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Biology is one of the most rapidly evolving and diverse sciences in the modern world, exploring all aspects of life from biomolecules to ecosystems. The Department of Biological Sciences is committed to advancing our understanding of biological structure and function, and developing new tools and technologies to address current and emerging problems facing all living organisms. Connections will be forged between molecules, cells, tissues, organs, organisms, populations, communities, and ecosystems, highlighting the need to explore all levels of biological interactions. Programs emphasize the organism as the key element in studies of the development and evolution of form and function, and the role in and adaptations to the environment. Based on a core of fundamental biological principles, our programs explore diverse areas such as organismal biology, environmental biology, genetics, cell biology and development, physiology, ecology, behaviour, and systematics and evolution. The department focuses on the integration of research and teaching expertise to create opportunities for growth and novel synergisms in the training of future leaders in the field.

The Department of Biological Sciences was officially formed in July, 2007. This new department integrated the former Departments of Botany and Zoology and the Biology Teaching Program. Biological Sciences brings together faculty investigators from multiple disciplines in research and education; they are committed to advancing our understanding of biological structure and function, and developing new tools and technologies to address current and emerging problems facing all living organisms, including humans.

A hallmark of the Department is the integration of research and teaching expertise to create opportunities for future growth, to promote novel synergies in emerging areas of the biological sciences, provide graduate and undergraduate students with a broad spectrum of research and flexible program opportunities, and to enhance the training of future scientists and leaders. Topical and exciting biological research is supported with modern tools and infrastructure. Our vigorous research environment brings together investigators and graduate students who share expertise, equipment, infrastructure, resources and inspiration.

A key goal of the Department of Biological Sciences is to promote world-class research in areas that are central to biology now and into the future. Faculty interests are currently identified in and among three broad areas: Cellular and Developmental Biology, Biodiversity, Ecological and Environmental Biology, Physiology. These themes allow our strong participation in longstanding and well-developed research directions, as well as foster innovations in newly emerging areas of biology and life sciences.

Graduate training leading to the Master of Science and Doctor of Philosophy degrees is offered in all these areas and in research projects that integrate material among them. Many undergraduate students also find exciting opportunities for research in the department, including summer employment, co-operative learning work terms, and honours projects. Our research faculty includes a complement of skilled scientists who work to advance our knowledge in broad areas of investigation using a range of organisms including protists, fungi, algae, plants and animals. Research in the department examines life across scales of size, from molecular functions within single cells and organisms to the relationships of organisms and populations within entire ecosystems.

Important Dates

December 11 – December 21: Fall Term Exam Period (includes tests and midterm exams for Fall/Winter Term classes)

December 22 – January 1: Winter Holiday (University Closed)

Upcoming Seminars

General seminar: Austein Mcloughlin: “The development of RNA interference-based biotechnologies for the sustainable management of Sclerotinia sclerotiorum” — Thursday, December 14 at noon, 304 Biological Sciences.

General seminar: Jennifer Sojka, MSc Defense: “Proximate and ultimate causes of personality in a non-aggressive, African ground squirrel” — Friday, December 15 at 10 a.m., 304 Biological Sciences.

General seminar: Karen Dunmall PhD Oral Defense: “Pacific salmon in the Canadian Arctic Indicators of Change” — Tuesday, December 19 at 10 a.m., 304 Biological Sciences.

General seminar: Matthew Doering, PhD Proposal: “Adding spice to fungicides: Discovery of novel genes operating in specialised metabolite biosynthesis in Piper spp. (Piperaceae)” — Wednesday, December 20 at 11 a.m., 304 Biological Sciences.