Department of Biology


Terence, a biology student at Akron, describes the undergraduate program and its many suprising advantages. Explore our undergradute degrees in biology.


UA’s Biology Department is diverse and vibrant with an array of biology courses to support varied interests for our two undergraduate degree programs, Master's program and Integrated Bioscience Ph.D. We have 13 tenure-track faculty, with interests ranging from neurobiology to pregnancy to plant/animal interactions.

Our engaging bachelor's of science program offers over 75 undergraduate classes encompassing medicine, microbiology, physiology, zoology and ecology. Biology is a hands-on discipline, and our courses are reflective of our commitment to field and laboratory experiences. Many of our classes have laboratory components, including many field courses. Additionally, we offer summer biology courses to the Bahamas, Virginia Beach, and Maine for marine biology classes. All of our biology programs allow for excellent research opportunities including the tiered mentoring program.

See what some of our current and former undergraduate students are doing:

Current Student Testimonials

UA Biology Alumni

Why Akron for biology?

Dispatch from Tahiti

UA students researched geckos and fish in Tahiti as part of a 2019 vertebrate zoology course.

What can we learn by studying how snakes move?

Dr. Henry Astley, assistant professor of biology, describes how his research on how snakes move could help save lives after an earthquake and help with exploration of other planets.

This month in the Biology Department

New Summer Hours
Summer is starting! The University of Akron will be open from 8:00 am - 4:30 pm.

Memorial Day
The University of Akron will be closed in observance of Memorial Day on Monday, May 29, 2023.

Touted as one of the most affordable Pre-Med Programs
EDsmart has found that the Biology program at the University of Akron provides the 15th most cost-effective programs in the country for obtaining a pre-med degree:
“The University of Akron is one of the best-rated schools that confers pre-med degrees, with an average estimated cost of $17,945 in-state. The University of Akron’s biology department offers a cheap Bachelor of Science in Biology- Pre-Med Track. The school has partnered with several hospitals, including Summa Health, St. Thomas Hospital, Akron Children’s Hospital, and Akron General Hospital, to offer adequate hands-on skills to students.”


Dr. Hazel Barton and a student working with dataThe Barton Research lab is geared toward understanding microbial interactions and adaptations to nutrient-limitation, as experienced by ecosystems in deep subsurface cave environments. The other research in the lab aims to understand the ecology and evolution of the fungus Pseudogymnoascus destructans, the causative agent of the White-nose Syndrome epidemic in bats. This research is funded by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.

Dr. Hazel Barton along with many undergraduate students study geomicrobial interactions in caves, from understanding how rock-eating microbes can contribute to cave formation, to understanding how microbes make a living in dark, isolated caves and the evolution of antibiotics. Research in the Barton Lab is currently funded by the National Park Service, the National Science Foundation and DARPA, through collaboration across the US, in Brazil, China, Denmark and Germany, including government agencies and private companies. Students in the Barton Lab can expect to learn techniques in microbiology, molecular biology, genetic engineering, mineralogy, materials chemistry,and of course, how to carry out field research in caves.

Faculty Spotlight

Dr. Rachel Olson Anatomy and Bones with Dr. Rachel Olson

Dr. Rachel Olson's research program centers around Biomechanics of feeding, soft-tissue biomechanics, muscular hydrostats, and anatomy.

Faculty Spotlights Top 2% of World's Scientists

Check out our entire research agenda in a nutshell below! A quarter of our faculty rank among the top 2% of the World's Best Scientists! (Based on a Recent Study by Stanford University)

Click for more Spotlights!


Chathumadavi EdiriweeraHi, I'm Chathumadavi Ediriweera, a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in the Integrated bioscience program at the University of Akron.

Growing up, I always loved biology and solving math problems. When I was about to choose a major for college, I was divided between biology and engineering, because I wanted to do both. At that time, I was thrilled to find out that there was an emerging field called "Bioinformatics" which is a hybrid of molecular biology and computer programming disciplines. So I choose to major in Bioinformatics so that I can solve biological problems using programming.

I learned that Dr. Weeks' lab was looking for a graduate student with bioinformatics skills to work on a bioinformatic project for sex chromosome evolution. I was really excited to be a part of this project as it would be a great opportunity for me to learn about sex chromosome evolution and gain new skills and experience in the bioinformatics domain. So I decided to enter the Integrated bioscience Ph.D. program at the University of Akron.

There are so many things I like about UA. If I have to choose one, it would be the autonomy I have when it comes to conducting research. The working environment is really pleasant and positive. And the faculty is really friendly and helpful.

My short-term goal is to successfully finish my Ph.D. and work on human disease-related projects. I want to learn about the underlying molecular basis of human diseases and how to cure those diseases. Since I'm a knowledge worker, my long-term goal would be really good at what I'm doing, become an entrepreneurial consultant and monetize my expertise.

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Meet some of our people in video form!

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