Department of Biology
WHAT DO YOU VALUE ABOUT THE BIOLOGY PROGRAM AT THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON?
"What I value about the UA bio department is the exemplary facilitation of student engagement. Through the internally-funded tiered mentoring program, I was able to join a lab and conduct an independent research project. Without getting into the nitty-gritty, the ability to join that research group and be treated as a peer was the single most influential factor on my development as a scientist. Whether via such programs or direct faculty engagement, the values of the bio department at UA facilitated student success and scientific development."
-- Bryan Brown, former biology undergraduate currently enrolled in a PhD program at Duke University.
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH IN FACULTY LABS
In the Renna Lab, undergraduate students like Dan Vicarel record signals from living neurons and investigate the effects of light on the formation of functional connections between the retina and various visuals centers of the brain. We target specific populations of neurons and characterize their maturation using cutting edge genetic, molecular, and electrophysiological techniques.
THE UNIVERSITY OF AKRON'S BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT
UA’s Biology Department is diverse and vibrant. We have an array of courses that serve students seeking to go on to pre-professional schools (medicine, veterinary, dental and pharmacy), students interested in Zoology, Microbiology or Botany, students going on to graduate schools, and current graduate students (Master’s and PhD). We have 16 tenure-track faculty, with interests ranging from neurobiology to pregnancy to plant/animal interactions. We serve ~500 undergraduate and ~75 graduate students.
The Biology Department offers over 75 undergraduate classes encompassing medicine, microbiology, physiology, botany, zoology and ecology. Biology is a hands-on discipline, and our courses are reflective of our commitment to field and laboratory experiences. Many of our classes have laboratory components, including many field courses. Additionally, we offer summer courses to the Bahamas, Virginia Beach, and Maine for marine biology classes.
Our upper-division courses average ~15 students, allowing unfettered access to our faculty. Additionally, our vibrant graduate program allows research opportunities for our students, who can apply up to 6 independent research credits towards their B.S. degrees. Such opportunities propel our students on to success: in 2015, 77% of our graduates were placed in professional or graduate programs while an additional 16% got a job in their field within 6 months of graduation.
We hope you will join us in our continuing exploration of the science of Biology!
FACULTY RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: DR. JORDAN RENNA
We asked Dr. Renna three questions about his research. Check out his responses!
- Describe your research.
Our research explores the mechanisms of neural circuit maturation, focusing specifically on a unique class of neurons (melanopsin ganglion cells) that connect the eye to the brain during early postnatal development. We have recently documented a surprising new observation in mouse retina that many immature melanopsin ganglion cells extend their dendrites not only to the conventional location in the inner retina, but also all the way out to the outer retina, where rods and cones are located. [Read more...]
GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: GANESH SWAMINATHAN
My research focuses on developing effective treatment strategies for abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs). AAA is a slow disease characterized by abnormal bulging of the abdominal aorta (a major artery carrying blood from heart) due to breakdown of its structural components known as elastic and collagen matrices, which ultimately result in fatal rupture. When small AAAs are detected, they are subjected to passive monitoring using ultrasound and CT scans until they reach a critical size (5.5 cm) for surgical intervention. [Read more...]