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
The Department of Biology draws its strength from an exceptionally interactive and collaborative faculty, possessing a wide range of interests at all levels of biological organization, and utilizing many different biological systems and model organisms. Our faculty have received national and international recognition for contributions in genetics, neuroscience, development, population biology, plant biology, and other areas of specialization. Work being done in the department has broad implications for the treatment of disease and genetic anomalies, the preservation of endangered species, the development of food crops, and many other global problems centered in the life sciences.
The biology department has 31 full-time faculty members (including five assistant professors hired within the last four years). Our large and thriving community also includes approximately 75 current pre-doctoral students, approximately 50 postdoctoral students, and more majors than any other program in Arts & Sciences. All of our faculty have peer-reviewed grant support—now totaling around $12 million each year—and many hold leadership positions in the scientific community.
Structuring sweetness: What makes Stevia so sweet? The molecular madness that makes an herb 200 times sweeter than sugar
New research from Washington University in St. Louis reveals the molecular machinery behind the high-intensity sweetness of the stevia plant. The results could be used to engineer new non-caloric products without the aftertaste that many associate with the sweetener marketed as Stevia. “If someone is diabetic or obese and needs to remove sugar from their diet, they can turn to artificial sweeteners made from chemical synthesis (aspartame, saccharin, etc), but all of these have ‘off-tastes’ not associated with sugar, and some have their own health issues,” said Joseph Jez, professor of biology in Arts & Sciences and lead author of the new study.Read more
Undergrad Maya Samuels-Fair wins Goldwater Scholarship
Three Washington University in St. Louis students have received the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship, which honors students who conduct research in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering. Maya Samuels-Fair, a biology major in Arts & Sciences, with an emphasis on ecology and evolution, is a Nemerov Scholar and plans to conduct research across ecosystems, curate a field museum collection and write about conservation for popular audiences.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.