Search for Professor and Director,
School of Biological Sciences

The School of Biological Sciences at the University of Utah invites applications for the position of Professor and Director. The successful candidate will be a distinguished scholar with an active research program, a broad appreciation for biology, and a demonstrated track-record of leadership in an academic environment.

The School’s approximately 50 tenure-line faculty are organized into three primary divisions, each with their own Division Head: Cell & Molecular Biology; Genetics & Evolution; and Ecology & Physiology. Collectively, these span a diverse set of research areas including: biochemistry, cell biology, developmental biology, ecology and environmental biology; genetics and genomics, microbial biology, neurobiology, physiology, and plant biology. The faculty includes three National Academy Members, a wide range of decorated researchers and teachers, and a vibrant group of Assistant Professors. The faculty also includes founding members of two interdepartmental collaborative research centers: the Center for Cell and Genome Science and the Global Change and Sustainability Center. The School’s roughly $12M annual research expenditures support a thriving graduate program, and roughly 35 postdocs and research faculty. The School also serves over 1100 undergraduate majors and many thousands more students in its service courses.

Applicants are invited to submit a CV and cover letter addressing their interest in the position; their relevant experience; and, if possible, a high-level vision for the future of the School. Applications will be treated confidentially until finalists are chosen and consent is given for the search committee to collect references. of applications will begin October 15, 2019. For further information, please contact the Search Committee members below.

For questions, please call or email Renae Curtz at or (801) 581-2135.

Search Committee

Julie Hollien
Div. Head
Cell & Molecular

email Julie Hollien

Matthew Sigman
Chair, Dept. of Chem

email Matthew Sigman

Marjorie Chan
Dist. Prof. Geology & Geophysics

email Marjorie Chan

Richard Clark

email Richard Clark

Bill Anderegg
Asst. Professor

email Bill Anderegg


Treetop Barbie

September 23, 2019 - When Nalini Nadkarni was a young scientist in the 1980s, she wanted to study the canopy – the part of the trees just above the forest floor to the very top branches.  But back then, people hadn't figured out a good way to easily reach the canopy so it was difficult to conduct research in the tree tops. And Nadkarni's graduate school advisors didn't really think studying the canopy was worthwhile.   During Nadkarni's early work as an ecologist she began to realize something else: There weren't many women conducting canopy research.  Nadkarni was determined to change this. In the early 2000s, she and her lab colleagues came up with the idea of TreeTop Barbie, a canopy researcher version of the popular Barbie doll that could be marketed to young girls. NPR Interview ...

Science/Engineering Career & Internship Fair,
Tuesday, September 24th

STEM Fair Website

Event: Academic Partner & Employer Meet and Greet
Location: University Union Collegiate Room
Date: Tuesday, September 24th, 2019
Breakfast: 7:30am-9:00am
Over 140 employers have registered for the STEM Fair

Biology professor Longino Mapping diversity

September 4, 2019 - “You can think of what I do as making a map of diversity,” says entomologist and professor at the School of Biological Sciences John “Jack” Longino. “The first step in understanding and using animals and plants is having a map of what we've got. I've dedicated my career to filling in the map.” That map is about to get a lot more detailed now that the National Science Foundation has awarded Longino and his collaborators a $1.3 million grant for “Ants of the World.” The project is designed to obtain genetic information from 4,500 species of ants around the world. Recently, Longino compiled decades of his work into a monograph, detailing 234 species of the ant genus Pheidole. He’s given names to 57 of those species himself. Longino formatted the monograph to emulate a bird guide, hoping to engage more ant fans in the work of documenting and conserving ant species. Now with his collaborators at Univ. California, Davis; California Academy of Sciences; and North Carolina State University, he is poised to construct a comprehensive evolutionary tree of life for his favorite insect family: ants.

U Staff Excellence Award to Denise Brenes-UG advising

August 22, 2019 - Denise Brenes, Director of Undergraduate Advising who previously received a 2019 Academic and Student Affairs District Excellence Award has now received the University Staff Excellence Award. This prestigious award program recognizes superior service and ongoing contributions by full-time staff employees. To be nominated is a high honor, and a sign that your commitment and contributions are truly valued by your colleagues.

Biology professors awarded NSF dimensions grant

August 21, 2019 - The National Science Foundation (NSF)’s Dimensions of Biodiversity Campaign has awarded University of Utah Biology faculty Colin Dale, Sarah Bush and Dale Clayton  funding for an international research collaboration studying genome evolution. Coincidentally, another faculty member from the School of Biological Sciences, Associate Professor Bryn Dentinger, has also received funding for a different project from the same campaign this year. This is the fifth Dimensions of Biodiversity award to the School in seven years and the second time that two awards have been made to the school in the same year.  Furthermore, this endows Dale, Bush and Clayton with the honor of participating in consecutive (but distinct) Dimensions projects.  Dale, Bush and Clayton will also collaborate with the research groups of Kevin Johnson (University of Illinois) and Fasheng Zou (Guangzhou University, China). Together, their project integrates phylogenetic, microbiological and computational (machine learning) approaches to explore the relative contributions of drift and contingency in the degenerative trajectory of genome evolution that is often observed in mutualistic animal-bacterial associations. According to Colin Dale: “Our study model involves feather-feeding bird lice that have repeatedly and independently evolved a nutritional mutualism with a common ancestral bacterium, providing a rare opportunity to study replays of one of life's most important and defining events – symbiosis.”

Biology professor appointed Capecchi Chair

August 13, 2019 - James (Jamie) Gagnon, Assistant Professor, has been appointed as the Mario Capecchi Endowed Chair in the School of Biological Sciences. The prestigious 3-year faculty appointment (July 1, 2019-June 30, 2022) will allow Gagnon to continue his work using gene-editing technology with zebrafish to study vertebrate lineage and cell fate choice, cell signaling, and genome engineering. This chair was established to honor Utah’s first Nobel laureate, Mario Capecchi, through a generous gift from the George S. & Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation. A Vermont native, Gagnon arrived at the University of Utah in January 2018 from Boston where he completed a post-doc at Harvard. Previous to that he earned a PhD from Brown University and a BS from Worcester Polytechnic.

Latest issue of 'our DNA'

June 4, 2019 - OUR DNA is a dynamic 360-degree snapshot of both the depth and breadth of the people, the research and the classroom instruction that make up one of the University of Utah's most celebrated academic units. Our first academic year as the School of Biological Sciences was a smashing success! Look here for new research in genetics (Nitin Phadnis Lab) | Alumni profiles (The Gandhi Siblings and Jeanne Novak of CBR fame) | Science Outreach (The Landscape Lab, which just broke ground here in SLC) and more.  Also…a special feature on retiring faculty member, cell biologist and former undergraduate advisor Dave Gard (these days you’ll find him angling on the Green River). Guess who’s an alumni of U Biology? Look for updates on LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson (BS’45),  founder of Clear Choice Dental Implants Ole Jensen (BS’72), Harvard PhD Daina Graybosch (BS’01) now at SVB Leerink in NYC, and Mixed Martial Arts bantamweight fighter the formidable Taylor Thompson (BS’14).See Current Issue of OUR DNA ...

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