We believe that critical thinkers make better scientists. Our students work closely with Biology faculty to think through advanced ideas.
Karen A. Campbell, Ph.D.
P. Kenneth Nase M.D. '55 Chair of Biology; Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean of the Faculty
Bryce J. Brylawski, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology; Department Co-Chair
Stephen G. Mech, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
David T. Osgood, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology; Department Co-Chair
Andrew I. Samuelsen, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
Adam R. Hersperger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology; Chair of the Faculty
Erin Ventresca, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology; Health Sciences Advisor
Alice MZ Brylawski
Biology Department Laboratory Manager
Ian Cost, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Bethanne Bruninga-Socolar, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Biology
The biology major allows you to develop a comprehensive knowledge of, and appreciation for, the many dimensions of the biological sciences and the close relationship of biology to other scientific disciplines, such as mathematics, chemistry and physics.
Biology majors focus in general biology, biotechnology, or marine and aquatic science, and often pursue interdisciplinary or dual majors. Biochemistry and psychobiology are the most frequently chosen combinations, but students also combine biology with such other majors as history, business administration and Spanish. You also may choose a biology education program that leads to certification to teach high school biology in Pennsylvania.
Special affiliations/agreements exist between Albright College and institutions such as Penn State (Early Assurance Program with Hershey Medical School).
Some Biology majors declare interest in Nursing or enter the 3+1 Medical Laboratory Science program.
The Department also offers a major in Environmental Science.
Students may choose the Marine and Aquatic Science Program, a specific course sequence that offers opportunities to study a range of topics from the ecophysiology of marine organisms to wetland and watershed restoration. Field study is conducted in nearby lakes and rivers and at coastal locations including Delaware Bay and Chesapeake Bay. The Marine and Aquatic Science Program is typically combined with either the Biology or the Environmental Science majors.
Requirements for the Biology Major
- A total of 10 courses in Biology, including BIO 151, 152, 203, and one 400-level course.
- One of the following courses: BIO 200, MAT 110, or MAT 128/131 (pending placement assessment by the Math Department)
- CHE 207 and 208
- One course from each of the following three groups must be taken:
- Group I (Field Biology): BIO 211, 214, 312, 313, 315, 318, 319, 389
- Group II (Cell and Molecular Biology): BIO 220, 321, 322, 325, 327, 329
- Group III (Organismal Biology): BIO 234, 235, 331, 333, 337
- Within the context of these guidelines, students may freely elect any Biology course or CHE 325 to meet the 10-course requirement.
- No more than two courses at the 100-level may be counted toward the area of concentration.
- Biology majors must pass both of the introductory courses (BIO151 and 152), earning a minimum average grade of 2.0 across these two courses, or have permission of the Biology Department chairperson, in order to enroll in other Biology courses.
- Seniors must take the department exit exam as a graduation requirement.
Requirements for the Combined Major in Biology
- A total of seven courses in biology, including BIO 151, 152, 203, a 400-level course, and one course from each of the three groups (I, II, and III) listed above.
- Biology majors must pass both of the introductory courses (BIO151 and 152), earning a minimum average grade of 2.0 over the two courses, or have permission of the Biology Department chair, in order to enroll in other biology courses.
- Seniors must take the department exit exam as a graduation requirement.
Interdisciplinary Majors in Biology
The department participates in formal interdisciplinary majors, such as psychobiology, biochemistry, and environmental science. Certain biology majors, such as those anticipating entrance into cooperative forestry, environmental studies, or teacher education programs, may include a geology course as a part of their program, upon approval of the department chair. Students interested in pursuing teacher certification in biology must consult the chair of the Education Department regarding specific requirements for the program.
Requirements for the Biotechnology Track
Albright offers a special track in biotechnology. This track is primarily for biology majors but may be completed by students in other majors (such as biochemistry and psychobiology) who have the prerequisites.
- Six of the following courses, with at least one being a 400-level seminar:
- BIO 321, 322, 325, 327, 329, 495, 498, 499
- CHE 325, 326
Biology students in the biotechnology track must meet the following requirements:
- BIO 151, 152, and 203
- the six biotechnology courses listed above
- one course from Group I or Group III
- BIO 200, MAT 110, or MAT 128/131
- CHE 207 and 208
Requirements for the Marine and Aquatic Science Minor
In addition to completing the requirements for the biology or environmental science majors, students electing to complete the marine and aquatic science minor must complete the following courses:
- BIO 211
- BIO 312 or BIO 315
- BIO 337
- BIO 318
In addition to the above requirements, students are strongly encouraged to seek an experiential, off-campus experience in marine science. Consult Dr. Bryce Brylawski for more information.
Independent research under the supervision of a member of the Biology Department is strongly encouraged. Recent independent research projects have included studies on bat ecology and echolocation, ultrastructure of insect visual receptors, the ecology of area streams, lakes and wetlands, the distribution of endangered species of mammals, and cloning of genes using recombinant DNA techniques. Such projects involve field trips to nearby ecosystems and the use of scientific equipment and techniques, such as a scanning electron microscope, epifluorescence microscope, biological safety cabinets for sterile cell culture, ultramicrotome, computer-assisted recording of physiological variables, and/or amplification and electrophoresis of DNA and proteins. A Geographic Information Systems (GIS) computer laboratory, a greenhouse, and faculty-student research space support laboratory experimentation in many courses and independent study projects.
Secondary Biology Education
Biology Majors preparing for a career in education take Biology courses and a series of Education and other courses specified by the Education Department to meet Pennsylvania Department of Education regulations. As early as possible in their college experience, candidates for teacher certification in Biology should consult the Requirements section of the Education website and the chair of the Education Department regarding specific course requirements. The Biology Education certification is a grades 7-12 program.
Department Policy on Student Absences and Make-up Work
Students are expected to attend every lecture. Class attendance and on time arrival is necessary but not sufficient to achieve success. Please refer to individual class syllabi for specific penalties for tardiness and unexcused absences. Students should not plan events or schedule appointments that conflict with class. The biology faculty may excuse an absence due to athletic games (not practices), scheduled performances (e.g., band or choir), or class field trips. Other non-emergency cases will require prior approval of the instructor.
Requests for a non-emergency excused absence should be submitted at least one week in advance. Please contact the instructor as early as possible in the semester to determine a course of action. Failure to make arrangements before missing a class for a non-emergency reason will always be considered an unexcused absence.
If missing class is unavoidable due to an illness or other emergency, the student should make every effort to notify the instructor beforehand. The absence will only be excused if written verifiable documentation is provided within two business days of returning to classes.
Exams and quizzes missed for an excused reason must be made-up within one week of the student’s return to classes unless otherwise exempted (e.g., appropriate medical conditions such as concussion or hospitalization). Assignments due during the missed class meeting(s) are to be submitted to the instructor the first day the student returns to classes. Failure to properly follow these guidelines as described will result in a grade of zero for the exam or assignment in question.
Attendance in lab is mandatory unless otherwise stated by the course instructor or indicated in the lab schedule (e.g., open labs). A 2.5% penalty will be assessed on the course total for the first unexcused absence from lab and an additional 5% penalty for each subsequent absence.
Students should not plan events that conflict with lab. The biology faculty may excuse an absence due to athletic games (not practices), scheduled performances (e.g., band or choir), or class field trips. Other non-emergency cases will require prior approval of the instructor.
Requests for a non-emergency excused absence should be submitted at least one week in advance. Please contact the instructor as early as possible in the semester to determine a course of action. Failure to make arrangements before missing a lab for a non-emergency reason will always be considered an unexcused absence.
If missing lab is unavoidable due to an illness or other emergency, the student should make every effort to notify the instructor beforehand. The absence will only be excused if written verifiable documentation is provided within two business days of returning to classes. Missed lab penalties will be applied after the documentation window has expired.
Make-up labs will not be offered. Lab practical exams must be made up later the same calendar week of the original exam date.
Students must be in lab at the designated start time. Each late arrival will result in a 1% penalty applied to the lab portion of the course grade. Late arrivals after the first 20 minutes will not be admitted and the above missed lab penalties will apply. Unexcused early departures (prior to the completion of all lab work) will likewise result in a 1% penalty applied to the lab portion of the course grade.
Concepts and Connections in Biology
This course is designed to enable non-science majors to develop an understanding and an appreciation for how science works from a biological perspective through study of select topics in natural sciences. We will examine current developments in topics such as genetics, human physiology, environmental biology and microbiology in a way that will allow students to construct a framework of key biological concepts and make connections to their lives through consideration of the applications of basic scientific principles. Students will become involved in the process of doing science, implementing lab exercises aimed at answering specific questions and developing their critical thinking skills. Evolution will be discussed as a unifying theme which helps to elevate biology from a bewildering collection of facts to a coherent study of changing life on a changing planet. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. General Studies Natural Science Foundations.
BIO 102 is very similar in scope to BIO 101 except for an emphasis on field biology. General Studies Natural Science Foundations.
Introduction to Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica (0.5 UNITS)
This course is designed as a half-credit lecture-based course to provide an understanding of tropical ecosystems in general and the biogeographic realms of Costa Rica in particular. This course is the first half of the Natural Science Foundations course BIO 113. This course is co-taught with BIO 313, but the expected level of understanding is different for the BIO 113 students. This course will consist of weekly lectures covering the general topics of observational science, basic ecology, and the ecology of Costa Rica. Note: for the Natural Science Foundations requirement, students must complete both BIO 113 and BIO 113L.
Introductory Tropical Field Ecology of Costa Rica Lab (0.5 UNITS)
This course will focus on observational techniques in field ecology. During the trip to Costa Rica, students will travel to several different areas in Costa Rica and focus on observing and identifying the organisms of Costa Rica and their adaptations and behaviors. Students will visit some of the nature preserves in Costa Rica with a local guide. Additionally, students will travel to Río de Sueños – Albright College Costa Rica, the college’s property located in southern Costa Rica and to Camaquiri, a newly established field station in the north-eastern part of the country. While at these two field stations, students will focus on specific projects developed by the BIO 313L students; the BIO 113L students will assist on those projects.
Prerequisite: BIO 113
General Biology I: Structure and Function
This course introduces students to cellular biology, metabolism, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and development. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every semester. General Studies Natural Science Foundations.
General Biology II: Systematics, Ecology, and Evolution
An introduction to plant and animal systematics, ecology, and evolution. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every semester. General Studies Natural Science Foundations.
This course teaches biology students how to design an experiment in a format that leads to a statistical analysis which tests the desired hypothesis. Students learn how to recognize and apply statistical analyses most appropriate for a given data set, focusing on real examples from recent or on-going research. Emphasis is placed on some of the more commonly used statistical methods in biology in order to provide a framework for exploration of more advanced methods. This is an applied course with emphasis on using computer programs effectively. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week. Offered one semester every other year.
Introduction to Genetics
An introduction to classical genetics, molecular genetics and population genetics, this course includes a major writing project designed to explore specific topics in genetics and evolution. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered every fall semester.
This course is intended to provide students with the skills and tools necessary to succeed at the College and beyond in the languages, humanities, and the sciences. In this course, students will learn how to identify and use prefixes, roots, and suffixes of words to convey complex meanings and apply that understanding of the language of medicine (and ultimately the biological sciences in general) through the examination of case studies in medicine and investigation into the historical context(s) of ancient medicine and science. This course is cross-listed with WLC 207.
Prerequisite: BIO 151
This course studies the relationships between animals and plants and their natural environments. Factors shaping the distribution and abundance of organisms, populations and communities are discussed. Specific emphasis is given to factors such as competition, predation, herbivory, mutualism, physiology, climate, energy flow, and biochemical cycles that influence species adaptations and, in turn, patterns of distribution and abundance. The laboratory is designed to provide experience in the field using several techniques for monitoring both plant and animal populations, as well as environmental parameters in a variety of habitats. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every fall semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and 152
Botany and Plant Taxonomy
Principles of identification and classification of land plants are discussed in this course. Plant keys and digital photography are used in the field and photomicroscopy in the lab complements field work. This course includes a survey of major vascular plant families and field study of local plants and vegetation types. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered during the fall semester of even years.
Prerequisite: BIO 152 or permission of the instructor
This is a lecture class focusing on the role of evolution in shaping biological organisms. Major topics include natural selection, adaptation, evolution of life histories, population genetics, and the processes of speciation and macroevolution. Occasional discussions will center on reading current and seminal papers examining the important advances in evolutionary theory. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered during the spring semester of odd years.
Prerequisites: BIO 152 and 203
Human Anatomy & Physiology I
This is a study of the fundamentals of human anatomy. Structures of the human body are examined through combined systemic and regional approaches. This course will employ a thorough survey of morphological aspects of the human body. It is intended to provide a strong background in human anatomy for human biology students, science majors, and students with an interest in related allied health fields. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered every fall semester.
Prerequisite: BIO 151
Human Anatomy and Physiology II
This is a study of the fundamentals of human physiology. Functions of the organs of the human body are examined through combined systemic and regional approaches. This course will employ a similarly thorough survey of physiological aspects of the human body to that applied in BIO 234 Human Anatomy. This course is intended to provide a strong background in human physiology for human biology students, science majors, and students with an interest in related allied health fields. Some basic concepts of biology and chemistry will be integrated with this course, which serve as a basis for developing specific concepts in anatomy and physiology. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered every spring semester.
Prerequisite: students must earn a quality grade in BIO 234
This course is the study of preserving and restoring nature and ecosystem processes. It introduces students to the anthropogenic problems facing ecosystems and some of the possible solutions. Theory and application pertaining to biodiversity, species extinction, biological invasions, land management, and other topics are discussed. Three hours lecture per week. Offered one semester every other year. General Studies Connections (Global).
Prerequisite: BIO 152, BIO 211 recommended
This course covers the ecology of freshwater and saltwater wetlands systems. Linkages between the plants, animals, microbes, hydrology and chemistry of various wetland types are emphasized. Wetland delineation, functional assessment of wetlands, and wetland creation and restoration are among the topics discussed. Field trips and laboratory sessions focus on quantitative evaluations of the hydrology, soils, and plant and animal communities of various wetland types. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered during the fall semester of even years.
Prerequisite: BIO 152
Introduction to Tropical Ecology of Costa Rica (0.5 UNITS)
This course is designed as a half-credit lecture-based course to provide an understanding of tropical ecosystems in general and the biogeographic realms of Costa Rica in particular. This course is one of two possible prerequisites for BIO 313L. While this course is co-taught with BIO 113, the expected level of understanding is much higher for the BIO 313 students. This course will consist of weekly lectures covering the general topics of observational science, basic ecology, and the ecology of Costa Rica.
Advanced Tropical Field Ecology of Costa Rica Lab (0.5 UNITS)
This course will focus on observational techniques in field ecology. During the trip to Costa Rica, students will travel to several different areas in Costa Rica and focus on observing and identifying the organisms of Costa Rica and their adaptations and behaviors. Students will visit some of the nature preserves in Costa Rica with a local guide. Additionally, students will travel to Río de Sueños – Albright College Costa Rica, the college’s property located in southern Costa Rica and to Camaquiri, a newly established field station in the north-eastern part of the country. While at these two field stations, BIO 313 students will focus on completing specific projects that they develop with the aid of students enrolled in BIO 113L.
Prerequisites: BIO 211 or 313
Watershed Hydrology and Water Resources
Water is perhaps our most vital resource, yet its availability is often taken for granted. This class covers the principles of hydrologic processes that govern water distribution within a variety of landscapes. The influence of land use (e.g. rural, agricultural, urban) on water availability and quality are addressed, as well as watershed management issues and practices. In the laboratory portion of this course, field techniques are used to quantify hydrologic processes in surface waters, groundwater and wetland soils. Water quality is also assessed within lake and river environments. Modern tools, such as Geographic Information Systems (GIS), are used to connect landscape properties to water availability and quality. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered during the fall semester of odd years.
Prerequisite: ESS 101 is recommended
Marine and Aquatic Science
Over 70 percent of the world is covered by water with about 97 percent of it in the oceans. Despite this, much of these aquatic environments are not well explored or understood. This is a problem since even though the underwater world may seem alien and distant, we are irrevocably interconnected with this ecosystem. From fisheries to deep ocean carbon dioxide pumping humanity’s future is tied with the aquatic world. In this course you will be introduced to the general concepts of oceanography, limnology (the study of freshwater systems), and aquatic ecology. Through a series of fieldtrips and lab exercises, you will gain firsthand experience with the tools and techniques used to discover the secrets under the waves. This course includes a trip to a marine research lab during which you will run self-designed surveys and experiments to truly become aquatic scientists. Three hours of lecture and three hours of lab per week. Offered one semester every other year.
Prerequisites: BIO 211 and CHE 106 or permission of the instructor
Vertebrate Natural History
This course is a survey of the natural history of the vertebrates. Students learn the ecology, evolution and the natural history of the major vertebrate classes including fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Laboratory focuses on taxonomic identification of vertebrates native to Pennsylvania and on various field techniques used to study and survey vertebrates. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. At least one field trip will be over a weekend. Offered during the spring semester of even years.
Prerequisite: BIO 152
This course introduces students to the fundamental concepts of microbiology. Physiology, genetics, immunology, medical bacteriology, virology, and concepts of applied microbiology are discussed. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every fall semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and 203; co-requisite CHE 207 or permission of the instructor
This is an investigation into the many aspects of cell structure and function, including the importance of proteins and other macromolecules encountered within cells, as well as specific cellular organelles. Intracellular sorting, protein targeting and signal transduction are examined, along with the mechanisms involved in cancer and programmed cell death. Laboratory exercises introduce students to sterile cell culture techniques and the skills involved in establishing and manipulating plant tissue and animal cell cultures. Fluorescence and Scanning Electron Microscopy, SDS PAGE and other techniques will be learned. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every spring semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151, 203, and CHE 207
In this course, students gain an understanding of the genetic systems of viruses, bacteria, protists, plants and animals in molecular terms. Areas of discussion include immunogenetics, transposition, gene cloning, control of gene expression and the molecular biology of developmental processes. Lab work emphasizes basic methods used for isolation, analysis and cloning of DNA molecules. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every spring semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151, 203, and CHE 207 or permission of the instructor
Histology and Microtechniques
A study of tissue histology and ultrastructure, including an introduction to a number of methods for preparing material for study using light and electron microscopy, transmission electron microscopy, photomicroscopy, macrophotography, digital imaging and image processing. The course introduces students to research techniques and clinical procedures. Three hours of lecture and two hours of laboratory per week plus additional lab time by arrangement. Offered every spring semester.
Prerequisite: BIO 151
Viruses are intracellular parasites that require a living cell in order to replicate themselves and produce new virus particles. There have been numerous types of viruses discovered to date. They have been shown to infect virtually every form of life on earth, including, insects, plants, mammals, and even bacteria. In terms of human health and disease, there are several reasons why the study of viruses is an important undertaking. For example, some viruses can cause considerable illness but they can also be used as delivery vehicles for vaccines or as cancer therapeutics. In this class, students will be exposed to studies published in the primary literature and be instructed via lecture, student-led presentations, and class discussion. Throughout the semester, students will have the opportunity to bolster both their written and oral communication skills. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered during the spring semester of even years.
Prerequisites: BIO 203 and CHE 207
Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy
This course emphasizes understanding the functional and comparative anatomy of the vertebrates through exploration of vertebrate structure and function from an evolutionary perspective. Protochordates, lampreys, sharks, salamanders, and cats are dissected to compare the basic architectural patterns of vertebrate systems and to discover ways in which existing structural patterns are modifications of ancestral patterns. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered during the spring semester of odd years.
Prerequisite: BIO 151
This course emphasizes topics relevant to vertebrate development. The lecture shows continuity between classical embryological work and modern experimental biology. The laboratory is divided between classical and experimental work. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered every fall semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and 203
Animal & Human Nutrition
This course is an introduction to nutritional biochemistry and physiology. Students will explore the interaction between the bioenergetics of animals and the food they consume through a series of lecture and lab activities. The course material will cover nutritional requirements of domesticated animal species (fish to swine) and humans with a focus on the growth, health, and performance ramifications of differing diet composition.
Prerequisite: BIO 151; co-requisite: CHE 207
This course will explore the interplay between the physiological mechanisms of organisms, and the ecological responses of populations to environmental stress. Topics covered will include basic physiological mechanisms, the effect of natural and human-induced environmental change on animal physiology, the special adaptations that allow organisms to survive in a variety of aquatic habitats, and the ecological implications of physiological responses to stress and environmental change. Three hours of lecture and three hours of laboratory per week. Offered once every two years usually in the spring semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and 152
Behavior and Morphology
This seminar explores the anatomical structures, past and present, that are fundamental to observed behaviors. An emphasis is placed on birds in this seminar. Lectures present students with background knowledge in avian behaviors, anatomy, and mechanics. Students are expected to read and discuss journal articles from the primary literature and will work on a semester-long academic project. This project will consist of a written and oral assignment analyzing and synthesizing an important aspect of behavior and its underlying anatomical structure. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered during the fall semester of even years.
Prerequisite: BIO 151
Behavioral Endocrinology Seminar
Students will investigate the interactions between hormones and behavior through the study of phenomena ranging from the molecular level to the social level. Behavioral endocrinology is studied from a comparative perspective by including examples from many different kinds of animals, to illuminate the various hormonal and behavioral mechanisms that have evolved in animals to deal with common problems of reproduction and survival. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered as needed.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and CHE 208
Seminar on Special Topics
Discussions and written assignments provide an opportunity for exploration of specific topics in depth using a seminar format. Emphasis is placed on development of communication skills and ability to read and evaluate original scientific literature. Seminar topics include such areas as cell ultrastructure, immunobiology, neurobiology, and environmental issues.
Neuroethology: The Neural Basis of Behavior
This is a seminar course designed to integrate the results of behavioral field studies and neurobiological lab work. Problems of interest for written and oral assignments include signal detection, recognition, discrimination, localization, decision- making, coordination, orientation and the control of complex acts. Further areas of interest may include the neuronal and hormonal mechanisms underlying periodic changes in behavior, as well as the ontogeny and the evolution of behavior and its mechanisms. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered as needed.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and either BIO 235 or 337
Molecular Biology Seminar
This course explores several different aspects of molecular biology, with an emphasis on plant molecular biology, and plant genetic engineering through the use of soil bacterium Agrobacterium tumefaciens. The genetic components of tumor-inducing plasmids of Agrobacterium and methods to engineer this plasmid to deliver genes of interest into a plant are described. Strategies to increase and control gene expression in genetically engineered plants are outlined, along with antibody production in transgenic plants, pathogen-derived resistance, virus resistance in plants, strategies for gene isolation and phytoremediation. An overview of immunology will be presented and human gene therapy is discussed along with issues of risk assessment, genetic containment and safety. Three hours of of lecture per week. Offered every spring semester.
Prerequisite: BIO 203
Toxicology is the science of drugs and poisons. Toxicologists seek to understand how these chemicals impact the survival and function of organisms and ecosystems. This course will cover the principles of toxicology, including the ramifications of toxins on the biochemistry, physiology, and ecology of animals. The course will be comprised of lectures on the essential of toxicology combined with debates and discussions about current papers and topics in toxicology. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered during the spring semester of odd years.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and CHE 207
This course is an analysis of the vertebrate immune system, including antibody structure and function, B and T-cell function, immune response mechanisms, serology, immunogenetics and immunopathology. Written and oral assignments emphasize critical analysis and discussion of current journal articles in immunobiology. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered every fall semester.
Prerequisites: BIO 151 and 203
Cell Signaling Seminar
This seminar course will explore some of the major cell signaling pathways and how they influence cellular behaviors such as cell replication, apoptosis, and migration. We will examine how genetic mutations can cause aberrant signaling leading to the development of pathology, such as cancer or diabetes, as well as how pathogens, like cholera or chlamydia, use our own signaling pathways against us. Using primary literature as our resource text we will discuss current work to define signaling pathway components as well as the development of therapeutics. Three hours of lecture per week. Offered during the spring semester of even years.
Facilities & Equipment
Recently renovated and expanded, Albright’s Science Center offers more than 78,000 square feet of state-of-the-art laboratory and classroom space.
Undergraduate biology spaces:
- Geographic Information Systems (GIS) laboratory
- Undergraduate research laboratory
- Electron microscopy suite
- Tissue preparation and histology suite with ultramicrotomes
- Color darkroom facility
- Science library and lounge
Mammalian cell culture space
Ecological research space
Flow cytometry workstation
General research space
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Fluorescence microscopy suite
Real-time PCR instrument
“When it was time to start preparing my application materials for veterinary school, I had many meetings with pre-medical advisor Dr. Campbell. I completed all my prerequisites and had a strong foundation in research through the ACRE program, but I had hesitations about applying so soon. Dr. Campbell gave me an excellent piece of advice: I could use a gap year to my advantage, gaining competencies and practical knowledge that would make me a stronger candidate and better future vet. Experiences during my gap year (at Albright’s field station in Costa Rica and volunteering at the Lehigh Valley Zoo) helped me become the best applicant I could be. I chose to study in Scotland at the University of Edinburgh. Today, I’m preparing for my dream job at what I know is the right place and the right time. I couldn’t be happier, and I have Albright College and its amazing professors to thank for that.”
— Tia Camarata ’17
“I graduated with a degree in biology and began my career as a biotechnologist in the Department of Neuroscience at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. Currently I am a high school biology teacher in New Jersey. I owe my interests, skill sets and successes in the science field to the thorough education I received from Albright’s Biology Department. Their hands-on curriculum and access to project-based learning will continue to prepare future science students for careers within the broad field of science.”
— Mike Goffredo ’08, science teacher, Sterling High School, Somerdale, N.J.
“What initially struck me was the willingness of the professors to provide individualized attention. I was exposed to a variety of lab/field techniques and was constantly being presented with new and often challenging ideas/topics. I was very fortunate to have had the opportunity to collaborate with Dr. Stephen Mech on an Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) research project that culminated in a senior honor’s thesis. As an undergraduate, I never envisioned having the opportunity to see a study through from start to finish; from developing and implementing a thorough study design, to locating field sites, applying for funding, determining appropriate statistical analyses, before finally writing a summary report.
— Chris Hauer ’12, wildlife biologist and author of the Albright ACRE study “The Effects of Wind-Generated Power on Terrestrial Populations of Small Mammals.”
What do we mean by liberal arts?
Because every scientist must communicate effectively, Albright biology courses require lab reports, research papers and presentations. And because critical thinking will make you a better scientist, you’ll learn to evaluate original scientific literature and to understand advanced concepts in biology.
Biology Department Mission Statement
The goal of the Biology Department is to foster a comprehensive knowledge of and appreciation for the many dimensions of the biological sciences. Through classroom and laboratory experiences, we seek to provide our students with a firm foundation in the ways of knowing, problem solving, and understanding the universe common to all natural sciences. We seek to teach our students the conceptual material as well as the important laboratory and field skills that will serve them well beyond Albright College. We emphasize the close relationship of biology to other scientific disciplines, such as mathematics, chemistry and physics, and also stress the importance of biology in society and within the historical liberal arts tradition.
Albright biology students learn
- General scientific skills, including a.) hypothesis formulation and experimental design, b.) data recording and analysis, c.) communication/dissemination (writing, oral, PowerPoint), d.) comprehension and context of experimental results, e.) information assessment, and f.) experimental manipulation.
- Specific lab skills, including a.) assays/instrumentation/sample processing, b.) microscopy (imaging), c.) molecular techniques, d.) dissection, e.) aseptic techniques, f.) measurements/pipetting.
- Specific field skills, including a.) population sampling, b.) surveying (biotic and abiotic), c.) cartography/Geographic Information Systems, d.) observation techniques, and e.) identification.
- Content, including a.) evolutionary theory, b.) hierarchy of biological organization, c.) physiological mechanisms/principles, d.) genetics/inheritance, e.) cellular processes, f.) micro/macrostructure, g.) ecological principles, h.) mechanisms of gene expression/regulation, i.) philosophy of nature (the environment), j.) quantitative reasoning, k.) scientific processes and history of science l.) behavior, m.) reproduction and development.
Albright enjoys special affiliations and agreements with Penn State University (via the Early Assurance Program with Hershey Medical School) and regional schools of clinical laboratory science (for medical technology).
What Can I Do With a Major in Biology?
Scientists often work in teams, interacting with engineers, scientists of other disciplines, business managers and technicians. While many biological scientists work in research and development, others work with customers or suppliers and manage budgets.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of biological technicians is projected to grow 5% from 2014 to 2024, (about average for all occupations). Greater demand for biotechnology research is expected to increase the need for these workers.
Career paths to consider
- Laboratory research technician
- Clinical laboratory scientist
- Graduate school
- Physical therapist
- Environmental specialist
Career titles include:
|Agronomist||Environmental Engineer||Marine Engineering Tech|
|Animal Scientist||Environmental Health||Marine Fisheries/Worker|
|Aquaculture Farmer||Environmental Protection||Marine Geologist|
|Aqua culturist||Ergonomist||Marine Sales|
|Aquarium & Museum||Fish Hatchery Tech||Marine Tourist Worker|
|Aquarium Technician||Fisheries Conservation||Market Research Analyst|
|Aquatic Biologist||Florist||Medical Illustrator|
|Barrier Beach Mgr||Food Scientist-Tech||Medical Laboratory Tech|
|Bio-Technologist||Genetic Eng. Research||Medical Technologist|
|Boat Builder & Repair||Horticulturist||Molecular Biologist|
|Chem. Oceanographer||Hydrographic Surveyor||Museum/Aquarium Admin.|
|Coastal Resources Mgr.||Industrial Marine Econ.||Naval Architect|
|Commercial Fish. Eng.||Limnological Technician||Net Designer|
|Dietitian & Nutritionist||Marine Biologist||Paramedic|
|Pharmacy Technician||Physical Therapist||Pharmaceutical Sales|
|Science Lab Tech.||Public Health Worker||Physician|
|Zoologist||Science Teacher||Salt Marsh Manager|
|Wildlife Resources Mgr.||State Parks & Recreation||Science Writer|
|Technical Writer||Test-Inspection Tech.||Soil Conservationist|
|Underwater Technician||Veterinarian||Systems Analyst|
|Geophysicist/ Physicist||Wildlife Biologist||Toxicologist|
|Water Quality Technician||Seafood Processor-Researcher||Science Illustrator|
|Commercial Inland Water Transportation Worker|