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Dr. Roman

Brice Noonan, acting chair and associate professor of biology

Welcome to the Biology Department at the University of Mississippi.

Biology is the scientific study of living systems and all their complexities, and there has probably never been a more exciting time to be a biologist.  Astonishing new advances in the ability to detect and understand changes in genetics and cellular functions are now available. For example, modern genome sequencing technology allows scientists to identify new or hard to detect species, or to quantify many rare alleles in populations. It is now even possible to edit DNA sequences within genomes of a wide range of species to test the function of specific genetic variants. Advances in microscopy and analytic techniques now allow biologists unprecedented abilities to measure changes in cellular physiology, structure, and function.  By bridging disciplines and applying new approaches across research areas, we are generating a deep and intellectually satisfying understanding of living organisms, their populations, how they are evolving, and how they are responding to environmental change.

There has also probably never been a greater need for biologists. The expansion of human populations threatens the health of ecosystems and is allowing for the rapid evolution and spread of new viruses and antibiotic resistant bacteria. Extreme changes in climate and weather patterns are also affecting the health of animal, plant, and microbe communities worldwide, which also threatens sustainable food production. We are not helpless against these challenges, but we need a greater understanding of fundamental biological processes to overcome them. Basic biological research will provide the foundation upon which we can build our solutions and develop a better future.

The Biology Department at the University of Mississippi is a comprehensive life science department with 22 tenured and tenure track faculty and many research active instructors and lecturers working in many diverse areas of biology. Our research encompasses cell and molecular biology, evolution, and ecology, with many areas of interdisciplinary strength including in species interactions, restoration and conservation biology, behavior and neurobiology, biodiversity, and freshwater/wetlands ecology. We are a highly collaborative department, sharing interests and expertise. We train our graduate and undergraduate students to think broadly, to use interdisciplinary approaches, and to develop innovative insights into fundamental biological processes. Please spend a moment and visit our research areas page and become more familiar with the breadth and strength of our research.