This upper level undergraduate course will cover the biology of eukaryotic microbes and the competitive environments in which they live. Eukaryotic microbes include fungi, protozoa, and helminths (worms). They are found in the soil, water (pond and tap), and even in our gastrointestinal tract. Fungi are critical for the nutritional cycle of life and act as the major composting organisms in the soil. They also are responsible for the production of bread, beer, wine, and "natural flavors" used by the food industry. A common feature of all eukaryotic microbes is that they have all developed strategies to out compete other microbes (prokaryotes and eukaryotes) and survive in the environment and in hosts (animals, plants, insects). We will cover these biochemical and biological strategies, which include antibiotics, phase changes, and evasion of host defenses. Eukaryotic microbes are also a significant cause of disease in humans (e. g. malaria, AIDS-associated infections, allergies, and chronic infections) and plants (e. g. Dutch Elm disease, potato blight, corn smut) and we will also highlight the mechanisms by which hosts defend themselves against these microbes. Overall, the student will gain an understanding of the impact of these organisms on the environment and on everyday life.
Advisory Prerequisite: BIOLOGY 207 and one of the following: BIOLOGY 310 or 311 or BIOLCHEM 451 or CHEM 451.