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Biology Department


The Biology Department at Boston College is committed to educating and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students within a research-intensive environment. Our faculty is skilled in teaching and advising students as well as advancing cutting-edge research. As a result, students enjoy a unique atmosphere in both the laboratory and the classroom that is defined by a mixture of academic rigor and personal relationships. Current areas of faculty scholarship and expertise include cell and developmental biology, microbiology and immunobiology, and bioinformatics. The Biology Department also offers state-of-the-art research laboratories and core-research support facilities, including confocal microscopy, flow cytometry, and FACS facilities.

Recent News and Events

Goldwater Scholarship winner, Matthew Evans (A&S Class of 2015), was recently accepted to Oxford University and will be studying medicine at St. Peter's College beginning in September 2016.

The American Heart Association recently awarded a Scientist Development Grant to Assistant Professor of Biology, Eric Folker.  The research proposal “The importance of nuclear position to Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy” will be funded for three years, with a start date of January 1, 2015.  This award will fund research in the Folker Laboratory aimed at understanding the mechanisms of nuclear movement, the functional significance of properly positioned nuclei to muscle development, and how mispositioned nuclei contribute to muscle weakness and degeneration.

Professor Daniel Kirschner along with graduate student Andrew Denninger led a team of scientists that used neutron diffraction to analyze myelin, a layer of insulation which coats our nerve cells and plays an important role in ensuring rapid signal propagation. These experiments, the first of their kind in 45 years, revealed new insights into myelin structure and the distribution and exchange of water in myelin. Press Release

Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Dr. Kathy Dunn has been selected to teach an "enduring questions" core renewal pilot linked-course along with Associate Professor of Theatre Scott Cummings that focuses on Epidemiology.

The Boston College Chronicle



CHESTNUT HILL, MA (Oct. 22, 2014) – Research teams from Boston College and four other universities will develop the National Research Mentoring Network through a five-year, $19-million grant from the National Institutes of Health as part of a sweeping initiative to diversify the ranks of biomedical researchers across the United States, the NIH announced today.

The network, headquartered at Boston College under the direction of Professor of Biology David Burgess, will also draw on the expertise of faculty at the University of Wisconsin, the University of Minnesota, Morehouse School of Medicine and the University of North Texas Health Sciences Center, in addition to a far-reaching consortium of academic institutions, professional scientific societies and community-based organizations.

The National Research Mentoring Network is one of three initiatives within the NIH’s five-year, Enhancing Diversity of the NIH-Funded Workforce Program, unveiled today by NIH Director Dr. Francis S. Collins.

BC News Release | Chronicle of Higher Education


Victoria Mariconti (A&S Class of 2015), winner of a Phi Beta Kappa writing internship, covers the inaugural semester of Dr. Laura Hake's class BIOL144: Sustaining the Biosphere in The Key Reporter.

Professor of Biology Charles Hoffman has been awarded a $30,000 grant from the Office of the Provost as part of a new internal grant initiative designed to spur research across the University.

Hoffman received funding for his project “Cyclic Adenosine Monophosphate (cAMP) Signaling in Mammals” to demonstrate proof-of-concept for new methods to discover chemical tools for the study of cellular signaling.

Hoffman’s project was one of five proposals awarded funding during the first round of Ignite, which has been launched along with a second program, Research Across Disciplines and Schools (RADS), by the Vice Provost for Research. The two programs will award up to $550,000 annually in an effort to provide “seed” funding for new research, encourage interdisciplinary collaborations and help faculty compete for external funding.

To learn more about the new grant programs and the first Ignite awardees, please see the news release.


Five Biology Graduate students were recognized at the annual Donald J. White Teaching Excellence Awards in recognition of their excellence as teaching assistants.

2014 Boston College Biology Undergraduate Research Day - Friday, May 2 (1:30-3:30 in Higgins): Boston College Biology & Biochemistry Majors present undergraduate research projects in Higgins. Please see the Undergraduate Research Day Abstract Booklet for the list of presenters.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. Colleen Hitchcock has been named the 2014 recipient of the Reverend John R. Trzaska, S.J. Award which is awarded to the faculty member who expanded the horizons, skills, and value systems of Boston College students by providing support and guidance outside of the classroom.

Dr. Peter Clote's lab will be hosting a five-day RNA "summer school" event at Boston College to provide an overview of the biology/chemistry and computational methods related to RNA, with focus on synthetic biology. Visit their website to register and find out more.

Beth Bearce, a graduate student in Assistant Professor Laura Anne Lowery’s lab, has been selected to receive a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship. Her selection was based on her “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as her potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise”. This award provides a fellowship stipend for three years as well an allowance towards the cost-of-education to the institution.

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