Faculty and Fields of Interest
Diego Bernal physiology of high performance fishes, shark biology
Erin Bromage immunology, microbiology, biosensor and vaccine development
Richard C Connor evolution of social interactions, marine mammal biology
Robert E Drew genomic analysis of quantitative traits
Whitney E Hable (Graduate Program Director) molecular, cellular and developmental biology
Kathryn D Kavanagh evolutionary and ecological development biology
Cynthia Ladino medical microbiology, cell biology and biochemistry
Marc A Laxer anatomy and physiology, parasitology
Pia H. Moisander marine microbiology, phytoplankton physiological ecology
Nancy J O’Connor (Chairperson) invertebrate biology, nonindigenous marine species
Kenneth Oliveira fish biology, life history strategies, age and growth of fishes
Guillermo Paz-y-Mino C evolution, animal cognition, conservation biology
Tara K Rajaniemi plant community ecology, plant competition, species diversity
Mark W. Silby microbial genetics, molecular microbiology
Jefferson Turner biological oceanography, marine plankton, biogeography
Alan Ventetuolo medical microbiology, anatomy and physiology
The biology major provides opportunities for building the foundation of a career in one of the many specialties in private industry and in federal and state agencies that employ biologists. The major also prepares students for graduate programs in biology and marine biology and programs for health professionals.
Students planning to enter graduate school should, in consultation with their advisor, strongly consider electing a foreign language, analytic geometry and calculus. For those students interested in pursuing such broad fields of study as ecology, courses which stress computer literacy and database management are good foundation courses. Students considering such disciplines as cell and/or molecular biology and developmental biology should take courses in genetics, molecular and cell biology, and biochemistry.
The existing curriculum for biology majors satisfies almost all of the admissions requirements for medical, dental, veterinary and other graduate health professional programs. Physics laboratories should be added, and in many cases calculus is expected. Premedical students should complete their 300 and 400-level biology electives with courses such as General Microbiology, General Genetics, Animal Physiology, Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy, Developmental Biology, Immunology, Molecular Biology, Virology and Biochemistry. Anatomy and Physiology is very helpful when preparing for the MCAT exam. Ethics for Health Care Professionals serves as an excellent humanities elective. Check with the medical school you wish to enter for additional requirements such as psychology and statistics. For more details, seek the advice of members of the faculty premedical advisory committee, especially those in the Biology department.
Modern biology requires a wide range of supporting courses in such other fields of study as statistics, computer science, physics, chemistry, meteorology and geology. Biology majors should consult with their advisors early in their course of study regarding possible career choices and plan to take appropriate elective courses that support their selected field of study.
The Biology Department participates in UMass Dartmouth’s programs to prepare teachers who are highly qualified, helping provide opportunities for students to receive both initial and professional licensure. In order to plan for appropriate prerequisite and enrichment courses, students should indicate their interest both to their biology major advisor and to an advisor in UMass Dartmouth’s Department of Teaching and Learning.
Goals for Student Learning
The department has the following goals for the learning of its undergraduate students:
- To ensure that every Biology student develops a theoretical and conceptual framework in the biological sciences: content knowledge
- To ensure that students are able to apply the methods of scientific inquiry in a biological context by demonstrating proficiency in analytical and technical skills
- To ensure that students are able to read the scientific literature in at least one field of biology, i.e., fluency in the scientific literature.