Department of Biology

Our students work closely with faculty in the lab.Our students work closely with faculty in the lab.

  • Professor Karen Kirk and computer science major Sylwia Dakowicz ‘13 use computers to mine and analyze data of gene sequences for a Richter Scholar research project. Professor Kirk received a National Science Foundation grant to identify telomerase RNA in her study of aging, and several biology students will assist with parts of the research, likely leading to their senior theses.

  • Each year, the student-produced research journal Eukaryon publishes exceptional research by Lake Forest biology students. A student editorial board comprised of biology students peer reviews, copy edits, and publishes the online journal, which won first prize in the science education session at the 2009 Society of Developmental Biology.

  • By studying how cells manipulate proteins, Professor Shubhik DebBurman and his students hope to better understand why some proteins change shape and cause incurable neurological diseases like Parkinson’s. Many of Professor DebBurman’s students have had the opportunity to co-author publications with him on this research and to turn their lab work into research projects and senior theses.

Biology majors don’t just learn facts about living things, they learn how to be scientists. This means they can often be found in the lab, actively engaged in research with faculty. Students have exciting opportunities for internships and research at world-class Chicago institutions like the Field Museum, Chicago Botanic Garden, Shedd Aquarium, and Rosalind Franklin University of Medical Sciences. Biology students are well-trained by hypothesis-driven coursework. While a major or minor in biology is great preparation for postgraduate training in academic research or the health professions, our students also become competitive graduates and professionals in industry and fields like environmental policy, education and museum administration.

Department News

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    Daryn Cass ’10 is credited as the first author in the article, “CB1 cannabinoid receptor stimulation during adolescence impairs the maturation of GABA function in the adult rat prefrontal cortex,” published in May by the scientific research journal Molecular Psychiatry.
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    Richter Scholars James Haney ’17 and Lauren Lyon ’17 have spent their 10-week research experience helping Associate Professor of Biology Alex Shingleton determine how juvenile hormone (JH) might influence development in Drosophila melanogaster, or fruit flies.
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    Professor of Biology Karen Kirk’s research was recently published in PLOS ONE, a reputable peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science. The article, “Novel Telomere-Anchored PCR Approach for Studying Sexual Stage Telomeres in Aspergillus nidulans,” was co-authored by several Lake Forest students who have since gone on to successful post-college careers including a PhD program at Northwestern University and various medical schools.