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.
Sticky proteins help plants know when — and where — to grow New research uncovers a mechanism that keeps hormone auxin in its place
“You can have any cue,” said lead researcher Lucia Strader, associate professor of biology in Arts & Sciences and associate director of the Center for Science & Engineering of Living Systems. “Light, temperature, different nutrients … the plant makes auxin in response to all of these things.” What follows as a result of that auxin release can also vary, from stress responses to leaf development to changes in the root system architecture. Those responses are all results of Auxin Response Factors (ARFs), proteins which bind to DNA in a cell’s nucleus to facilitate growth and development in one way, or another.Read more
WashU Expert: Proposed changes will stamp out ‘countless species’
“Species are being lost at a rate not seen since an asteroid slammed into the Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs and many other species 66 million years ago,” Losos said. “The Endangered Species Act has been successful at slowing this rate and preventing the extinction of many species, and it has served as an inspiration for countries around the world. Sadly, the recent proposals of the federal government, if put into place, will greatly weaken the act’s protections and hasten the extinction of countless species,” he said.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.