MBL September Courses

In September 2022, the College is offering five courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory. Each course will be taught by University of Chicago and MBL faculty.  

These intensive, three-week long courses meet for up to eight hours per day for 5–6 days per week, combining lectures with immersive labs and fieldwork. Each student can only enroll in one course.

Program Information

    The program will run from August 29 - September 16, 2022.  

    Classes will be held on Labor Day.

    The schedule ensures that students have ample time to return to campus for Autumn Quarter.

    Students register for a September MBL course as part of the summer term, and each course carries 100 units of credit.   

    • Please note that HIPS 15100 does not count for BIOS credit

    With a maximum of 15 students each, classes are small and offer an interactive teaching environment where instructors spend considerable time with each student.


    College participants in the September MBL courses are responsible for a program fee of $2,250 that covers three weeks' dorm-style housing and meals at MBL, as well as all supplies and excursions. 

    Students are responsible for covering their own airfare and related travel expenses to MBL.

    Need-based scholarships are available to assist with the program fee, and are automatically applied for accepted students who qualify.  There are additional scholarships applied for Odyssey Scholars.  

    Applications for September 2022 are now closed.

    Applications for the 2023 September Program are expected to go live on this page in January 2023.


Course Descriptions

Each course is worth 100 units of credit.

    Instructors: David Mark Welch, Elena Lopez Peredo

    Course Description:  Microbiomes Across Environments provides a comprehensive introduction to microbiome research, tools and approaches for investigation, and a lexicon for biological understanding of the role of microbial communities in environmental and host environments. Microbiome science is an emerging field that bridges disciplines, merging microbiology with genomics, ecosystem science, computation, biogeochemistry, modeling, medicine, surgery, immunology, molecular engineering, and many others, including architecture, social science, chemistry and even economics. In this course we will uncover the vast biochemical and metabolic diversity of the microbial world by examining life in ocean and marine systems, terrestrial ecosystems, and animal (including human) host-associated contexts. Students will develop or strengthen biological field/lab techniques, analyze and compare data prepared from student-collected samples, and will integrate fundamental knowledge, modeling, and theory as it pertains to microbiome research.

    Instructors: A. Correa, E. Perozo, F. Bezanilla, E. Schwartz, E. Lee

    Course Description:  New insights into cell function are now possible using technologies that resolve single molecules. However, as devices become more complicated, we are often faced with three questions: What is it that our instruments actually measure; how can we change the instrument to see a new behavior; and, how do we analyze the data to get the greatest insight? We will learn how to answer these questions by designing, building, and using our own electrical and optical instruments, making measurements, and then analyzing the results. Membrane proteins play an essential role in the behavior of all cells. We will study membrane protein channels in synthetic membranes, host cells, and giant axons from squid collected in the waters surrounding the MBL. The movement of electrical charge produced by conformational changes will be correlated with both the current passing thru single channels and structural information obtained from light and electron microscopy. The course will proceed from simple measurements to student-designed projects.

    Instructor: O. Pineda-Catalan

    Course Description:  In this course, student will have the opportunity to explore the large diversity of marine animal species in Woods Hole, Massachusetts and its surroundings. We will combine fieldwork with genomic and bioinformatic approaches to study different aspects of the evolution, ecology, taxonomy, physiology, and biogeography of marine animals in this unique location. Student will integrate knowledge and analytical tools from different biological disciplines to develop short research projects. During the three weeks of the course, student will have access to the Marine Biological Laboratory's collection of living marine animals, participate in ongoing research projects at MBL, and contribute data that will advance our understanding of marine biodiversity.

    Instructor: Eric Larsen

    Course Description:  Students will explore various aspects of the biota of the region surrounding the Marine Biology Laboratory, Woods Hole, MA. The focus of the course will be to examine various patterns in the distribution and abundance of the flora/fauna in the islands and associated mainland habitats over the course of 3 weeks through a combination of in class lectures and laboratory sessions, combined with field studies. Penikese Island will receive special focus for extensive inventory of the biota, to update previous contributions to the flora of the island and begin an inventory of mammals, birds, and invertebrates. Similar surveys will be made of nearby mainland habitats for biogeographic comparisons between island and mainland patterns of abundance.

    Read about the 2021 Biogeography course here!

    Instructor: Michael Paul Rossi

    Course description: How do scientific images get made? This deceptively simple question lies at the heart of this course. Over three weeks at the MBL, we will examine the techniques, technologies, philosophies and histories of scientific image making, with a particular focus on marine biology. Rather than simply reading theories of visualization and representation, students will immerse themselves in the making of images themselves. Students will perform hands-on work with historical and contemporary theories and techniques of microscopy, taxonomy, anatomy, and specimen collecting. They will also examine the theoretical, philosophical, and ethical underpinnings of those practices. Through a combination of ethnographic (participant observation) and historical (archival) work, students will develop rich accounts of scientific visualization - from matters of objectivity and instrumentation, to problems of vision and the limits of (human) senses, to questions of aesthetics, abstraction, and representation. During the course, students will have the opportunity to work with Marine Biological Laboratory faculty, have access to laboratory and archives, and will develop new data and novel accounts of the social, cultural, and technical creation of scientific images.

    Read about the 2021 Visualization and Biology course here!

    *Please note that this is not a biology course, and does not count for BIOS credit.