DEPARTMENT OF BIOLOGY
Student's voice: Why Akron for biology?
"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 Ph.D. 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.
GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH SPOTLIGHT: Bill Hsiung
My interests in science stemmed from a little boy’s fascination with dinosaurs. The novels “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World” by Michael Crichton further drove me to study molecular biology and genetic engineering, and once had me believe that we could solve most human problems (i.e. cure diseases) through the power of biotechnology. However, a personal setback related to a health issue had me second doubt that idea. During that same period of time, I learned about Biomimicry through Janine Benyus’s TEDTalks, and it opened up my eyes. I entered the Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. program at The University of Akron because it is the first and only program around the world that offers a track to advanced biomimicry study and research at the Ph.D. level. Sponsored by the Sherwin-Williams company, and co-advised by Dr. Blackledge (spiders) and Dr. Shawkey (avian colors), the goal of my doctoral research was to solve human problems by advancing fundamental research through biomimicry. Hence, I focused on studying how colors are produced in spiders along with their potential technical applications.
Biology: Great careers start here!
UA’s Biology Department is diverse and vibrant. We have an array of biology 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 pursuing a master's in biology or 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 engaging biology majors with 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 biology 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. Andronowski's Research
Research in the Andronowski lab focuses on the high-resolution 3D imaging of bone microstructure and the related study of bone adaptation, aging, and disease. I use virtual histology (e.g., Micro-computed Tomography and synchrotron-based imaging) to study bone in new ways and answer questions related to human anatomy, human health, and forensic anthropology. In applying 3D imaging techniques to examine microscopic features of human compact and spongy bone, we can further understand the process of bone turnover and how it is related to age-associated bone affecting conditions such as osteoporosis, and bone aging in general.