Biology

Biology
Our highly-trained faculty interact daily in classrooms and labs with our students, helping them to develop their knowledge and skills in biology.

We prepare students for dynamic and challenging careers in medical professions, environmental science, scientific research, industry, education, and more.


Biology Program undergraduates are encouraged to collaborate and actively participate in original research with the faculty. Each senior participates in a seminar that may include an original research project, a poster presentation and an oral presentation using the latest technology in visual aids. TLU's Irvin G. Patterson Biology Station at Lake McQueeney offers a wide range of field equipment and includes water access on a reservoir on the middle Guadalupe River in South Central Texas. Students interested in tropical biology and environmental studies can study abroad in Central and South American countries. Aquatic Biology, Plant Biology, Plant Taxonomy, and Ecology courses take trips to local ecosystems. Students can also participate in the Health Professions Club, the TLU chapter of Texas Academy of Science and biology honor society Beta Beta Beta. The TLU Biology Department has developed a wide reputation for excellence in preparing students for professional schools and graduate schools.

Biology

  • Experience Biology at TLU

    Summer research program at the Weston Ranch

    Students can be hired for the summer as paid biodiversity researchers through our grant-funded program at this large ranch only 15 minutes from Seguin. Students document the flora and fauna of the ranch and can develop independent projects to present at scientific meetings. Students can continue their research during the academic year as paid research assistants.

    Biology Seminars

    Biology Seminars provide students and faculty an opportunity to learn about the latest research in biology, as well as an opportunity to present their own research and ideas. All biology seniors present a 15-minute seminar in their last year at TLU.

    Seminars are usually held at 1:00 pm on Fridays in Moody Science 101.

    Signs will be posted on the doors of the Moody and Krost Science buildings announcing seminars and published on the MyTLU calendar.

    Environmental Studies in Tropical America

    Students interested in tropical biology and environmental studies can participate in our trips to the beautiful countries of Central and South America. Over the past decade, we have been to Ecuador, Belize, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Mexico. Most trips last about two weeks in May.

    These short study abroad opportunities are ideal for students who have not been out of the U.S. before, or those who may not have time or money for longer semester programs. Many of our students have described their travels to Central and South America as a highlight of their college experience. We usually travel with two TLU faculty members and about 10-12 students.

    Belize

    In May 2013, nine TLU students and two TLU faculty traveled to Belize to study tropical ecology and environmental science. The first part of our adventure was spent on the remote island of Calabash Caye in the center of the Belize Barrier Reef, the largest coral reef system in the Americas. Calabash Caye is located in the Turneffe Atoll, which recently was designated as a marine reserve by the government of Belize. The reef is known for its diversity of marine life and for a high density of American crocodiles, which we observed at night. We snorkeled in a variety of reefs and mangrove habitats and saw dozens of species of fish and invertebrates. The second part of our trip was spent on the mainland, and included visits to a community-sponsored sanctuary for howler monkeys and horseback riding in the jungle. We stayed at a lodge at the foothills of the scenic Maya mountains. The lodge is located adjacent to a 3000 acre reserve of primary rainforest. We observed toucans, parrots, boa constrictors, leaf-cutter ants, and many more species of rainforest animals. We also learned about the ancient Maya, and visited one of their sacred caves and the largest Maya city in Belize.

    Ecuador

    In May, 2010, we traveled to Ecuador, one of the countries with the highest biodiversity on Earth. In one day, one can travel from glaciated mountaintops to lowland rainforest. After a day of exploring the beautiful colonial city of Quito, we drove up to Cotopaxi to observe high-elevation habitats of the Andes. Cotopaxi is the highest active volcano in the world, and we could certainly feel the lack of oxygen as we hiked at 15,000 feet above sea level. We then moved down into the mountain cloud forests on the east side of the Andes where we stayed at an awesome hacienda near Banos for a few days. Next, we descended into the Amazon basin to explore lowland tropical rainforest along the Napo River. On our way back to Quito we stayed at the thermal springs in Papallacta. During our trip, we played soccer with local kids, visited a gold-plated cathedral, ate local foods, planted some trees, visited an animal refuge, and continually soaked in the fascinating culture of Ecuador.

    Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico

    In May of 2008 we traveled to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico. We visited several Mayan cities (Chichen Itza, Coba, Tulum, Uxmal). We stayed with college students in Valladolid, explored the city of Merida, hiked through the dry forest to see howler and spider monkeys, and swam in the canals of Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve and the cenotes.

    Costa Rica

    We visited Costa Rica in May of 2007. We hiked in rainforests and cloud forests, white-water rafted down a rainforest river, observed an active volcano, swam in the Pacific Ocean, and were raided by monkeys on a boat trip through the mangrove swamps.

  • Internship & Research Opportunities

    The biology faculty believe that completing an internship or research experience helps students to learn more about biology, develop professional skills and an understanding of biology-related careers, while enhancing their applications for jobs and graduate and professional schools. The faculty maintain a network of contacts in various medical schools, graduate schools, and hospitals that enable us to find appropriate internships for our students.

    Motivated students will have the opportunity to participate in a variety of internships or research fields to help establish their professional career. We work individually with the students to ensure their success.

    Internship Examples

    Guadalupe Regional Medical Center

    UT School of Public Health

    Various medical and dental clinics

    Veterinary clinics

    San Antonio Zoo

    Texas Parks and Wildlife

    Brook Army Medical Center

    UT Health Science Center - San Antonio

    Texas A&M University - Graduate School - Department of Bioengineering

    Joint Admission Medical Program

    Public high schools (biology education)

    Research Experiences

    TLU Students can participate in research projects with faculty members either during the semester or during the summer.
    Here are some examples of recent projects:

    • Stress-response pathways in bacteria (microbiology/molecular biology)
    • Aquatic macroinvertebrates of a spring-fed spring (environmental biology/zoology)
    • Isolation of ethanol-producing bacteria for producing biofuels (cell/molecular/microbiology)
    • Vascular plants and lichen survey of a local ranch (environmental biology/botany)
    • Effects of spinal decompression therapy (biomedical)
    • Distribution and abundance of rare mayfly in a nearby lake (environmental biology/zoology)
    • Analysis of data from a local school district on relationships between physical fitness and academic achievement (public health)
    • Water quality monitoring in a local stream (environmental biology)
    • Seasonal changes in mayfly abundance at Lake McQueeney (environmental biology)
    • Evolutionary changes in soil bacteria (microbiology)
    • Creation of a porcine model for diabetes (physiology)
    • Epidemiology and characterization of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (microbiology)

    In addition to these biology projects, some biology majors do research in the TLU chemistry department during the summer. Often these students are double-majoring in biology and chemistry.

    Off-Campus Summer Research

    Usually funded through government-sponsored programs for undergraduates

    • Programmed cell death in dinoflagellates (marine biology/cell biology)
    • Effects of nanoparticles on bacteria of Galveston Bay (marine biology/molecular biology)
    • Effects of hyperosmolarity on Vibrio bacteria (marine biology/cell biology)
    • Effects of maternal nutrient restriction on mammalian development (physiology)
    • Biochemical properties and hemostatic function of plasma-derived vs. recombinant fibrinogen (molecular biology/physiology)
    • Maternal and fetal insulin-like growth factors (physiology/molecular biology)
    • Role of sensory nerves in the vasoconstrictor response to local cooling in humans (physiology)
    • Investigation of a genetic bottleneck in the California treefrog (genetics/environmental biology)
    • Mercury in marine fish in the Gulf of Mexico (environmental biology/chemistry)
  • Careers in Biology

    Skills Acquired as a TLU Biology Major

    All biology majors develop a broad knowledge of biology and take supporting courses in chemistry, physics, and statistics.
    Students develop skills in:

    • using the scientific method,
    • using laboratory techniques,
    • reviewing scientific papers,
    • presenting scientific information both orally and in writing,
    • effectively analyzing and presenting numerical information in graphs

    Students in the molecular biology track develop advanced skills in laboratory techniques, while students in the environmental biology track develop advanced skills in field techniques and identification of animals and plants.

    Career Options for Biology Majors

    Health Professions

    • physical therapy
    • occupational therapy
    • physician's assistant
    • nursing
    • medicine
    • dentistry
    • veterinary medicine

    Environmental Professions

    • wildlife biology
    • fisheries biology
    • plant ecology
    • natural resources
    • conservation biology

    Education

    • state certification for grades 8-12 life sciences

    Business and Industry

    Students can minor in the Business of Science or Communication Studies or go into careers such as:

    • pharmaceutical industry
    • environmental consulting
    • health care administration 

    Graduate Studies & Research

    Preparation for graduate-level research

    • Pharmacology
    • Biochemistry
    • Biotechnology
    • Molecular genetics
    • Physiology
    • Cellular biology
    • Neuroscience
    • Microbiology
    • Ecology
    • Conservation biology
    • Agriculture
    • Law School
    • Physical Therapy
    • Occupational therapy
    • Physician's Assistant
    • Nursing
    • Dentistry
    • Veterinary Medicine

    TLU Graduates in the Health Professions have continued at:

    • Air Force Medical School
    • Angelo State Physical Therapy School
    • Baylor College of Dentistry
    • Baylor College of Medicine
    • Baylor University, School of Nursing
    • Baylor University, Physician Assistant School
    • Blinn College of Nursing
    • Dallas Chiropractic School
    • Dallas EMT-Paramedic
    • Duke University Medical School
    • Guadalajara Medical School, Mexico
    • MD Anderson Cancer Center-Houston, Laboratory Technician
    • Marymont University-Massachusetts, Forensic Science Program
    • Medical University of S. Carolina-Charleston, Physician Assistant School
    • Midwestern University Physician Assistant School
    • New England Optometry School
    • Nova Southeastern University Medical School
    • Nova Southeastern University Dental School
    • Nursing School, San Jacinto College
    • Ohio College of Podiatric Medicine
    • Ross University Medical School
    • St. George Medical School, Grenada
    • Southwest Biomedical Research Foundation
    • Texas A&M Kingsville, Pharmacy School
    • Texas A&M University, Graduate School
    • Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ft. Worth
    • Texas Women's University, Nursing School
    • Texas Women's University, Physical Therapy School
    • Texas A&M Medical School
    • Texas A&M Veterinary School
    • Texas Southern University, Pharmacy School
    • Texas State University, Hospital Administration MA Program
    • Texas State University, Speech Pathology
    • Texas Tech Medical School
    • University of North Texas, PhD Forensics Program
    • University of Colorado Medical School
    • University of Houston Pharmacy School
    • University Of Houston Public Health
    • University of Houston Nursing
    • University of Houston Optometry
    • University of the Incarnate Word, Pharmacy School
    • University of Minnesota Medical School
    • University of Puerto Rico Medical School
    • University of Texas-Arlington, Chemistry Graduate School
    • University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-Houston Medical School
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Graduate School
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Dental School
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Medical School
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Nursing School
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Physicians Assistant School
    • University of Texas Health Science Center-San Antonio Physical Therapy School
    • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston-Nursing
    • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston Medical School
    • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston Physician Assistant School
    • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston Physical Therapy School
    • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, MD/PhD
    • University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston, PhD Bioethics
    • Western University Pharmacy School, California
    • William Cary University, Osteopathic Medicine

Major in Biology for a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree

Major in Biology for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree

Customize your bachelor’s degree in biology with a specialization in molecular biology or environmental biology.

Major in Biochemistry for a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree

Minor in Biology

Minor in Biochemistry

Minor in Business of Science

Minor in Environmental Science

Minor in Environmental Studies

Study Pre-Med or Health-Related Pre-Professional Programs like

  • Dentistry
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Occupational Therapy
  • Optometry
  • Pharmacy
  • Physician Assistant
  • Physical Therapy
  • Veterinary Science

Biology Faculty

Robert Jonas

Professor

Danielle Grove

Asst. Professor, Biology

Mark Gustafson

Professor, Environmental Studies Program Director

Alan Lievens

Professor and Department Chair

Stephanie Perez

Asst. Professor

William Squires

Professor

View All Faculty