Department of Biology

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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.

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Biology Professor receives Blavatnik award

Nov. 28, 2016 – The Blavatnik Family Foundation and the New York Academy of Sciences announced the three winners of the 2016 Blavatnik Regional Awards at their annual gala. The winners include a U of U ecologist, Dr. Bill Anderegg, who has advanced our understanding of how forest ecosystems recover or die during drought; a physical chemist who studies electron transport in solar energy capture and conversion; and a condensed matter physicist who has provided theoretical guidance to experiments that have led to the direct observation of Majorana fermions. See Full Story... See YouTube video... 2016 Blavatnik Awards Gala...

Biology professor receives grant for smart helmet

Nov. 28, 2016 - Dr. David Carrier has received an NSF gran tin collaboration with Mechanical Engineering. The goal of the project is to reduce the risk of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) through smart technology that collects sensory data to predict and characterize impacts in real-time, optimizes protective mechanisms based on impact characteristics (e.g., direction, velocity), and transmits final impact attributes to a database for further analysis and injury risk prediction. The core research team includes: Mark Minor and co-investigators David Carrier, Brittany Coats, Andrew Merryweather and Neal Patwari. See Full Story...

Expanding Science's Reach

Nov. 9, 2016 - An after-school boxing club. A grocery store cooking class. A juvenile detention center. These likely aren’t the first venues that come to mind for scientists trying to bring their work to the public. For biology professor Nalini Nadkarni, however, the perfect venue is anywhere you can reach someone who hasn’t yet realized how much their life, interests, and experiences connect to science. Nadkarni has years of experience bringing science into faith communities, sports and even into the toy aisle. Recently, with the help of NASA and the National Science Foundation, she is expanding her efforts, training scientists in communication and public engagement, and expanding the horizons of prisoners, refugees and other underserved groups. See Full Story...

A songbirds travelogue

Oct. 26, 2016 - Biologists at the University of Utah recently used light-weight geolocation technology to follow a species of songbird on its 10,000-kilometer migration from the Middle East to sub-Saharan Africa. The study, published in The Condor: Ornithological Applications identified key regions of importance for the species and highlighted the lack of protection many of these regions receive. “Identifying areas important to a species is a critical component of conservation,” says graduate student and study first author Joshua Horns in professor Çağan Şekercioğlu's lab. “For migratory birds, like the Great Reed Warbler, this information can be difficult to obtain since the birds rely on multiple areas that can be separated by vast distances.” See Full Story...

2016 Beacons of Excellence

Oct 17, 2016 - Congratulations to Dr. David Temme on receiving a 2016 Beacons of Excellence Award. Dr. Temme seeks to truly transform learning by encouraging students to engage in critical, creative thinking. Temme helps teach his students how to learn instead of following the rote memorization typically attached to scientific instruction. He enriches his students’ lives by teaching them how to apply their newly gained biology knowledge to everyday life. In the words of one of his students, Temme “has flipped the idea of typical education on its head. He asks his students to do more than simply regurgitate information presented in class. He hopes they will be able to apply that knowledge to problem solving.”  See Full Story...


Beckerle's Cancer Moonshot

Oct. 7, 2016 - There's something about Utah's uncluttered landscape and expansive blue sky that gives Mary Beckerle a sense of mental space. It helps her think, she says, and fuels her desire to explore both mentally and physically. It's the reason the New Jersey native came to the Beehive State in the 1980s to teach at the University of Utah. Thirty years later, she's found herself in the Huntsman Cancer Institute's corner office as its CEO, with wall-to-wall windows overlooking the geography she loves so much. And recently, Beckerle, 62, was picked by Vice President Joe Biden to serve on a blue-ribbon panel as part of his campaign to cure cancer. See SL Trib Story...

Former grad in coley/kursar lab publishes book

Sept 29, 2016 - Georgia Sinimbu has published an e-book in collaboration with two Brazilian artists. It illustrates some of the knowledge she acquired during the PhD program at the University at Utah Coley/Kursar Lab in a language that everyone can understand. It is published in both Portuguese and English and available for free at Mutualism. Inspired by the challenge of demystifying science, the production of "Interactions: about ants and Amazonian plants" arose as an e-book distributed free of charged over the internet.

Renee Dawson receives Teaching Excellence Awar d

Sept. 22, 2016 - Dr. Renee Dawson has been awarded the College of Science's inaugural award for Teaching Excellence! This award recognizes accomplishments in challenging and stimulating the intellectual curiosity of our students. Renae has been teaching for the Department of Biology for 13 years and has always been an innovative and highly effective teacher. She has introduced thousands of students to the wonders of Biology in our main Introductory Biology class (Biology 1210), and she teaches our Human Genetics course, of great importance to many of our pre-professional students. She has made enormous contributions to the educational mission of the Biology Department and the University of Utah.

Why Birds Matter

September 7, 2016 - University of Utah ornithologist and biology department professor Çağan Şekercioğlu presents a new book, "Why Birds Matter," this week at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Honolulu. Held every four years, this is the world's largest conservation event. Over 8300 delegates from 184 countries gathered for the meeting where President Obama made an appearance on Wednesday. Sekercioglu represents his Turkish environmental organization KuzeyDoga that was elected an IUCN Member this year with the support of National Geographic Society and Wildlife Conservation Society. See Full Story...

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