Biological sciences is the study of life and living organisms, their life cycles, adaptations and environment. We support undergraduate scholarly endeavors, train students for an array of careers in research and related professional fields, and communicate the impact and significance of biology to an array of students. Despite the heated discussions that remained about the importance of ‘evo-devo,’ or what molecular evolution meant for the synthetic theory, and despite a number of challenges from outside of science such as the ‘intelligent design,’ or ID advocates, the century drew to a close with a much broader view of evolutionary biology.
That’s why each year, our professors welcome students into their labs or into the field, working side-by-side on original research, asking questions that no one has answered and looking for solutions that are yet to be discovered. We explore a wide range of fundamental biological questions with a focus on molecular cell biology at all levels, from molecular structure to human disease. On this module you’ll attend lectures, practical classes, workshops and supervised time in a studio or workshops, and you’ll take part in fieldwork study and external visits.
All of these tools for state-of-the-art molecular and integrative biology research — as well as opportunities to do field research on our University farm and in the lush environment around campus — will be available to you as an undergraduate student. Biologists study the structure, function, growth, origin, evolution and distribution of living organisms. As a biology major, you might accompany your professors on a field expedition to study seabirds in Alaska, wild eggplants in Australia, giant salamanders in Japan, or bats, bees, and lightning bugs here in Pennsylvania.
Four unifying principles form the foundation of modern biology: cell theory, evolution, genetics and homeostasis. Students who study the biological sciences will be able to pursue many career avenues particularly within research, teaching, sales and in field work roles. Evolution is the change over time that is the engine of biological diversity. Whatever the initial tension between the two disciplines, newer methods and critical insights made their way into evolutionary biology leading to a new area of research traveling under the new banner of molecular evolution.
Rafael de Sá, professor of biology, has been awarded more than $400,000 from the National Science Foundation for his research on the diversity and evolution of a frog species found in South America. Offers an inquiry-based, intensive laboratory experience in which students have an opportunity to design and conduct independent research projects, applying approaches and techniques used in cell and molecular biology.
The fields within biology are further divided based on the scale at which organisms are studied and the methods used to study them: biochemistry examines the fundamental chemistry of life; molecular biology studies the complex interactions of systems of biological molecules; cellular biology examines the basic building block of all life, the cell; physiology examines the physical and chemical functions of the tissues and organ systems of an organism; and ecology examines how various organisms interrelate.