Course: Evolutionary Cell Biology

This course provides a rigorous and comprehensive introduction to the emerging interdisciplinary field of evolutionary cell biology, which provides an evolutionary framework for the origin and development of cellular structures, processes and functions. This course includes, but is not limited to, the following topics: origin of cells, genetic mechanisms of cellular evolution, evolutionary scaling laws, evolution of cellular structures, energetics and metabolism, information processing, and the evolution of organismal complexity. This course is designed for graduate students and advanced undergraduate students studying the life sciences that have completed at least one course in evolutionary biology and one course in cell biology.

Course materials (readings, lectures, and video recordings) are open to collaborators and others interested in evolutionary cell biology. If you are interested in learning more about the course, please email Michael Lynch ([email protected]) or Josh Hoskinson ([email protected]).

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Course schedule

Theme 1: Introduction to Evolutionary Cell Biology

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
1Evolutionary Cell BiologyLecture 1
2The Origin of CellsLecture 2
3The Major Lines of DescentLecture 3

Theme 2: The Genetic Mechanisms of Evolution

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
4The Population-genetic EnvironmentLecture 4
5Evolution as a Population-Genetic ProcessLecture 5
6Evolution of Cellular ComplexityLecture 6

Theme 3: Basic Cellular Features

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
7The Cellular EnvironmentLecture 7
8Evolutionary Scaling Laws in Cell BiologyLecture 8
9Cell Growth and DivisionLecture 9
10The Cell Life CycleLecture 10
11Cellular SenescenceLecture 11

Theme 4: Structural Evolution

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
12The Protein WorldLecture 12
13MultimerizationLecture 13
14Protein ManagementLecture 14
15Lipids and MembranesLecture 15
16Cytoskeleton, Cell Shape, and MotilityLecture 16

Theme 5: Energetics and Metabolism

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
17The Costs of Cellular FeaturesLecture 17
18Resource Acquisition and HomeostasisLecture 18
19Enzymes and Metabolic PathwaysLecture 19

Theme 6: Information Processing

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
20Intracellular ErrorsLecture 20
21Intracellular Communication: TranscriptionLecture 21
22Environmental Sensing and Extracellular CommunicationLecture 22

Theme 7: Organismal Complexity

Class SessionReadingLectureRecording
23EndosymbiosisLecture 23
24Origins of Organismal ComplexityLecture 24