Biological Sciences

Studying the biological sciences at Union is both exciting and rewarding on a variety of levels, which includes gaining hands-on laboratory experience, making new discoveries through research and gaining an international perspective in a constantly evolving field.

Victor Murphy '15

Sriya Bhumi '15

I learned so much in the lab about the inner workings of dragonflies' movement during my summer research with Professor Robert Olberg. I learned to micro-dissect, put in electrodes to stimulate the specific neurons and – on a lighter note – the art of catching these speedy creatures."

Compared to colleges of similar size, the range of courses offered at Union is exceptional – cell and molecular biology, neurobiology, bioengineering, plant and animal organismal biology, environmental biology, developmental biology, and ecology and evolutionary biology, to name a few. Consequently, our students are able to explore their interests and aptitudes in many different areas.

Our common curriculum courses range from "Understanding Cancer" to "Food and Health in the 21st Century" to a field course combining supervised observation and service learning experiences in various health care settings with on-campus seminars. Biology is central to numerous interdisciplinary programs: biochemistrybioengineering, environmental science and policy, and neuroscience.

Union's equipment and research laboratories are first-rate. Many biology faculty research labs are housed in the Peter Irving Wold Center, Bioengineering Center or Center for Neuroscience. Our undergraduates have access to such advanced instruments as a laser confocal microscope, video-microscopy workstations with digital image processing and microinjection capabilities, PCR workstations and much more.

An NSF Major Research Instrumentation Grant has enabled the College to acquire a continuous flow Delta V Plus isotope ratio mass spectrometer and supplemental components to support interdisciplinary research and undergraduate student research training.

Many students carry out independent research under direct faculty supervision, which leads also to participation in Union’s annual Steinmetz Research Symposium and national scientific meetings, as well as to publication as co-authors in scientific and professional journals.

Our accomplished faculty have received research grants from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Howard Hughes Medical Institute and other prestigious foundations.

In addition, Union's proximity to the Adirondacks, Albany Pine Bush, Mohawk and Hudson rivers, and many natural lakes offers innumerable field research opportunities.

As a biological sciences major, you will find that your classroom, laboratory and close working relationship with our faculty will provide a solid foundation for success in graduate and professional schools and in any number of careers, including medicine, biotechnology, veterinary science, dentistry, research science, environmental conservation and public policy.