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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

Biology Department

An illustration
Image credit: Michael Pool. This image was taken as part of Bret Judson’s BIOL5450 Advanced Lab in Cell Imaging course – Spring 2016.


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

Jessica Silverman
Jessica Silverman

Let's Get Serious! Series: A lunch time discussion on careers after Commencement

The Biology graduate students are hosting Dr. Jessica Silverman on Tuesday, August 9th for this year's kick off discussion of the Let's Get Serious! Series. 

Jessica Silverman, PhD teaches Biotechnology, Biochemistry  and Chemistry at Newton South High School.  Dr. Silverman earned her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her PhD in Molecular Microbiology at Tufts University School of Medicine.  Prior to pursuing her PhD, Jessica worked at ENVIRON.  As a high school science teacher, Jessica is revising common labs, strengthening students' science communication skills  and developing curriculum that blends laboratory experiences, synthetic biology principles and social and ethical considerations around newly emerging biotechnological.  

Jessica is looking forward to providing her perspective to BC graduate students considering the field or just curious about career path options. 

The event will be held from 11:30am - 12:30pm in Merkert 127. Please RSVP to Dina Goodfriend at by August 8th so lunch can be provided. 

NIH Awards $10M to BC-led team

Assistant Professor of Biology Tim van Opijnen, Assistant Professor of Computer Science Jose Bento and colleagues have received a $10-million NIH grant to study how the immune system, bacteria, and antibiotics interact, and develop tools to help researchers to forecast resistant bacteria and optimal treatments. Office of News & Public Affairs news release.

March 2016
Dr. Laura Anne Lowery received an R03 from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, worth $234,000, to perform research on the role of microtubule dynamics in embryonic cell migration. To learn more about Dr. Lowery's research, visit her website at

High school student Liam Kimel, a mentee of Dr. Charles Hoffman, recently received first place in the Israeli Science Fair for presenting the results of their research.  Liam came to the Hoffman lab as part of MIT's Research Science Institute.  This is the second mentee of Dr. Hoffman to go to the prestigious International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF).  Read about Liam's award in the Press Release.

Comments by Professor of Biology Thomas Seyfried lead a piece that explores limitation of fuels available for fermentation--sugar glucose and the amino acid glutamine--as an overlooked approach to aid cancer treatment NPR "Your Health."

An article exploring connections between cancer and fermentation includes comments by Professor of Biology Thomas Seyfried, who has written extensively on cancer as a mitochondrial metabolic disease rather than a genetic disease. Scientific American

Undergraduates conducting research in Dr. Laura Anne Lowery's lab are featured in the latest Boston College Magazine.

Graduate student Beth Bearce in Dr. Laura Anne Lowery's lab was recently featured in Boston College's new ad campaign: Ever to Excel: The Power of Resilience.

Dr. Tim van Opijnen published his 4th popular-science book (in Dutch) in November. This book, with a title that translates into “This is the most beautiful thing ever”, is the third in an annual series Dr. van Opijnen started together with a colleague in 2013. Each year they find an influential person to help them develop a question that they then put forward to 100 scientists, entrepreneurs, writers and artists. For this years edition they found the world famous designer duo Viktor&Rolf willing to help them formulate the question: ”What is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen?” But what is beauty? After all, what is beautiful for one person may be trivial for another. With such a question you cannot expect anything less then a book with extremely diverse and often surprising essays. For instance the former commander in chief of the Royal Dutch Army writes in moving poetic style about camaraderie amongst his troops, while a famous Dutch novelist writes about a black and white photo from Sebastião Salgado and the rawness of life it depicts, and how that can still be immensely beautiful. Dr. van Opijnen had a long interview on national TV last week and received raving reviews in the biggest national Newspaper deVolkskrant. The book will no doubt become a bestseller, and is possibly a great reason for you to brush up on your Dutch.

The Biology department's Imaging Facility Manager, Dr. Bret Judson recently wrote a piece for Bioprobes magazine that focuses on the EVOS FL Cell Imaging System: A key component of an imaging core facility.  The article features images taken by Biology students in Dr. Judson's Advanced Cell Imaging Lab. See page 9.

Dr. Tim van Opijnen received an R01 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases worth $2,000,000 to perform research on antibiotics and antibiotic resistance. To learn more about Dr. van Opijnen’s research visit his website at

Drs. Michelle Meyer and Tim van Opijnen received a joint R01 from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases worth $1,500,000 to perform research on RNA regulators and their possible application as antibiotic targets. To learn more about their research visit their websites at and

Dr. Federico Rosconi is the first postdoctoral fellow at Boston College to receive a prestigious PEW Charitable Trust Latin American Fellowship. Dr. Rosconi performs research in the van Opijnen lab and focuses on how bacterial pathogens make people sick. Learn more about his research by visiting

Margaret Antonio, a senior biology major conducting thesis research in Dr. Tim van Opijnen's lab, received the molecular and computational biology award for her poster presentation entitled: MAGenTA: A bioinformatics pipeline for genome-wide Tn-Seq analysis of microbial pathogens at the 15th Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students in Seattle, WA where over 1,700 abstracts were presented. The conference hosts notable speakers including NIH and NIGMS director Jon Lorsch, HHMI investigator and Nobel Prize winner Linda Buck, and social activist Naomi Tutu. The 350 exhibitors from graduate programs, national laboratories, professional societies, and research companies also provided a rich opportunity for networking.

DeLuca Professor of Biology and Vice Provost for Research Thomas Chiles is among influential leaders, researchers and practitioners named to the Global Commission on Pollution, Health and Development, an initiative of The Lancet, The Global Alliance on Health and Pollution and Mount Sinai's Icahn School of Medicine, with the U.N. and World Bank. The commission will detail the health and economic costs of pollution globally and provide a plan of action to policy makers. Lancet editorial

Dr. Charles Hoffman's recent article for the journal Genetics  helps to educate students on the value of Schizosaccharomyces pombe as a model organism and has received much praise from the scientific community.  You can read his piece here:  An Ancient Yeast for Young Geneticists: A Primer on the Schizosaccharomyces pombe Model System

Dr. Research Associate Professor, Dr. Tricia Burdo, Cell Sorting Facility Manager, Dr.  Patrick Autissier, and graduate students Jessica Lakritz and Elise Grey are all featured on the BC channel of LabTV.

Boston College Veterinary Technician, Todd Gaines received the 2015 John F Zucker Animal Technician Award from the New England Branch of the American Association for Laboratory Animal Science for his work in BC's Animal Care Facility.

Assistant Professor, Dr. Babak Momeni is featured in BC's Freshman Faculty highlights.

Dr. Welkin Johnson chimes in on the problems with discovering HIV's ancestors on the popular IFLScience website.

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



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