|Sue Philhower Raylman, Ph.D.
Department of Biology
I have been teaching here at the Biology Department in West Virginia University since the fall of 1997. I love teaching science and helping undergraduate researchers. My interests are in the fields of animal anatomical design, evolutionary biology, animal ecology, animal behavior and human physiology.
At WVU, I teach courses in:
Comparative Anatomy ( BIOL 440), where students investigate the design, function and evolutionary history of vertebrate anatomy. For those interested in not just knowing, but understanding human anatomy, the best roadmaps to understanding our anatomical design exist in the design of other animals. Students often enjoy the hands-on aspect of lab which corresponds with lecture. Students perform dissections and analyze skulls and skeletons in lab. This course is intended for senior biology majors.
Behavioral Ecology(BIOL 338) Behavioral ecology is the study of the adaptive function of animal behavior. Here, students investigate animal behavior in light of that organismís ecology: physical ecology and social ecology. Video clips are commonly used to show relevant behaviors. We also focus on how behavioral ecologists think and design models that can predict behavior. This course is intended for junior and senior biology majors.
Human Physiology (BIOL 235), where students learn how human body systems function down at the cellular, tissue and organ levels. We consider how body systems communicate with each other via neural signals and hormones. We also discuss how human physiology applies to applied situations such as strength training, physiology of drug addition, development of heart disease, allergies, autoimmune diseases, how birth control pills work, etc. This course is intended for sophomore, junior or senior non-biology majors. Student who take this course are often interested in the fields of exercise physiology, biomedical engineering, chemical engineering, nursing, pharmacology, chemistry, athletic training, audiology, psychology and more.
I am the coordinator for Biology Honors Investigation and Research (BIOL 486), which is an opportunity for high achieving students to participate in a three semester research project in the field of biology. This course fulfills the capstone requirement for biology majors. Students can conduct research with biology faculty members or other faculty outside of the department that conduct biological research. Biology 486 students currently and in the past have had research advisors in Biology, Health Science, Neuroscience, Physiology, Biology Education, Wildlife, Psychology, Agriculture Science and the Eye Institute.
For my dissertation work in the 1990's I conducted fieldwork with piping plovers, investigating questions about their parental behavior and working to enhance conservation efforts along the North Carolina coast. Clicking on the plover here will bring you to an outline of that past research.
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