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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ten Free And Essential Lectures For The Biologist

There are a wealth of biology videos and lectures on the world wide web, so whittling down the vast selection to those that are really worth watching is perhaps a bigger challenge than actually finding them. Here, we’ve done all the hard work for you to bring you – in our opinion – ten of the best. From Frank Volkmar’s insightful lecture into the complex condition of autism, to Marian Diamond’s essential look at the human anatomy, the following lectures have been chosen as an essential base for anyone considering – or already embarking – on a career in biology. All are given by qualified and highly respected scientists and whether you're looking for practical science such as physiology and drug treatment to the more theoretical fringes of biotech, there's a wealth of wisdom in this hand-picked selection.

This is a guest post by Lauren Hannigan. If you wish to publish your articles on my blog, email me!


Frank Volkmar (Yale): Autism and Related Disorders

Video Lecture on Autism and Related Disorders (iTunes)

Frank Volkmar offers a series of insightful lectures, which form an entire free course – a first of its kind offered by Yale University. Often misunderstood, autism continues to present new challenges for both those that are suffering from it, and those who care for and teach them. Volkmar offers an invaluable resource through his lectures, bringing us a step closer to understanding what autism is all about.


Prof. Gerald Schneider (MIT): Brain Structure and its Origins

Video Lecture on Brain Structure and its Origins (iTunes)

Professor Gerald Schneider’s podcast consists of thirty three different lectures explaining the different functions of the brain. Each lecture focuses on a different sub-topic of brain science, including: basic brain patterns, sensory pathways and structures, formation of habits, and cognitive functions.


Jill Helms, Stanford: Replaceable You – Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering

Video Lecture on Stem Cells and Tissue Engineering (iTunes)

Jill Helms’ series consists of four separate lectures looking at the aging process of the human body, and how scientists are working on ways to reverse this process. Each lecture looks into revolutionary medical discoveries that could potentially be life-changing in terms of dealing with the effects of human aging.


Robert Saplosky: Human Behavioural Biology

Video Lecture on Human Behavioural Biology (YouTube)

Robert Sapolsky’s free course consists of twenty five lectures looking at the science behind human behaviour and psychology, including behavioural revolution, molecular genetics, neuroscience and sexual behaviour.


Christopher Scott (Stanford): Stem Cells: Policy and Ethics

Video Lecture on Stem Cells (iTunes)

“No area of science holds such promise for treating disease and improving human lives as stem cell research. But no area of science causes such fundamental ethical concern and such ferocious political conflict,” is how this course is introduced. This series consists of five separate lectures teaching students the fundamentals and essentials of stem cell biology.


Jennifer Raymond: The Future of Human Health

Video Lecture on The Future of Human Health (YouTube)

An essential collection of seven videos, The Future of Human health is a vital exploration into some of the most exciting discoveries in neuroscience, bioengineering, brain imaging, and psychology. Jennifer Raymond is one of seven speakers, and each lecture lasts between ten and twenty minutes, making them easy and convenient to view.


Molecular Biology: Macromolecular Synthesis and Cellular Function

Video Lecture on Macromolecular Synthesis (iTunes)

This series – conducted by several different professors from UC Berkley – consists of forty one different lectures. Each looks at a different aspect of the science, all together forming a complete package touching on the depths of molecular biology and aiming to provide students with an all-round and general understanding of its fundamentals.


Jay Phelan (UCLA): Life, Concepts and Issues: Introduction to Life Sciences for Non-Science Majors

Video Lecture on Life, Concepts and Issues (iTunes)

Jay Phelan’s lectures consist of nineteen videos, available through YouTube. His videos feature a mix of lecture techniques, as well as using debate to illustrate points. His lectures are designed to be easy to follow, even for those that are not professional practitioners or students in science; they are designed to provoke thought and educate on the basics of life concepts and theories.


Marian Diamond (UC Berkley): General Human Anatomy

Video Lectures on General Human Anatomy (YouTube)

This lecture is part of UC Berkeley’s Integrated Biology series. Marian Diamond, who has over thirty years’ experience as a teacher of biology, focuses on teaching the integration of structure and function “in the evolution of diverse biological systems.” Although her subject matter complex, Marian’s lecturing techniques are clear, consistent and injected with humour.


Robert B. Goldberg (UCLA): Genetic Engineering in Medicine, Agriculture and Law

Video Lecture on Genetic Engineering (YouTube)

Genetic engineering and modification is a concept that has long been debated. This series of lectures looks into how the process is becoming increasingly common, and the extent at which it has evolved. Goldberg’s lectures provide an interesting insight into how science has developed in this field, and the amazing possibilities it now enables.

That's it this month! Enjoy!


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