 | 785.594.8418

Dr. Roger Boyd

Education Coordinator for the Baker Wetlands & Professor Emeritus of Biology roger.boyd@bakerU.edu
Baker science history runs deep in the Boyd family. Dr. Roger Boyd has been able to both teach and develop the Baker University Wetlands into a unique learning tool—something he had been working on for 50 years that has come to fruition. His most memorable experience at Baker is teaching abroad at Harlaxton College, our partner college, and taking a group of students to Mexico 11 times as a part of the interterm experience.

Ph.D. Colorado State University
Expertise: ornithology, wetland and prairie ecosystems, neotropics
Baker Wetlands Office, 1365 N. 1250 Road | 785.594.4702

Charmaine Henry

Dr. Charmaine Henry

Associate Professor of Biology | charmaine.henry@bakerU.edu

B.S. University of the Virgin Islands; Ph.D. University of Medicine & Dentistry of New Jersey
Expertise: physiology, immunology, anatomy
Office: Boyd Science Center 228 | 785.594.4596

Scott Kimball

Dr. Scott Kimball

Assistant Professor of Biology skimball@bakerU.edu

When asked what drew him to his field, Dr. Kimball’s reaction was immediate: “Birds. I love birds.” And with that love, he has been able to develop it into a career and land at a university that, according to him, appreciates the value of learning and understanding. He loves Baker’s dedication to learning experiences outside the classroom as well, which enables majors to experience the state of the art in their focus area of biology or chemistry.


B.A. Baker University, M.S. Boise State University, Ph.D. The Ohio State University
Expertise: avian ecology and animal behavior

Office: Boyd Science Center 226 | 785.594.4563

Randy Miller

Dr. William Randy Miller

Coordinator of Student Research in Biology | william.miller@bakerU.edu
It was the opportunity to explore the unknown that drove Dr. William Randy Miller to the field of biology. Dr. Miller’s program “Tardigrades and Wheel Chairs in the Canopy” Research Experience for Undergraduates, was awarded a National Science Foundation grant for $286,285 over three years. The program hosts eight students each summer as they study and collect tardigrades locally and nationally, from Baldwin City to Massachusetts.

B.S., M.A. University of Montana; Ph.D. University of New England
Office: Boyd Science Center 225 | 785.594.8379

Dr. Erin Morris

Associate Professor of Biology | erin.morris@bakerU.edu
“I always say if I were not a scientist I would be a historian. I love looking through old documents and understanding how past events have shaped the world today. I get to combine these two things when I teach a Genology Interterm. That class covers deep human history through genetics, and recent family history using ancestry databases.”

B.A. Drury University, Ph.D. University of Missouri at Columbia

Expertise: molecular plant genetics
Office: Boyd Science Center 230 | 785.594.7881

CONTACT US

Kathy Wright
Department Assistant
Biology & Chemistry
Math, Physics, & Computer Science
Office: Boyd Science Center 227
785.594.8419
kathy.wright@bakerU.edu