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Major in Biology

The biology department seeks to inspire and enable students to grow in their scientific understanding. Our courses and curriculum present a dynamic approach to scientific investigation: posing problems for study, proposing and probing hypotheses, and persuading peers. Using evolution as the unifying theme of biology, we emphasize current biological methods and rigorous conceptual analyses at all scales of organization, from molecules to cells to organisms to ecological communities. We encourage biology majors to interact extensively with professors and with each other, and we use a variety of learning activities to illustrate the tools of the trade, to reinforce concepts, and to apply problem-solving techniques. We prepare our students to think critically about important biological issues and to apply their informed analyses as citizens and professionals.

Biology news

Send news items to Alums-please include your major and graduation year.  Others-please include information about your connection to the department. Note: EEBB=Ecology, Evolution and Behavioral Biology major; EBIO=Environmental Biology major; MCIB=Molecular, Integrative, and Cellular Biology major; BIOL=Biology major; and CMB=Cellular and Molecular Biology. If you would like other news, you may also join the Facebook group called "Beloit College Biology Department."

Wolfe Wagman '82BIOL, PhD, a research assistant with the Marine Reserve Program, just published a paper describing a new species of rockfish. Here is the link. Wolfe was one of the first Beloit Biology majors to do research with Ken Yasukawa on red-winged blackbirds. 

Matt Buechler '06MCIB recently published a paper: Buechler, M. B., L. P. Newman, B. H. Chohan, A. Njoroge, D. Wamalwa, and C. Farquhar. 2015. T cell anergy and activation are associated with suboptimal humoral responses to measles revaccination in HIV-infected children on anti-retroviral therapy in Nairobi, Kenya. Clinical and Experimental Immunology. doi:10.1111/cei.12619.

David Gordon, Beloit alum and Biology/Chemistry stockroom manager just received the Behling Prize this year. This prize honors Bill Behling for his many years as Beloit's "Food Dude" and recognizes recipients for going "beyond call of duty by spreading good humor and good will to the campus community." David is pictured here with some of the students who have worked with him. Congratulations David!

David Gordon and students 

Caitlin McDonough '12MCIB and Aaron Joiner '12MCIB received National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships! Caitlin is a graduate student in evolutionary biology at the Syracuse University and Aaron is a graduate student in biochemistry and molecular, and cell biology at Cornell University.

Sasha Wright '05EBIO has published a paper on the effect of flooding and diversity on ecosystem stability: Wright, A. J., A. Ebeling, H. de Kroon, C. Roscher, A. Weigelt, N. Buchmann, T. Buchmann, C. Fischer, N. Hacker, A. Hildebrandt, S. Leimer, L. Mommer, Y. Oelman, S. Scheu, K. Steinauer, T. Strecker, W. Weisser, W. Wilcke, and N. Eisenhauer. 2015. Flooding disturbances increase resource availability and productivity but reduce stability in diverse plant communities. Nature. 6:6092-6098. doi:DOI: 10.1038/ncomms7092.

Nicole Krauss '11EEBB won a Boeing Fellowship to support her studies of food availability and  egg quality in a migratory passerine, the black-throated blue warbler.  She is a PhD student at the School of Biological Sciences at Washington State University.

Caitlin McDonough '12MCIB has published a paper on sperm release in toads: McDonough, C. E., M. W. Martin, C. K. Vance, J. A. Cole, and A. J. Kouba. 2015. Frequency of exogenous hormone therapy impacts spermiation in male Fowler's toad (Bufo fowleri). Reproduction, Fertility and Development. Caitlin is currently a graduate student at Syracuse University.

Alex Wolf '06EEBB has published a paper on horned lizards: Wolf, A. J., E. C Hellgren, E. M. Schauber, V. III Bogosian, R. T. Kazmaier, D. C. III Ruthven, and R. W. Moody. 2014. Variation in vital-rate sensitivity between populations of Texas horned lizards. Population Ecology 56:619-631.

Beloit College Students Kick-Start Summer Reading Program at the Beloit Public Library

On Saturday, June 14, Beloit College summer research students and faculty collaborated with staff from Kerry to present "Science Exploration!" at the Beloit Public Library.  Beloit College and Kerry volunteers presented hands-on science activities that included dissecting sheep brains, exploring chemical reactions with glow sticks, and programming a robot dog for ~150 community members. This event was the kickoff to the Beloit Public Library summer reading program, "Fizz, Boom, Read," which focuses on the fun of science.

Beloit Science Students at the Public Library Beloit Science Students at the Public Library_2 Beloit Science Students at the Public Library_3  Beloit Science Students at the Public Library_4

Professor Katie Johnson CHEM '02 has won the New Investigator Award from the Teaching Section of the American Physiological Society for 2014!!!

Joe Skurski '13MCIB is has accepted a position as a formulation specialist with Cellular Dynamics International in Madison, Wisconsin.

Aria Walsh-Felz '11EEBB will be entering a joint Master in Public Health and MA in Applied Anthropology, Biocultural Medical Anthropology, program at the University of South Florida in the fall.

Emily Grman '03EEBB has just accepted a faculty position in the Biology Department at Eastern Michigan University.

Enya Qing '08CMB is a first-year graduate student at Loyola University in Biomedical Sciences: Microbiology and Immunology.

Best grasshopper photo by Jake Lackovic and Micah Layman in BIOL 111.01: Zoology in spring 2014.


Best grasshopper photo by Steven McAfee and Jason Brenner in BIOL 111.02: Zoology in spring 2014. 



The Biology Department joins the friends and families of Justine Ringberg '13MCIB and Raquel Nuñez '13PSYCH in mourning their deaths in a car accident on January 14, 2014. Justine was a Molecular, Cellular, and Integrative Biology major who enjoyed her biological studies and TAed Emerging Diseases. Raquel was a Psychology major who took several Biology courses.  Both Justine and Raquel were important members of our community.  They were honored at a memorial service on campus in late January.

Justine Ringberg and Raquel Nunez

Justine Ringberg and Raquel Nuñez at their graduation ceremony.

Professor Ken Yasukawa edited a three volume series, Animal Behavior: How and Why Animals Do the Things They Do, ABC-CLIO Praeger, 2014.

Animal Behavior, Yasuakawa

Rebecca Brooks Fabish '93BIOL completed a Masters in the Art of Teaching and Leadership (MATL) from Saint Xavier University in December 2013. She is currently teaching 7th grade Biology at Central Intermediate School in Washington, IL.

Josh Davendonis '10EEBB completed a Master of Arts in Teaching at Cornell University and teaches 7th grade life science at North Broward Preparatory School in Coconut Creek, Florida (Ft. Lauderdale area.) At North Broward, he sponsors the middle school Ecology Club which oversees recycling on campus, participates in bird watching at local nature preserves, and coaches middle distance and distance track.

Josh Davendonis teaching 

Caitlin Lill '08EEBB authored two afterword chapters in Teaching the Museum: Careers in Museum Education, edited by Leah Melber, published by American Alliance of Museums Press. Caitlin is the Environmental Office Manager for the Urbana Park District in Urbanna, IL.

Caitlin Lill 

Alex Wolf '06EEBB recently published a paper: Wolf, A. J., E. C. Hellgren, V. Bogosian, III, and R. W. Moody. 2013. Effects of habitat disturbance on Texas horned lizards: An urban case study. Herpetologica 69:265-281. Alex works in the Resource Science Division of the Missouri Department of Conservation.

Wolf et al. 2013 title 

John Jungck (Bio faculty 1980-2012) is now a Professor of Biological Sciences and Director of Interdisciplinary Science Learning Laboratories at the University of Delaware.

John Jungck 

Marc Roy (Bio faculty 1989-2002) is Provost at Albion College in Baltimore, MD.  He chairs the Board of Directors of the American Conference of Academic Deans (ACAD). In January 2014, he published  "Preparing for a Successful Career in Academic Leadership: Understanding Your Role," a chapter in The Resource Handbook for Academic Deans, 3rd edition.

Marc Roy 

Professor Marion Fass reviewed Spillover: Animal Infections and the next Human Pandemic by David Quammen in a recent issue of JMBE: Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education, Volume 14, Issue 1.  The review is available from JMBE.

How to Teach Quantitative Literacy, an article about the Beloit Biometrics course and Professor Ken Yasukawa appeared in the Spring 2013 issue of the Beloit College Magazine.

Ken Yasukawa in Biometrics 

Professor Marion Fass received the 2012 William E. Bennett Award for Extraordinary Contributions to Citizen Science from the National Center for Science and Civic Engagement. Marion appears in the photo with Dr. Bennett. 

Marion Fass_Bennett award 

Two groups of Beloit College Physiology students won the American Physiological Society's 2011 Phantastic Physiology Voyage. Videos were made by students in Professor Katie Johnson's Human Anatomy and Physiology course: "Form Follows Function" video contest: