UMR class discovers biology facts and fiction through movies

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On November 10, 2006

The Swamp Thing can teach moviegoers a lot about biotechnology. Biology 101 students at the University of Missouri-Rolla will learn about that and other creepy creatures in a new course to be offered on campus this spring.

Biotechnology is becoming more and more popular in movies and television, but most people don’t know where the science stops and the fiction begins, says Dr. Anne Maglia, assistant professor of biological sciences. Maglia hopes to clear up some biology misconceptions through her upcoming UMR course, “Biologywood: Unraveling Biology Fact from Fiction at the Movies.”

“In this class, we’ll watch movies, discuss the science shown in the plots, and talk about the real science behind the ideas,” Maglia says. “Students will learn about cutting-edge and controversial biotechnology, including cloning, stem cell research, and genetic engineering.”

Screened movies will include such science fiction classics as “Blade Runner,” “The Fly,” “Planet of the Apes,” and “Resident Evil.”

“By using movies as a starting point, students will learn some pretty heavy duty science, but in a fun and less scary setting,” Maglia says. “The course will also include lectures on biology and biotechnology topics, as well as discussions on how society’s perceptions influence science and vice versa.”

The course will be offered Wednesday nights from 6-8:30 p.m. For more information on the course, contact Maglia at 573-341-7190 or email More information is also available at

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On November 10, 2006. Posted in News