Department of Biology

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FEATURED: UNDERGRADUATE BIOLOGY PROGRAM AT AKRON

Terence, a biology student at Akron, describes the undergraduate program and its many suprising advantages. Explore our undergradute degrees in biology.

BIOLOGY DEGREES AT UA
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Enter THE LABS

BIOLOGY WORK OPPORTUNITIES
Why Akron for biology?
UNDERGRADUATE BIOLOGY RESEARCH IN FACULTY LABS

Jordan Renna and a student working with dataThe Barton Research lab is geared toward understanding microbial interactions and adaptations to nutrient-limitation, as experienced by ecosystems in deep subsurface cave environments. The other research in the lab aims to understand the ecology and evolution of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of the White-nose Syndrome epidemic in bats. This research is funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dr. Hazel Barton along with many undergraduate students study geomicrobial interactions in caves, from understanding how rock-eating microbes can contribute to cave formation, to understanding how microbes make a living in dark, isolated caves and the evolution of antibiotics. Research in the Barton Lab is currently funded by the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation and DARPA, through collaboration across the US, in Brazil, China, Denmark and Germany, including government agencies and private companies. Students in the Barton Lab can expect to learn techniques in microbiology, molecular biology, genetic engineering, mineralogy, materials chemistry,and of course, how to carry out field research is caves.

BIOLOGY DEGREE & CAREER PATHS

UA’s Biology Department is diverse and vibrant with an array of biology courses to support varied interests for our two undergraduate degree programs, Master's program and Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. We have 13 tenure-track faculty, with interests ranging from neurobiology to pregnancy to plant/animal interactions.

Our engaging bachelor's of science program offers over 75 undergraduate classes encompassing medicine, microbiology, physiology, 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 biology courses to the Bahamas, Virginia Beach, and Maine for marine biology classes. All of our biology programs allow for excellent research opportunities including the tiered mentoring program.

See what some of our current and former undergraduate students are doing:

Current Student Testimonials

UA biology alumni

BIOLOGY CLUBS
Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Rachel Olson Anatomy and Bones with Dr. Rachel Olson

Dr. Rachel Olson's research program centers around Biomechanics of feeding, soft-tissue biomechanics, muscular hydrostats, and anatomy.

Faculty Spotlights Top 2% of World's Scientists

Check out our entire research agenda in a nutshell below! A quarter of our faculty rank among the top 2% of the World's Best Scientists! (Based on a Recent Study by Standford University)

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GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Sarah Han

Sarah HanMy research in Dr. Todd Blackledge’s lab focuses mainly on how spider webs deal with energy: storing, releasing, dissipating. Our research on the triangle spider, Hyptiotes cavatus, led us to document the first example of external power amplification-a spider using stored elastic energy to shoot its web towards prey, like a catapult or slingshot. No other animal (except humans) does this-they all store elastic energy inside their bodies, not in external devices such as webs. Of course, now we see possible evidence of other spiders doing similar things, which is really exciting. Active tool use in animals may be more widespread than previously thought!

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Dispatch from Tahiti

UA students researched geckos and fish in Tahiti as part of a 2019 vertebrate zoology course.

What can we learn by studying how snakes move?

Dr. Henry Astley, assistant professor of biology, describes how his research on how snakes move could help save lives after an earthquake and help with exploration of other planets.