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Biology

Department of Biology at Providence College

The Department of Biology

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Welcome to the homepage for the Department of Biology at Providence College.​ ​We hope this site will offer a glimpse into the many opportunities we offer for students to explore their passions in ​​​​​​​the biological and life sciences, including our focus areas of bioinformatics, ecology and evolutionary biology, molecular biology, conservation, marine biology, bioethics, cancer biology, bioimaging, neuroscience, organismal biomechanics, and physiology. 

Breaking news:

  • Congratulations to Kathryn Hiller ('16)  for earning a highly sought-after Harvard Orthopedic Trauma Fellowship​ at Mass General Hospital this summer!
  • Mary Burak (’15) and Jennifer Cyr (’15) were both awarded prestigious Graduate Research Fellowships from the National Science Foundation. These fellowships provide three years of financial support within a five-year fellowship period ($34,000 annual stipend and $12,000 cost-of-education allowance to the graduate institution). That support is for graduate study that leads to a research-based master's or doctoral degree in science or engineering. Mary’s senior research project at PC used genetic data on rats in order to reduce their movement and limit their ability to transmit leptospirosis to people in Salvador Brazil. She is currently at Yale working on a related project to identify areas of tsetse fly movement in east Africa in order to reduce the incidence of sleeping sickness. Jenn is now at the University of Georgia, working on a cross-disciplinary project with the Infectious Diseases Department of the veterinary school and the Odum School of Ecology. She is working on a genus of African spiny mouse, Acomys, that exhibits scar-free healing and tissue regeneration. She is using bacterial and helminth infection models to understand the immune mechanisms involved in this unique healing process, which could prove to be useful for both animal and human health in the future.​
  • Dr. Jonathan Richardson​ and students in his lab will be collaborating with researchers from Fordham University on a project funded by the National Science Foundation: Cityscape Genomics of Rats in New York City. They will be applying landscape genetic modeling tools to predict patterns of migration within the city to help inform the NYC Department of Health on aspects of rat population control.
  • Dr. Jack Costello has accomplished the unimaginable, receiving two simultaneous and complementary awards from the National Science Foundation's Division of Chemical, Bioengineering, Environmental, and Transport Systems and the Division of Ocean Sciences. With his students and collaborators, these awards will support research on the fluid mechanics of jellyfish feeding and locomotion​
  • Dr. Brett Pellock was recently awarded a three-year Research in Undergraduate Institutions (RUI) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Division of Integrative Organismal Systems (IOS). He and his research students will be investigating the molecular basis of growth and adaptation to oxidative stress in the metal-reducing bacterium Shewanella oneidensis.​​

Recent publications:

  • ​BIIB042, a novel γ-secretase modulator, reduces amyloidogenic Aβ isoforms in primates and rodents and plaque pathology in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.​ Scannevin, R. H., Chollate, S., Brennan, M. S., Snodgrass-Belt, P. A., Peng, H., Xu, L., Jung, M.-Y., Bussiere, T., Arastu, M. F., Talreja, T., et al. (2016). Neuropharmacology 103, 57–68.
  • Multiple Paternity in the Norway Rat, Rattus norvegicus, from Urban Slums in Salvador, Brazil. Federico Costa, Jonathan L. Richardson, Kirstin Dion, Carol Mariani, Arsinoe C. Pertile, Mary K. Burak, James E. Childs, Albert I. Ko, and Adalgisa Caccone. (2016). Journal of Heredity, 1-6.
  • Navigating the pitfalls and promise of landscape genetics.  Jonathan L. Richardson, Steven P. Brady, Ian J. Wang, and Stephen F. Spear. (2016). Molecular Ecology 25, 849–863.​

Spring 2016 research seminars:

  • To Die or Not to Die: The ​Genetics of Programmed Cell Death in Yeast
    Fr. Nic Austriaco O. P. (Providen​ce College)
    Thursday, January 21, 4:30pm in Al Mag 137

  • Assessing Water Quality in Streams using Biological Indicators
    Dr. Anne Kuhn (U.S. E.P.A.)
    Thursday, February 25, 4:30pm in Al Mag 137

  • ​​Effects of Early Life Stress on Glutamate Receptor Development: Primed for Anxiety?
    Dr. Heather Brenhouse (Northeastern University)
    Tuesday, March 15, 4:30pm in Al Mag 137

  • ​Life & Death Decisions in Yeast via Genetic and Epigenetic Mechanisms
    Dr. Marc Meneghini (University of Toronto)
    Hosted by the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Society
    Thursday, April 7, 4:30pm, in Al Mag 137​