Cluster 7: Microbiology and Environmental Toxicology

Prerequisite: Biology and Chemistry

All students in this cluster will be enrolled in the following courses:

Microbiology 

Instructor: Chad Saltikov, PhD (UC Santa Cruz, Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology)

This course will cover the fundamental concepts of microbiology  including microbial diversity, physiology and nutrition, microbial growth, environmental and human health.  Students will investigate these concepts through laboratory-based, hands-on experimentation including: isolating bacteria from diverse sources; characterizing bacteria using microscopic, culture-dependent, and DNA-based  approaches. Students will also explore soil as a reservoir of novel antibiotic-secreting microbes.  We will also investigate the evolution of antibiotic resistance and microbial contamination of food and water.  By completing this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of the importance of microbes to human health and the environment.

 

Environmental Toxicology

Instructor:  Peter Weiss, PhD (Lecturer and Associate Researcher, UC Santa Cruz, Chemistry)

This course will cover topics in environmental toxicology such as how to classify toxic chemical and biological agents, characterizing and quantifying exposure and toxicity, biological mechanisms for toxicity, and determining the sources and fates of pollutants in the environment. Students will learn about these topics through laboratory and field-based measurements using hands-on experimentation including: determining chemical and biological composition of natural waters, and sewage-treatment plant gas and liquid effluent. We will also explore the role of anaerobic microbes in producing mercury methylation in aquatic environments using lab incubations in sediment and water media combined with analytical chemistry measurements. After completing this course, students will have knowledge about human and wildlife health concerns of toxic chemical and biological agents in the environment, plus how to accurately quantify them.

 

Transferable Skills: Tools for Success

It may or may not surprise you that being a university researcher requires a whole host of skills outside of the specific scientific knowledge required of your chosen discipline or specialty. It requires communication skills such as the ability to present your work in writing and orally. It requires competencies in the realm of information technology including the ability to find and judge (the validity of) information and use a variety of hardware and software tools (e.g. spreadsheets, databases, statistics software, other data manipulation tools). It requires all of those skills required to effectively conduct research such as data collection, analysis and interpretation, critical thinking and problem solving as well as the ability to conduct laboratory and/or field work. And, of course, a baseline competency in English, science, mathematics and computers is critical. 

The governing mission of the UCSC COSMOS Transferable Skills course is to promote students’ future academic (and professional) success through the exploration and development of transferable skills: i.e. those competencies that students develop while in school which facilitate academic achievement, the eventual transition into the work-force and which are applicable in many other life situations.

The governing mission of the UCSC COSMOS Transferable Skills course is to promote students’ future academic (and professional) success through the exploration and development of transferable skills: i.e. those competencies that students develop while in school which facilitate academic achievement, the eventual transition into the work-force and which are applicable in many other life situations.