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Learning Community for Biology Sophomores - The Sky is the Limit

Sophomores in Biology can enroll in a new learning community experience for the Fall 2021 semester: The Sky is the Limit.  This unique opportunity will enable students to connect with like-minded peers, network with faculty in their field of interest, develop goal-oriented academic and professional skills, as well as engage with peer mentors.  

There are four different course sections associated with The Sky is the Limit learning community.  To register, add LAS 103D (1 credit) to your class schedule in AccessPlus.  Further questions about this program may be directed to Clark Coffman (, Sarah Wehner (, or Norah Warchola (

LAS 103D Section 1 - Save Planet Earth

Meeting Time: Mondays, 3:20 pm to 5:10 pm

Instructors: Dr. Tom Neppl and Dr. John Pleasants

Students in the Save Planet Earth learning team will participate in a hands-on, place-based interdisciplinary service learning project involving native species conservation and ecology. The learning team will be informative to students with interests in environmental issues such as conservation and sustainability. Our main goal is to build a community of students and faculty who can take their shared interests in environmental issues and use it to expand their knowledge of science and apply it to real world situations.

LAS 103D Section 2 - Helping People: The Health Care Spectrum

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 3:20 pm to 5:10 pm

Instructor: Dr. Carrie Berg

The Helping People learning team is a group for students with healthcare-related career interests that want to discover how their career goals intersect with personal aspirations to improve the lives of others. In this team, you will interact with a diverse group of practicing professionals as you and other students and work collaboratively to investigate both emerging and established health-related careers. Our multidisciplinary team will focus especially (but not exclusively) on how modern healthcare careers can address unmet needs in our society.

LAS 103D Section 3 - Exploring the Secret Life of Cells

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 3:20 pm to 5:10 pm

Instructor: Dr. Moe Gupta

In this hands-on section we will explore how cells are similar across all living things from yeast to humans, and observe similarities in cell function across all major kingdoms of life. You will learn how basic cell biology research in different organisms helps us improve our world in areas such as medicine, agriculture, and technology. Experiences include interactions with faculty and students around ISU, presentations, group discussions, and hands-on activities to learn about the importance of basic cell biology research for improving our everyday lives.

LAS 103D Section 4 - Decoding Genetic Mechanisms of Metabolism and Aging

Meeting Time: Wednesdays, 3:20 pm to 5:10 pm

Instructor: Dr. Hua Bai

In this team, we offer learning opportunities and hands-on experiences with state-of-the-art genetic and cell biology techniques. Authentic research experiences include fluorescence microscopy, CRISPR/Cas9 genome editing, and tissue aging assessment (e.g., cardiac contraction analysis). We will explore how these techniques can be used to interrogate cellular metabolism, animal aging, and age-related diseases. You will visit research labs on campus and attend seminars and workshops to experience a range of cutting-edge life science research.