What We Do
The Biology Department is a community of scientists where a passion for learning and teaching, hard work, positive attitudes, and a love of science are valued. Biology students at Utica University learn about science by becoming active scientists.
The Biology Department at Utica University encompasses three programs - Biology, Animal Behavior, and Nutrition.
Welcome to the Biology Department at Utica University! We emphasize the process of interpreting and creating biological knowledge by building meaningful, hands-on research projects into our courses and by encouraging students to conduct original, independent research with our faculty. In this way, our curriculum extends beyond the traditional boundaries of the classroom to field and laboratory studies, seminars, conferences, and publications.
Our classes are small, our lectures and labs are taught by research faculty, and we stress the importance of one-on-one interaction between students and faculty. Our faculty provide a supportive and rigorous intellectual environment, encourage a candid rapport with students, and acknowledge and nurture each student's individual goals.
FOLLOW THE BIOLOGY DEPARTMENT ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
The Utica University faculty played an essential role in getting me to where I am today... The opportunity to experience research early-on is indispensable. It certainly provided me with an advantage when I decided to continue my education and enter the job market.
Science is the process of creating new knowledge concerning the natural world. The Biology Department at Utica University engages students in active research as the primary method of learning biology as a science. We provide a thorough and diverse education in biological principles and techniques of biological inquiry. Students experience relevant and exciting challenges in their pursuit of successful and rewarding careers. Our distinctive, active learning approach promotes scholarship, responsible citizenship, and lifelong learning.
Students have the opportunity to conduct research with faculty on a variety of topics such as molecular biology, developmental biology, behavioral ecology, neuroscience, nutrition, evolutionary ecology, endocrinology, plant ecology, and microbiology. Faculty and students have collaborated on groundbreaking research in such areas as nitrogen availability in Adirondack Mountain watersheds, light pollution effects on salamanders, novel melanin producing bacteria, antibiotic-induced damage to the inner ear, endocrine disorders in mice, and the use of water treatment residuals in greenhouse production. Many students have received grants and fellowships to support their own research. Students are encouraged to publish their research in national and international journals.
"...to expand and enrich the total educational experience of students majoring in or interested in biology." (Asa Gray Biological Society Charter)
All Biology majors are urged to become members of the Asa Gray Biological Society, named for the famous medical doctor and botanist Asa Gray. This is a faculty supported, student-run organization that expands and enriches the educational experience for students interested in biology. The student members organize many service, social, and special events including:
Asa Gray Seminar Series - This is a research-oriented Seminar Series that brings in Scientists from around the country to discuss their research, and is the longest running professional seminar series on campus.
Annual Fall Picnic - Each Autumn we spend an afternoon together grilling, talking, and playing yard games. The picnic is a wonderful way for our new students to get to know upper-division students and faculty.
Outdoor Activities - Asa Gray students take hikes in the nearby Adirondack Mountains.
Annual Spring Trip - Each spring, students and faculty take a weekend trip together. Trips include visits to museums, zoos, aquaria, and science centers as well as some time for independent recreation. Recent trips have been to Boston, New York, Niagara Falls in Canada, and Montreal.
Senior Banquet - The highlight of each academic year is the Senior Banquet where we celebrate the accomplishments of our graduating seniors. Also called "The Roast", the celebration concludes with fun times where seniors roast faculty and faculty roast graduating seniors. It's the perfect conclusion as we say "see you later" to our students as they venture into the next chapters of their academic pursuits.
Fund Raisers - Asa Gray students raise money to fund the above activities. Fundraisers include bake sales and plants sales of plants student grow in the greenhouse. Students work at the Bistro on BIO Row throughout the semester as a fundraiser.
Community Service - Students organize and participate in community service events throughout the year including Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk, Spooktackular and Eggstravaganza at the Utica Zoo, distributing holiday meals to the elderly, Heart Run and Walk, Relay for Life, the Utica College Regional Science Fair, and many more.
Asa Gray Growers Group (AGGG) - AGGG is a sub-group of the Asa Gray Biological Society that grows plants, herbs, and flowers in the Biology Department Greenhouse to sell for a fund raising activity.
The Asa Gray Seminar Series, established in 1973 and sponsored by the Asa Gray Biological Society, is the longest-running seminar series at Utica University. Scientists are invited from throughout the U.S. to present seminars on their ongoing research. Asa Gray Seminars are held virtually on Wednesdays from 12:30 – 1:30.
The Advisory Committee for the Health Professions (ACHP) at Utica University is a group of Utica faculty and local clinicians who assist Utica students in their preparation for graduate health studies like medicine, dentistry, etc. This help and advising occurs in conjunction with normal academic advising within the student's major.
At Utica University, students learn from faculty members nationally-recognized for their research contributions. Students experience biology in the laboratory and in natural settings, including urban wetlands like the Utica Marsh, wildlife sanctuaries such as the Nature Conservancy's Lake Julia Preserve, and the Adirondack Mountains. Gordon Science Center houses seven well-equipped laboratories, two lab and research prep rooms, a walk-in cold room, an animal colony room, a greenhouse with an extensive teaching collection, and a herbarium representing the flora of central New York.
A grant from NASA was used to update our labs with state of the art equipment including mobile laptop computer labs, molecular biology equipment, fluorescence, compound, and dissecting microscopes, a gamma counter, remote thermal recording probes, environmental chambers, and a variety of other equipment used in classes and research.
Dr. Jessica Thomas
Dr. Jessica Thomas
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