Department of 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.

News

Viruses Impaired by Diverse Genes

Nov. 18, 2014 – When a viral infection spread through five genetically identical Wayne Pottsmice in a row, the virus replicated faster and became more virulent or severe. But when the infection spread one-by-one through five genetically diverse mice, the virus had trouble adapting and became less virulent. By showing this long-suspected mechanism holds true within a single species of vertebrate animal, namely, mice, the University of Utah study suggests that increased genetic diversity should be promoted in livestock and in captive-bred endangered species so as to limit their risk of getting deadly infections. “This study showed a surprising rapid and large effect of genetic diversity in mice that dramatically reduced the replication of virus infecting the mice and the severity of disease caused by the virus,” says biology professor Wayne Potts. He is senior author of the study published online this month in the British journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. “There’s a reason we are not clones of our mom and dad,” says the study’s first author, Jason Kubinak, a postdoctoral fellow in biology. See full story... See Science 360 story...

Between earth and Sky

Nov. 17, 2014 - Nalini Nadkarni is a biologist with the University of Utah. She’s a tree expert who has spent more than 30 years in canopies around the world. It’s where she feels at home.  (KUER 90.1) partnered with Salt Lake filmmaker Nate Balli on this piece. His production company is called The Moniker, and last year, Balli was director of photography on a feature short called “Dominus,” which was a winner in the Cannon “Project Imagination” film contest.. See documentary..., Listen to podcast...

Tree diseases can help forests

Nov. 11, 2014 - In Panama's forest, death is a beautiful thing. It kills ultimately Erin Spear of the Coley Kursar Labfor a good reason, so that trees in a wetter part of the forest can grow big and strong. according to a new study published in the Journal of Ecology. "That’s exactly right," said Erin R. Spear, lead author of the research and a doctoral candidate in biology at the University of Utah in the Coley/Kursar Lab. "We have this negative perspective on pathogens and disease. We think of pathogens as being destroyers, and in this case they are constructors." See Washington Post article...

Uinta Pikas Watch

Nov. 5, 2014 - Johanna Varner, a grad student from the Dearing lab is involved Varner of the Dearing Labin Pika Watch. "A decade ago, I would have NEVER have believed that I would write the following words, but here they are: I love working with 7th graders! My twenty-something self would have further cringed at the idea of leading dozens of boisterous middle schoolers through quiet mountain landscapes. And yet, here I am, traipsing across alpine boulder fields with 60 of my closest 7th grade friends." See full article...

Biology professor admitted to the Leopold Program

Nov. 5, 2014 - Diane Pataki, Associate Professor in Biology has been admitted to the Leopold Leadership Program. The program provides outstanding academic researchers with the skills, approaches, and theoretical frameworks for translating their knowledge to action and for catalyzing change to address the world’s most pressing sustainability challenges. See program...

BIOLOGY TUTORS WANTED

Did you earn a B+ or better in Cell Biology or Genetics? Be a Biology tutor!
(a terrific leadership opportunity and preparation for the MCAT, GRE, and other biology classes). Email application to Lucas M Horner
See PDF announcement...

Cell Biology Faculty Position

The Department of Biology at the University of Utah invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position at the Assistant or Associate Professor level in Cell Biology. We are seeking applicants addressing fundamental questions in cell biology using model and non-model organisms from all taxa. In addition to developing a vigorous independent research program, the successful candidate will be expected to contribute to the Department’s interdisciplinary teaching mission at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The University of Utah provides exceptional opportunities for collaboration in research, education and outreach across departments in several colleges. See full announcement... or PDF

Beating Big Oil? Ecuador's pristine Yasuni

Oct. 2, 2014 - Biologist Phyllis Coley and Thomas Kursar, have Coley/Kursar Rain Forestdevoted their working lives to the study of plants, and nowhere is it more fascinating, they say, than in Ecuador's Yasuni National Park - the most biodiverse place on the planet. "Evolution is going incredibly fast here with the plants evolving as quickly as they can and the herbivores counter-evolving. It's a never-ending escalation," Coley told Al Jazeera. They call it an "arms race". On one side the plants; on the other, insects and other herbivores. Each of them evolving defences to outwit the other. See full article...

U Biologist wins Turkey's top Science Prize

Aug. 27, 2014 – University of Utah biologist Çağan Şekercioğlu, who campaigns Cagan Sekerciogluto save wetlands in his native Turkey, has won that nation’s highest science prize, which is similar to the U.S. National Medal of Science. Şekercioğlu is among five researchers picked for 2014 the top awards by TUBITAK, the Scientific and Technical Research Council of Turkey. Three researchers won the Science Award and two – including Şekercioğlu – won the Special Award, which is equivalent to the Science Award but for scientists who are from Turkey but working abroad. “I am humbled to be the first ecologist, ornithologist and conservation biologist to receive Turkey’s highest scientific honor,” Şekercioğlu says. “In Turkey, young people interested in science often choose engineering. I hope this award will inspire more young people to choose natural sciences in general and environmental sciences in particular.” Şekercioğl, will collect the award in Ankara, Turkey, from the nation's president. See full story...

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