Feb 23, 2024  
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog 
2023-2024 Graduate Catalog

Biological Sciences (BIOL)

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STEPHEN MILLER, Graduate Program Director

Degrees Offered

M.S., Ph.D. (Degree Types )



BIEBERICH, CHARLES J., Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Developmental biology
CRONIN, THOMAS W., Ph.D., Duke University; Vision science
FARABAUGH, PHILIP J., Ph.D., Harvard University; Molecular genetics of accuracy during protein synthesis
LEIPS, J., Ph.D., Florida State University, Evolution, ecology, life history evolution, the genetics of aging, quantitative genetics, host-parasitoid interactions
LINDAHL, LASSE, Ph.D., University of Copenhagen; Gene expression, ribosome biogenesis
OMLAND, KEVIN E., , Ph.D, State University of New York, Albany; Evolution, molecular systematics, animal behavior, bird plumage coloration, molecular ecology, population genetics, speciation
OSTRAND-ROSENBERG, SUZANNE, Ph.D.,California Institute of Technology; Tumor Immunology, cancer immunotherapy, tumor-induced immune suppression
ROBINSON, PHYLLIS, R., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin; Signal transduction in the visual system, elucidation of the mechanisms of activation and deactivation of vertebrate visual pigments
SOKOLOVE, PHILLIP G., Ph.D., Harvard University; Neurobiology, biological rhythms, invertebrate physiology

Associate Professors

BREWSTER, RACHEL, Ph.D., University of Michigan; Neuroscience, genetics, molecular and cell biology
BUSTOS, MAURICIO M., Ph.D., University of California, Irvine; Plant molecular biology
EISENMANN, DAVID M., Ph.D., Harvard University; Developmental biology, signal transduction
ERILL, IVAN, Ph.D., Computer Sciences, Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, Spain; Developing and integrating machine learning, simulation, phylogenetic, information theory and comparative genomics methods to understand the evolution, mechanics and emergent complexity of gene regulation and interaction in prokaryotic genomes
KANN, MARICEL, Ph.D., University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Computational approaches for the detection of protein domains and protein interactions, and bioinformatics methodologies to understand the molecular basis of diseases
LIN, WEIHONG, Ph.D., Colorado State University: Neurobiological studies of chemical sensations mediated by olfactory, taste and trigeminal systems with emphases on signal transduction and modulations.
LU, HUA, Ph.D., Texas A&M University; Molecular genetics and signal transduction during plant-pathogen interactions.
MENDELSON, TAMRA, Ph.D., Duke University; Evolution, mechanisms of speciation, sexual selection
MILLER, STEPHEN M, Ph.D., Massachusetts Institute of Technology; Development, evolution of development, algal biofuels
SCHREIER, HAROLD J., Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University; Microbiology, gene regulation

Assistant Professors

GARDNER, JEFFREY, Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison; Molecular-genetic analysis of bacterial physiology and metabolism
GREEN, ERIN, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley; Post-translational modification of proteins; chromatin structure and epigenetics
LOHR, BERNARD, Ph.D., Duke University; Auditory physiology an sensory biology, animal behavior and evolution
STARZ-GAIANO, MICHELLE. Ph.D., New York University; Cell migration during Drosophila development, with focus on signaling pathways

Senior Research Scientists

LI, XIANG, Ph.D., UMBC; Development and cancer biology.
SINHA, PRATIMA, Ph.D, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences. Molecular and cellular basis of tumor immunity.


LEUPEN, SARAH, Ph.D., Northwestern University
WAGNER, CYNTHIA, Ph.D., Washington University
WHITWORTH, KAREN, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University

Program Description

The Ph.D. and M.S. programs in biological sciences are designed to offer a broad, multi-disciplinary, modern education in the life sciences coupled with the development of in-depth expertise and research training within a specialized area. Because many current problems in the biological sciences overlap traditional disciplinary boundaries, a single graduate program is offered rather than the traditional separate programs in botany, microbiology, zoology and other areas. The research of the faculty in the Department of Biological Sciences covers a broad range, from structure and function of nucleic acids to the feeding behavior of animals. Therefore this program provides a diversity of opportunities for research and graduate education in biology. Program specialties include: molecular biology as studied in bacterial, yeast, plant and animal systems; cellular and developmental biology; genetics; cellular immunology; neurobiology; behavior; population biology and ecology.

Program Admission Requirements

Although candidates for admission should present a bachelor’s degree with undergraduate training in calculus, cell biology, general biology, genetics, organic chemistry, physics and statistics the program is sufficiently flexible to accommodate students with a wide range of backgrounds. Students who do not meet these and any other qualifications thought to be important by their advisory committee may be asked to complete further undergraduate course work early in their graduate careers. All applicants are required to take the aptitude sections of the Graduate Record Examination. All original application documents must be sent directly to the Graduate School, not to the graduate program.

Facilities and Special Resources

Students in the Biological Sciences Program have ready access to extensive facilities for all types of modern biological research. These facilities include advanced equipment for molecular biology (real-time PCR machines, a phosphor-imager and image documentation systems), cell biology (confocal and electron microscopes and flow cytometer), biochemistry (ultracentrifuges, HPLC and FPLC and mass spectrometers) and neurophysiology (microspectrophotometers, micromanipulators and video-image analysis systems). Support facilities include a transgenic plant facility in a modern greenhouse, NIH-approved animal quarters, aquaria, darkrooms, controlled-temperature rooms and excellent shops for mechanical work and electronics. Numerous computers provide department research support. The network infrastructure serving the Biological Sciences Building and the adjacent Martin Schwartz Hall was upgraded in 2001 to support high-speed streaming video and graphics through switched 10/1000 MB connections to every computer. Some faculty have appointments in the Greenebaum Cancer Center at the University of Maryland Medical School. Students in these labs also have access to all of the facilities in the Cancer Center.

Financial Assistance

Various types of financial support are available to students seeking a graduate degree. All Ph.D. candidates are offered financial support until completion of their degree through teaching or research assistantships, contingent on available funds and on making satisfactory progress toward their degree. The large amount of sponsored research in the department provides opportunities for graduate students to be employed on research projects.



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