FSU Biology - Biology In London

Department of Biological Science

at Florida State University

News: Courses for Summer 2024 announced

Eukaryotic Diversity BSC 3016 with Kevin Dixon
Cell Structure and Function PCB 3134 with Scott Stagg

Scroll down for more details about the 2024 courses and program.

New scholorship fund announced to help support students! We have established a new scholarship fund to help students cover the costs of studying abroad, the Biology in London Scholorship Fund. This is a needs-based fund to make it possible for motivated students to participate who might otherwise not be able to. For more information go to https://give.fsu.edu/fund/f09466

Program Discription

The Biology in London Program offers classes that are designed to take advantage of the London environment, from historical locations relevant to the development of the fields covered in the classes to world-renown institutions and museums, several of which can provide behind the scenes access. Each student will take two upper-division classes that contribute to satisfying either required courses or the electives graduation requirement. This summer, two courses required for the major will be offered sequentially – Cell Structure and Function, and Eukaryotic Diversity. Studying abroad has many special benefits for students, from increasing cultural awareness, to unique learning opportunities, and personal and professional development.

The Biology in London Program takes advantage of the London environment, from historical locations relevant to the development of the fields covered in the classes to world-renowned institutions and museums, several of which can provide behind the scenes and hands-on access. Each summer students will take two upper-division classes that contribute to satisfying required courses or elective graduation requirement. By utilizing London and its resources directly in the class (via field trips to museums, centers, and historical sites), students engage in a much more immersive and enriching experience. Class sizes are small; we expect 22-30 students. In addition to the excursions for the class, students in the program will participate in the numerous social activities with the Broad Curriculum students. These include a trip to the theater, weekly day trips to locations in and around London, Friday night pizza dinners, and a weekend (3-day) trip to another region of the UK, such as Bath, York, or Liverpool (all covered in the general fees).

Biology in London is designed to satisfy degree-requirements for biology majors, but other life sciences majors and non-majors are welcome to enroll. The pre-requisites include successfully passing BSC 2010/L & BSC 2011/L and CHM 1045/L & CHM 1046/L by the conclusion of the immediately-preceding Spring semester (although it is advantageous to complete them by the preceding Fall) . The London program classes will be taught in two sequential four-week sessions, which this year will be June-July.

FSU International Programs has full details on the Program here.

Biology In London Program, Summer 2024

Course Descriptions for Summer 2024:

Eukaryotic Diversity (BSC 3016): In Eukaryotic Diversity we provide a broad survey of the incredible diversity of living things, other than bacteria and other organisms with prokaryotic cells. This survey encompasses many aspects of biology, but fundamentally provides an overview of the diversity of eukaryotic organisms (protists, plants, fungi and animals), the evolutionary origin of this diversity, and its societal relevance. Comparisons of exemplar organisms are used to illustrate broad themes in the anatomy, physiology, behavior, life cycles, and ecologies of all eukaryotes. Majors in Biological Science are required to take either Eukaryotic Diversity or Cell Structure and Function as a requirement for their degree.

Using basic ideas of evolutionary and organismal biology as the organizing principles of the course we will explore the diversity of life both biologically and socially. We will take advantage of the London location in several ways. First, museums and botanical gardens are important repositories of diversity and students will get behind the scenes tours of both the Museum of Natural History and Kew Royal Botanical Gardens, giving them direct experience with science related to biological diversity. The Museum of Natural History will also be used for self-guided individual exercises throughout the course. A tour of Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, will provide insight into the role of biological diversity in the development of the theory of evolution by natural selection, considered the most important discovery in the history of biology. To further explore the role of biodiversity in human society we will visit the People and Nature Lab of University College London East and also make short field trips to parks in the London area.

Instructor: Dr. Kevin Dixon is a teaching faculty member in the Department of Biological Science. Kevin received graduate training in Behavioral Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Oklahoma and the University of Chicago. After completing his PhD Kevin participated in research on plant-insect coevolution at Arizona State University before pursuing a career in full time teaching. In the fifteen years he has been at FSU Kevin has taught courses in introductory biology (Biology I and II), organismal biology (Herpetology, Animal Diversity, Eukaryotic Diversity), process of science (Experimental Biology), and evolutionary biology (Evolution). In previous positions at other universities, he has also taught Entomology, Botany, and Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy. Kevin has also led or co-led six international programs in tropical biology to Ecuador or Panama.

Cell Structure and Function (PCB 3134): Cell Structure and Function focuses on topics such as: the chemistry, physiology, and morphology of cells, the function of cellular organelles, and cellular motility, growth, division, communication, and regulation. Personally exploring London presents a unique opportunity to learn about these topics while being exposed to some of the historically significant instrumentation that we learn about in the course as well as cutting-edge research that is being performed today. There will be one to two excursions per week, including the Science Museum to visit the microscope and other instrument collection, the Wellcome Collection exploring health and the human experience, and the Whipple Museum of the History of Science in Cambridge. Each of these excursions and exhibits will dovetail directly with lectures and topics that covered in the course.

Instructor: Dr. Scott Stagg is a Professor of Biological Sciences whose research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of membrane remodeling and vesicle trafficking. He uses cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to determine the structures of protein complexes and develops tools for facilitating high-throughput high-resolution cryo-EM. Following graduate training in structural biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Dr Stagg completed his postdoctoral fellowship at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. Dr. Stagg began his career at FSU in 2007 in the Chemistry department and changed departments to Biological Science in 2021 in order to become director of the Biological Sciences Imaging Resource. Dr. Stagg is looking forward to teaching in London because it is the home of many of the major scientific discoveries that are taught in Cell Structure and Function, and there are many sites in London where students can experience historical instruments, scientific exhibitions, and cutting-edge scientific facilities.

Important Dates and Further Information:

  • Biology in London Program Information Fair, October 6, 2023
  • IP Study Abroad Fair on Landis Green (October 25, 11-3)
  • Registration opened in October 4 2023
  • Application fee with registration: $100 (separate from program cost)
  • IP Scholarship Application Deadline: December 31, 2023
  • Commitment Fee Deadline: January 17, 2024 ($1500, included in program cost)
  • Final Payment Deadline: February 14, 2024

The $4,000 Study Abroad Scholarship is available to students in the College of Arts and Sciences who are participating in a FSU Study Abroad Program offered through the International Programs Office. Apply by going to https://fsu.academicworks.com/, search for “College of Arts and Sciences Study Abroad Awards – Summer Semester Abroad.” Information about the scholarship opportunity is available on the college’s website and from the Program Director, Melissa Ray at (850) 644-4949.

Biology In London Program, Summer 2023

We have posted the entire 80 minute recording of the Fall 2022 Fair, hosted by Program Coordinator Dr. Scott Steppan, instructors Dr. James Fadool and Dr. Debra Ann Fadool, and International Programs Manager Becca Piers, below. In addition, the Powerpoint presentation can also be downloaded here:

Biology in London Program Fair 2023 PowerPoint
Biology in London Program Fair Video Recording

Course Descriptions for Summer 2023 (in progress! now):

General Genetics: General Genetics is an introduction to the principles of transmission and molecular genetics of prokaryotes and eukaryotes and significance of these principles to other aspects of biological science. General Genetics is a required course for majors in Biological Science and a prerequisite of many 4000 level Biology courses including Human Physiology, and strongly recommended for others interested in careers in medicine or allied health professions. The formal objectives are to provide undergraduate students with an understanding of the fundamental concepts of genetics and molecular biology, and the ability to solve problems and interpret results. The course will be divided into modules which cover the essential information as well as take advantage of the unique setting of London to explore advances in human health, evolutionary theory, conservation biology, and politics. Each module will be paired with a field trip to immerse students in a range of experiences to provide an historical perspective as well as exposure to modern investigations. Students will be actively engaged in the discussions, they will participate in collaborative projects and for the later part of the course, active learning by selecting course material and peer-to-peer learning.

Students will be exposed to and immersed in the culture of London from many different perspectives. Each module will be accompanied by an excursion that reinforces the major theme of the module, places the students into the historical context of genetic advances, or adds a contemporary application of the information. During the module on Mendelian genetics, a field trip to Charles Darwin’s home (Down House), a contemporary of Mendel, will provide a glimpse of the wonder of scientific endeavors in the mid nineteenth as well as the limitation of science to a select few of the English gentry. Tours of the Francis Crick Institute and meetings with scientists from King’s College and University College London will highlight the technological underpinnings of genetic investigations, the human genome project, gene therapies, and the ever-growing methodologies for manipulating genes that have propelled a field fundamental to all areas of biology but also raise a new round of ethical concerns. Students will be reminded that genetics is not limited to a field of study but rather reminds us of the reciprocal interaction between science, history, policies and culture with day trips to The Science Museum and The Royal Society of Physicians.

Instructor: Dr. James M. Fadool is a Professor of Biology who works to understand the genetic and molecular mechanisms regulating development of the nervous system and degenerative disease that affect vision. Following graduate training in cancer biology at Michigan State University, James completed fellowships at the University of Florida and Harvard University. Over a 30-year period, James has taught genetics at many levels and in various settings including Human Genetics for non-science majors, General Genetics and Developmental Genetics for Biology majors and advanced training for graduate students and fellows at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. He lived in London during a sabbatical study at the University of College London and is looking forward to instructing in the London Program and immersing students in the culture of the city.

Human Physiology: This course in Human Physiology will be an organ system approach with the objective to comprehend regulatory balance or homeostasis of the collective and active processes of the body as “the machine”. We will cover the nervous system (brain electrophysiology experiments at the University of College London with Dr. Pedarzani), muscle and skeletal systems (Hunterian Museum Royal College of Surgeons, Bone Regeneration Exhibit), the heart and circulatory system (Royal College of Physicians, Human Veins, Nerves, Arteries Section), the respiratory system (Old Operating Theatre Museum, Discovery of Anesthesia), the urinary (Garden of World Medicine in the Chelsea Physic Garden, Discovery of Pharmaceutics) and digestive systems (British Dental Association), the endocrine system (Welcome Collection Museum - Obesity/Metabolism Exhibit), and reproduction (Florence Nightingale Museum – Nursing Division). In the international setting, the professor and students will engage in daily didactic lectures and small discussion groups with assigned group projects designed for specified excursions, experiments or collections twice a week.

Students will not only be exposed to the culture of London because each organ system is paired with an activity twice a week in the city; but also, the students will be exposed to application of physiology to medicine, world health, and the profession of a physiologist/scientist. In addition to the planned excursions,seminars, and experiments above, as a neuroscientist with a specialty in the function of the brain, I would expose students to fields aligned with this specialty including neuropsychology (Sigmoid Freud House), electricity and magnetism (Faraday Museum – where they will see contrast between early 1800s physics and that of 21st century studies in a nanotechnology laboratory), anatomy (Grant Museum of Zoology and Comparative Anatomy). These types of opportunities will be undertaken on the weekend through special assignments by working in partner groups that will report back to the classroom midweek. On each of the five Friday mornings, students will undertake examinations that evaluate their synthesis of both the classroom- and city-acquired knowledge of physiology & medicine, and then in the afternoon on each of the five Fridays, they will have the free opportunity to engage in English culture, both past and present – namely – Great Inventors (Ben Franklin House), Evolution (Down House/Charles Darwin), Music/Religion (John Wesley House), Literature (John Keats House), and Society (British Museum High Tea).

Instructor: Dr. Debra Ann Fadool is a physiologist who explores how obesity affects the function of the nervous system, particularly with regards to sensory systems and brain communication. She is an expert in electrophysiological approaches of brain recordings and how potassium channels regulate excitability. Debra received her PhD in Zoology from the University of Florida, Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney Marine Laboratory and completed postdoctoral training at Brandeis University, Massachusetts. She has participated in several off-campus studies – as an undergraduate scholar at the West Indies Laboratory, St. Croix, where she studied marine biology and at the Marine Biological Laboratories, Cape Cod, MA, where she studied Neurobiology. She has lived in London during a sabbatical study at the University of College London and is looking forward to instructing in the London experience and taking advantage of the resources of the city.

Fees (2024):

  • Fee: $13,875
  • Fees include all registration costs, housing, instruction, excursions and social activities, London transport pass, scheduled group pick-up at airport, full time academic and administrative support, health insurance.
  • Fees do not include round-trip international airfare, passport, entry visa, food (outside social activities as noted), books and supplies, personal travel/activity/ spending money, university-assessed fees (e.g., per credit hour technology fee).

Biological Science advising office: advisor@bio.fsu.edu and https://www.bio.fsu.edu/undergrad/advising.php

Program Coordinator: Dr. Scott Steppan (steppan@bio.fsu.edu)
Contact Dr. Steppan for any general questions about the Program.

Instructors for 2024:

Past Biology in London Offerings:

  • 2023: Genetics (Dr. Jim Fadool) and Human Physiology (Dr. Deborah Fadool)
  • 2022: Biogeography (Dr. Scott Steppan) and Infectious Diseases Throughout Space and Time (Dr. Marie Denis)