2022 Earth-Life Science B

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Earth-Life Science
Matsuura Tomoaki  Mcglynn Shawn  Fujishima Kosuke  Okochi Mina  Virgo Nathaniel David 
Class Format
Lecture    (Livestream)
Media-enhanced courses
Day/Period(Room No.)
Tue1-2(ELSI-1 205)  Fri1-2(ELSI-1 205)  
Course number
Academic year
Offered quarter
Syllabus updated
Lecture notes updated
Language used
Access Index

Course description and aims

The purpose of this class is to provide students with a wide range of fundamental knowledge in life science and related fields (molecular and cell biology, biochemical engineering, population dynamics, bioenergetics, synthetic biology, astrobiology, etc.). This class is also aimed for students who did not have the opportunity to study life science during their undergraduate period. We expect this class to provide basic knowledge towards becoming an interdisciplinary researcher through the Earth-Life Science graduate course.

Student learning outcomes

The goal is to learn the meanings of technical terms in fields related to life science and basic knowledge, techniques, and concepts, including laws and formulas so that students can have conversations and discussions with researchers in the same field.


life science, molecular and cell biology, biochemical enginnering, population dynamics, bioenergetics, astrobiology, synthetic biology

Competencies that will be developed

Specialist skills Intercultural skills Communication skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills

Class flow

The lecture will be given by five faculty members and will be delivered live via Zoom. Materials necessary for the lecture will be available for download from OCW in advance, and assignments will be given at the end of each class.

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction to life on Earth History of biology
Class 2 Components of the cells Biomolecules Numbers
Class 3 Catalysis and dynamics Enzyme catalysis Rate equations Diffusion and transport
Class 4 Transcription & Translation Central dogma Kinetic proof reading
Class 5 Synthetic Biology Genome synthesis Omics analysis Synthetic cell
Class 6 Biochemical engineering Cell growth kinetics Clutivation control Bioprocess
Class 7 Molecular evolution Errors in biology Mutagenesis amd directed evolution
Class 8 Population dynamics Basics of population ecology Lotka-Volterra models for predator-prey systems and competing species Phase prortraits for dynamical systems - stability and instability, coexistence and extinction
Class 9 Evolutionary dynamics Models of populations of replicators (Perron-Frobenius theorem) The mutation-selection balance Error catastrophe and "survival of the flattest"
Class 10 History and diversity of life 1 The oldest signs of life: sediments with shapes and isotopes.
Class 11 History and diversity of life 2 The molecular phylogenetic record How are phylogenies made? Where do the data come from? When and where did the tree of life begin? Current views of the tree of life
Class 12 Bioenergetics of life What is chemical energy? All life uses electron transfer Mechanisms of energy harvesting
Class 13 Origins of life Different theories and models regarding the origin of life
Class 14 Life elsewhere Habitability Ocean worlds Exoplanets and biosignatures

Out-of-Class Study Time (Preparation and Review)

To enhance effective learning, students are encouraged to spend approximately 100 minutes preparing for class and another 100 minutes reviewing class content afterwards (including assignments) for each class.
They should do so by referring to textbooks and other course material.


Essential Cell Biology, 5th International Student Edition (2018), WW Norton & Co
Astrobiology (Charles Cockell)
Evolutionary Games and Population Dynamics (Cambridge University Press)
Cell Biology by the Numbers (Garland Science)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Each lecturer will prepare a slide and will be shared before or after the class.

Assessment criteria and methods

Students will be graded based on class assignments and attendance record.

Related courses

  • LST.A203 : Biochemistry I
  • LST.A218 : Biochemistry II
  • LST.A208 : Molecular Biology I
  • LST.A213 : Molecular Biology II

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)


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