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Biology

Biology at RWU stands apart from the competition. For starters, the major is housed in the state-of-the-art Marine and Natural Sciences (MNS) Building. Located just a few hundred yards from Mount Hope Bay, the MNS Building is complete with a 4,000 square-foot wet lab, a greenhouse and a vast array of scientific equipment from PCR machines to a nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer. Roger Williams is also home to the state’s only shellfish hatchery, making both our academics and our facilities widely known and respected.

Students are encouraged to join student-faculty collaboration and ongoing research project in areas that include evolutionary genetics, cell biology, developmental biology, microbiology, neurobiology and ecology.

Most recently, biology students founded a chapter of FIMRC (Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children) on campus. The students raise funds, collect donations and spend spring break in El Salvador as Global Health Volunteers at FIMRC pediatric clinics and in the surrounding rural communities.

Student Learning Outcomes

By the time a student has completed a major in Biology or Marine Biology, s/he is expected to be able to demonstrate the following competencies:

  1. formulate a scientific question or problem
  2. design a properly controlled experiment or field study that tests a clearly-stated hypothesis
  3. evaluate evidence critically and quantitatively, and apply this knowledge to novel situations.
  4. effectively communicate scientific knowledge orally, graphically, and in writing
  5. conduct a search of peer-reviewed print and electronic resources relevant to a research project in the life sciences
  6. understand the role of macromolecules in cellular processes
  7. understand the relationship between the structure and function of cellular components
  8. understand the relationship between the structure and function of major organ systems
  9. understand the mechanisms of physiological homeostasis
  10. describe cellular and physiological adaptations that have evolved in a variety of phyla
  11. understand the key discoveries of modern biology (including molecular biology and bioinformatics)
  12. understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms of inheritance
  13. understand the species concept and the factors affecting biodiversity
  14. describe the patterns and mechanisms of evolution
  15. understand how phylogenetic relationships among taxa are determined
  16. describe the patterns and mechanisms of population distribution, growth and regulation
  17. understand the flow of matter and energy through natural systems from the molecular to the ecosystem level
  18. describe interactions among biotic and abiotic factors in natural systems
  19. understand the life history strategies of organisms
  20. describe the major global biological communities and biomes
  21. understand significant interactions and dependencies between human and natural systems
Marcie Marston, Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
B.A. Amherst College, Ph.D. Cornell University
Contact Information
x3311
MNS 221
Areas of Expertise: 
Genetics & Evolution of Viruses

Marcie Marston

Marcie
Marston
Ph.D.
Professor of Biology
B.A. Amherst College, Ph.D. Cornell University
Contact Information
x3311
MNS 221
Areas of Expertise: 
Genetics & Evolution of Viruses
Dale Leavitt, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., M.S., Ph.D. University of Maine
Contact Information
x3047
MNS 220
Areas of Expertise: 
Aquaculture & Animal Nutrition

Dale Leavitt

Dale
Leavitt
Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S., M.S., Ph.D. University of Maine
Contact Information
x3047
MNS 220
Areas of Expertise: 
Aquaculture & Animal Nutrition
Avelina Espinosa, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S. Pontifical Catholoic University of Ecuador, M.A., Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis
Contact Information
x3137
MNS 236
Areas of Expertise: 
Microbiology & Biotechnology

Avelina Espinosa

Avelina
Espinosa
Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology
B.S. Pontifical Catholoic University of Ecuador, M.A., Ph.D. Washington University in St. Louis
Contact Information
x3137
MNS 236
Areas of Expertise: 
Microbiology & Biotechnology

Additional information
Faculty Website

Sean P. Colin, Ph.D
Associate Professor of Environmental Science
B.S. Providence College, M.S. SUNY Stony Brook, Ph.D. University of Connecticut
Contact Information
x3142
MNS 237
Areas of Expertise: 
Biomechanics & Evolutionary Ecology

Sean P. Colin

Sean P.
Colin
Ph.D
Associate Professor of Environmental Science
B.S. Providence College, M.S. SUNY Stony Brook, Ph.D. University of Connecticut
Contact Information
x3142
MNS 237
Areas of Expertise: 
Biomechanics & Evolutionary Ecology

Research website: Jellyfish Form & Function

Loren Byrne, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science; Coordinator, Sustainability Studies Program
B.A. Hiram College, Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
Contact Information
x3890
MNS 243
Areas of Expertise: 
Terrestrial and Urban Ecology

Loren Byrne

Loren
Byrne
Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science; Coordinator, Sustainability Studies Program
B.A. Hiram College, Ph.D. Pennsylvania State University
Contact Information
x3890
MNS 243
Areas of Expertise: 
Terrestrial and Urban Ecology

Faculty Website: http://faculty.rwu.edu/lbyrne