Honors | Biology of Human Disease (HON)
H205 | 25081 | Arthur Koch
This course is about human genetics and human diseases. The current
advances will be emphasized, but it is a course to get you thinking
and is aimed at exposing non-biology majors to the biology of human
diseases; these are relevant to our lives. As science progresses,
disciplines get more complete, but then they simplify as knowledge
becomes unified. For this reason, knowledge of the genetics of the
human condition is currently easier to understand than it has been.
Moreover, currently the field of medical genetics is one of the most
productive fields of knowledge. This means that the non-biology
college student can comprehend a discipline with important
implications for societal and political matters as well as issues
that are and will continue to be of extreme interest to everyone.
The principles of genetics, focusing on humans, will be taught by
lectures and discussions and from a good, new, basic, textbook
(Ricki Lewis; Human Genetics: Concepts and Applications, 6th ed.
2004). You should be able to apply the concepts to the study of any
human genetic disease. This, however, is not the main part of the
course. The more important part is that each of you shall chose and
then specialize and study a single human disease but in depth. This
is my teaching philosophy that you don't learn as much from a
survey of a field as you will from a detailed understanding of an
aspect of it.
From your fellow students (the textbook and me) you will learn about
other genetic diseases and the special principles of human genetics.
As you learn about your chosen area, you will write papers of
increasing complexity and length. The hardest part is to write a
short abstract that contains the key features. During the last half
of the semester each student will have a chance to teach the class
about the human disease that he or she has chosen. This will involve
a carefully prepared twenty-minute talk with audio-visual materials.
The students will be graded on their understanding of the principles
involved in the disease and their success in the communication of
that understanding in several bases: The talk, An abstract (this
will be distributed to all students), A written report, and Test
questions generated by each student concerning their particular
disease. It is also my questions teaching philosophy that by
constructing a good multiple-choice question, the student learns
much about his or her subject. Revisions of these questions will be
used as a major part of the final. There will be some didactic
material on the exam, but the weighing of this laterial material
will be less than in a normal college course. This final exam will
constitute only a minor part of the grade. The student will also be
graded on the depth of his or her understanding of the single
diseases and ability to explain the principles and current research.