Mary Patterson

Course Descriptions

Advanced Biological Analysis (4371) (2 weighted high school science credits)


Advanced Biological Analysis is a college-level course that examines the topics typically studied during the first year of college by biology majors. In the fall semester, topics in the field of cell and molecular biology will be addressed, some of which include the roles of biological macromolecules, cellular organization and metabolism, and cellular processes such as communication, reproduction, respiration, and photosynthesis. In addition, mechanisms of inheritance and control of gene expression, including epigenetic influences, will be examined. In the Spring, evolution, phylogeny, and the diversity of living things will be discussed. The laboratory experience is a major component of the course, allowing students the opportunity to use contemporary technologies applied in research as well as medical and forensic laboratories, while designing their own experiments and analyzing and interpreting their results. Lab experiences include microscopy, PCR, gel electrophoresis, study of bacteria, various biochemical analyses, bacterial transformation, and CRISPR-Cas Gene Editing. The anatomy and physiology of various vertebrate organ systems will be compared while dissecting animals in the laboratory.


Dr. Mary Patterson’s journey to teaching gifted high school students at the Governor’s School for Science and Technology began with her innate curiosity and was influenced by a love of teaching and the enthusiasm of youth.

She graduated with distinction from the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, having earned her B.S. degree in Genetics and Development. Her Ph.D. in Pathobiology was earned at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus. Her post-doctoral fellowship was at the University of Minnesota, in the Departments of Biochemistry and Orthopedic Surgery. Prior to dedicating her energies to teaching, she had published research in the journals Cancer Research, J. Cell Biology, Biochemistry, and J. Anatomy.

Dr. Patterson has been teaching Advanced Biological Analysis since 2014 at the Governor’s School. She previously spent three years as the instructor for Research Methodology and Ethics.