UG Newsletter


Undergraduate Newsletter
Department of Biology
August 2019 Issue

We trust that your summer endeavours are progressing productively and are pleasurable.  Although the start of the new academic year is a while away, we would like to welcome each of you to the Department.  Julie French and I, Ken Ko (Undergraduate Chair), hope you find this short newsletter helpful.  It is designed primarily as a working tool to help steer us through the time-sensitive intricacies of course selection, registration, and associated decisions.  The second priority of the newsletter is to highlight tools and events for career development.  Keep these newsletters handy for helpful pointers and timelines.  So to begin, here are this month’s pointers. 

Registration Hiatus (Aug. 5 to the 20th)
It has been a very busy few weeks for both students and staff.  Now it’s time to take a break from course registration and to relax and enjoy the summer weather.  On Aug. 5th course registration comes to a halt until Aug 20th.    The Undergraduate Office will be closed Aug. 5 to 20 and we would like to ask you to refrain from sending e-mail questions until the 21st Aug.  On Aug. 20th open enrolment begins.  The system will be open again for students who need to make changes to course registrations or add an additional 3.0 units (providing there is space in the courses selected).

And just a little reminder, tuition and SAL fees are due September 1st.  It is important to make sure these are paid or you may be at risk of losing your place in courses.    Don’t forget to check!    A complete list of deadlines can be found at:

Timetable – Scheduling Courses
Every effort has been made to schedule BIOL courses conflict free.  This is a complex feat, therefore it is not always possible to schedule BIOL 300, 400 and 500 level courses conflict free.  You may not be able to schedule the combination of courses you have decided on and may need to anticipate changes to your choices. 
Note:  The Department of Biology does not waive timetabling conflicts.  The expectation is that you are able to attend all scheduled lectures, labs, seminars, and tutorials for each course.

Biology Degree Plans
Review your degree plan requirements and make sure you are selecting courses you need.  Degree plan requirements can be found at:

New Biology 2nd Year Core (effective Sept. 2019)
Starting September 2019, the 2nd year Biology core program will be

Diversity of Life (BIOL 200)
Mendelian & Molecular Biology (BIOL 205)
Evolutionary Genetics (BIOL 206)
Introductory Statistics (BIOL 243)
*NEW* Scientific Methods in Biology (BIOL 212)

What is the new course? We have created a new course called Scientific Methods in Biology (BIOL 212). This is a hands-on course that uses experiential learning to teach how to do biological research. You will learn to develop scientific hypotheses, design studies, and run experiments. Working in small pods, you will get to work with a range of cool organisms, learn new lab & field skills, and see how research can be used to answer some of our most pressing global challenges.

Why changes to other courses? Things can be busy in second year. To make room for the new course, we merged two existing courses into one (BIOL 201 & BIOL 202 → BIOL 200). We also removed the labs from all other 2nd year courses and replaced them with tutorials, which means your schedule will be less congested. 

What does this mean for me? More hands-on experience, more active learning, and a reduced workload compared to our old curriculum. 

Wondering who to speak to regarding lab work?
Here is the list of core course lab program associates (lab managers)

BIOL 102:  Barb Vanderbeld ( Rm: Biosci 2321B
BIOL 103:  Laura Nagel ( Rm. Biosci 2322A
BIOL 200:  Anna Rooke ( Rm. 2321A
BIOL 205 and 206: Fern Gauthier ( Rm: Biosci 3321
BIOL 212:  Barb Vanderbeld (, Fern Gauthier (, Anna Rooke (
BIOL 300:  Laura Nagel ( Rm: Biosci 2322A

QUBS Quick Links

Looking for a job?  Quick Link
Looking for study and travel opportunities?  Quick Link

BIOLOGY Undergraduate Office
Mon to Friday 8:30 to noon and 1:00 to 3:00pm
Rm. 3109d, BIOSC Complex


I've spent more time than many will believe [making microscopic observations], but I've done them with joy, and I've taken no notice those who have said why take so much trouble and what good is it?

Antonie van Leeuwenhoek

It's a parts list... If I gave you the parts list for the Boeing 777 and it had 100,000 parts, I don't think you could screw it together and you certainly wouldn't understand why it flew

Eric Lander

What is true for E. coli is also true for the elephant

Jacques Monod

The world becomes full of organisms that have what it takes to become ancestors. That, in a sentence, is Darwinism

Richard Dawkins

Shall we conjecture that one and the same kind of living filaments is and has been the cause of all organic life?

Erasmus Darwin

Nature proceeds little by little from things lifeless to animal life in such a way that it's impossible to determine the line of demarcation


Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold

Lorraine Lee Cudmore

In the distant future I see open fields for far more important researches. Psychology will be based on a new foundation, that of the necessary acquirement of each mental power and capacity by gradation. Light will be thrown on the origin of man and his history

Charles Darwin

It is my belief that the basic knowledge that we're providing to the world will have a profound impact on the human condition and the treatments for disease and our view of our place on the biological continuum

J. Craig Venter

Imagine a house coming together spontaneously from all the information contained in the bricks: that is how animal bodies are made

Neil Shubin

A grain in the balance will determine which individual shall live and which shall die - which variety or species shall increase in number, and which shall decrease, or finally become extinct

Charles Darwin

The stuff of life turned out to be not a quivering, glowing, wondrous gel but a contraption of tiny jigs, springs, hinges, rods, sheets, magnets, zippers, and trapdoors, assembled by a data tape whose information is copied, downloaded and scanned

Steven Pinker

We wish to discuss a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid. (D.N.A.). This structure has novel features which are of considerable biologic interest

Rosalind Franklin

We are biology. We are reminded of this at the beginning and the end, at birth and at death. In between we do what we can to forget

Mary Roach

The systems approach to biology will be the dominant theme in medicine

Leroy Hood

I've always been interested in animal behavior, and I keep reading about it because it's so surprising all the time - so many things are happening around us that we neglect to look at. Part of the passion I have for biology is based on this wonderment"

Isabella Rossellini

Because all of biology is connected, one can often make a breakthrough with an organism that exaggerates a particular phenomenon, and later explore the generality

Thomas Cech

Nothing in Biology makes sense except in the light of evolution

Theodosius Dobzhansky

Biology is now bigger than physics, as measured by the size of budgets, by the size of the workforce, or by the output of major discoveries; and biology is likely to remain the biggest part of science through the twenty-first century

- Freeman Dyson

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a third

- Thomas Huxley