Our department has primary responsibility for undergraduate education in the biological sciences, and all of our faculty participate in that mission. A large number of our students have a strong interest in medicine, and we have developed a range of opportunities to prepare our majors for medical school and beyond.Undergraduate Program
Our focus is to help undergraduate students succeed in the classroom and in their future career goals. All of our faculty members serve as advisors for undergraduate biology majors and welcome undergraduates interested in research to work in their labs.Undergraduate Research Opportunities
Our research addresses a wide range of biological questions, across and between the sub-disciplines of biology: from single molecules to systems, and from steady state equilibria to dynamic remodeling over milliseconds to millions of generations. We invite graduate students enrolled in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences to explore the diverse research areas our faculty members study.Research Areas & Resources
About the Department
How do microbes make drugs? How do plant cells perceive forces? What do electric fish communicate? How has Earth's biodiversity changed over time? Why do we sleep? How do pathogens manipulate their hosts? These are a small sample of the questions our scientists are asking to understand fundamental biological processes and to discover new treatments for diseases. Some of these questions address societal challenges – climate change, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity – facing the current and next generations of biology students. These challenges are opportunities for scientists to lead, finding the answers to guide future solutions. Preparing the next generations to think deeply and critically is the mission of the research and teaching efforts of the biology department.
Studying biology at Washington University in St. Louis means:
• learning in a supportive environment from faculty nationally and internationally recognized for their teaching and research
• obtaining a degree that opens many professional doors; two-thirds of our undergraduates attend medical school while others pursue professional schools, teaching, public policy, the biotech business, or science communication
• doing cutting-edge scientific research with an interdisciplinary hub of scholars working in plant and microbial biology, neuroscience, cellular development, evolution, ecology, and biodiversity
• learning at a university committed to being a national leader in sustainability and building the bioeconomy
• belonging to a community with an active commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the classroom, field, and laboratory
We encourage you to watch the video below to learn about biology at WashU from our students’ perspectives.
Flight, Feathers, and Freedom: What birds mean to us and why we should treat them better.
We love birds, but our actions so often harm them. They also sometimes help. Peregrines, which once nested mainly on cliffs, now find convenient nesting sites on downtown buildings. The oldest record of this ancient relationship comes from another bird that has moved from cliffs to buildings, the rock dove or city pigeon.Read more
Spotlight on Science: Jordan Teisher
Spotlight on Science: Jordan Teisher
Jordan Teisher still vividly remembers visiting the Missouri Botanical Garden when he was exploring graduate school opportunities in plant research. He started his visit in the Lehmann Building, which holds part of the Garden’s herbarium, and then took a walk around Garden grounds. He was in awe.Read more
The Department of Biology is well known for the diverse scientific interests of its faculty member, students, and postdoctoral scholars. We are committed to making the field of science more inclusive by sharing this knowledge with the wider community. We invite you to learn more about the outreach events that our department participates in.