Biological Sciences

The Honors Tutorial College Program in Biological Sciences offers exceptional students the opportunity to study the many aspects of biology in one-on-one interactions with Biological Sciences and Biomedical Sciences faculty members. Maximum opportunities will be afforded for the student to progress well beyond the material found in conventional courses. 

Students select either the Cellular and Molecular Biology (MCB) or Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior (EEB) track. Care is taken to ensure that each student, depending upon particular career goals, fulfills the admission requirements for either graduate work or professional school (medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, physical therapy, etc.). 

Program Overview

The following list of required courses is given as a guide for the students. Upon consultation with the Director of Studies, this curriculum may be modified to suit the individual interests and career goals of the students.

Core Biological Sciences Requirements

  • Introduction to Biological Sciences I & II
  • General Genetics
  • Fundamentals of Animal Cell Biology
  • Principles of Evolutions
  • Principles of Physiology
  • General Microbiology
  • Biochemistry

MCB Specialization

  • Human Anatomy or Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Developmental Biology, Molecular Genetics, or Mechanisms of Gene Regulation
  • Laboratory Genetics or Cell and Microbiology Techniques

EEB Specialization

  • Animal Ecology and Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
  • Four additional EEB courses, including:
    • Field Ecology
    • Evolutionary Genetics
    • Animal Behavior
    • Population Ecology
    • Animal Conservation Biology
    • Aquatic Biology
    • or other EEB courses

Other Requirements

  • Freshman Composition
  • Junior Composition
  • Calculus and Statistics
  • Physics
  • Inorganic and Organic Chemistry
  • Biochemistry
  • Tutorials
  • Senior Thesis


In addition to formal courses, tutorials must be taken every semester.

Freshman Year

In the freshman year each Biological Sciences HTC student takes group tutorials in the following subjects:

  • Fall: Molecular and cell biology, neurobiology, and physiology
  • Spring: Ecology, evolution, and behavior

Sophomore and Junior Years

In the sophomore and junior year of the program students take advanced tutorials. Although a tutorial may extend for more than one semester with a single faculty tutor, the Director of Studies strongly encourages taking tutorials with at least two different topics/themes each year. The student may take more than one tutorial per semester, if desired.

The format of the advanced tutorial is determined by discussion between the student and the faculty tutor. There are no limits to the field of study, and it can be taken with a faculty tutor in any department on campus upon permission. The format may include directed readings, laboratory research, field research, etc.

Senior Thesis

During the senior year in the program, each student will engage in an independent research project. Arrangements for the project will be made in consultation with the Director of Studies and a faculty thesis advisor in the area of interest. Each student is strongly encouraged to choose their thesis advisor by the end of fall semester of the junior year and to start designing their thesis project including writing the prospectus in spring semester of the junior year. Seniors must present their results in a seminar during their final semester at Ohio University. Presentation of the results at scientific meetings or publication in professional journals is highly encouraged.


Applicants are selected on the basis of superior academic ability and the potential for self-motivated undergraduate study and research.

Director of Studies

Dr. Soichi Tanda

Associate Professor, Soichi Tanda
Life Sciences Building 215


B.S., Biology: Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 1980
M.S., Zoology: Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 1982
Ph.D., Zoology: Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Japan, 1985

Research Interests

One of the greatest mysteries in the universe is how a single fertilized egg develops into a multicellular body with different organs; that is, development. The process of development is built on an intricate balance between proliferation and differentiation. Breaking this balance often causes devastating consequences in our lives. A good example is cancer, in which cells proliferate endlessly until it takes the life of the host. Our laboratory uses a model organism, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, to understand how this balance is maintained using genetics including transgenic flies, cell biology, microscopy, and bioinformatics. Our current project aims to understand genetic and molecular mechanisms that control the activity of the JAK/STAT oncogene pathway, whose overactivation leads to leukemias in humans and Drosophila. We investigate what genes affect levels of JAK/STAT activity, what genes are controlled by the pathway, and what other pathways, such as the Wnt pathway, cross talk with this pathway.

Another project in our laboratory is to understand how the actin cytoskeleton builds specific cellular structures like filopodia, thread-like extensions from the surface of the cell. Our particular interest is microvilli and their derivatives. Microvilli are thin finger-like structures resembling clustered bristles of a toothbrush on the cell surface. Stereocilia of hair cells in the inner ear are a variation of microvilli and critical for hearing and balance. Although many proteins regulate dynamics of the actin cytoskeleton, we investigate the role of a novel protein called Clic, loss of which causes deafness in humans and mice. We investigate how Clic works with other proteins to build and maintain stereocilia in mice using immunohistochemistry, biochemistry, and microscopy. We also use Drosophila to search for additional Clic-interacting proteins to better understand the biology of stereocilia. Once we find candidate genes using Drosophila, we will examine if they function together with Clic in mice hair cells.

Selected Publications

Epps, J.L. and S. Tanda, 1998 The Drosophila semushi mutation blocks nuclear import of Bicoid during embryogenesis. Curr. Biol. 8: 1277-1280.

Apionishev, S., D. Malhotra, S. Raghavachari, S. Tanda, and R. S. Rasooly, 2001 The Drosophila UBC9 homologue lesswright mediates the disjunction of homologues in meiosis. Genes to Cells 6: 215-224.

Huang, L., S. Ohsako, and S. Tanda, (2005) The lesswright mutation activates Rel-related proteins, leading to overproduction of larval hemocytes in Drosophila melanogaster. Dev. Biol. 280: 407-420.

Casso, D., S. Tanda, B. Biehs, B. Martoglio, and T. B. Kornberg (2005) Drosophila signal peptide peptidase is an essential protease for larval development. Genetics 170: 139-148.

Littler, D. R., S. J. Harrop, L. J. Brown, G. J. Pankhurst, A. V. Mynott, P. Luciani, R. A. Mandyam, M. Mazzanti, S. Tanda, M. A. Berryman, S. N. Breit, P. M. Curmi (2007) Comparison of vertebrate and invertebrate CLIC proteins: The crystal structures of Caenorhabditis elegans EXC-4 and Drosophila melanogaster DmCLIC. Proteins 71: 364-378.