20316 Biological Clocks

Credits: 3 advanced seminar credits in Life Sciences

Prerequisites: 36 credits in the Sciences, including Cell Structure and Function (single-semester format or year-long format) and Biochemistry I. Students must also fulfill all English requirements and take bibliographic instruction in the Library.

The course is based on a reader edited by Nava Zisapel.

The course familiarizes students with a wide range of findings that prove the existence of cyclical fluctuations in the activity of many systems in living organisms. These fluctuations pertain to relatively regular periods hours, days or months and to varied activities, from changes in the photosynthesis level of single-cell algae to sleep and waking patterns in humans. The course surveys innovative research methods and examines evidence that the biological clock is independent of environmental factors, discusses theories relating to the location of this clock, its cellular components and the biochemical mechanisms involved in its functioning.

Students write a seminar paper based on the literature dealing with one of the topics discussed in the course, and discuss the paper with their tutor.