The Department of Biology is notable for the breadth of its research interests and the diversity of animal and plants that we investigate. We study a very wide range of species because we believe that the secrets of biology are often best revealed by a careful choice of species to study. Within this diversity, several broad themes exist:
Ecology and Conservation Biology
Our groups study practical and theoretical aspects of the conservation of species, and conduct long-term studies of interactions between species, the impact of climate change and of natural disasters.
Without an understanding of an organism's evolution, we cannot make sense of why it functions as it does today, nor predict how it might respond to future challenges. We study evolution at almost every level, seeking to understand the roles played by genetics, behavior, development and the environment.
Our groups are dedicated to studying sensory information processing and the control of muscle activity. As with the study of evolution, we work at multiple levels, from biochemistry to behavior.
At the heart of cellular biology lies the study of protein structure and function. Our department contributes to this field through groups that study the function of ion channel proteins in bacteria and mitochondria, revealing the details of their molecular mechanism and their importance for cellular function.