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    Hamline University
    Apr 19, 2024  
2017-2018 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2017-2018 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Biology Department

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The Biology Program prepares students for careers in biological and medical research, medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, medical technology, biological research and teaching at the college level, and secondary school teaching. It also provides a solid background in the biological sciences for students who plan careers in business, social services, government, or environmental fields. Students majoring in biology receive a broad introduction to biological principles at the molecular, organismal, and ecological levels of organization. The Biology Program emphasizes hands-on learning, and students are encouraged to participate in independent undergraduate research projects.

Opportunities for Nonmajors

Biology courses for nonmajors: BIOL 1120, 1130, 1140, 1150, and 1160.
These courses are intended primarily for students planning to major outside the sciences and who do not have a background in chemistry. No prerequisites are required for these Hamline Plan ‘N’ courses. Credit from these courses is not applicable toward a biology major or minor except by special approval of the biology faculty (see the chairperson for details).


The Biology Department maintains laboratories and extensive equipment including computer-integrated laboratories, research microscopes, high-speed centrifuges, plant growth chambers, bio-amplifiers, UV-Visible spectrophotometers, flow cytometer, PCR and gel electrophoresis equipment that permits a wide range of undergraduate study and research. These are located on the second floor of Drew Hall of Science and in the Robbins Science Center. Students conducting projects may arrange to use these facilities outside of regularly scheduled laboratory sessions. Computer integration is a focus of the biology curriculum, and six biology laboratories are equipped with networked computers at each group workstation. These labs are also equipped with multimedia presentation stations, and equipment for computerized data acquisition and analysis.


Kathryn Burleson, senior lecturer. BA 1999, The College of St. Scholastica; PhD 2004, University of Minnesota. Teaching areas: women’s biology, human biology, cancer biology, cell and molecular biology. Research interests: ovarian cancer, oral biology.

Jennifer Dysterheft, assistant professor. BS 2011, MS 2013, Minnesota State University, Mankato. PhD 2016, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Teaching areas: exercise science, kinesiology.

Michael Farris, professor. BS 1978, Miami University (Ohio); MS 1981, Ohio State University; PhD 1985, University of Colorado. Teaching areas: ecology, evolution, conservation biology, plant biology, physiology. Research interests: evolutionary ecology, human impacts on cliff communities, physiology and performance of humans at high altitude.

Jodi Goldberg, professor. BA 1989, Macalester College; PhD 1998, Stanford University. Teaching areas: cell biology, immunology. Research interests: human immunology, neuroimmunology, cancer biology, cell signaling, flow cytometry.

Leif Hembre, professor, chair. BA 1993, Saint Olaf College; MS 1997, PhD 2002, University of Minnesota.  Teaching areas: plant and animal physiology, aquatic biology, invertebrate biology, ecology, evolution. Research interests: ecological genetics, limnology, zooplankton ecology, evolutionary consequences of reproductive mode.

Irina Makarevitch, associate professor. BS 2000, Novosibirsk State University, Russia; MS 2002, PhD 2005, University of Minnesota. Teaching areas: genetics, developmental biology, plant biology. Research interests: plant genetics and development, gene expression, gene mapping and identification.

Betsy Martinez-Vaz, associate professor. BS 1995, Universidad del Turabo; PhD 2001, University of Minnesota. Teaching areas: biochemistry, microbiology. Research interests: microbial genomics, environmental microbiology, microbial genetics and molecular biology, bacterial pathogenesis.

Bonnie Ploger, professor. BA 1981, Mount Holyoke College; MS 1985, University of Oklahoma; PhD 1992, University of Florida. Teaching areas: animal behavior, evolution, ecology, conservation biology, comparative anatomy. Research interests: behavioral ecological, sibling rivalry and parent-offspring conflict in birds, antipredator behavior and chemical communication in amphibians.

Lisa Stegall, assistant professor. BA 1997, North Carolina State University; MS 2006, The George Washington University; PhD 2010, The University of Texas at Austin. Teaching areas: health sciences, public health, biology, exercise science.


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