Department of Biology

UMatter-Earn $25,000 for Biology

The Department of Biology 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 three focused, yet overlapping, graduate training programs: Molecular, Cellular, and Evolutionary Biology (MCEB), Ecology Evolution and Organismal Biology (EEOB), and Microbial Biology.


Biology Learning Center hiring tutors

The BLC is looking for tutors for the fall semester. Apply now.

Denise Dearing named Distinguished Professor 

March 26, 2015 - Congratulations to Biology Professor and Chair Denise Dr. Denise DearingDearing who has been named one of three new Distinguished Professors. “The rank of Distinguished Professor is reserved for selected individuals whose achievements exemplify the highest goals of scholarship as demonstrated by recognition accorded to them from peers with national and international stature, and whose record includes evidence of a high dedication to teaching as demonstrated by recognition accorded to them by students and/or colleagues.”


Biology faculty win governor’s science medals

March 16, 2015 – The University of Utah, the state’s flagship research institution, Eric JorgensonDr. Lissy Coleytoday swept up half of the latest batch of Governor’s Medals for Science and Technology, with faculty members winning four of the eight awards. Among the U’s winners are professors Phyllis D. Coley and Erik M. Jorgensen in biology. The Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology is Utah’s highest honor in STEM, or science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The new awards are the 2014 medals even though they are just being announced. In addition, Dr. Christine Fogarty Celestino, Juan Diego Catholic High School, won in the education division. Christine was a Ph.D. student in Neil Vicker's lab where she discovered a passion for teaching. See Full Story...

Canopy researcher goes out on a (tree) limb

March 12, 2015 - Dr. Nalini Nadkarni is currently featured on the NSF's discovery Nadkarniwebsite. The article showcases some of her innovative methods for communicating science to diverse audiences. Nadkarni says, "Although it is often more comfortable and convenient for scientists to communicate with people who share their own values and vocabulary, overcoming the challenge of engaging with non-traditional public audiences--those who may never visit a museum or watch a nature documentary film--can have synergistic results. Transmitting knowledge, changing attitudes and allowing novel insights to emerge can flow in both directions." See NSF Story... NSF FrontPage

Making prisons safer

March 12, 2015 - Solitary confinement can lead to madness or suicide for some Nadkarniinmates, or exacerbate behavioral problems for inmates who already were mentally ill when they entered the prison system. For the people whose job it is to supervise them, the assignment can be dangerous. University of Utah Professor Nalini Nadkarni’s innovative “Blue Room,” named one of Time magazine’s “25 Best Inventions of 2014,” could help the situation. See Continuum Story...

Biology professor wins award 

March 2, 2015 - Dr. Michael Shapiro has been selected as one of the Myriad Dr. Michael ShapiroAward of Research Excellence winners for 2015.  Winners are chosen both for the impact of their research and for exceptional work in fostering undergraduate research and promoting experiential learning during the academic year. 



Biology Professor receives research award 

Feb. 25, 2015 - Dr. Wayne Potts has received a Distinguished Scholarly and Dr. Wayne PottsCreative Research Award for 2015.  This award was established as a means of recognizing University of Utah faculty who have made significant scholarly contributions to their fields. Selection is made on the basis of the significance and quality of research or creative achievements and recognizes lifelong accomplishments by considering the extent to which they represent a major breakthrough or advance in the field, are intellectually distinctive or creative, and contribute to improvement and enrichment in the human condition.

Biology Professor receives teaching award

Feb 25, 2015 - Dr. Sarah Bush has received one of the 2015 Early Career Dr. Sarah BushTeaching Awards.  This award is given to outstanding young faculty members who have made significant contributions to teaching at the University of Utah.  and has distinguished themselves through the development of new and innovative teaching methods, effectiveness in the curriculum and classroom and a commitment to enhancing student learning.


Shade coffee is for the birds

Feb. 5, 2015 – The conservation value of growing coffee under trees instead of Sunbirdon open farms is well known, but hasn’t been studied much in Africa. So a University of Utah-led research team studied birds in the Ethiopian home of Arabica coffee and found that “shade coffee” farms are good for birds, but some species do best in forest. “Ethiopian shade coffee may be the most bird friendly coffee in the world, but a primary forest is irreplaceable for bird conservation, especially for birds of the forest understory,” says doctoral student Evan Buechley, lead author of a new study that will be published online Feb. 11 in the journal Biological Conservation.  “The best coffee for biodiversity is organic shade coffee in Ethiopia, where the coffee is a native species of the forest,” says ornithologist Çağan Şekercioğlu, the study’s senior author and assistant professor of biology at the University of Utah. “It is grown where it belongs in its native habitat with native tree cover and without chemicals.” See UNews Story... See NatGeo Story...

Biology professor receives distinguished teaching award

Jan. 27, 2015 - Dr. David Gard is the recipient of the University of Utah's Dr. David GardDistinguished Teaching award for 2015! Since 1987, Dave has been a sterling example of teaching excellence in the Department of Biology. For more than twenty-five years, thousands of students have benefitted from Dave’s energy and passion in teaching, and more recently from his incisive and thoughtful advising.

Undergraduates study wildlife in Red Butte Canyon

Jan. 26, 2015—Mountain lions, moose and bears, oh my! In the University of Sekercioglu LabUtah’s own backyard lies Red Butte Canyon, the most pristine ecosystem along Utah’s Wasatch Front filled with a variety of wildlife species. Managed by the U.S. Forest Service and designated as a Research Natural Area, Red Butte is restricted to all except those who use the area for scientific studies. Members of the U’s Biodiversity and Conservation Ecology Lab are some of those who have exclusive access to study the area and the animals in it.  University of Utah professor Çağan Şekercioğlu heads a lab that conducts field research all over the world, including Turkey, Ethiopia and Costa Rica. His projects all have one common goal: to study how humans and other species interact. See full story... See FoxNews story...

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