Experimental Biology Laboratory


The maxim that one learns by doing is at least as true in biology as in any other endeavor. Many of our undergraduates work directly with professors in research laboratories or in the field and receive credit through a Directed Individual Study (BSC 4900), Honors in the Major (BSC 4970r) or other course. Experimental Biology Laboratory (BSC 3402L) was developed as a required course for students do not participate in the more intense research experiences. In BSC 3402L, each student designs, conducts, interprets and reports his or her results. Over the years, various modules of this course have been developed, and these range from cell biology (e.g., flagellar regeneration) to Mendelian genetics (using the fruit fly) to molecular biology (e.g., genetic screening) to field studies (such as pollination biology). In this way, a student selects a topic for investigation that complements his or her career path.

I developed this unit on the activation of an enzyme in photosynthesis. My choice of this topic stemmed from my personal interest and the need of the curriculum. It also is honorific, reflecting on Prof. Dr. Hubert Ziegler . Professor Ziegler and his spouse, Frau Dr. Ziegler, discovered the first instance of light-activation of an enzyme in plants nearly four decades ago, and it was my pleasure to spend a brief sabbatical in his laboratory at the Technical University of Munich in the mid 1980s.