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    Hamline University
    Jul 19, 2024  
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin 
2023-2024 Undergraduate Bulletin [Archived Bulletin]

Biology Department

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The Biology Department offers BS and BA majors in Biology and Exercise Science, and serves as a core contributor to a range of interdisciplinary programs, such as Biochemistry, Neuroscience, Public Health Sciences, Forensic Biology, and Environmental Studies.

The Biology Program prepares students for careers in environmental and conservation biology, biotechnology 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, public health, 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 active and hands-on learning, and students are encouraged to participate in collaborative undergraduate research projects.

Opportunities for Nonmajors

Biology courses for nonmajors: BIOL 1120, 1130, 1140, 1150, 1180, and 1190.
These courses are intended primarily for students planning to major outside the natural sciences and who do not require 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).

Collaborative Research and Course-embedded Research Experience

The Biology Department actively encourages students to participate in the summer collaborative research program. Ten to twenty students routinely work on their projects with Biology faculty and are supported by a variety of endowed scholarships from the Department and University. First year and second year students interested in doing collaborative research are encouraged to start discussions with potential faculty mentors early on in their coursework. Summer research fellowships in Biology allow Hamline biology majors to participate full time in research during the summer by providing financial support in the form of a stipend, tuition remission, and a free residence hall room.

Most Biology courses include course-embedded research experiences for students. State-of-the-art electronics, computers, and other modern apparatus support this distinctive research emphasis within the biology program. 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, a flow cytometer, PCR thermocyclers, quantitative PCR equipment, and gel electrophoresis equipment that permits a wide range of undergraduate study and research. Biology labs are located on the second floor of Drew Hall of Science and on the first floor of the Robbins Science Center.


Divya Bhaskaran, assistant professor. BA 2007, Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, MS 2010, University of Tennessee, PhD 2016, University of Minnesota. Teaching areas: biomechanics, motor control, anatomy & physiology. Research interests: sports biomechanics and the effects of exercise on rehabilitation.

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.

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: aquatic biology, invertebrate biology, ecology, evolution, human effects on ecosystems. Research interests: ecological genetics, limnology, zooplankton ecology, evolutionary consequences of reproductive mode.

Bridget Jacques-Fricke, assistant professor, director of the neuroscience program. BA 1998, Biology and Psychology, University of Minnesota-Morris; PhD 2008, Neuroscience, University of Wisconsin-Madison. Teaching areas: neurobiology, physiology, developmental biology; Research interests: Developmental neurobiology, neural crest formation and migration, cell motility during nervous system development.

Irina Makarevitch, professor. BS 2000, Novosibirsk State University, Russia; MS 2002, PhD 2005, University of Minnesota. Teaching areas: genetics and genomics, biotechnology, physiology. Research interests: plant genetics, plant abiotic stress response, and biology education.

Betsy Martinez-Vaz, professor, director of the biochemistry program. 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, associate professor, director of the exercise science program. 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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