School of Biological Sciences

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The School of Biological Sciences offers exceptional opportunities to learn, work, and collaborate across levels of biological organization and styles of research. Faculty research interests span the complete spectrum of biological phenomena and disciplines, from biochemistry to global environmental change. This breadth of research interests has led to development of two focused, yet overlapping, graduate training programs: Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology (MCEB) and Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB).


Critter cams in the news

January 2, 2019 - Outdoor recreation and wildlife cohabit in a big way along the Central Wasatch Mountains and the foothills that tumble into Utah’s largest urban area, yet scientists have only a vague idea of how animals respond to all the athletes, picnickers and hikers traipsing through their living room.  Now biologist Austin Green, from the Şekercioğlu lab hopes to find firm answers using dozens of trap cameras. But his research has generated more information than he and his team can handle: 50,000 critter images recorded during a 105-day study period last spring and summer. Story in SL Tribune...

Biology Newsletter - Our DNA

December 20, 2018 - Just released Fall 2018 Our DNA. Our DNA presents the stories of the School of Biological Sciences. Check out the stories on Mario Capecchi, Ofer Rog and Ole Jensen. If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email David Pace, Alumni/Advancement Director for the School of Biological Sciences. See Fall 2018 Newsletter

Academic Advising Excellence

December 18, 2018 - Congratulations to Denise Brenes, Director of Undergraduate Advising for the School of Biological Sciences who has been awarded the NACADA Excellence in Advising-Advising Administrator Award. NACADA (National Academic Advising Association) is an association of professional advisors, counselors, faculty, administrators, and students working to enhance the educational development of students.

Head in the clouds: Climate change heights

December 16, 2018 - An article published in The Guardian features Nalini Nadkarni's work in the Cost Rican cloud forest. For four decades, Nadkarni has studied cloud forest in the Costa Rican town of Monteverde. In that time, global warming has wrought big changes – and now threatens to dry out the area’s lush hanging gardens for good. “The tropical cloud forest is a very particular type,” Nadkarni says, reflecting on the fact that only about 1% of the planet’s woodlands are cloud forest.“When I climb into the forest, when I get away from the dark, damp, windless forest floor – well, you really enter kind of a different world.” The Guardian Article

In our hearts forever

Thomas A. Kursar passed away peacefully at home on November 18, 2018 from pancreatic cancer. He was 69 years old. Tom was born in New Brunswick, New Jersey on September 18, 1949. He earned a B.A. in Biochemistry from Rutgers in 1971. He was awarded a M.A. in Biophysics in 1976 and a Ph.D. in Biophysics and Theoretical Biology in 1982, both from the University of Chicago. While there, he met Phyllis D. Coley (Lissy) who would become his partner in love, life and science. Ever since, they have been known as the unit “Tom & Lissy” to all their friends, colleagues and collaborators. In 1982, Tom and Lissy joined the Department of Biology at the University of Utah where they established a joint lab that became renowned for its foundational contributions to our understanding of rainforest ecology. Tom’s legacy far surpasses his research contributions to science; he was a generous man. He was moderate in his behavior and appetites, but passionate in his loves and beliefs. He loved Lissy, of course, and he also loved wild places and the great outdoors.For those who want to celebrate Tom’s life, his family invites you to contribute to the Coley-Kursar Endowment in the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah. This endowment supports field work for graduate students from the University of Utah engaged in ecological research.  Tom and Lissy also established an endowment to support internships for Latin American students in hopes of facilitating their path to graduate school through the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, please note in the comments section the gift is for Tom. Alternatively, please contribute to an environmental or social justice charity of your choice. We welcome your memories and condolences at Tate Mortuary-Tom Kursar.

outstanding Capecchi Seminar

November 13, 2018 - For those who were unable to attend the outstanding lecture by Dr. Mario Capecchi, the College of Science has provided a link to the recording.

Biology professor wins Packard Fellowship

October 15, 2018 - Dr. Dr. William Anderegg has been awarded the prestigious Packard Fellowship for his research on the effects of climate change and drought on forests. “Dr. Anderegg’s pioneering work elegantly combines field measurements with complex mathematical modeling to better predict the response of forests to drought,” says Denise Dearing, director of the U’s School of Biological Sciences. “He is the perfect fit for an award from the Packard Foundation especially in light of the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change stating that we have less than 12 years to take action to lessen the most serious effects of climate change". Read UNews Story

Biology Professor publishes paper in Nature

September 19, 2018 - Congratulations to William Anderegg on his paper "Hydraulic diversity of forests regulates ecosystem resilience during drought" being published in Nature. Co-authors on the paper are David Bowling and John Sperry.

Biology Professor on NPR Science Friday

September 15, 2018 - Dr. Nalini Nadkarni was a featured scientist on NPR's radio show, Science Friday, which was broadcast from the Eccles Theater on September 15th. She spoke both about her forest canopy research and her work to bring science to underserved public audiences, including incarcerated men and women in Utah. Forest ecologist Nalini Nadkarni pioneered the exploration of tree canopies—the “new frontiers” of the forest, using hot air balloons, rock climbing gear, and cranes. Listen to NPR Interview...

Honey, I shrunk the LouseBuster...

September 6, 2018- Ten years ago School of Biological Sciences professor Dale Clayton and his lab invented the “LouseBuster” - external site.  This FDA-cleared medical device uses blasts of heated air to cure head lice infestations on kids (and their parents!)  To date, it has treated more than 400,000 people in 350 “Lice Clinics of America” (LCA) across the U.S. and abroad.   LCA is now releasing a miniaturized “OneCure” device for families that do not live near an LCA clinic Story on Good4Utah...

Biology graduate student Article published

September 6, 2018 - Monte Neate-Clegg from the Şekercioğlu Lab has had the first paper of his PhD published in BioTropica titled "Elevational changes in the avian community of a Mesoamerican cloud forest park". Tropical mountains are centers of bird diversity but they are at risk from climate change. Monte's study found that, over ten years, the bird community shifted upslope in a Honduran cloud forest park. Higher elevations accrued bird diversity while lower elevations lost it, and several key cloud forest species moved higher up the mountains. It is likely that warming temperatures are driving birds upslope while deforestation removes suitable habitat at lower elevations. 

Biology Newsletter - Our DNA

November 15, 2017 - Just released “Our DNA” News! The Department of Biology’s Fall 2017 issue. Check out our “Faculty Spotlight”, Sophie Caron: How sensory input is remembered; Ryan Watts of Denali: Quest to conquer neurodegenerative illnesses; and “Alumni Spotlight”, Randy Rasmussen of Biofire, and much more! If you would like to be added to the mailing list, please email David Pace, Alumni/Advancement Director for the School of Biological Sciences. See Fall 2017 Newsletter

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