Fall 2020 - BISC 455 D100

Endocrinology (3)

Class Number: 1430

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo, We, Fr 10:30 AM – 11:20 AM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 9, 2020
    3:30 PM – 6:30 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    BISC 305 and one of BISC 306 or 316 with a grade of C- or better.



A study of endocrine organs and their role in integrating physiological functions in animals.


Why did the Church encourage castration of young boys in 18th century Italy? Why does "sex chemistry" last 2 years for newlyweds? Is there really such a thing as male menopause? Did Shakespeare know about oxytocin when he said "trust none for oaths are straws"? Do hormones make woman bad drivers? Why are a man's sweaty armpits sexually attractive to females? Why might swimming in European rivers be bad for a fish’s feminine side?


This course will answer these questions through a broad review of endocrine systems, and the hormonal regulation and integration of physiological function in invertebrate and vertebrate animals (and a little bit on plants!), from the molecular to the whole-organism level. Following a general overview, we will focus on the major endocrine axes regulating such modern-day issues as sex, obesity, stress, ageing, etc. There will not be an exclusive focus on humans: this will be a comparative course.


Important note: Lectures and tutorials will be delivered synchronously (at normal class times). You will require Zoom, a mic and camera to participate in class discussion. Powerpoint slides will be provided but lectures might not be recorded.


  • Class presentation I (1 slide, 3 min talk on social media story related to endocrinology) 10%
  • Class presentation II (1 slide, 3 min talk on scientific research article related to endocrinology) 10%
  • Mid-term Exam 10%
  • Final Exam 20%
  • Tutorials and exercises/assignments 25%
  • Term paper – a 1-page abstract/summary of your proposed topic with 5 example references 5%
  • Final term paper - a 10-12 page review on an endocrinology-related topic of your choice 20%



No textbook required


Campbell & Reece's Biology will be useful (review Chapter 45!), plus other texts which will be on reserve in the library

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).