Are you interested in learning more about living things, or perhaps beginning to train for a career in the healthcare or medical professions? This course will help you understand the structure and function of the human body at the level of your tiniest living components—your cells. You'll also learn about DNA—what it is, what it does, and even a little bit about how forensic scientists use it to solve crimes. The knowledge you'll gain from this course is essential to understanding the fundamental causes of human disease, and will prepare you for more advanced courses in human anatomy and physiology.
We'll begin the course by focusing on the structure and function of your cells. You'll get to know how your cells are organized, then you'll explore how they obtain the materials and energy your body needs. After you've mastered cells, we'll examine DNA and figure out how it sends messages that have a major impact on your physical appearance, general health, and even your personality traits. You'll look at how your cells divide for growth and sexual reproduction, and how you can pass some of your traits on to your children. As a grand finale, you'll bring together many of the elements you've learned to understand cancer—what causes it, how it progresses, and how it can be treated.
As you explore each topic, you'll have lots of opportunities to deepen your understanding and relate what you're learning to your own life. When things get complicated, you'll have the guidance you need, so you won't get overwhelmed by the details. By the end of the course, you'll have a better appreciation of the fundamental characteristics of living things as well as a solid foundation in the biology of human beings and the biological and medical sciences.
About The Instructor
René Fester Kratz graduated from the University of Washington with a Ph.D. in Botany. For the past 15 years, she's been teaching biology to a wide variety of students whose interests range from curiosity about the natural world to a desire to work in the healthcare professions. René's strong interest in science literacy motivated her to help develop science classes for future teachers and to write several science books aimed at the general public, including Biology for Dummies and Molecular and Cell Biology for Dummies. In both her teaching and her writing, René emphasizes central ideas and keeps jargon to a minimum.