School of
Integrative Biology

Integrative Biology 496

Special Topic Courses

IB 496: These special topics courses provide students with in-depth instruction in varying aspects of integrative biology; they are experimental and temporary courses. Additional fees may apply. See Class Schedule. 1 to 5 undergraduate hours. 1 to 4 graduate hours. Approved for letter and S/U grading. May be repeated as topics vary. Prerequisite: Consent of instructor.


Learn more about IB 496 sections - Spring 2020:

Bioinspired Design - PDF syllabus - IB 496 Sections AW3 & AW4:

Dr. M Alleyne & Dr. Aimy Wissa (3-4 credit hours)

ME498 / IB496 offers a unique interdisciplinary advanced design experience in the field of bioinspiration. During the course we will cover four focus areas: locomotion, sensing, materials, and complex systems. For each topic, we will discuss the state of the art on engineering side and the solutions in nature that can augment the current engineering systems. By the end of the course you should be able to work in interdisciplinary teams, use analogical design concepts, and produce a prototype based on a biological function to solve an engineering challenge in one of the four focus areas.

Natural History of Coral Reefs - PDF syllabus - IB 496 Section CRF:

Dr. Chris Taylor (1 credit hour)

Application deadline: October 15, 2019
Apply at: https://go.las.illinois.edu/IB496
On-campus class meetings: 1 hour weekly lecture, January 21 - March 13;
Estimated program fees: $2600 (Includes airfare, housing and three meals a day in Belize)
Course description: Travel over spring break. This study abroad course will introduce students to the taxonomic, functional, and ecological diversity of vertebrates and invertebrates that inhabit and form coral reefs. The lab will emphasize field experiences on coral reefs and focus on the ecology and identification of common reef species. This course will consist of a one-hour lecture per week for the first half of the semester and a one-week field trip to Belize during Spring Break (15-22 March), where students will make direct observations of reef ecosystems and organisms and record relevant data. Students must have the approval of instructor prior to registering for course and have taken IB 150 or an equivalent course. Students must be able to swim and possess a valid passport.

Biological Field Research - PDF syllabus - IB 496 Section B:

Dr. Brian Allan (2 credit hours)

Through this 8-week course in Integrative Biology, students will receive training and hands-on experience in study design and collection and analysis of data from biological field research. This course meets on campus once weekly for 2 hours for the first 8 weeks of the spring semester and culminates with a trip to Archbold Biological Station in Venus, Florida, over spring break. Students will perform independent field research studies while at Archbold, in addition to visiting and touring natural areas of the southeast U.S. Students will be expected to design an independent field research study, collect and analyze data, and present the findings of their research at the end of the course. Registered students must participate in the field experience over spring break 2020, departing from campus the morning of March 14th and returning the evening of March 22nd. Travel will be by car/van and will include stops in Tennessee and Florida. Registration requires consent of instructor, Dr. Brian Allan (ballan@illinois.edu). Additional fees will apply.

Discussion: Tree Thinking: An introduction to Phylogenetic Biology - IB 496 Section A:

Dr. Andrew Miller (1 credit hour)

This discussion group will provide an introduction to phylogenetics and its importance in modern biology. Phylogenetics has a myriad of applications in biology, from discovering the features present in ancestral organisms, to finding the sources of invasive species and infectious diseases, to identifying our closest relatives. We will focus on introducing participants to the interpretation of phylogenetic trees, how these trees can be reconstructed, and how they can be used to answer biological questions. No prior knowledge regarding tree-building or phylogenetic methods is required and we welcome any undergrad, graduate students or post-docs with an interest in learning more about this fundamental area of biology.


Other recent IB 496 sections:

Spring 2019 - Analysis of Biological Data in R - PDF syllabus - IB 496 Section D:

Dr. Becky Fuller (3 credit hours)

This course will focus on developing skills in the use of R. It will cover the book "The Analysis of Biological Data" by Whitlock and Schluter who created a website with R code to accompany the book. It will also use "The R Graphics Cookbook". Students will be assigned weekly problem sets to be performed in R and will share their R-code and show how they solved problems. Weekly quizzes will occur on the assigned reading. There will also be student presentations of data analyses. Students must bring their own laptops to class. No prior experience with R is necessary.


More about this and other courses: