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Biology 4500


To be arranged. In general, students registered for 2 or 4 credits will be expected to spend 6 or 12 hours/week in the laboratory, respectively. This does not necessarily include time spent reading literature, analyzing data, or writing papers. Experiments are commonly carried out in a timed series of events. Consequently, you may have to spend more than this time in the lab on some weeks, while you might spend less time on other weeks.

Course Description

This course is offered for those who desire to pursue a special study of some biological problems beyond what is possible in regular courses. The student is expected to select and plan a research problem and pursue it to some state of completion. The data are to be written in acceptable scientific form and available for a seminar.

Course Objectives

Develop familiarity of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) neuron physiology.Develop an understanding of reproductive neuroendocrinology.Develop a familiarity with common laboratory techniques.Develop an understanding of the scientific methodBecome able to locate and interpret scientific literature.Become able to write a scientific paper.

Required Text: Not applicable

Attendance & Etiquette

Students are responsible for their own experiments. If you are unable to complete a specific step in the experiment, you are required to make arrangements for someone else in the laboratory to fill in for you. This may be Dr. Pitts or another, willing student that is taking BIOL 4500. All students must treat others in a respectful and professional manner. A sign-in sheet will be posted in the laboratory for documentation of the time you spent in the laboratory.

Academic and Classroom Misconduct

Students are expected to conduct themselves appropriately at all times. Academic and classroom misconduct will not be tolerated. Students must read the Code of Student Conduct in the new Student Handbook for an understanding of what will be expected of them within the academic setting.

Communications Devices

You may use cell phones and beepers as long as they do not disrupt the performance of your experiments or bench-top instruction.

Students with Disabilities

Any student who has a condition that may affect his/her academic performance is encouraged to make an appointment with me to discuss the matter, or you may contact Student Disability Resource Center; telephone 221-6230 or (V/TTY) 221-6278.


According to APSU policy #3:032, minors (defined as those under the age of 18) are not allowed in classrooms. While I recognize that extenuating circumstances occur and make it difficult for some students to attend without bringing children with them on occasion, I must enforce University policy and thus will deny any request for a child in my classroom. You should also be aware that minors are not allowed in academic labs, computer labs, science labs, or the library. Further, children cannot be left in halls outside classrooms. Please be aware that the policy on unattended minors is for the purpose of ensuring that our classrooms are conducive to learning and for the safety and protection of minors. For additional information on minors on campus, contact the Office of Student Affairs in the Morgan University Center.

Course Requirements and Grading

Scientific Paper

Students are expected to turn in a paper about their research that is written in the format of a scientific article. Follow the instructions to authors of one of the following journals: Brain Research, Endocrinology, General and Comparative Endocrinology, or Journal of Neuroscience. The paper will constitute 20% of the course grade.

Research Performance

The remaining 80% of your grade will also be determined by several subjective factors. These factors include, but are not limited to: