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Welcome From the Chair

Greg RomanDear Friends of Biology,

It is our pleasure to present to you our annual newsletter, from the shoe. Life here in Shoemaker Hall continues to be exciting and rewarding. We have been working hard this past year on bringing the best educational experiences to our students and developing a leading department engaging in a nationally and internationally recognized life science research. We have also shared the challenge of continuing our work in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This world-wide challenge reminds us that we need our students now more than ever. We need them trained to confront our future challenges of emerging diseases and global environmental changes.

This year we have launched new courses, including a major’s course in Human Anatomy, in which students learn anatomy from prosected human specimens, 3-D images from CT scans and fMRI, and a synthetic cadaver. We also pioneered a new course in advanced microscopy entitled Illuminating the Invisible: Microscopes, in which students learned how to acquire images and analyze the behavior of fluorescently-labeled molecules within cells using our laser-scanning confocal microscope. Our students also continued to explore and learn about living systems in exotic environments in our Study Abroad and Study USA courses. We strive to provide learning experiences for our students that are deep, varied, and life-changing.

Critical to a comprehensive education in the life sciences is exposure to cutting-edge research. This past year, faculty within the Department of Biology have received more than $1.9 million in new research funding coming from NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. Our faculty are training our next scientists to solve some of the biggest challenges facing our country and our world. Notable this year is our new Center for Biodiversity and Conservation Research, which is leading research initiatives to identify new ways to conserve species and ecosystems from ongoing threats, including global change. We are working to be an agent of positive change for you and future generations.

In the face of the pandemic, we temporarily moved all our courses to remote instruction, allowing the students to avoid large classrooms and labs and to learn in the safety of their own homes or apartments. Our faculty made this turn around in course format in one week, a fantastic feat that makes me so proud of their hard work and their dedication to our students. We also wish you to be proud of our accomplishments, and we invite you to be part of our efforts. Please keep in touch with us and let us know how you have been and what you have been doing. You can email us at We very much look forward to hearing from you.

Hotty Toddy,
Gregg Roman signature
Gregg Roman
professor and chair