A Teaching Video on Biological Rhythms


by Eric Bittman elb@umass.edu
I am pleased to share a film I made to supplement assigned readings in my undergraduate course on Biological Rhythms at the University of Massachusetts. I have divided the video into 7 parts, and it is my practice to assign the various chapters at appropriate points during the semester as the course covers various topics. In addition, it gives students a chance to meet some of the important contributors to our field, who generously gave their time for interviews.

It is provided with the hope that those teaching courses in biological rhythms will find it useful in introducing students to the history and concepts of our field. I am happy to provide the syllabus I have used upon request, as an example of how the chapters can be integrated with reading assignments and discussions.

Here’s an outline of the organization:

Prologue (starts at 0030): An introduction to circadian rhythms with speculation on evolutionary/cellular origins.
Chapter 1 (starts at 05:12): History of the study of biological rhythms (up until mid- 20th century).
Chapter 2 (starts at 27:45): End of the Endogenous-Exogenous debate
Chapter 3 (starts at 37:18): Adaptive significance of endogenous rhythms (including photoperiodism and sun compass orientation).
Chapter 4 (starts at 59:50): Entrainment (including phase response curves and some mathematical modeling).
Chapter 5 (starts at 1:24:05): Genetics and molecular mechanisms
Chapter 6 (starts at 1:34:09): Circadian pacemakers