You are here


John Ward - Professor and Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education

I am currently teaching Plant Cell Biology and General Botany. In the Summer I teach at Nature of Life, and in the Fall I organize a science fair mentor program at Murray Middle School.

PBIO 4516W/5516 Plant Cell Biology (3 cr)

Plant Cell Biology focuses on current research on plant cellular structures. One of the goals for the course is to improve students' ability to read primary research papers and to write about research results in an understandable way. Plant Cell Biology is offered as a writing intensive course (PBIO 4516W) or a graduate course (PBIO 5516) and is intended for talented third and fourth year undergraduates who want to continue in science and for beginning graduate students. The course is taught in the Spring and will be offered next in 2015.

BIOL 2022 General Botany (3 cr)

General Botany is a lecture and laboratory course that covers the structure, function, and evolution of all plants from algae to flowering plants as well as fungi. The highlight of this course is the laboratory in which students get hands-on experience with live plant material from the College of Biological Sciences (CBS) Greenhouse and gain experience with microscopy.  General Botany is designed for second-year students with a general interest in Biology but all students are welcome. The course is taught every semester.

Nature of Life

Nature of Life (NOL) is the freshman orientation program of the College of Biological Sciences (CBS). All incoming freshmen in CBS attend one of five sessions of NOL held at the Itasca Biological Research Station in Itasca State Park, near the headwaters of the Mississippi river. Students meet their future classmates, get advice on how to be successful at the U, participate in lab and field experiments, and learn about University traditions. I teach a lab module on plant guard cell function at NOL.


Murray Middle School is a science magnet school in St. Paul. Since 2004 I have organized a science fair mentor program at the school. Murray Middle School has the largest school science fair in the state of Minnesota. As mentors, graduate students and postdocs from CBS help Murray students develop a plan for their science fair project, they give them advice and answer their questions. If you are a CBS student or postdoc and would like to participate, please contact me.