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    American University
    Feb 29, 2024  
American University Catalog 2015-2016 
American University Catalog 2015-2016 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]


Chair  Colin J. Saldanha

Full-Time Faculty

Professor  C.J. Saldanha
Associate Professor  D. Carlini, V. Connaughton, K. De Cicco-Skinner, D.W. Fong, J. Kaplan, M. Laubach, C. Schaeff, C. Tudge
Assistant Professor  J. Bracht,, N. Krogan
Professorial Lecturer  A. Doperalski, S. Knight, H. Ma, T. Salcedo, L. Stepanek, K. Walters-Conte
Lab Director  M. Bentley
Premedical Programs Coordinator  L. Arneson

The Department of Biology provides courses in the life sciences, emphasizing advances in molecular genetics, embryology, development, and evolutionary biology. Faculty members conduct research in numerous areas including biodiversity, cave biology, cell biology, conservation biology, developmental biology, evolutionary ecology, immunology, marine science, marine mammals, microbiology, molecular genetics, neurobiology, oceanography, and vertebrate vision. Students are encouraged to participate in research projects at all levels. Students also have the opportunity to visit, observe, and intern at some of the nation’s most prestigious biological research centers, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), Smithsonian Institution, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Aquarium in Baltimore, and the National Zoo.

The department has both undergraduate and graduate teaching laboratories as well as faculty research laboratories in which students are encouraged to learn. Students have the opportunity to gain experience with a wide variety of techniques including nucleic acid and protein isolation, DNA analysis and electrophoresis, bacterial and primary cell culture, stereo, compound, and fluorescent microscopy, and computer-assisted measurements with data analysis. The facilities of the Department of Biology such as the Digital Imaging Core Facility and cooperative agreements with various government laboratories make possible opportunities for research in environmental, ecological, marine, and biomedical sciences.

The Department of Biology offers the BS in Biology, and the MA or MS in Biology. An undergraduate minor in biology is also available. In collaboration with the Department of Sociology, a BA and BS in Public Health are offered, as well a minor. The department provides basic training in the life sciences, emphasizing modern advances in the areas of molecular genetics, embryology and development, and evolutionary biology. In addition to training for a career or graduate study in biology, students are prepared for medical, dental, and veterinary schools. The Department of Biology offers courses that combine traditional education with the training necessary for today’s professional marketplace. The curriculum is designed to allow individuals maximum choice of course selection after departmental requirements have been met.

The graduate degree programs emphasize the development of research techniques. Research and teaching laboratories are well equipped and constantly upgraded. Students have the opportunity to gain experience in scientific methods and experimental design in the laboratory and in the field.

The premedical programs of the College of Arts and Sciences, including a Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate, are available to help all undergraduate, postbaccalaureate, and graduate students who are considering a career in medicine or one of the allied health professions.

Special Opportunities

  • Gloria Likins Scholarship for Undergraduate Women
  • Stephen C. Grebe Memorial Fund for Undergraduate Research
  • Teaching fellowships or assistantships


    MajorMinorMaster’s Program