About the Department2018-10-15T16:42:24+00:00

Biology at Texas A&M University

The Department of Biology is responsible for research and teaching within the vast disciplines of the biological sciences, from molecular cell biology to ecology and evolutionary biology. Our faculty perform cutting-edge research in a wide array of biological sciences in the laboratory and in the field. Our graduate research programs prepare scientists for careers in academia, industry and government and enhance our understanding of the central role of biological systems in the global environment. Our undergraduate students gain a firm foundation in modern biological sciences to prepare them for a multitude of careers that depend on a solid understanding of biology.


Graduate Education in Biology

Our Graduate Program in Biology offers a diverse range of integrative training opportunities for students seeking a Ph.D. degree in the biological sciences. We offer training in multiple disciplines within Biology, including Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, Neurobiology and Behavior, Microbiology, Plant Biology, Biological Clocks, and Physiology and Systems Biology.

All students in our program receive rigorous academic training in biology and carry out their research in competitive, state-of-the-art research labs. Many faculty research programs span multiple research areas and levels of biological organization, creating a dynamic training environment for graduate students. Evolutionary theory sets the stage for many cross-disciplinary research collaborations among our diverse faculty. Our graduate students conduct creative, independent research and scholarship. Graduates of our programs prepare themselves for a wide range of career opportunities and gain positions in academic institutions, government agencies, and industry.

Undergraduate Education in Biology

The Department of Biology is responsible for introducing biological principles to students in every Texas A&M University major. We provide modern and comprehensive B.S. and B.A. curricula in Biology, Molecular and Cell Biology, Microbiology and Zoology for more than 1500 undergraduate biology majors. These degrees prepare students for various life science careers and are an excellent entrée to the health care professions. If you are interested in pursuing a major in one of our disciplines, or if you are currently a student and would like information on courses or the program, we have excellent undergraduate advisors who will be happy to help you.

The Biology Lower Division Instruction  Programs encompass a series of lab courses offered in the biological sciences. Many of these courses are open to students in any major to cover their science requirements.

smoetherman teaching a student
students in the ocean


Basic biological research has evolved into a broad, fast-paced and dynamic profession that drives newly emerging industries and actively shapes many human endeavors. Both globally and locally, cutting-edge research at Texas A&M University strives to understand the fundamental processes driving life around us and to improve the ways people everywhere manage their health and the health of our planet.

Biological Clocks
Cell, Molecular & Developmental Biology
Ecology & Evolutionary Biology
Genetics & Genomics
Neurobiology & Behavior
Physiology & Systems Biology
Plant Biology


The Department of Biology’s outreach committee is responsible for developing and maintaining outreach projects, such as STEM events at local schools, in the Bryan-College Station area. Over the last few years, the outreach committee has created a sustainable program by meeting with schools in the area to assess need, obtaining resources for experiments, and collaborating with other departments. For more information please visit out Biology Outreach page.

If you would like to join out listserv and get involved with future events, you can sign up by emailing listserv@listserv.tamu.edu, and in the body, you will write SUBSCRIBE biologyoutreach firstname lastname. Or, if you would like to contact us, please email us at Biology_outreach@bio.tamu.edu

outreach activities


Elected Committees

Bruce Riley (chair) 9/01/2016 – 8/31/2019
Beiyan Nan 9/01/2016 – 8/31/2019
Heath Blackmon 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Joe Sorg 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Joe Sorg 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Lawrence Griffing 9/01/2018 – 8/31/2021
Kira Delmore 9/01/2018 – 8/31/2021
Ananya Dasgupta student rep
Rene Garcia ex officio
Larry Griffing 9/01/2018 – 8/31/2021
Hongmin Qin 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Michael Smotherman 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Joseph Sorg 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Matt Sachs 9/01/2016 – 8/31/2019
Jennifer Bradford program coordinator
Chloe Bennett student rep
Rene Garcia ex officio
Kathy Ryan (chair)
Karl Aufderheide 9/16/2016 – 8/31/2019
Andy Tag 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Lathi Taylor 9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Duncan MacKenzie  9/01/2017 – 8/31/2020
Christine Farris director of UPO
Wanyne Versaw ex officio

Faculty Senate

Jim Erickson
Ira Greenbaum

Appointed Committees

Will Bailey
Deb Bell-Pedersen Tom McKnight
Jennifer Bradford Bruce Riley
Rene Garcia Gil Rosenthal
Richard Gomer Wayne Versaw
Lieu Jean Mark Zoran
Deb Bell-Pedersen (chair)
Alan Pepper
Paul Hardin
Mark Zoran
Rene Garcia
Richard Gomer
Mary Wicksten
Bruce Riley Barbara Earnest
Stacy Stoops Mike Smotherman
Mark Zoran
Deb Bell-Pedersen Lieu Jean
Rene Garcia Alan Pepper
Richard Gomer Bruce Riley
Ira Greenbaum
David Reed (chair) Matt Sachs
Rodolfo Aramayo Debby Siegele
John Book
Alan Pepper (chair)
Amy Boedeker
Wayne Versaw
Rita Moyes (chair)
Camy Sturdivant
Denise Valero
Richard Gomer (chair) Bruce Riley
Rene Garcia Gil Rosenthal
Joe Sorg
Debby Siegele (chair) Gil Rosenthal
John Book  McKensie Daugherty
Jennifer Bradford
David Reed
Debby Siegele (chair)
David Reed
Will Bailey
Mike Smotherman
Victor Johnson
Wayne Versaw




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Faculty Positions (2) in Microbiology

The Department of Biology at Texas A&M University (TAMU) invites applications for two tenure-track, assistant professor positions in microbiology.

We will consider candidates pursuing innovative research in all disciplines of microbiology. The criteria for selection will be uniqueness, creativity, and excellence in research and scholarship. We require all candidates to have a Ph.D. in Microbiology or a related field, and we strongly encourage applications from candidates who will increase the exposure of our students to a diverse culture.

The successful candidate will be expected to develop an externally funded research program and to teach undergraduate and graduate courses. We offer an interactive and collegial research environment, a modern infrastructure, and a competitive startup package. More information about our department can be found at www.bio.tamu.edu. For full consideration, applicants should email a letter of intent, curriculum vitae, statement of research and teaching interests, and three letters of recommendation by November 15, 2018 to microsearch@bio.tamu.edu

If you have questions about this search, please direct e-mails to Dr. Bruce Riley, Chair of the Search Committee, at microsearch@bio.tamu.edu

The Texas A&M System is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer committed to diversity. Texas A&M University, the College of Science and the Department of Biology are dedicated to the goal of building an inclusive and culturally diverse faculty and staff who are committed to teaching and working in an environment of academic freedom and equality of opportunity

R-006167 Postdoctoral Research Associate – Dulin lab

This is to announce a job opening for the position of Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Texas A&M University Department of Biology, available beginning July, 2018. The successful candidate will join a research lab focused on the development, characterization, and optimization of neural progenitor cell-based therapies for spinal cord injury. Major techniques of the laboratory include stereotaxic rodent surgeries, neural progenitor cell isolation and culture, viral vector-based gene targeting approaches, immunohistochemistry, fluorescence & confocal microscopy, and behavioral analysis. The Postdoctoral Research Associate will lead a project focused on defining cell-specific connectivity between neural progenitor grafts and the injured host nervous system.

Required Education and Experience:

  • Appropriate PhD in Biology or related field.
  • If the degree had not been conferred at the time applicant applied for a postdoc position, a letter needs to be attached from the school’s official Graduate Office and/or Registrar’s Office certifying that all requirements for the degree have been met and stating the degree conferral date.

Preferred Education and Experience:

  • PhD. in neurobiology or related fields
  • 3 years of experience working with small animal models of neurological disease or trauma.

Required Special Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Candidates should have excellent organizational, written, and oral communication skills.
  • Highly motivated, detail-oriented, and have excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to multi-task and work cooperatively with others.

Preferred Special Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

  • Technical expertise in transsynaptic tracing, cell transplantation, and/or spinal cord injury models.


  • Perform mouse and rat surgeries including spinal cord injury surgeries and stereotaxic injections.
  • Isolate and culture rodent neural progenitor cells.
  • Work with viral vectors for in vitro and in vivo gene delivery.
  • Perform behavioral assessments of motor and sensory function in mice and rats.
  • Perform brain and spinal cord histology and microscopy, including immunohistochemistry, fluorescence & confocal microscopy, and image analysis.
  • Assist in managing mouse and rat colonies, including breeding, genotyping, and recordkeeping.
  • Collect, record, and maintain experimental/research data; prepare manuscripts for publication of research results.
  • Supervise undergraduate research assistants.
  • Performs other duties as assigned.

Academic Professional Track Faculty Position

The College of Science at Texas A&M University seeks candidates for Academic Professional Track
faculty (at any rank) in the areas of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics to teach classes as part
of the Texas A&M McAllen Higher Education Center (MHEC) in McAllen, TX beginning Fall 2018.

The minimal requirement for each position is a Master’s degree in the respective discipline. Additional
qualifications may include strong teaching credentials and instructional experience in a lab setting (for
Biology, Chemistry and Physics). Candidates should be available to begin full- or part-time employment
by August 15, 2018. Review of completed applications will begin March 5, 2018 and continue until the
positions are filled.

Completed applications should include a curriculum vitae, a statement on teaching philosophy, and the
names and contact information of at least two references. Any questions regarding these positions
should be sent to Dr. Lucas Macri, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs, lmacri@tamu.edu.
Applications should be submitted to jholle@science.tamu.edu.
The Texas A&M System is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer
committed to diversity.

Postdoc Position in Merlin Laboratory

The Merlin lab at Texas A&M University (https://www.merlinlab.org) has a position open immediately for a post-doctoral fellow to develop CRISPR/Cas9-mediated knock-in approaches in monarch butterflies to tag clock neurons in vivo and study the clock circuitry that controls seasonal behavior. Our mechanistic understanding of how circadian clocks drive the seasonal output at the molecular and cellular levels has been limited by the lack of robust seasonal behaviors in genetically tractable model systems, and the lack of powerful genomic and genetic tools in non-model species that display robust seasonal behaviors. The migratory monarch butterfly has emerged as a promising model to study the molecular and neuronal mechanisms by which circadian clocks control seasonal behaviors because it exhibits a compelling repertoire of clock-controlled seasonal traits, its clockwork is well characterized, and its genome is sequenced and amenable to CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genetic manipulation.

These studies will employ advanced molecular, genetic and cell imaging tools. Successful applicants should have a PhD in a related field, a demonstrated track record of productivity, and experience in molecular neurogenetics. Experience in tissue imaging is a plus, but is not a requirement. Qualified candidates will be expected to work both independently and as part of an interactive team. We offer a supportive working environment in a lively international research team.

Applicants should send (1) their CV, (2) a cover letter with a statement of research interests and career goals, and (3) the name, email and phone numbers of three references to Christine Merlin via email: cmerlin@bio.tamu.edu

PhD/Postdoc Position in Schartl Laboratory

In the framework of a German/French collaborative project we are seeking for highly motivated PhD students or postdocs to study the role of transposable elements in normal and pathological development. We use small aquarium fish models for our research and selected pigment cell development and melanomatous cancer as well as gonad development and sex reversal as our target. Transposable elements (TEs) are a major constituent of all eukaryotic genomes. In humans, they make up at least 45% of the DNA in our cells. Because they are repeated, mobile and carry regulatory sequences, TEs have the potential to rewire regulatory networks and promote their fast evolution. TEs are able to insert into new locations and to recombine in genomes, leading to rearrangements and sometimes to mutant phenotypes, including genetic diseases in humans. In addition, they play a major role in the evolution of host gene functions through their recruitment as new exons or even new genes, a phenomenon called “molecular domestication”. TEs can also contribute regulatory RNAs and new regulatory sequences to host genes, thereby modifying their expression. Our study will use on the one hand bioinformatic analyses of next generation data and on the other hand functional experiments including cell culture studies and the generation of transgenic and CRISPR/Cas9 knock-out fish.

Successful applicants should have an excellent degree in Biology, Molecular Medicine or Biochemistry and broad experience in common laboratory techniques and/or bioinformatics. Fluent English or German is essential. We offer a well-equipped working environment in a lively international research team (http://www.pch1.biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de/).

Please, submit your application including contact details for two references to:

Prof. Dr. Dr. Manfred Schartl
Department of Physiological Chemistry
Universität Würzburg
Biozentrum, Am Hubland
D-97074 Würzburg, Germany
Email: phch1@biozentrum.uni-wuerzburg.de

Post-doctoral Position in Hardin Laboratory: Circadian timekeeping and output mechanisms

The Hardin lab (http://www.bio.tamu.edu/index.php/faculty/hardin/lab/) seeks a post-doctoral fellow to study novel transcriptional, post-transcriptional and post-translational regulatory mechanisms required to keep circadian time and/or drive locomotor activity rhythms using Drosophila as a model system. These studies will employ advanced biochemical, cell imaging, genomics and computational tools to define the roles two key clock genes, clockwork orange (cwo) and vrille (vri), play in regulating rhythmic gene expression. Candidates with the desire to develop projects for future independent research positions are encouraged to apply. Preference will be given to candidates with a strong track record of graduate training and experience in the molecular genetic analysis of circadian clocks, biochemical and genomic analysis of gene expression, Drosophila neurogenetics, tissue and subcellular imaging of protein localization and/or behavioral analysis. Qualified candidates will have a PhD in a related field, be expected to work both independently and as part of an interactive team, and should have excellent written and oral communication skills.

Applicants should send (1) their CV with bibliography, (2) a cover letter with a statement of research interests and career goals, and (3) contact information for three references to Dr. Paul Hardin via email: phardin@bio.tamu.edu