Biology Department


Reed's distinctive undergraduate science program is founded on hands-on learning that presents students with the challenge and excitement of confronting unanswered questions about the natural world. The success of this enterprise is based on a purposeful blurring of the distinction between the research activities of the faculty and the educational experiences of the students. Of the more than 200 articles published by Reed's science faculty in the last decade, well over 50 percent were coauthored by students. Students are involved in research in several venues.

Faculty Research

All Biology Department faculty are actively engaged in research, with many research projects supported by extramural research grants from NIH, NSF, the Murdock Life Sciences Foundation and Department of Energy. Descriptions of individual research projects can be found on each faculty member's home page.

Research in the Curriculum

Faculty research is a vital component of Reed's science curriculum. The laboratory work of students in upper-division classes and in the Senior Thesis frequently is conducted in the laboratory of a faculty member and often moves close to the contemporary edge of scientific knowledge and conjecture.

Every 300 level course (of which Biology majors must complete at least 4) include a 6 week independent project that is designed, executed, analyzed and presented by students.

The Facilities web page provides a detailed description of our building and the research and teaching facilities available to our faculty and students.

Senior Thesis Research

All seniors on campus complete a year-long, senior thesis project. Biology majors use this opportunity to become engaged in an in-depth, independent research investigation. Follow this link to read more about Biology Senior Theses and to see a list of the diverse research topics that Reed Biology Majors and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (BMB) Majors have pursued over the years. Abstracts are included at this link for many of the recent thesis research projects completed in the Biology Department

Reed Magazine has occasionally profiled Biology seniors and their thesis projects. The June 2016 issue featured an article on Michael Weiss and his project on the social structure of killer whales. The September 2012 issue featured an article on Lauren Carley and her thesis research determining the role of ascorbate peroxidase (APX), an antioxidant-associated enzyme, in the ability of poplars to tolerate environmental stress.

Student Summer Research

The department provides resources for students to conduct summer research opportunities either on or off campus, including department support funding and links to potential off-campus opportunities. Results of summer research are presented each year at the Summer Research Poster Session.

Friday Research Seminars

The Biology Department also has an ongoing program of Research Seminars that take place on most Friday afternoons of the academic year. The list of invited speakers is chosen to represent a diverse cross-section of the biological sciences. The Seminar Schedule for the current academic year is available online. Please check back as this information is updated regularly.