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Welcome to Human Biology!  Humans share fundamental characteristics with all life – structure, chemistry, control mechanisms, behaviour, ecological context, and an evolutionary history. Thus the study of human biology must entail a sound knowledge of basic life science. Humans have also developed unique characteristics, emergent properties, arising from their highly complex brains – their intricate behaviour, communication and conceptual abilities, and social structures. So a fuller appreciation of their biology also needs an understanding drawn from disciplines such as psychology, anthropology, and sociology. The Human Biology science programs are designed to do provide this understanding.

Program Highlights

While the collaborative nature of the Human Biology Program is designed to encourage inter-disciplinary research and learning and allow students to tailor the program to their specific interests within a set Human Biology administered program, all Human Biology students in all HMB programs will take core courses offered through Human Biology to help set a solid foundation to build their program upon.

HMB200H1 Introduction to Neuroscience
A survey of brain systems, including evolution and development of the nervous system, brain stem system for defensive and approach responses, limbic and cortical systems for learning, and higher brain functions. Techniques for study of brain systems including pharmacology, gene targeting and human brain imaging are introduced.

HMB201H1 Introduction to Fundamental Genetics and its Applications
Interdisciplinary course consisting of three parts: the genetic basis, tools and techniques of biotechnology; medical, environmental and agricultural applications; and ethical, legal and social aspects of biotechnology (including approaches to risk assessment, reduction and acceptance). A prime example used in the third part is the controversy over genetically modified foods.

HMB202H1 Introduction to Health and Disease
An introductory course in Health and Disease using an interdisciplinary approach that integrates developmental human biology with perspectives from the Social Sciences. An exploration of the key concepts and approaches that are necessary for understanding the dynamic nexus of human health and disease.

HMB203H1 Introduction to Global Health
An introductory course covering the theories, operational components and strategies of implementing primary health care in developing countries. Topics include education, control of vector borne diseases, essential drug provision, maternal and child health and nutrition and incorporation of alternative and complementary technologies, community participation and deployment of health service providers.

HMB204H1 Introduction to Human Biology
An introduction to the biological, health, environmental, and sociopolitical issues that influence human health and well-being. Topics include genetic variation within and across human populations, biological variation related to the environment, determinants of health and disease, and human behaviour and development.

In third-year, students in Human Biology programs start to branch out and connect their foundations to topics studies relating to student interests. 300-level core courses are offered to ensure a consistent theme throughout the multi-lateral foci of our students.

Core 300-level courses for Neuroscience students

HMB300H1    Neurobiology of Behaviour
This intermediate course in neuroscience focuses on higher brain functions and mechanisms underlying human and animal behaviours. Topics may include advanced neurophysiological, neuroanatomical and genetic basis of various cortical functions, including learning and memory, “mirroring”, and executive function. Experimental techniques used in neuroscience research such as electrophysiological recordings, brain imaging and neurogenetics are emphasized.

HMB320H1    Neuroanatomy
This is a rigorous, introductory course that presents the functional and comparative anatomy of the vertebrate brain. It is designed for students who intend to continue with studies in the Neurosciences and related areas.

CJH332H1   Neurobiology of the Synapse (formerly CSB332H1)
Examination of all aspects of the synapse in both the peripheral and central nervous systems of invertebrates and vertebrates. Topics include: synapse formation, synaptic transmission, synaptic plasticity, learning and memory, and neurological disorders.

Core 300-level courses for Fundamental Genetics & its Applications students

HMB321H1    Topics in Genetics
The overall theme of this course is human genetics in disease. Topics include the molecular basis of human disease, using model organisms to identify disease-related genes, and genetic counseling. Expert guest lectures from clinical and basic sciences as well as small group work in tutorials build in-depth understanding.

HMB360H1    Neurogenomics
Genetic basis of normal and abnormal function of the nervous system. Lecture topics include neural gene expression, regulation of chromatin and neuron function, genome wide association studies and disorders of brain and behaviour, optogenetic and pharmacogenetic techniques to probe neural circuit function. Tutorials emphasize critical analysis of primary research.

Core 300-level course for Health & Disease students

HMB302H1    Vertebrate Histology and Histopathology
Laboratory and lecture course studying the structure of the cell, various tissues and organ systems. Emphasis is on functional morphology and the adaptive response (including the inflammatory reaction) by comparing histological sections of normal tissues and organs with common diseases including neoplasia, respiratory, and liver disease.

Core 300-level courses for Global Health students

HMB303H1    Global Health and Human Rights
A multidisciplinary emphasis on the economic, historical, social and cultural determinants of health and human rights, and how structural violence prevents progress towards human rights. Case studies reflecting global aspects of health and human rights form a framework for approaching these issues.

HMB310H1 Laboratory in Neuroscience
A laboratory course based on current research techniques for students in the Neuroscience Specialist and Major programs. Lab topics may include human brain imaging and disorders; animal behaviour, electrophysiology and cell culture; and microarray analysis of neural development.

HMB311H1 Laboratory in Fundamental Genetics and its Applications
A laboratory course based on current research techniques for students in the Genes Genetics & Biotechnology Specialist and Major programs. Lab topics may include basic microbiology, molecular biology and animal cell culture techniques, nutrigenomics; and microarray analysis of altered gene expression.

HMB312H1 Laboratory in Health and Disease
A laboratory course based on current research techniques for students in the Health & Disease Specialist and Major programs. Lab topics may include basic microbiology, molecular biology and animal cell culture techniques, immunocytochemistry, microarrays, and histological techniques.

HMB314H1 Laboratory in Human Biology
Students analyze whole body, cellular, and molecular responses to stress. Techniques range from those standard in medical practice (e.g., blood pressure) to those used in cutting-edge research laboratories (e.g., microarrays). Students gain technical and analytical skills as they use these laboratory techniques to design and carry out individual and group experiments.

HMB489H1 Advanced Laboratory in Human Biology
Building on their experience in 3rd-year labs, students participate in inquiry-based laboratory experiments in diverse areas of current human biology research. Open to students in any Human Biology program.