Biology Department Chair:
Michael A Elnitsky, Ph.D. FACULTY Professors: John M. Campbell, Ph.D. David C. Hyland, Ph.D. Associate Professors: Marlene Cross, Ph.D.; Larry P. Gauriloff, Ph.D.; Assistant Professors: Michael A. Elnitsky, Ph.D. Sara Turner, Ph.D. Instructors: Summer Ekelund-Weaver, M.A.; Amy L Burniston, MS Sarah L. Bennett, M.S. Adjunct Professor, Laboratory Director and Research Associate: Darlene Melchitzky, M.S. Medical Technology Concentration: Stephen M. Johnson, M.S., M.T. (ASCP) Program Director School of Medical Technology Saint Vincent Health Center: Jeffrey Richmond, M.D. Medical Director School of Medical Technology Saint Vincent Health Center
INTRODUCTION Biology is the scientific study of life in all its astonishing forms from its origins some 4 billion years ago to the present day. This experimental science involves an examination of life on multiple scales from the molecular to the global. Though difficult to define, the study of life rests upon two fundamental notions. The first is that living systems operate via basic thermodynamic and kinetic principles. Such principles are embodied in the study of physics and chemistry. The second is the unifying concept of evolution, the most original and important idea of the modern era. Given these principles and great time depth, life has generated immense and complex diversity. Biologists strive to understand and manage this diversity by examining the genetic history and special features of each species as well as the interactions between each species and its environment. On a more applicable level, biologists are concerned with the impact humans have had and continue to have upon the environment and how, in turn, the environment affects our own quality of life. Additionally, new discoveries in biology, particularly those related to health and medicine, often have social, political, economic, and ethical implications. Biology provides both the knowledge and the tools required to understand these complex problems and challenges.
The primary goal of the Department of Biology is to provide thorough and basic training in the broad field of biology through a forward-looking and comprehensive curriculum. This includes instruction and laboratory experience in each of the principal areas within biology and supporting coursework in mathematics, physics, and chemistry. Our program is designed to provide majors with the means to secure fulfilling employment or continue their education at the graduate and professional level. Beyond the basic but substantive curriculum, several specialized programs are available within the Department of Biology. The department’s newest specialized program is the Sustainability Studies concentration. This program has been developed in tandem with similar concentrations in other major departments and is foundational to the university’s commitment to advance undergraduate programs that will produce responsible citizens and leaders to address environmental problems such as climate change.
BIOLOGY professional society for students dedicated to improving the understanding and appreciation of biological study and extending boundaries of human knowledge through scientific research. Mercyhurst students who aspire to teach biology at the secondary level can now earn a Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology, a Master of Science degree in Secondary Education, and become certified to teach grades 7 through 12, in a total of five years. This specialized five year Bachelor in Biology plus Master in Secondary Education program saves the student both time and money. Students complete the master degree in only one year instead of the usual two years, save an entire year’s worth of tuition costs, and can enter the job market a year sooner at an advanced level.
In the health professions, the department offers a variety of programs. Each includes preparatory course work necessary to apply to Pharmacy, Medical, Veterinary, Physician Assistant, and Dental schools, among others. The department also offers a concentration in Medical In support of Sustainability Studies and other Technology jointly administered and taught by the St. departmental offerings, the biology department Vincent Health Center. To increase opportunities for manages two major natural areas owned by the students interested in the health professions, the university within the Pennsylvania Lake Erie watershed. university has cooperative agreements with a number The Jean B. and J. Douglas James Ecological & Wildlife of professional medical schools. Students in these Preserve is a 35-acre property that features a wide programs - which feature an accelerated transition variety of forest and wetland habitats and is part of a to professional school have the option of attending larger community greenway adjacent to the Asbury Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine to obtain a Woods Nature Center. The Mary Jo and Ed Maier Field doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine or Dentistry Station is a 17-acre property located in the valley of or Pharmacy, Kent State University College of Podiatric Elk Creek near Girard, PA. This locale contains a mature Medicine to pursue a doctoral degree in Podiatric bottomland forest and channel wetlands within the Medicine, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine floodplain of the stream. to obtain a doctoral degree in Osteopathic Medicine, or the New York Chiropractic College to complete a The Biology Department is also leading an effort to doctoral degree in Chiropractic Medicine. Each of these develop a university garden and renewable energy programs allows the student to transition into a doctoral research facility at a university-owned farm in Girard, Pa. program at the end of the third year at Mercyhurst The farm features a new greenhouse, demonstrations University. This permits an accelerated completion of of best management practices for erosion control and requirements leading to a bachelor’s degree in biology soil/water conservation, soil restoration research plots, and a doctoral degree in the program of interest. and ongoing experimental projects in sustainable food production systems. These sites are utilized for student For students interested in neurobiology we offer a research and field trips in several biology courses. Neuroscience Concentration as an interdisciplinary program administered in conjunction with the The department is a full member and active participant Psychology Department. This program of study relates in the Regional Science Consortium, a collaborative, behavior to bodily processes, especially the workings of non-profit organization that focuses on and coordinates the brain. The main goal of this area of study is to undereducational and research projects for Lake Erie and the stand behavior and experience in terms of upper Ohio River Basin. The consortium offers university biological substrates. Like the other sciences, courses and research opportunities to students from neuroscience is ultimately concerned with improving more than a dozen regional colleges and universities at human condition. the Tom Ridge Environmental Center, located near the entrance to Presque Isle State Park in Erie. Consortium ADVISING facilities available to Mercyhurst biology students A great college education depends upon human include well-equipped research and teaching relationships and good advising is central to creating a laboratories, classrooms, a greenhouse, natural history positive educational environment for the student. Upon collections, sampling equipment, and research vessels. enrollment in the department an advisor is assigned to Mercyhurst University is a member (chapter Upsilon Pi) the student. Special faculty advisors are available for of Beta Beta Beta (TriBeta), a national honor and
2013-2014 Mercyhurst University Course Catalog • www.mercyhurst.edu