Students will be able to analyze critically and apply the major principles of cell and molecular biology.
One of the first classes I took at Longwood was a foundational course called Intro to Genetics and Cell Biology. In this class I was able to learn and use a number of techniques I had never even heard of before, such as PCR, gel electrophoresis, DNA sequencing, and more. All of the information and techniques I learned throughout my first semester as a biology student culminated into my first poster presentation. I was able to apply everything I had been learning to a research project investigating the strains of yeast that can be found on local berries. This project seems fairly basic in retrospect, but at the time it was so new to me. Even though the material was introductory, it pushed me to get into a mindset that was necessary to have down the road. I call it a foundational course because I believe it really did help in giving me something to build off of throughout the following years.
Everything I had learned in Intro to Genetics and Cell Biology directly translated to the upper-level Cell Biology course I took later on. I remember digging so deep into the introductory concepts that I learned in my first semester that they looked large in comparison. All of the information I had learned in that introductory class was elaborated on and all of the lab techniques were refined. This all resulted in another poster presentation on the genetic aspects of flocculation in brewing yeast. This class really helped me to become more confident in my understanding of the principles of cell and molecular biology, and I often find myself referring to this class and applying the knowledge I gained here to other topics I have studied.
The introductory material on genetics and cell biology and the subsequent elaboration on that material at the upper level also helped in my understanding of other classes like Immunology. I learned new information and techniques in this class, but it all relied on my knowing the principles of cell and molecular biology. My application of these principles can be seen in a poster presentation on phytoestrogens where I applied my knowledge of the basics to new information and techniques such as the structure and function of important players in the immune system, flow cytometry, MTT and ELISA assays, and more. I genuinely enjoyed this class, but I know I would have been lost without the prior experience that Intro to Genetics and Cell Biology and Cell Biology gave me. Ultimately, this class helped me to learn how to apply the more basic concepts of cell and molecular biology to a wider range of topics and disciplines.