Broader Impacts of Biology (Bio 390)

This seminar course will explore the broader societal impacts of the biological sciences. Science is an endeavor that aims to categorically build knowledge about the universe in an objective manner. But our science not only informs society, it is also shaped by the needs and structure of our society. In this class, students will explore the potential societal impacts and determinants of their scientific interests through careful exploration of the literature. Through this exploration, students will learn to lead discussions about the intersections between science and society, critically evaluate the role of science in society, and develop skills in both oral and written scientific communication. Students will work with the professor to lead a discussion on a topic of their choice and will learn to write a “broader impacts” section of a scientific grant, detailing how the science extends beyond the boundaries of the specific scientific endeavor to affect society. Each week we will explore a research topic in the scientific literature and accompanying literature on the societal impacts/determinants of that research. Example topics: Climate Justice and Global Change Biology, Environmental Justice and Urban Ecology, Biological Property Rights and Cancer Research, Anti-Racism in the Biological Sciences, Indigenous Rights and Ethnobiology, Social Equity in Human Health, and Microbiology.