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Indiana University Bloomington

Department of Biology

Undergraduate Studies

L490: Individual Study

    • Introductory experience to a research program. Students who wish to become acquainted with professional-level research activities frequently develop an arrangement with a faculty member which permits the undergraduate student to participate in various aspects of a faculty member's research program.
    • Intensive inquiry into a field of study. Students desiring more knowledge about a subject area than is covered by formal lecture or laboratory courses may enroll in L490 for the purpose of expanding their knowledge about a discipline or specific topic.
    • Preparation for postgraduate study. Students planning to continue their education beyond the B.A./B.S. level often enroll in L490 to prepare themselves for the rigor and routine of laboratory/field/library research activities which occupy the professional scholar.
    • Fulfillment of Honors Degree requirements. (NOTE: L490 cannot fulfill the Intensive Writing Requirement. A student earning L490 credit in a SPEA lab CANNOT convert that research to a Biology upper level lab, nor will research in a SPEA lab count for Biology Departmental Honors.) L490 research DOES NOT fulfill an upper-level lab requirement for the biology degree UNLESS it is earned with Biology Departmental Honors.
    • Overall minimum GPA of 2.5 required.
    • Regular contact with either the faculty member, postdoc, or advanced graduate student in the advising faculty member's lab who can closely supervise work.
    • Involvement with directed reading or creative research (not with dishwashing or other menial tasks).
  • Purpose of L490   (top)

    The Independent Study (L490) course may serve any of a number of functions, including the following:

    Scope of L490 Programs   (top)

    L490 presents an opportunity for maximum flexibility in project selection. At one extreme, students might collaborate with a faculty member to perform a set of field observations or laboratory based experiments. At the other extreme, students may elect to carry out library research on a specific topic. The scope of an individual L490 program depends entirely on the agreement reached between the student and faculty advisor.

    It should be emphasized that a student who desires to enroll in L490 need not have a project idea in mind before approaching a prospective faculty advisor. Frequently, faculty have L490 project ideas which are a part of a major, on-going research program. In some cases, faculty will offer students a choice of potential L490 projects.

    L490 Guidelines   (top)

    To enroll in L490   (top)

    Talk with prospective faculty advisors and determine with whom you will do Individual Study. Prior to registration for the semester in which you will begin L490, make arrangements with the faculty member concerning the following:

    Pick up an L490 Application form from the Biology Advising Office, JH A115. Complete the form and have it approved and signed by the faculty advisor and return it to the advising office in exchange for an online authorization. You must have an L490 section authorization in order to actually register for L490.

    Advantage of L490 Enrollment   (top)

    By enrolling in L490, students typically have a good opportunity to become acquainted with faculty on a one-to-one basis. Should an L490 student apply for admission to a graduate or professional school, the supervising faculty member will most likely be able to write a highly personal and effective letter of recommendation concerning the student's abilities.

    Relationship between L490 and the Honors Degree   (top)

    L490 is designed to provide students with experiences and knowledge which are not normally available through formal courses. The course might be taken only one semester, for a limited number of credit hours (e.g., one or two), in order to accomplish a specific goal. Alternatively, L490 might be considered an integral part of a student's curriculum and be taken each semester for two or three years in order to broaden the normal scope of an undergraduate degree in Biology. Bachelor of Science students are permitted to count a total of 12 hours of L490 credit toward an undergraduate degree. Bachelor of Arts students are allowed 3 hours of L490 credit.

    An Honors program provides a more intense, comprehensive, and demanding experience than an L490 course alone normally provides. As a major part of the L490 course, a prospective honors student works on a goal-oriented research program for at least two semesters and a minimum of 6 credit hours total. Writing a research report based upon the results of field observations or laboratory research is the ultimate goal of the L490 efforts.

    In contrast to regular L490 work, the Honors Degree L490 project must include either laboratory or field research. L490 projects can be based entirely on library research. However, the Honors Degree project must include laboratory or field research.

    In summary, although L490 is an integral part of an Honors program in Biology, the Honors Program encompasses more than the completion of two semesters of L490. For a complete list of the requirements for Departmenal Honors, please email to request a copy of the Biology Department Honors Agreement.

    Learn more about the Honors Degree »

    L490 and Honors Faculty Advisors   (top)

Mentors Contact Description
Thumbnail photo for Carol Anderson Carol Anderson
Assistant Professor of Biology

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
carola [at]
JH 217
Meiosis, recombination, and DNA damage signaling
Thumbnail photo for Farrah Bashey-Visser Farrah Bashey-Visser
Assistant Scientist

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
fbasheyv [at]
Sycamore Hall 039
Evolutionary ecology of life-history and social strategies, evolution of virulence.
Thumbnail photo for Alan Bender Alan Bender
Associate Professor of Biology

adbender [at]
MO 205
Undergraduate Education
Thumbnail photo for José Bonner José Bonner
Emeritus Professor of Biology

bonner [at]
unlisted phone
SI 205C
Improving science literacy.
Thumbnail photo for Yves Brun Yves Brun
Clyde Culbertson Professor of Biology

ybrun [at]
JH 447G / JH 447F (lab)
Mechanism, regulation, and evolution of bacterial shape, differentiation, and biofilm formation.
Thumbnail photo for Brian Calvi Brian Calvi
Associate Professor of Biology

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
bcalvi [at]
JH 361B
Cell cycle control of DNA replication and genome stability.
Thumbnail photo for Sue Carter Sue Carter
Rudy Professor of Biology, Director of The Kinsey Institute

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
cscarter [at]
(812) 855-7686
Morrison Hall 313
Social bonding, the role of Oxytocin in mental disorders, traits of monogamy and pair-bond formation.
Thumbnail photo for Lingling Chen Lingling Chen
Adjunct: Associate Professor of Biochemistry

linchen [at]
SI 400A / SI 415 (lab)
Biochemistry and structure of molecular chaperon GroEL/GroES in protein folding, cell-cell communication via quorum sensing in bacteria, transcriptional regulators of IclR family
Thumbnail photo for Peter Cherbas Peter Cherbas
Emeritus Professor of Biology

cherbas [at]
JH A317
Drosophila development and genomics; Nuclear receptors.
Thumbnail photo for Keith Clay Keith Clay
Distinguished Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
clay [at]
JH 159B / JH 159 (lab)
Microbial interactions: ecology, symbiosis, disease.
Thumbnail photo for Christina Dann Christina Dann
Affiliate Asst. Scientist Biology, Asst. Scientist Chemistry Dept.

ctdann [at]
Myers 216B
Genetic and cellular studies of mouse spermatogonial stem cells.
Thumbnail photo for Lynda Delph Lynda Delph
Professor of Biology; Evolution, Ecology & Behavior Section Associate Chair

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
ldelph [at]
JH 119B / JH 116/121 (lab)
Evolutionary genetics and ecology; plant reproductive biology.
Thumbnail photo for Greg Demas Greg Demas
Professor, Associate Chair for Research

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
gdemas [at]
JH 265 / JH 267 (lab)
Behavioral endocrinology; neuroendocrine-immue interactions; aggression; biological rhythms; seasonality.
Thumbnail photo for Patricia Foster Patricia Foster
Professor of Biology

plfoster [at]
JH 447E / JH 447A(lab)
Mutagenesis, DNA repair, replication, and recombination.
Thumbnail photo for Spencer Hall Spencer Hall
Associate Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
sprhall [at]
JH 239B/239(Lab)
Ecology of infectious disease and food web interactions in freshwater environments.
Thumbnail photo for Roger Hangarter Roger Hangarter
Distinguished Professor of Biology, Class of 1968 Chancellor's Professor of Biology

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
rhangart [at]
MY 352 / MY 330 (lab)
Plant physiology: environmental sensory-response systems and plant development.
Thumbnail photo for Heather Hundley Heather Hundley
Adjunct: Assistant Professor, Medical Sciences

hahundle [at]
JH 213
Post-transcriptional mechanisms of regulating gene expression.
Thumbnail photo for Laura Hurley Laura Hurley
Associate Professor of Biology, Director CISAB-REU

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
lhurley [at]
JH 243
Serotonin as a social neuromodulator of auditory processing
Thumbnail photo for Roger Innes Roger Innes
Professor of Biology

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
rinnes [at]
MY 316B / MY 302 (lab)
Molecular genetics of plant/pathogen interactions.
Thumbnail photo for Daniel Kearns Daniel Kearns
Associate Professor of Biology

dbkearns [at]
JH 469/JH 432 (lab)
Bacterial motility and multicellular behavior.
Thumbnail photo for David Kehoe David Kehoe
Professor of Biology

dkehoe [at]
JH A413A
Environmental regulation of gene expression in bacteria.
Thumbnail photo for Ellen Ketterson Ellen Ketterson
Distinguished Professor of Biology and Gender Studies

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
ketterso [at]
JH 033
Behavioral, physiological, and evolutionary ecology; hormones and behavior; avian biology, mating systems and parental care; physiological basis of trade-offs in life histories; adaptation and constraint; avian migration.
Thumbnail photo for Marcy Kingsbury Marcy Kingsbury
Associate Scientist

mk24 [at]
JH A013
Neural and neuroendocrine mechanisms of social behavior, comparative neuroanatomy
Thumbnail photo for Eric Knox Eric Knox
Director, IU Herbarium; Senior Scientist

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
eknox [at]
JH A313
Plant evolution, speciation, phylogenetic systematics, chloroplast genome evolution; horizontal gene transfer; flora of Indiana.
Thumbnail photo for Jay T. Lennon Jay T. Lennon
Associate Professor

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
lennonj [at]
856-0962 / 6-7235 (lab)
JH 261B / JH 261 (lab)
Microbial Ecology and Evolution
Thumbnail photo for Curt Lively Curt Lively
Distinguished Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
clively [at]
JH 117B / JH 116/117 (lab)
Evolution and coevolution; sex, virulence and genetic diversity in host-parasite interactions.
Thumbnail photo for Michael Lynch Michael Lynch
Distinguished Professor of Biology, Class of 1954 Professor

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
lynchlab [at]
JH 324C / JH 327 (lab)
Evolution; population genetics and genomics; cell biology.
Thumbnail photo for Michael Lynch Michael Lynch
Distinguished Professor of Biology, Class of 1954 Professor

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
milynch [at]
JH 324C / JH 327 (lab)
Evolution; population genetics and genomics; cell biology.
Thumbnail photo for Emília Martins Emília Martins
Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
emartins [at]
JH 133B / JH 133 (lab)
Behavioral evolution, phylogenetics and informatics.
Thumbnail photo for Jake McKinlay Jake McKinlay
Assistant Professor of Biology

jmckinla [at]
JH A309 / A308 (lab)
Microbial metabolism and its role in cell physiology, the environment, and biotechnology.
Thumbnail photo for Scott Michaels Scott Michaels
Professor of Biology and Director, Center for Genomics & Bioinformatics

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
michaels [at]
MY 316C / MY 359
Regulation of chromatin structure and gene expression by epigenetic modifications.
Thumbnail photo for Armin Moczek Armin Moczek
Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
armin [at]
MY 102D / MY 102 (lab)
Evolution and Development; Insect Genomics; Developmental Plasticity; Behavioral Ecology and Sexual Selection; Insect Endocrinology; Invasive Species and post-invasion Evolution; Natural History of Onthophagus beetles.
Thumbnail photo for Leonie Moyle Leonie Moyle
Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
lmoyle [at]
JH 325C / JH 325 (lab)
Genetics of speciation and adaptation, Comparative genomics, Evolutionary ecology, Plant reproduction.
Thumbnail photo for Irene Garcia Newton Irene Garcia Newton
Assistant Professor of Biology

irnewton [at]
JH 221C
Functional genomics of environmental microbes and symbiosis.
Thumbnail photo for Richard Phillips Richard Phillips
Associate Professor of Biology, Director of Research (RTP)

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
rpp6 [at]
JH 247A/JH 245
Ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry: Consequences of human-accelerated environmental change on plant-soil-microbial Interactions.
Thumbnail photo for Flynn Picardal Flynn Picardal
Adjunct: Associate Professor, SPEA

picardal [at]
Bioremediation, environmental microbiology, and biogeochemistry with a focus on the microbial reduction of iron oxides and nitrate, microbial iron oxidation, biotransformation of metals and chlorinated hydrocarbons, and combined microbial:geochemical interactions.
Thumbnail photo for P. David Polly P. David Polly
Adjunct: Professor of Geological Sciences

pdpolly [at]
Geology Building, 513
Vertebrate paleontology, comparative morphological variation at the level of the metapopulation, and the effects of Quaternary climate change on vertebrate faunas.
Thumbnail photo for Rudolf Raff Rudolf Raff
Distinguished Professor and James H. Rudy Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
raffr [at]
MY 102A
Evolutionary developmental biology; Evolution of early development; Larval origins; How embryos fossilize.
Thumbnail photo for Erik Ragsdale Erik Ragsdale
Assistant Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
ragsdale [at]
(812) 856-1946
Myers Hall 100C
Genetic regulation and evolution of developmental plasticity; systematics.
Thumbnail photo for Heather Reynolds Heather Reynolds
Associate Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
hlreynol [at]
JH 155A
Plant community ecology; plant-soil-microbial interactions.
Thumbnail photo for  Kimberly Rosvall Kimberly Rosvall
Assistant Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
krosvall [at]
Ofc: JH A318A
Lab: JH A318
Evolution of behavior; neuroendocrine mechanisms of behavior; physiological mechanisms of phenotypic plasticity and adaptation; sexual selection; behavioral genomics; behavioral ecology
Thumbnail photo for Whitney Schlegel Whitney Schlegel
Associate Professor of Biology Part Time and Founding Director Human Biology

wreilly [at]
MO 117C
Integrative Biology and Human Physiology
Thumbnail photo for G. Troy Smith G. Troy Smith
Associate Professor of Biology, Director CISAB

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
getsmith [at]
JH 270E / JH 270 (lab)
Neural and hormonal control of sexually dimorphic behavior.
Thumbnail photo for Nicholas Sokol Nicholas Sokol
Associate Professor of Biology

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
nsokol [at]
JH A504/JH A502A(lab)
Regulatory RNA pathways in stem cells and differentiation.
Thumbnail photo for Roderick Suthers [missing] Roderick Suthers
Adjunct: Professor, Medical Sciences

suthers [at]
812-855-8353/ 5-8709 (lab
JH 308 / JH 31/315 (lab)
Neuroethology of acoustic communication.
Thumbnail photo for Jason Tennessen Jason Tennessen
Assistant Professor

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
jtenness [at]
855-9803 / 856-3616 (lab)
JH 343B / JH 341 (lab)
Studies of cancer metabolism using Drosophila as a model system
Thumbnail photo for Michael Wade Michael Wade
Distinguished Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
mjwade [at]
JH 131C / JH 131/145 (lab)
Evolution in Metapopulations; Genetic basis of speciation in Tribolium; Epistasis; Evolutionary genetics of maternal effects; Sexual selection and alternative male mating strategies; Coevolution of arthropod hosts and Wolbachia endosymbionts.
Thumbnail photo for Claire Walczak Claire Walczak
Adjunct: Professor, Medical Sciences

cwalczak [at]
MY 262 / MY 260 (lab)
Mechanisms of chromosome segregation and aneuploidy; identification of new targets for therapeutic development.
Thumbnail photo for Maxine Watson Maxine Watson
Emeritus Professor of Biology

Evolution, Ecology & Behavior
watsonm [at]
855-5591 / 855-7804 (lab)
JH A303 / JHA302C (lab)
Plant developmental ecology.
Thumbnail photo for Malcolm Winkler Malcolm Winkler
Professor of Biology; Microbiology Section Associate Chair

mwinkler [at]
JH A414 / JH A410 (lab)
Physiology, molecular genetics, and pathogenesis of the bacterium Streptococcus pneumoniae (pneumococcus).
Thumbnail photo for Miriam Zolan Miriam Zolan
Professor of Biology

Genome, Cell & Developmental Biology
mzolan [at]
JH 217
Meiosis and DNA Repair
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