INTRODUCTION TO THE DEPARTMENT
The Biology Department of Elon University offers a balanced curriculum enabling you to study biology at the molecular, cellular, organismal and population levels. Faculty have expertise in areas such as molecular biology, molecular genetics, microbiology, animal and plant anatomy and physiology, ecology and evolution, just to name a few. The biology major is designed to expose you to the major sub disciplines of biology and still provide time for elective courses as well as internship and research opportunities. While the faculty focuses on excellent teaching and advising, they are very interested in their sub fields and will welcome an opportunity to talk with you about doing undergraduate research, about graduate programs or about possible careers in biology.
There are many research instruments in the department for your use. In spring 2006, 4 new spectrophotometers and a -80o C freezer were purchased. In fall 2006, the automated growth chamber will be upgraded with new controllers and a humidity control system. In Fall 2009 a DNA sequencer and a Realtime PCR thernal cycler were purchased. You will also have access to equipment such as an ultracentrifuge, fluorescence microscope, DNA thermocyclers and gel electrophoresis equipment as tools for studying cell structure and the genetics of cells. A scanning electron microscope is available that permits a high magnification, high-resolution surface view of specially prepared samples. A computerized human physiology laboratory offers new ways to measure and analyze physiological processes like blood pressure, nerve conduction, and muscle contraction. The human cadaver lab provides a unique opportunity for undergraduate students to study anatomy using the regional approach. The digital field fluorometer and radiometer can be used to conduct field studies to monitor phytoplankton biomass and measure primary productivity in aquatic systems. As you can see, there are many research quality instruments that you can learn to use.
The Biology faculty strongly encourage students to get involved in out of class activities related to the major, and there are many things to choose from. Many students serve as laboratory assistants or tutors, participate in the Biology Club, Beta Beta Beta Honor Society or the Lincoln Premedical Society. Internships either at Elon or off campus can help you to learn more biology and skills and to experience firsthand potential job possibilities. An increasing number of students are choosing to do undergraduate research in an area of their interest. Students work closely with a faculty mentor in designing and carrying out interesting experiments. Many students have presented their findings at Elon’s Student Undergraduate Research Forum held each spring and many also present at annual meetings of professional societies including the North Carolina Academy of Science, The Water Resources Research Institute, the Association of Southeastern Biologists, and the National Council on Undergraduate Research. The quality of the work of Elon students has been recognized at these meetings in the form of first prize awards for undergraduate poster presentations. Internships and research opportunities are wonderful preparation for anyone thinking of a career in the sciences and/or continuing into graduate study. As you can see, there are many ways that you can learn about biology at Elon.
The Biology Department offers field based courses in Peru and in Belize during the winter terms.These courses typically carry lab credit, are ecological and cultural in nature and can count in the supraorganismal biology category of course requirements.