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 49 full-time faculty members. Our large and thriving community also includes approximately 60 current pre-doctoral students, approximately 55 postdoctoral and research scientists, and nearly 700 majors (more than any other program in Arts & Sciences). Nearly 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.
Washington University in St. Louis is fully committed to being a national leader in sustainability, a core priority that runs through all aspects of our community, our operations, and our work as a leading teaching and research institution. Explore how we are addressing climate change and environmental degradation.
Electricity-eating bacteria could help oceans absorb more carbon, study finds
Experts are searching for solutions that can leverage nature’s abilities to remove carbon from the atmosphere, and researchers from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a new behaviour in a common marine bacteria that could boost the amount of carbon dioxide that oceans are absorbing.Read more
Fish Use Dramatic Pauses Too, Wash U Professor Finds
Carlson has made his name studying electric fish, with more than two decades of research to his name. His latest study on Brienomyrus brachyistius — an electric fish species known as the baby black whale — demonstrates how the fish use dramatic pauses in their communication. The waveforms, shapes and timing of the electric pulses provide their fellow fish with information about species, sex, reproductive status, age and perhaps even individual identities.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.