Jun 19, 2024  
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog 
2022-2023 Undergraduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Biological Sciences

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Philip J. Farabaugh


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

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

Stephen Freeland
B.A., Oxford, 1991; M.S., University of New York, 1993, Ph.D., Harvard University, 1999

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; Ph.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

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

Associate Professor

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

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

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

Assistant Professor

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

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

Research Assistant Professor

Nykia Walker
B.A., University of Pennsylvania, 2006; M.S., 2007; Ph.D., Rutgers University, 2018

Principal Lecturer

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

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

Senior Lecturer

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; M.A.T., Wesley College, 2002; Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 2014


Javier Rivera Guzman
B.S., Inter American University of Puerto Rico, 2002; Ph.D., Indiana University, 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 Edinburgh (United Kingdom), 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

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

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

Senior 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 the five majors and three minors. The 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.

The 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 Biological Sciences, B.A.  degree with additional courses necessary and recommended for certification to teach biology at the secondary level. Students completing this degree have a strong foundation in the biological sciences and are 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 in bioinformatics and computational biology. Graduates 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.

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 an Individualized Study  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.

Students should visit the Biological Sciences department website 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 the Biological Sciences myUMBC group.

Academic Advising

Students work with their advisor every semester to discuss course registration, academic progress, and post-graduation plans. First-time students with first-year standing and some upper-class students are be advised by the department’s academic advisors. After this, students are assigned to a faculty member for advising. Students pursuing the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, B.S.  may be assigned an advisor in the Chemistry Department or Biological Sciences Department. Students must see their assigned advisors during the pre-registration period, before they can register for classes in each subsequent semester. 

Additional advising is available for pre-allied health students in the UMBC Office for Academic and Pre-Professional Advising  and for pre-professional students in the Pre-Medicine and Pre-Dentistry  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.

M.S. in Applied Molecular Biology

Students interested in the one-year master’s degree program in Applied Molecular Biology (AMB) are considered for admission to the program on a competitive basis. Students can use up to three courses (or 12 credits) from their undergraduate degrees 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 are appropriate for both degrees.

Application for admission should be submitted in the final semester of the senior year. More information is available on the Applied Molecular Biology program website.

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 website or contact individual faculty members for information on possible independent research opportunities.

Biological Sciences Learning Center

Biology students are invited to use the facilities in the Biology Learning Center, located in room 011 of the Biological Sciences building. The Learning Center offers a quiet study space and tutoring options. Tutors are available for upper-level biology courses, free of charge. A list of courses and available tutors can be found on the whiteboard in the Center. For more information, contact Dr. Jennifer Hughes in BS011. Students can find additional studying and tutoring resources through the Academic Success Center

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.” Up to date information about meeting times, locations, and events is available from the BioCOM website. Other student-run clubs for those pursuing a variety of health-related professions also exist on campus.





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