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Biological Sciences

Biological Sciences

The hand-on laboratory experience, making discoveries through research and gaining a global perspective in a constantly evolving field are some of the hallmarks of the biological sciences at Union.


(USA Today College Guide 2017)

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: biochemistrybiomedical engineering, environmental science and policy, and neuroscience.

Research facilities

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.

Special learning opportunities

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.

"I learned so much about dragonflies' movement during my 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."
- Sriya Bhumi

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.

Meet some of our faculty

Robert Olberg

Robert Olberg

Florence B. Sherwood Professor of Life Sciences
Ph.D., University of Washington
Special interests: Understanding the sensory control of behavior in insects

Jennifer Bishop

Jennifer Bishop

Senior Lecturer
Ph.D., North Carolina State University
Special interests: Migratory birds of the Albany Pine Bush, southeastern bottomland forests and the Bahamas

Scott Kirkton

Scott Kirkton

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Arizona State University
Special interests: How an insect’s body size alters the biochemistry, morphology, physiology and biomechanics of oxygen delivery, muscle performance and locomotion

Nicole Theodosiou

Nicole Theodosiou

Associate Professor
Ph.D., Yale University
Special interests:  Evolution and development of the digestive tract in the vertebrate lineage

After Union

Anesthesiologist, Maimonides Medical Center

Veterinarian, Valley Animal Hospital

Assistant district attorney, Bronx County

Medical writer, Yale New Haven Hospital

Biocoustician, Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Marine habitat research specialist, National Marine Fisheries Service