Biology (Ph.D.) Program Details

 Degree Requirements

    ❱   Required coursework
    ❱   Qualifying or comprehensive examination
    ❱   Graduate School writing proficiency requirement
    ❱   Graduate School Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement
    ❱   Dissertation  
    ❱   Final oral examination/Dissertation defense

Research Specializations

    ❱   Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB)
         Immunology, cell biology, molecular biology, genetics, neurobiology, physiology, developmental biology,
         microbiology, and bioinformatics

    ❱   Ecological, Environmental, and Systematic Biology (EESB)
         Ecology, evolutionary biology, environmental biology, conservation biology, and organismal biology

Research Areas & Interests

Faculty Research Interests

A sampling of research interests

  • Impact of SARDS-CoV-2 on disease severity 
  • Immunoregulatory mechanisms associated with antigen presentation
  • Immunotherapeutic approaches to combat type 1 diabetes
  • Cell signaling events related to oxidative stress
  • Relationship between MnSOD and neuromuscular degeneration 
  • Molecular characterization of foodborne bacteria
  • Gene-environment interactions in chronic disease
  • Biomaterial and tissue restoration therapies
  • Inheritance of coloration and banding patterns in teleosts 
  • Ontogenetic patterns of enzyme expression in interspecific hybrid fishes 
  • Immunoregulatory network of antigen-presenting dendritic cells 
  • Immunopathologies associated with Type 1 diabetes
  • Plant community ecology and climate change impacts on plants

Modern Research Labs

Our graduate faculty have a variety of research interests supported by state-of-the-art lab facilities. Read more about our research labs. A sampling of these research labs is featured below. 

Allen Lab

Studies oocyte meiotic maturation, meiotic cell cycle regulation, fertilization, and early embryonic development, using the nematode C. elegans as a model.

Farina Lab

Investigates how evolution shapes bones and muscles used in multiple biomechanical systems, specifically focusing on fish fill ventilation and the biomechanics of gill chambers in fishes.

Robinson Lab

Investigates host-microbiota interactions in the midguts of cabbage white butterflies; the roles of microbial communities associated with insect vectors of disease; and microbial diversity in soil-based systems.

Teng Lab

Development and application of bioinformatics in analyzing genetic variations associated with human disease. Research focuses on next-generation sequencing, machine learning, and protein structure modeling.


Ullah Lab

Investigates the scaffold protein-mediated cellular signal transduction pathways and development and use of small inhibitor molecules of scaffold protein in broad anti-viral and cancer cell metastasis processes.

Program of Study* 


BIOG 534  Evolutionary and Systematic Biology

BIOG 533  Ecological and Environmental Biology

BIOG 532  Molecular Biology of the Cell

CHEM 251 (or BIOC101) Biochemistry



BIOG 200  Biological Writing for Graduate Students



BIOG 699   Ph.D. Research 


BIOG 700  Ph.D. Dissertation

*Courses included in the sample program of study are subject to change. Students should consult with their programs regarding their required program of study. 

Admission to Candidacy 

Students are admitted to formal candidacy by the Graduate School when they have completed the required coursework, passed the qualifying or comprehensive examination, submitted an approved topic for research, and been recommended by the Department. Candidates must also have satisfied the Graduate School writing proficiency requirement and Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) requirement.

Graduate Funding 

Admitted students may be eligible to compete for Graduate School competitive awards, which provide tuition remission and a stipend during the academic year. Additionally, graduate research or teaching assistantships may be available at the department level. Research assistants and teaching assistants work no more than 20 hours a week under the program's direction, usually in support of faculty research (research assistants) or in support of assigned courses (teaching assistants). Please see the Funding website for more detailed information.