Genetics for the Curious: Why are there so many purple lupines?

Course Title:  Genetics for the Curious: Why are there so many purple lupines?

Dates:  Wednesdays, October 4, 11, 18, 25th

Time:  9 to 12AM

Fee: $30 ($5 discount if registered before September 20)

Location:  Mercer Public Library, 2648W Margaret Street, Mercer, WI

Objectives: Through a study of cell processes students will

  •         Have a good, basic understanding of gene function,  heredity, and mutation
  •         Be able to develop informed opinions on environmental and health policy and legislation
  •         Understand the genetic basis of cancer and other genetic diseases
  •         Realize the importance of avoiding unnecessary exposure to radiation, pollution, and certain chemicals, foods and drugs.  

Course structure:  The course will be given in 4 sessions, each 2 hours long with up to 1 optional additional hour for questions and discussion.  It will cover the following topics:

  1.      A brief (and easy to swallow) review of physics, chemistry and cell biology with emphasis on the cell structures important to reproduction and cell function.
  2.      How genes work. Understanding gene mutation.
  3.      More of how genes work. The genetic basis and epidemiology of cancer and other diseases.
  4.      The other effects and outcomes of gene mutation.

Requirements: A previous exposure to the concepts of elemental biology will be helpful but is not necessary.  Students will receive a list of genetics-related books and articles which may be read to further enhance class discussion.  Verbal student reports on those and other readings will be welcomed during the class question and discussion periods.

Instructor: Richard Thiede is a graduate of Southern Methodist University with a BS in biology and chemistry.  Post graduate studies at SMU and in a PhD program at the University of Colorado emphasized cell function at the molecular level. While in college he worked as a surgical technician at Baylor Hospital in Dallas with a specialty in cardiothoracic surgery. He taught as a graduate assistant at SMU, and taught biology, chemistry and physics at The Mount Hermon School and at Greenfield High School in western Massachusetts. Although his professional career was as a business owner and machine designer, he has remained interested in cell biology and discussion of health and environmental issues.