Jul 20, 2024  
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog 
2020-2021 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences



Philip J. Farabaugh
B.A., University of California, San Diego, 1972; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1978


Charles J. Bieberich
B.S., University of Tampa, 1982; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 1987

Thomas Cronin
SciB., Dickinson College, 1967; M.S., Duke University, 1969; Ph.D., 1979

David M. Eisenmann
B.S., University of Pennsylvania, 1985; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1992

Jeffery W. Leips
B.S., Florida State University, 1983; Ph.D., 1997

Weihong Lin
B.S., Zhongsham University (China), 1982; M.S., 1988; Ph.D., Colorado State University, 1998

Hua Lu
B.S., Nanjing University (China), 1990; M.S., 1993; Ph.D., Texas A&M University, 1999

Tamra Mendelson
B.S., University of Wisconsin, 1991; P.h.D., Duke University, 2001

Kevin Omland
B.A., Dartmouth College, 1985; Ph.D., The University at Albany, 1995     

Phyllis R. Robinson
B.A., Wellesley College, 1973; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1981

Associate Professors

Rachel Brewster
S.F.B., University of Geneva (Switzerland), 1989; Ph.D., University of Michigan, 1996

Mauricio M. Bustos
B.A., Universidad Nacional de Cordoba (Argentina), 1982; Ph.D., University of California, Irvine, 1986

Ivan Erill
B.S., Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain), 1996; M.Eng., 2000, Eng. D., 2002

Jeffrey Gardner
B.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002; Ph.D., 2008

Erin Green
B.A., Bryn Mawr College, 2000; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 2007

Maricel Kann
B.S., Universidad de la República (Uruguay), 1991; M.S., 1994; Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2001

Bernard Lohr
A.B., Cornell University, 1984; M.S., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1989; Ph.D., Duke University, 1995

Stephen M. Miller
B.S., Case Western Reserve University, 1984; Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1991

Harold J. Schreier
B.S., California Polytechnic State University, 1978; Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, 1983

Michelle Starz-Gaiano
B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 1994; Ph.D., New York University, 2002

Assistant Professors

Mercedes Burns
B.A., Macalester College, 2006; Ph.D. University of Maryland, College Park, 2014

Kathleen Cusick
B.S., Dickinson College, 1997; M.S., Florida Institute of Technology, 2000; Ph.D., University of Tennessee, 2009

Tara LeGates
B.S., Rider University, 2007; Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 2017

Daniel Lobo
B.S., University of Seville (Spain), 2005; M.S., University of Malaga (Spain), 2007; Ph.D., 2010

Achuth Padmanabhan
B.Tech., Bharathidasan University, Tiruchirapalli (India), 2005; Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2012

Laurie Sutton
B.Sc., University of Waterloo (Canada), 2003; M.Sc., 2005; Ph.D., 2011

Fernando Vonhoff
B.S., Free University of Berlin (Germany), 2007; Ph.D., Arizona State University, 2012

Principal Lecturers

Steven Caruso
B.S., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1994; Ph.D., 2002

Sarah Leupen
B.A., Oberlin College, 1993; Ph.D., Northwestern University, 1998

Senior Lecturers

Elizabeth Feeser
B.S., Georgetown University, 2002; Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, 2008

Esther Fleischmann
B.A., New York University, 1974; Ph.D., University of Georgia,1988

Jennifer Hughes
B.S., University College Cork, Ireland, 1998; Ph.D., University College Dublin, Ireland 2003

Tracy A. Smith
B.S., Washington College, 2000; Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2014

Cynthia Wagner
B.A., Concordia College, 1981; Ph.D., Washington University, 1998

Julia B. Wolf
B.S., Brenau College, 1979; M.S., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1983     


Javier Rivera Guzman
B.S., Inter American University of Puerto Rico, 2002; Ph.D., Indiana University School of Medicine, 2009

Professor Emeritus

Daphne Blumberg
B.S., Iowa State University of Science and Technology, 1970; Ph.D., Tufts University School of Medicine, 1976

Brian Bradley
B.S., University of Edinburg, 1962; Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, 1966

Robert Burchard
B.A., Brown University, 1960; M.Sc., 1962; Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1965

Nessly C. Craig
B.A., Reed College, 1963; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1967

Frank Hanson
A.B., The University of Iowa, 1960; Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania, 1965

Lasse Lindahl
M.S., University of Copenhagen (Denmark), 1969; Ph.D., 1973

Paul Lovett
B.S., Delaware Valley College, 1964; Ph.D., Temple University, 1968

Suzanne O. Rosenberg
A.B., Barnard College, 1970; Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1975

Thomas F. Roth
B.S., Tufts University, 1954; M.A., Harvard University, 1959; Ph.D., 1964

Phillip S. Sokolove
B.A., University of California, Berkeley, 1964; Ph.D., Harvard University, 1969

Richard E. Wolf, Jr.
B.A., University of Cincinnati, 1963; M.S., 1968; Ph.D., 1970

Associate Professor Emeritus

Richard Gethmann
B.S., Washington State University, 1964; M.S., Oregon State University, 1966; Ph.D., The University of Chicago, 1970

John Kloetzel
B.A., University of Southern California, 1962; Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University, 1967

Michael C. O’Neill
B.S., University of Santa Clara, 1962; Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, 1969

Austin Platt
B.A., Williams College, 1959; M.A., University of Massachusetts, Amherst, 1963; Ph.D., 1965

Sr. Lecturer Emeritus

Bryan MacKay
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1973; M.S., 1979

James W. Sandoz
B.A., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 1976; M.S., 1983


Courses in this program are listed under BIOL.

The Department of Biological Sciences at UMBC offers Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees that provide an innovative, comprehensive overview of current knowledge, thought and research in the fast-moving, exciting fields of 21st century biological science. Students pursuing the Biological Sciences degrees take a required core of courses that is complemented by a series of laboratories and supplemented with a variety of electives in areas representing the scholarly interests of our diverse faculty. In addition to learning in the classroom, students also have the opportunity to engage in independent research in the lab, the field, the library or off-campus, working one-on-one with a faculty mentor. Students in all programs encounter talented and dedicated faculty and staff, an emphasis on the individual needs of students, up-to-date research facilities, and the nurturing environment that are the hallmarks of UMBC’s Department of Biological Sciences.

Students’ career objectives help guide students in choosing their course of study in any of our five majors and three minors. Our Biological Sciences, B.A.  curriculum is designed for students who want to pursue a career in a health-related profession (dentistry, medicine, pharmacy, or veterinary medicine) or those interested in training in an allied health field (dental hygiene, medical and research technology, nursing, pharmacy or physical therapy). The B.A. is also appropriate for students wanting to combine another area of study–such as education, environmental studies, law, art, or science writing with a solid background in biology.

Our Biological Sciences, B.S.  curriculum is most appropriate for students planning to pursue graduate study in biological, biomedical or health-related sciences, or who wish to gain employment in a technical or laboratory research setting.

The curriculum leading to the Biology Education, B.A.  degree couples the coursework required for the regular Biology B.A. degree with additional courses necessary and recommended for certification to teach biology at the secondary level. Students completing this degree will have a strong foundation in the biological sciences and will be capable of working in a range of technical positions in addition to secondary education.

The Bioinformatics and Computational Biology, B.S.  offers comprehensive training in the fields of Bioinformatics and Computational Biology by combining courses in the areas of biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and mathematics. The curriculum consists of coursework in biology, computer science, and related disciplines (chemistry, information systems, mathematics and physics), complemented by two specific courses on Bioinformatics and Computational Biology. Graduates will acquire the necessary skills for automated querying and data analysis using complex databases, extraction of essential information from genomic and proteomic data, modeling of biological systems, as well as the design and development of software and algorithms to support these activities.

The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S.  (offered under the auspices of the Departments of Biological Sciences and Chemistry and Biochemistry ) offers students an interdisciplinary curriculum taught by a diverse range of faculty members. With a curriculum drawing from both disciplines, as well as specific biochemistry courses, the program provides a broad background in the physical and life sciences. It is suitable for students planning careers in laboratory research or further training in graduate, medical or other biomedical professional programs, such as medicine, dentistry and medical technology. Program requirements for the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S.  can be found in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry section of this catalog. 

The Biological Sciences Department also offers three biology-related minors (Biology Minor , Quantitative Biology Minor , and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology Minor ) that provide a thorough understanding of the essential features of modern biological science, and which are appropriate to combine with an in-depth major program in some other academic discipline. In addition, students seeking to combine studies in other disciplines with a specialized focus on certain areas of biological science can pursue UMBC’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program as an alternative route.

Finally, the Department offers a number of courses designed for students pursuing a career in allied health fields (nursing, physical therapy, etc.), and also offers courses of cultural value as part of a liberal education intended for non-science majors.

The Department of Biological Sciences website is biology.umbc.edu. Students should always visit this site to check for the most current course information, major requirements, forms, seminars, research opportunities and other important announcements. In addition, students can follow events and announcements from the department at our UMBC group - my.umbc.edu/groups/biol

Academic Advising

First-time students with first-year standing and some upper-class students will be advised by the department’s full-time academic advisors. After this, students will be assigned to one of the full-time faculty for advising. BIOC students may be assigned an advisor in the Chemistry Department. Students must see their assigned advisors during the pre-registration period, before they can register for classes in each subsequent semester. Academic progress is monitored through graduation.

Additional advising is available for pre-allied health students in the UMBC Office for Academic & Pre-Professional Advising, and for pre-professional students in the Pre-Medical and Pre-Dental Advising Office located in the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences (CNMS). These career-specific advising offices supplement, but do not replace the academic major advisors.

Honors Program

After satisfying certain requirements, Biological Science majors may become eligible for Departmental Honors in Research. This program, in addition to the regular B.S. or B.A. requirements, includes the following seven credits of coursework:

In addition to this coursework, the following courses, or acceptable equivalents thereof, will have been completed with a cumulative GPA of 3.25: BIOL 141 , BIOL 142 BIOL 302 BIOL 303 BIOL 300L BIOL 497H CHEM 101 CHEM 102 CHEM 102L CHEM 351 MATH 151  (or MATH 155 ), STAT 350  (or MATH 152 ), PHYS 111  (or PHYS 121 ), and PHYS 112  (or PHYS 122 ). Additionally, the student must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.5 in the major and 3.25 overall.

Eligible students should apply to the Departmental Honors Committee. Forms are available on the Department website.

M.S. in Applied Molecular Biology

Students interested in the one-year master’s degree program in Applied Molecular Biology (AMB) will be considered for admission to the program on a competitive basis. Students can use up to three courses (or 12 credits) from their undergraduate degree and, in so doing, save money and reduce their graduate course work. Students should consult with the director of the Applied Molecular Biology Program for advisement as to which courses will be appropriate for both degrees.

Application for admission should be submitted in the final semester of the senior year. For more information, see http://biology.umbc.edu/grad/graduate-programs/apmb/.

Research Opportunities

Talented undergraduates committed to performing quality independent research are encouraged to apply for a variety of biological research opportunities offered by UMBC’s outstanding faculty. Under the guidance of faculty mentors, student research assistants may work on their own projects or help their mentors with important research. These unique, intensive experiences allow students to sharpen their critical thinking skills, learn how to write and read scientific papers, and expand their scientific understanding of biological concepts. Undergraduate lab experience increasingly is becoming a prerequisite for science-based employment or acceptance to graduate, professional or medical school. Students should consult the Department web site or contact individual faculty members for information on possible independent research opportunities.

Biological Sciences Tutorial Center

Biology students are invited to use the facilities in the Biology Tutorial Center, located in room 011 of the Biological Sciences building. The tutorial center has fourteen computer workstations to access online information and two open tables for students to study in groups. Tutors are available for all Biology core courses, free of charge. A list of courses and available tutors can be found on the whiteboard in the center. For more information, see Dr. Jennifer Hughes in BS011. Center hours are from 9 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.

Student Organizations: Biology Council of Majors (BioCOM)

All biological sciences, biology education, bioinformatics and computational biology, and biochemistry and molecular biology majors are welcome to join the Biology Council of Majors (BioCOM). This very active student organization strives to “promote the achievement of the professional ambitions of its members and to serve as a means of social contact among them.” Please visit the website for up to date information about meeting times, locations, and events: http://umbcbiocom.webs.com/. Other student-run clubs for those pursuing a variety of health-related professions also exist on campus.


    Bachelor of ArtsBachelor of ScienceNon-Degree