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Biology at American University

The Department of Biology provides courses in the life sciences, emphasizing advances in molecular genetics, embryology, development and evolutionary biology. Faculty members conduct research in developmental biology, evolutionary biology, neurobiology, microbiology, ecology, oceanography, immunology, and molecular biology.

Students are encouraged to participate in research projects at all levels. Students have the opportunity to visit, observe, and intern in some of the nation's most prestigious biological research centers, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

More than 95% of AU biology graduate students have assistantships, stipends, or other financial aid and finish the program in less than two years. Learn more.

Dina Lloyd (left) and Tim Beck (right) reattaching the ion source of the 3200 Triple Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (Q-trap) AB Sciex mass spectrometer.

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AU Launches New Biochemistry and Applied Chemistry Grad Programs

AU's Department of Chemistry will launch new graduate programs in the fall of 2018. It will split the MS in Chemistry into two tracks—Clinical Biochemistry and Applied Chemistry—and offer a new Graduate Certificate in Clinical Biochemistry.
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A zebra finch perched.

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A New Role for Estrogen: Protecting the Brain

AU Professor Colin Saldanha’s research on songbirds reveals estrogen’s role in preventing neuroinflammation in response to illness.
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Biotechnology student Michelle Biederman working in the lab.

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Biologists, Business Execs and Everything in Between

As the biotechnology industry continues to grow, it is in need of skillful and knowledgeable scientists with innovative ideas.
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Undergraduate environmental science major Jessica Balerna doing field work for her independent research project in fall 2016.

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Environmental Science Adventures Afield

Ecohydrology lab group builds research skills and friendship.
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Recent Faculty Publications

Niemiller, M.L.*, M.L. Porter, J. Keany, H. Gilbert, D.W. Fong, D.C. Culver, C. Hobson, K.D. Kendall, M.A. Davis, and S.J. Taylor. 2017. Evaluation of eDNA for groundwater invertebrate detection and monitoring: a case study with endangered Stygobromus (Amphipoda: Crangonyctidae). Conservation Genetics Resources. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12686-017-0785-2

Carlini, D.B.*, and D.W. Fong. 2017. The transcriptomes of cave and surface populations of Gammarus minus (Crustacea: Amphipoda) provide evidence for positive selection on cave downregulated transcripts. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0186173. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0186173

Pedersen, AL. & Saldanha CJ. (2017). Reciprocal interactions between prostaglandin E2- and estradiol-dependent signaling pathways in the injured zebra finch brain. J. Neuroinflammation. 14(1): 262

Gould, CJ, J Wiegand, and VP Connaughton. 2017. Acute developmental exposure to 4-hydroxyandrostenedione has a long-term effect on visually-guided behaviors. Neurotoxicology and Teratology. 64: 45-49.