Brief Teaching Philosophy:

My philosophy on learning science is simple. To learn science, you must do science. "Doing science" involves a number of things besides wearing a lab coat and standing at a bench: active discussion with other scientists, active problem solving, reading and understanding scientific literature, being able to apply basic concepts to real-world situations, communicating results and ideas effectively, and placing a scientific topic into a context that people will care about because it is personally interesting. I blend a mixture of lecture, literature reading, discussion and videos into every class. I try to make lectures relevant by actively learning about what my students are interested in, and using their interests as examples.

BIOS3120: Microbiology (5 Credits) - in Spring Semester every year

This course is designed to synthesize information from previous classes by applying principles learned in biology and chemistry to the unique case of prokaryotic organisms. There are typically 60-72 students in the class, most of whom are junior or senior level Biomedical Sciences or Biology majors. I teach this course every Spring. Topics covered are: three domains and phylogeny, history of microbiology, endosymbiotic theory, cell walls of Bacteria and Archaea, Microbial growth, Microbial metabolism, redox chemistry, glycolysis, electron transport and variations of these systems, microbial molecular biology regulation of gene expression, viruses and bacteriophage coevolution, horizontal gene transfer, antibiotic discovery, antibiotic resistance, contagious pathogens (vary by semester), vector-borne pathogens (Lyme Disease), water-borne pathogens (cholera), microbial species concept revisited, methods in molecular microbiology, metagenomics, human microbiome project, microorganisms in bioremediation.

Laboratory is administered by Graduate Teaching Assistants and covers: light microscopy, preparation of wet mounts, sterile technique, streak plating, colony morphology, simple and differential staining techniques, Gram staining, metabolic tests, food production, environmental effects on microbial growth, disinfectants, antibiotics, viable and direct counts, plaque assays, coliform fermetation

Link to Syllabus

BIOS 6050: Biological Sciences Colloquium (1 credit) in Spring 2013

Current Schedule of Speakers for Spring 2013 Colloquium (subject to change)

Fridays 3:30-4:30pm

January 11 - Alvar Carlson, Vestaron Corporation (hosted by Dr. Spitsbergen)

January 18 - Jerry Colca, SW Michigan Innovation Center (hosted by Dr. Eversole)

January 25 - Blair Szymczyna, Western Michigan University, Dept. of Chemistry (hosted by Dr. Docherty)

February 1 - Stuart Jones - University of Notre Dame, Dept. of Biological Sciences (hosted by Dr. Docherty)

February 8 - Megan Duffy - University of Michigan (hosted by Biological Sciences Graduate Students and Dr. Kohler)

February 15 - John Kelley - Loyola University Chicago (hosted by Dr. Docherty)

February 22 - Takeshi Shimamura - Loyola University Chicago (hosted by Dr. Bejeck)

March 1 - Spirit Day - no seminar

March 8 - Spring Break - no seminar

Week of March 11, Hadley Lecture, Gabrielle Nevitt - UC Davis (hosted by Dr. Docherty/Dr. Gill)

March 22 - Chris Waters - Michigan State University (hosted by Dr. Rossbach)

March 29 - TBA

April 5 - Sharon Amacher - Ohio State University (hosted by Dr. Kane)

Week of April 8, Bach Lecture - Ruben Donis, CDC-Atlanta (hosted by Dr. Essani)

April 19 - TBA

April 26 - Laura Johnson - IU Bloomington (hosted by Dr. Docherty)



Climate Change: Scientific, Socioeconomic, and Policy Perspectives (1 credit) - Spring 2013

This is a 1 credit course and Dr. Carla Koretsky in Lee Honors College is the Instructor of Record. You are also welcome to attend the seminar series without enrolling for credit. Click here for more information. The course catalog information and list of speakers is below:


HNRS 2900/4900: Lyceum Lecture Series: Climate Change                      Carla Koretsky
16027 W 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. 1011 LHC 1 credit hour
This seminar will include weekly talks and discussion panels by climate change experts from within and beyond WMU. Topics to be discussed include the science of climate change and the socioeconomic and geopolitical implications of climate change at regional, national and international scales. The semester will culminate with a project, for example, students may opt to present a talk related to climate change to a local community or school group. 

Current Schedule of Speakers (subject to change)

January 9: Anthropogenic Climate Change: Past, Present, and Future. Presented by Dr. David Karowe, Professor of Biological Sciences

January 16: Effects of Climate Change on Species and Ecosystems. Presented by Dr. David Karowe, Professor of Biological Sciences

January 23: Climate Change and Its Effects on Fossil Mammals in the Geologic Record Presented by Dr. Robert Anemone, Professor of Anthropology

January 30: The Dance of the 3 “E’s”: Energy, Environmental Stewardship (CO2 Emissions Mitigation), and Economic Imperatives Presented by Dr. David Barnes, Professor of Geosciences

February 6: Climate Change and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Presented by Dr. Kathryn Docherty, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

February 13: Climate Change and Energy for the Transportation Sector Presented by Dr. Steve Bertman, Professor of Chemistry

February 20: Economics of Climate Change. Presented by Dr. Bruce Ferrin, Professor of Marketing and Dr. Paul Clements, Professor of Political Science

February 27: What’s the Worst That Could Happen? Presented by Dr. Duane Hampton, Associate Professor of Geosciences

March 6: Spring Break ~ no lecture

March 13: The Ethics and Politics of Climate Change Presented by Dr. Paul Clements, Professor of Political Science

March 20: Social Organization of Climate Change Denial Presented by Dr. Ronald Kramer, Professor of Sociology

March 27: History and Climate Change: What’s Culture Got To Do With It? Presented by Dr. Sarah Hill, Associate Professor of Anthropology& Environmental Studies

April 3: International Climate Change Policy Frameworks Presented by Dr. Denise Keele, Assistant Professor of Political Science & Environmental Studies

April 10: TBA

April 17: Controlling Greenhouse Gas Emissions at WMU Presented by Dr. Paul Pancella, Professor of Physics


IN DEVELOPMENT: BIOS 5970 Topics in Biology: Ecology of the Human Microbiome - Fall 2013


This course will be designed to provide an understanding of the current state of knowledge about microbial ecology of the human microbiome for upper-level undergraduate and graduate students.  The course will rely heavily on exploring primary literature about microorganisms living on and in the human body.  Students will learn about high-throughput sequencing and be introduced to bioinformatics techniques to assess microbial community structure. This emerging field is already influencing how medical professionals view microbial disease and acquired immunityIntroducing ecological principles in the context of the microbial ecology of the human body will provide students in the Biomedical Sciences track a unique view of the human body as a microbial ecosystem.

IN DEVELOPMENT: BIOS 4970 Microbial Ecology - Fall 2014


My version of Microbial Ecology will focus on the biogeochemical roles of microorganisms in terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems.  This course will allow students to investigate the importance of microbial biodiversity in ecosystem functioning through lecture, literature discussion, sequence database exploration and field trips.  Students will learn about cutting edge technology (high-throughput sequencing and metagenomics) as well basic bioinformatics techniques.  A large section of the course will highlight our need to understand microbial contributions to global biogeochemical cycles in order to accurately predict global change scenarios.