Biology Graduate Studies

The Department is housed in the new 68,000-sq.-ft. Dedman Life Sciences Building (December 2001). The Building contains state-of-the-art lecture halls, laboratories, and research facilities.

The last 50 years have been a time of dramatic advances in the biological sciences. The consequences for society have been far reaching. Today, all individuals need some understanding of biology and how it works as a discipline.The program at SMU is dedicated to training future scientists by emphasizing the nature of scientific discovery. The Department of Biological Sciences has nine full-time faculty members, two Research Assistant Professors, one Adjunct Professor, two Lecturers and two Professors emeritus.

Research initiatives on campus involve undergraduate, graduate and post-doctoral fellows. The efforts are augmented by strong ties to collaborators around the world and at nearby University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.

Although studies within the department involve all levels of biological organization, there is an increasing emphasis on molecular approaches. This is reflected in current research initiatives that emphasize state of the art methods in protein structure, gene expression and cell biology. Research within the department is centered around four basic properties that shape life on Earth:

1. the ability to regulate the pattern of gene expression and thus modulate cell differentiation and activity;
2. the tendency to senesce over time in a pattern referred to as aging;
3. the ability to capture energy from the environment, and convert this energy into a usable form and;
4. the ability of infectious agents to subvert cell processes and cause disease.

The model biological systems used to address these questions include D. melanogaster, C. elegans, S. cerevisiae, Pichia pastoris, and E. coli. Moreover the Department specializes in research on important pathogens, including those that cause AIDS, leukemia and African Sleeping Sickness.

The Graduate Program in Molecular and Cell Biology prepares students for careers in modern biological research, and includes training encompassing the following disciplines:

  • Genetics to Biochemistry
  • Simple model organisms to infectious disease in humans
  • Biomechanics of the ATP-Synthase complex to biogenesis of microvilli
  • Electron spin resonance spectroscopy to confocal microscopy.

Visit the SMU Department of Biology Home Page for more information