Learning outcomes of the course unit
The aim of this course is to give the student the ability to:
- acquire the basic principles of biological sciences and methods.
- learn and apply an evolutionary logic and perspective to interpreting the biological phenomena at different levels of organization (molecular, cellular, organismic)
- understand the correlation between structure and function at the different organizational levels.
- Appraise the implication of human evolution for the bio-medical research, specifically regarding reproductive and parental behaviour.
basic knoledge of chemistry, physic and biology.
Course contents summary
The purpose of this course is to give a general overview of biological concepts and mechanisms in an evolutionary perspective and to gain an appreciation of the importance that biology plays in understanding human health.
1. The Nature of science and biology: methods and organizing concepts. The unifying principle of biology: The Theory of Evolution. Darwinian Medicine. Origins and evolution of Procaryotic and Eucaryotic cell.
2. The cell cycle and reproduction: mitosis and meiosis. Male and female gametogenesis. Evolutionary implications of anisogamy: parental investment and sexual selection.
3. The modern evolutionary synthesis. Microevolution and its causes. Evolution of Vertebrates and the rise of Hominids. The evolution and consequences of bipedal locomotion in Hominids. Evolutionary Psychology.
4. Biology of Behavior: gene and environment interaction. Imprinting and the attachment theory.
Solomon et al., Biology.
Hrdy S. Mother Nature: A story of mothers, infants and natural selection. pantheon.
During classroom lectures I will illustrate and discuss the state of the art, concepts and experiments in the specific issue of biology. The lectures will be in an interactive format and students are strongly encouraged to ask questions and insert comments
Assessment methods and criteria
Final exam, which has to be taken together with the other topics of the integrated course, is written and oral. A written exam comprises 40 multiple choice or T-F questions and two open–answer questions. The oral exam discuss a specific topic on biology of reproductive and maternal behaviour (as based on the suggested reading).