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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.

Upcoming Seminars

General seminar: Alberto Civetta: “Genes, Sex and Phenotypes: The mechanisms and genetic basis of hybrid male sterility in Drosophila” — Friday, November 24 at 3:30 p.m., 527 Buller.

General seminar: Workshop - Open Access Publishing Options — Monday, November 27 at 12:30 p.m., 304 Biological Sciences.

General seminar: Dr. Kyle Elliott: “From individuals to populations: using energetics to link processes across ecological scales” — Thursday, November 30 at 11 a.m., 201 BSB.

General seminar: Crackerjack Seminar -Hagit Peretz — Friday, December 1 at 3:30 p.m., 527 Buller.