Bryant U. announces new biology major
July 26th, 2010
New program focuses on integrative biology, intensive laboratory research
SMITHFIELD, R.I. - Bryant University is launching a new major, the bachelor of science in biology.
What sets the Bryant biology major apart is an intensive research program that cuts across disciplines, said Jose-Marie Griffiths, Ph.D., the University's vice president for academic affairs. After working with the Department of Science and Technology faculty who teach environmental science, botany, chemistry, biotechnology and cellular biology, the biology major will work one-on-one with faculty mentors to develop an independent research project. Some of these projects may culminate in scientific papers suitable for publication or presentations at major scientific conferences.
Like other Bryant science majors, biology majors will have opportunities to conduct research abroad, Griffiths said. Through Bryant's U.S.-China Institute, a research partnership has been established with Chinese universities, including the China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, and other research centers
Bryant's new program is an excellent example of integrative biology - an educational approach that unites biology with other disciplines. "Integrative biology creates a synergy that will lead to amazing new discoveries and opportunities," said James Collins, Ph.D., former director of biological sciences at the National Science Foundation and currently the Virginia M. Ullman Professor of Natural History and Environment at Arizona State University.
Griffiths agrees. "Bryant biology majors will be poised to take part in an unprecedented wave of biological and technical innovation - one that will improve human health, advance environmental sustainability, and resolve some of the most pressing social problems in the coming decades," she said.
The new biology program is in keeping with the Bryant's expansion in the sciences, said David Lux, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Since 2008, the University's integrated laboratory space has grown by 9,000 square feet with the addition of three teaching labs and six research labs — essential space for the research conducted by the growing number of faculty and students in the Department of Science and Technology. This past May, the University's first environmental science majors graduated, and currently more than 800 Bryant students enroll in a lab course regardless of their major, Lux said.
Research being conducted by Bryant faculty in the Department of Science and Technology includes:
- Immunological techniques for the study of cancer and its treatment (Kirsten Antonelli, Ph.D., associate professor)
- Modeling of brain processes (Brian Blais, Ph.D., associate professor)
- Impact of oil pollution and analysis of bioremediation techniques (Gaytha Langlois, Ph.D., professor; Dan McNally, Ph.D., associate professor; Julie Crowley-Parmentier, lecturer)
- Geochemical processes, organic and isotopic composition of modern and fossil plants and the implications for understanding climate change and global warming (Hong Yang, Ph.D., professor, and Angelyn Phillips, lecturer)
- Anatomy and morphology of terrestrial plants, paleoclimatological studies of modern and fossil higher plants, management of endangered plant species (Qin Leng, associate professor)
- Carbohydrate-based antimicrobial drug discovery and development of new tools and processes for glycoengineering (Christopher Reid, Ph.D., assistant professor)