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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

Biology's Assistant Progessor of the Practice Dr. Chris Kenaley weighs in on's Absurd Creature of the Week (a remora fish).  

An Australian ocean exploration ship recently came across a tiny fish with translucent fangs and no scales--the snaggletooth dragonfish of the genus Astronesthes, say experts including Biology's Assistant Professor of the Practice Dr. Chris Kenaley. Business Insider

Congratulations to Dr. Welkin Johnson who has been named the next Chairperson of the Biology Department!

Associate Professor and Assistant Chair, Dr. Kathy Dunn, discusses her core renewal course titled "Epidemics, Disease, and Humanity" with co-instructor Associate Professor of Theatre Scott Cummings in the Boston College Magazine article: "Shaping the Core."

The Biology Department is excited to welcome Dr. Celia Shiau and Dr. Babak Momeni, both joining the Department this summer as Assistant Professors. Dr. Shiau and Dr. Momeni will be working in the newly built Higgins laboratories and both make excellent additions to the Department.

Nicholas Lea, a rising senior and Biochemistry major, was recently selected to particpate in the 2015 American Society for Microbiology Undergraduate Research Fellowship program.  This award will fund Nicholas to conduct research this summer in Prof. Michelle Meyer's lab.

A research team led by Professor of Biology Kenneth Williams shows the role of disease-fighting cells in HIV-related neurological damage in a new report in the American Journal of Pathology. BC News Release

Congratulations to our four biology undergraduate seniors named Scholars of the College:  Maria Asdourian, Chantal Barksdale, Matthew Evans, and Laura Newman.  Matthew Evans was also the recipient of the McCarthy Prize for the top project in the Natural Sciences and Maria Asdourian was our winner of the Balkema Award for an outstanding senior thesis.

Maris Asdourian has also been recognized as a "Senior to Remember" by the Boston College Chronicle.  Read Maria's story.

A drug used to treat patients with Crohn's disease and multiple sclerosis has helped scientists confirm how "viral reservoirs" form in patients living with HIV and proven effective at blocking the pathways to those reservoirs, Professor of Biology Ken Williams and a team of researchers report in the journal PLOS Pathogens. BC News Release (via Medical Express).

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



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