2019-2020 Undergraduate Catalog

Biology

The Biology Department’s innovative and interdisciplinary curricula combine a rigorous grounding in the foundational principles of biological science at all scales of organization from molecules to ecosystems with the opportunity for students to specialize in areas of their own choosing. The program reflects the complexity and diversity of the living world and emphasizes the unifying principles of biological science: evolution, transformations of energy and matter, structure and function, information flow exchange and storage, and the higher-level complexity inherent in multi-component systems.*

Graduates of our program will be conversant in the cellular and molecular basis of life, the design and functioning of individual organisms, and the ecological interactions of organisms. They will respect the primacy of evidence and appreciate its role in the historical development and advancement of a discipline. Graduates will be able to analyze evidence in a critical fashion through exposure to data analysis in literature and in laboratory coursework. Finally, graduates will be cognizant of the possible social impact of our ever-increasing understanding of biological science and will be prepared to wrestle with the difficult ethical conflicts resulting from such advancement.

Students may choose from one of five different majors within the Biology Department to support these academic objectives and their future career plans: Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Coastal and Marine Science, Neuroscience, or STEM. The first four of these majors (Biology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Coastal and Marine Science, Neuroscience) are based on a four-course foundational series: Concepts in Biology I: Molecules to Cells; Concepts in Biology II: Cells to Organisms; Genetics & Evolution, and Ecology and Evolution.  Accompanying the lecture portion of the foundational courses are lab courses that incorporate multiweek open-ended investigations that reinforce the concepts under study and emphasize the process of science and scientific writing. The Biology major emphasizes a broad training in biology by requiring one upper-division elective in each of three areas corresponding to different levels of biological organization. The Molecular and Cellular Biology major emphasizes coursework in molecular and cellular areas of biology and related disciplines and is ideal for students preparing for graduate or professional training in the biomedical sciences or employment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries. The Coastal and Marine Science major is designed to prepare students for graduate training and/or careers in coastal science, ecology, marine biology, conservation biology, or other environmentally focused specialties. Students pursuing the Neuroscience major will have the opportunity to integrate coursework in neurobiology with coursework in psychology. The Neuroscience major is excellent preparation for graduate and professional training in the biomedical sciences and careers in the health professions. The Molecular and Cellular Biology, Coastal and Marine Science, and Neuroscience majors also require hands-on learning in the form of supervised research and/or internship and these experiences are also strongly encouraged for students pursuing the Biology major. The fifth major the Department offers (STEM) is designed to prepare future elementary school teachers by expanding the content knowledge in various STEM fields while also focusing on the interdisciplinary nature of STEM. 

*Vision and change in undergraduate biology education: A call to action (2010). Washington DC: American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Faculty

SANKHIROS BABPOOR, Ph.D.

Lecturer

KIRK A. BARTHOLOMEW, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

MARK A. BEEKEY, Ph.D.

Professor, Department Chair

SUZANNE M. DESCHÊNES, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

MARK I. JAREB, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

JO-MARIE KASINAK, M.S.

Instructor

MARIAN LEAL, M.S.

Instructor

JENNIFER H. MATTEI, Ph.D.

Professor

MARILYN H. MOSS, M.D.

Lecturer

H. SANDRA PELLE, Ph.D. 

Lecturer

BARBARA J. PIERCE, Ph.D.

Professor

NICOLE M. ROY, Ph.D.

Professor

KRISTEN R. SAVELL, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor

LATINA M. STEELE, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

ASHLEY STOEHR, Ph.D. 

Visiting Lecturer

GEFFREY F. STOPPER, Ph.D.

Associate Professor

THOMAS A. TERLEPH, Ph.D.

Professor

VALERIE A. WHERLEY, Ph.D. 

Advanced Lecturer, Director of Pre-Health Advisement Program

Biology Laboratories

The University supports the biology program with six teaching laboratories fully equipped to instruct students in all areas of biological science. In addition, all faculty at the level of assistant professor and above have dedicated research space and equipment appropriate to conduct research in their areas of specialization. Dedicated multiuser areas are also available for conducting research in a variety of areas and include a climate-controlled greenhouse, an analytical instrumentation room for environmental analysis, a marine research tank room, a fluorescence microscopy and imaging facility, and dedicated spaces for molecular biology research instrumentation. The department maintains and consistently updates the specialized equipment required to both teach and do research in the biological sciences. Amongst our more recent acquisitions are a suite of equipment for sub-meter GPS surveys and data collection, real-time PCR instrumentation, automated data capture and analysis software for experimentation in animal behavior, and two instruments for sophisticated analysis of contaminants in environmental samples: a combined gas chromatography/mass spectrometry instrument for organic chemical analysis and an inductively coupled plasma emission spectrometer for inorganic contaminants.