Biology

The University of Dubuque Biology major prepares students for service and leadership through integrative course work, which includes interactive laboratory sessions and experiential learning opportunities. Biological phenomena are stressed at all levels of life from a simple organism to complex ecospheres with evolution serving as the unifying theory.

The Biology Program attempts to directly involve each student in the study of living organisms.

What You Will Learn

  • Develop an appreciation for the breadth of biology and evolution as the unifying theory for all biology, and its importance in our daily lives.
  • Gain advanced knowledge and skills needed for employment in a diverse array of biology-based careers.
  • Build research skills that will enhance your ability to compete for opportunities in graduate and professional schools.

Program of Study

A University of Dubuque degree in biology prepares students with foundational courses in zoology, botany, evolution, genetics, and chemistry while offering the flexibility to focus education into disciplines such as human health, molecular and cell biology, and organismal ecology.


What Our Students Do

The University of Dubuque Biology Program allows students to pursue their own research project under the supervision of a faculty member. Molecular biology is an area of student research strength at UD. Other students learn how to prepare quality research and develop microscope slides of human tissues.

 

Where Our Graduates Go

University of Dubuque biology graduates are enjoying success across the United States and beyond. Some recent examples of where UD biology graduates have gone include: medical school in Illinois, graduate school in Kansas, active duty as an officer in the United States military, laboratory technician in Iowa, head of food safety inspection in Arizona, and research technician in Texas.

News from the Department

October 2016 - Congratulations to Biology undergraduate student Frank Tillman. He was awarded Best Undergraduate Poster at the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists annual conference in Emporia, Kansas. His poster was titled “Patterns and Impacts of Ectoparasites on Bats in Northeastern Iowa.”

October 2016 - Congratulations to Environmental Science student Meagan Albon (C’ 18) on being elected to the post of Student Representative to the Central Plains Society of Mammalogists Board of Governors. There is only one student representative on the board and it has rarely gone to an undergraduate.

December 2 - Seminar: Brad Chamberlain - Luther College. Satan's Resin? Redeeming Plastic in a Disposable Age. 

November 4 - Seminar: Tesla Monson - University of California-Berkeley. Chew On This: The Evolution of Mammalian Dentition.

October 7 - Seminar: Megan Livingston - University of Wisconsin-Madison. Development of a Robust 3D Organotypic Model of Human Mammary Ducts.

September 9 - Seminar: Nilda Rodriguez - University of Northern Iowa. Host-Pathogen Interactions between the Macrophage and the Parasitic Protozoan Leishmania chagasi.

September 2016 - Congratulations to Biology Student Meagan Albon (C’ 18) for placing 3rd in the 13th International Junior Forest Competition held in Peterhof, Russia. She was on the team that represented the U.S. at this annual international competition.

Fall 2016: The Department of Natural & Applied Sciences is excited to welcome Michele Zuercher to the faculty as a full-time teaching specialist. Michele will teach core curriculum science classes and labs.

 

Biology - Program of Study

The courses below are a program sample of what students may encounter. Students will meet with their advisers to develop a personal educational program to plan their elective course choices, internships, undergraduate research, and other educational opportunities and experiences.

Year One

Fall Semester
BIO 135: General Zoology (3)
UDMA 150/EVS 230 Analysis of Functions and Trigonometry (4)/Statistics (3)
WVS: World View Seminar I (3)
ENG 101: Composition and Rhetoric (3)

J-Term
Required

Spring Semester
BIO 140:  Evolution (3)
Math (as needed)
WVS 201: World View Seminar II (3)
RES 104: Research Writing (3)
CIS 101: Introduction to Computers (3)


Year Two

Fall Semester
BIO 136: Genera Botany (4)
BIO 235: Cell Biology (4)
CHM 111: General Chemistry I (4)
HWS 110: Physical Activity (1)

J-Term
Recommended

Spring Semester
BIO 236: Genetics (4)
CHM 112: General Chemistry II (4)
COM 101: Speech Communication (3)
HWS 110: Physical Activity (1)


Year Three

Fall Semester
CHM 221: Organic Chemistry I (4)
PHY 151: General Physics I (4)
Science Elective
REL 110: Judeo-Christian Journeys (3) or other REL Course

J-Term
Recommended

Spring Semester
CHM 222: Organic Chemistry II (4)
BIO 125: Population, Resources, and Environment (3) or other Stewardship Course
Science Elective
SOC 111/PSY 110: Introduction to Sociology (3)/Psychology (3)


Year Four

Fall Semester
BIO 495: Senior Seminar (1)
Science Elective
ENG 112/260: Literature (3)
ART 111: Survey of Western Art (3) or other Aesthetics B Course

J-Term
Recommended

Spring Semester
Science Elective
Science Elective
UDHS 121: Western Civilization I (3) or other Global Awareness A Course
CCS 101: Cross-Cultural Study (1) or other Global Awareness B Course

David Koch
David Koch
Department of Natural and Applied Sciences Head and Associate Professor

PhD, Kansas State University, Geography
MS, Kansas State University, Agronomy 
BS, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Agronomy and Genetics

Office Phone: 563.589.3598
E-mail: dkoch@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 204B University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688
Biography - Click Here

I received my PhD in Geography (GIS, remote sensing, and spatial analysis) in 2010, MS in Agronomy (soil chemistry) in 2002, and BS in Agronomy and Genetics in 1991.  Throughout that entire time period, the theme of environmental science has run through my academic work.  After receiving my BS, I served two years in the Peace Corp in Paraguay.


Bindu Balakrishnan
Bindu Balakrishnan
Assistant Professor

PhD, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences - India
MSc Physiology, Kasturba Medical College - India



Office Phone: 563.589.3261
E-mail: bbalakrishnan@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104D University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Richard Cowart
Richard Cowart
Professor

PhD, Texas A&M University; Microbiology
MS, Texas A&M University; Microbiology
BS, West Texas State University; Biology

Office Phone: 563.589.3142
E-mail: rcowart@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 204A University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688
Biography - Click Here

Education and Postdoctoral Training
Research Fellow, Department of Biochemistry, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 1/83 - 8/84
Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Biochemistry & Biophysics, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 1/80 - 12/82
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, Ph.D., 1979, Microbiology
Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, M.S., 1976, Microbiology
West Texas State University, Canyon, TX, B.S., 1971, Biology

Memberships
American Society for Microbiology
American Society of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Recent Publications
Extracellular Iron Reductase Activity Elaborated by Listeria monocytogenes. (1996) Barchini, E., and R.E. Cowart. Arch. Microbiol. 166:51-57.

Aspergillus fumigatus Conidia induce a Th1-type Cytokine Response. (1997) Grazziutti, M.L., J.H. Rex, R.E. Cowart, E.J. Anaissie, A. Ford, and C.A. Savary. J. Infect. Dis. 176:1579-1583.

Multidimensional Flow Cytometric Analysis of Dendritic Cells in Peripheral Blood of Normal Donors and Cancer Patients. (1998) Savary, C.A., M.L. Grazziutti, B. Melichar, D. Prezepiorka, R. Freedman, R.E. Cowart, D. Cohen, E. Anaissie, D. Woodside, B. McIntyre, D. Pierson, N. Pellis, and J.H. Rex. Cancer Immunol. Immunother. 45:234-240.

Activated Lymphocytes Reduce Adherence of Aspergillus fumigatus. (1998) Martins, M.D., L. Rodriquez, C.A. Savary, M.L. Grazziutti, D. Deshpande, D.M. Cohen, R.E. Cowart, D.G. Woodside, B.W. McIntyre, E.J. Anaissie, and J.H. Rex. Medical Mycology 36:281-289.

Extracellular Iron Reductases: Identification of a New Class of Enzymes by Siderophore Producing Microorganisms. (1999) Vartivarian, S.E. and R.E. Cowart. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 364:75-82.

Reduction of Iron by Extracellular Iron Reductases: Implications for Microbial Iron
Acquisition. (2002) Cowart, R.E. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 400:273-281.

Removal of Iron from Fe3+-transferrin. Campbell, J., L. Schneider, and R.E. Cowart. In Preparation.

Surface Proteins of Listeria monocytogenes. Cowart, R.E. and P.J. Kelleher. In Preparation.

Research in The Iron Lab
We are finishing up the writing for submission of the work of Jackie Campbell and Lori Schneider on the removal of iron from transferrin. Additional work was carried out after they left, but these additional studies will make this a superb paper. Jackie has now passed her prelims in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and is now a Ph.D. candidate. Congradulations to Jackie. Lori has successfully completed two semesters at Iowa State University School of Veterinary Medicine and is thinking about a career in research. This likley means a Ph.D. after her DVM should she decide to go this direction.

I had a good summer studying Advanced Bacterial Genetics at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The course was intense but very good. Research in the lab is centering around the thermodynamics of the transfer of iron from various chelators to bacterial siderophores, and learning more about bioinformatics and molecular modeling. Plans are also being made to get back to isolating and characterizing bacterial iron reductases.

Relevant Scholarly Activities

I am an active, ad hoc reviewer for the journal Archives of Biochemistry & Biophysics.

Attending STEM Conference for Educators, June 20 – 24, 2016, San Diego, CA.

ATP, Positive Heterotropic Interactions, and Allosteric Control of Fe3+ Release from Fe3+-Transferrin.  Richard E. Cowart.  Presented at the University of Iowa School of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, June 6, 2015.

U.S. Patent No. 8,647,640, February 11, 2014.  Vaccine Compositions and Methods of Use to Protect against Infectious Diseases.  Richard E. Cowart, Inventor. 

A putative P-type ATPase required for virulence and resistance to haem toxicity in Listeria monocytogenes.  (2012) McLaughlin H.P., Q. Xiao, R.B. Rea, H. Pi, P.G. Casey, T. Darby, A. Charbit, R.D. Sleator., S.A. Joyce., R.E. Cowart, C. Hill, P.E. Klebba, and C.G. Gahan. PLoS One. 7 (2):1-12. 

Reduction of iron by extracellular iron reductases:  Implications for microbial iron acquisition. (2002) Cowart, R.E. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 400:273-281.

Extracellular iron reductases: Identification of a new class of enzymes by siderophore producing microorganisms. (1999) Vartivarian, S.E. and R.E. Cowart. Arch. Biochem. Biophys. 364:75-82.

 

 

I am currently teaching the following courses: Biol 110 Human Biology (a non-majors course), Biol 314 Microbiology, and Biol 213 General and Medical Microbiology. I am also, presently developing the course, “Industrial and Environmental Microbiologys

Comments are alwaywelcome. Feel free to contact me at rcowart@dbq.edu


Dan Duclos
Dan Duclos
Adjunct Instructor of Natural and Applied Sciences


E-mail: dduclos@dbq.edu 

Dale Hampton Easley
Dale Hampton Easley
Department of Natural and Applied Sciences Professor

PhD, University of Wyoming
MS, University of Wyoming
BS, Guilford College

Office Phone: 563.589.3639
E-mail: deasley@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104B University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Kelly Grussendorf
Kelly Grussendorf
Assistant Professor

PhD, University of Kansas
BA, Minnesota State University - Moorhead

Office Phone: 563.589.3149
E-mail: kgrussendorf@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 309A University Science Center

Adam Hoffman
Adam Hoffman
Associate Professor of Environmental Chemistry

PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
BA, University of Minnesota-Morris

Office Phone: 563.589.3746
E-mail: ahoffman@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104E University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Lalith Jayawickrama
Lalith Jayawickrama
Teaching Specialist Faculty, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences

MS, University of Delaware
BS, Ramapo College of New Jersey

Office Phone: 563.589.3148
E-mail: lalithj@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 317 University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama
Rasika Mudalige-Jayawickrama
Associate Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD, University of Hawaii
MS, Louisiana State University
BS, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka

Office Phone: 563.589.3144
E-mail: rmudalig@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104C University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Tyler Porter
DNAS Lab Manager

E-mail: tporter@dbq.edu 

James Prochaska
James Prochaska
Adjunct Instructor of Natural and Applied Sciences

MS, University of Wisconsin - Superior; Physics
BS, Loras College; Chemistry

Office Phone: 563.589.3149
E-mail: jprochaska@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104 University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Mark Sinton
Mark Sinton
Assistant Professor of Natural and Applied Sciences

PhD, Michigan State University
MS, University of Denver
BA, University of Denver

Office Phone: 563.589.3153
E-mail: msinton@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 204C University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Richard W. Smith
Richard W. Smith
Assistant Professor - Physics

MA, Mankato State University
BS, University of Dubuque

Office Phone: 563.589.3146
E-mail: rwsmith@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 230C University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Ken Turner, Jr.
Ken Turner, Jr.
Assistant Professor of Science Education

EDD, National Louis University
MAT, De Pauw University
BA, Valparaiso University

Office Phone: 563.589.3799
E-mail: kturner@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 309A University Science Center
Biography - Click Here

Turner is  pursuing a doctorate at National Louis University while teaching education, science, and research classes at University of Dubuque and  National Louis University.

He led teams of teachers and students in research on local wetlands, fullerenes, liquid crystals, piezoelectrics, lighter-than-air solids, diamond thin-films, and more.  He has taught Materials Engineering and Design at the Cray Academy (Eau Clair, WI) and at the Center for Talent Development (Northwestern University). He initiated, led, and published two different integrated curriculums. He has years of experience teaching high school and middle school sciences, and holds certifications in high school and elementary teaching in addition to being a National Board Certified Teacher. 

He is a module developer, beta tester, book author, and workshop leader for Materials World Modules, at the Materials Science Institute, Northwestern University. He has authored articles, participated in nationwide validity studies, directed a Toyota Tapestry project, led workshops from Boston to San Francisco, and won Illinois “Those Who Excel” award for excellence in teaching three times.

He has been published in The Science Teacher, Journal of Chemical Education, Journal of Materials Education, and others.  He published, “Ready for the Next Generation Science Standards” at the Iowa Academy of Science (2014), and will present “Formative Evaluation of Preparedness to Teach Engineering Design and NGSS” at Evaluation 2014, the national conference for the American Evaluation Association.  He has researched, published, and taught Engineering Design for over a decade.

He believes that, as never before, our students, teachers, and leaders will need to bring all of their creativity and intelligence to bear on each problem they face. Therefore, integrity, collaboration, and innovation must mark our efforts in school and personal improvement. It is a moral imperative.


Gerald L. Zuercher
Gerald L. Zuercher
Professor of Vertebrate Ecology

PhD, Kansas State University
MS, University of Alaska, Fairbanks
BS, Mississippi State University

Office Phone: 563.589.3147
E-mail: gzuerche@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 104E University Science Center
Fax: 563.589.3688

Michele Zuercher
Michele Zuercher
Teaching Specialist


Office Phone: 563.589.3151
E-mail: mzuercher@dbq.edu 
Office Location: 230A University Science Center

Careers in Biology

Biology prepares students for a wide array of career options. Careers in academic research-focused fields include everything from geneticist and molecular biologist to horticulturalist and wildlife ecologist. Biomedical-research careers include everything from bacteriologist and virologist to neuroscientist and physiologist.  

Professional program options include medical, veterinary, dental, optometry, physical therapy, and chiropractic. Government jobs that utilize the biology degree include science policy analyst, health and safety inspector, and naturalist at a national park. In addition, a biology degree can lead to opportunities in teaching, science writing, pharmaceutical sales, and laboratory analysis.  

BS Opportunities

Examples of specific careers that can be obtained with a BS in biology are: laboratory technician in a clinical or research facility; animal husbandry technician at a zoo, aquarium, or veterinary hospital; sales representative for a pharmaceutical company or science supply company; and quality control analyst for food inspection agency.  

Post-graduate Opportunities

Examples of specific careers that can be obtained with a post-graduate degree in biology are: university professor, laboratory manager in a clinical or research facility, project director for a research institute, lead scientist for a non-profit organization, and science adviser for government agencies and legislators.  

Successful Outcomes

Caroline Grunenwald, BS, MS, PhD, 2008 Biology

Much of the success I have experienced as a research scientist can be attributed to the education I received as an undergraduate student at the University of Dubuque. While earning my Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Biology, I was able to work on multiple undergraduate research projects, including my own, studying the molecular regulation of flower color in orchids with Dr. Mudilage-Jayawickrama. These experiences not only taught me basic laboratory and field skills, but also gave me the opportunity to learn how to analyze data and interpret results. More importantly, it helped me realize how rewarding and exciting research can be, and led me to pursue a Masters and a PhD in Microbiology.

By applying the ecological concepts I learned through the Environmental Science program at UD and my training in microbiology, I am able study the impact of parasites on wildlife populations and the environmental factors that may contribute to disease outbreaks. This strong ecology background gives me a unique perspective, helping me to see things my microbiology peers might overlook, and ultimately to be a better scientist.