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).


Biology Professor on NPR Science Friday

Dr. Nalini Nadkarni will be a featured scientist on NPR's radio show, Science Friday, which will be broadcast from the Eccles Theater on September 15th at 7:30pm. She will be speaking both about her forest canopy research and her work to bring science to underserved public audiences, including incarcerated men and women in Utah.

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. 

Congratulations to Shannon Nielsen-Staff Excellence

August 24, 2018 - Shannon Nielsen, Graduate Advisor for the School of Biological Sciences has been honored with the Staff Excellence Award. This award will be presented to Shannon by President Ruth Watkins and CHRO, Jeff C. Herring. The University Staff Excellence Awards (USEA) program was established in 1992 to recognize superior service and ongoing contributions by the University of Utah's full-time staff employees. The 8 DSEA winners are the pool from which the recipients of the University Staff Excellence Awards are chosen. All will be recognized in their respective areas and at the USEA luncheon hosted by President Watkins.

Biology Dept becomes the school of biological sciences

August 21, 2018 - At a ribbon cutting ceremony, Dr. Denise Dearing inaugurated the new School of Biological Sciences. Our new School of Biological Sciences boasts more than 50 research-active faculty who are conducting ground-breaking research in areas including plant biology, ecology, genetics, physiology, neuroscience and molecular biology.  To support these efforts, our faculty have, in the past year, secured $17 million in federal funding –this funding helps to fuel Utah’s economy. Our faculty do not do research in isolation, but rather they engage with over 200 graduate students, postdocs, technicians, research faculty and, importantly, undergraduate research assistants in the pursuit of advancing our understanding of the biological world. With the cutting of this ribbon, we open a new exciting chapter in the biological sciences at the University of Utah.

The School’s new leadership team, our associate director Leslie Sieburth, and our 3 Division Heads, Michael Shapiro, Julie Hollien and Dave Bowling

Mammalogy award

August 6, 2018 - Denise Dearing, Director of the School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah, has been awarded the 2018 Joseph Grinnell Award by the American Society of Mammalogists. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to education in mammalogy. The citation notes Dearing’s “dedication to understanding whole animal physiology and particularly the evolutionary associations between mammals and plants. . . nowhere was your impact more evident than your efforts as a role model for students and postdocs.” Learn more about Dearing’s recent work to understand the relationship between desert woodrats and their environment.  See Woodrat Article...

Birds eat up to 550 million tons of insects each year

July 23, 2018 - In a new paper, biology professor Çağan Şekercioğlu and colleagues from the University of Basel and University of Illinois at Chicago show that insectivorous birds eat nearly half a billion ton of insects per year, comparable to the approximately 400 million tons of meat and fish humans eat annually. As summarized in Prof. Sekercioglu’s book “Why Birds Matter”, this is another proof of the critical ecosystem service of insect pest consumption birds provide to humanity worldwide. That's as many as 20 quadrillion individual bugs. The study highlights the important role birds play in keeping plant-eating insect populations under control, researchers say. This article is published by Springer and in Science Daily, Forbes and USA Today.

Oecologia special edition honors James Ehleringer

July 16 2018 - The opening paper in this Special Issue of Oecologia by Jim Ehleringer and his former student and long-time collaborator Darren Sandquist tells the story of what they have discovered and learned about E. farinosa in an unprecedented multi-decadal demographic analysis. The paper is the first of 16 papers dedicated to Jim’s distinguished career and its impact on plant and ecosystem ecology writ large, including stable isotope ecology, desert ecology, photosynthetic adaptation, global change biology, urban ecology, paleobiology, forensic science, and atmosphere–biosphere interactions. This special issue of Oecologia is a fitting venue within which to honor Jim.

Biology number one in UnderGrad majors

February 14, 2018 - According to the University of Utah's Winter 2018 Imaginagion Report, Biology is the now number one in the top 10 undergraduate majors at the U.

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, A;umni/Advancement Director for the School of Biological Sciences. See Fall 2017 Newsletter

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