Research in the Biology Department is diverse and includes all aspects of the contemporary life sciences. Indeed, this diversity is one of the major strengths of the department, facilitating integrative research based on interactions and collaborations between investigators in different disciplines.
The department has recently undergone a major expansion, with the recruitment of new faculty members in several areas, including the molecular biology of development, neurobiology, and ecology and evolution. Laboratories of many of our faculty members are housed in the new interdisciplinary Life Science & Engineering Building, completed in 2005, which also houses faculty from the departments of Chemistry, Biomedical Engineering, and the Program in Bioinformatics. Our research laboratories are supported by a variety of shared research facilities, including core laboratories for microarray analysis, proteomics, automated DNA sequencing, electron and confocal microscopy, and analysis of stable isotopes.
Faculty research in the department represents four major areas:
It is also important to note that the research of many of our faculty spans these subdivisions of biology and that many additional areas of collaborative and interdisciplinary research connect the research of Biology faculty with each other and with other departments and programs. These integrative research areas include bioinformatics and systems biology, cancer biology, reproduction and development, neuroscience, environmental science, marine science, and conservation biology.
Jelle Atema's laboratory focuses on three research areas: chemical ecology of lobsters, navigation in sharks, and dispersal in larval reef fishes.
Michael Baum's research is aimed at the mechanisms controlling the sexual differentiation and adult display of courtship behaviors in mice.
Cynthia Bradham's research is focused on understanding secondary (dorsal-ventral) axis specification and patterning in the sea urchin.
Gloria Callard's research focuses on the biosynthesis and actions of estradiol.
Ian Callard's research involves the cellular and molecular actions of estrogen and progesterone associated with the evolution of live-bearing (viviparity) from an egg laying (oviparous) mode of reproduction.
John Celenza's research focuses on plant development, molecular biology, and genetics.
Geoffrey Cooper's laboratory studies the roles of proto-oncogene proteins in the signal transduction pathways that control proliferation and survival of mammalian cells.
Vincent Dionne's research examines the cellular mechanisms underlying detection, discrimination, and encoding of sensory information.
William Eldred's research is studying how the neurons in the retina communicate with one another using biochemical pathways.
Horacio Frydman's research generally focuses on understanding how microorganisms and their hosts interact at different biological levels (e.g., molecular, cellular, genetic, ecological and evolutionary).
Tim Gardner's laboratory studies neural circuits and their development, specifically vocal learning in songbirds.
Thomas Gilmore's research focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms by which certain genes can transform normal cells into malignant cells, and the normal control of cellular growth by these genes.
Stjepko Golubic's research concerns the relationship between microorganisms and mineral deposits.
Ulla Hansen's research involves understanding how regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells controls cell growth and responses to hormones.
Angela Ho's research concerns the molecular and cellular basis of synaptic function and alzheimer’s disease.
Hans Kornberg's current research focuses on the metabolic routes by which mutants of E coli, which are devoid of the genes that normally affect utilization of fructose are able to grow on fructose as sole carbon source.
Trevor Siggers's laboratory uses integrative biochemical and genomic approaches to study gene regulation in the immune and inflammatory systems.
Jen-Wei Lin's main research focus is on the biophysical events underlying neurotransmitter release.
Phillip Lobel is interested in fundamental concepts of fish biology and in applying this knowledge to scientific issues and to societal concerns of fisheries management and conservation.
Edward Loechler's lab investigates the DNA polymerases involved in mutagenic and non-mutagenic bypass of DNA damage.
Hengye Man is interested in understanding the cellular/molecular mechanisms underlying AMPAR synaptic localization and synaptic plasticity.
Kim McCall's laboratory is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of programmed cell death and its role in development.
Frank Naya's research includes dissecting the in vivo role of the myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF2) family of transcription factors in muscle development.
Richard Primack's lab is investigating the impact of climate change on the flowering times of plants and the spring arrival of birds in Massachusetts, Japan, and South Korea.
Christopher Schneider's laboratory combines field studies with a variety of molecular genetic and phenotypic analyses to study adaptation, population biology, systematics, biogeography, and speciation of amphibians and reptiles.
Daniel Segrè develops theoretical approaches and computational models for the study of complex biological networks.
Cassandra Smith's research brings novel approaches at the interface of genomics/genetic and biotechnology to complex disease studies.
Michael Sorenson's research emphasizes molecular genetic approaches to problems in avian systematics, population biology, and behavioral ecology.
John Finnerty studies coastal marine invertebrates in order to answer fundamental questions concerning biodiversity.
Pamela Templer is interested in ecosystem ecology and the influence that plant-microbial interactions have on nutrient cycling, retention, and loss.
Dean Tolan is interested in biochemistry, enzymology, molecular and human genetics, evolution, and the developmental biology of aldolases.
James Traniello studies the ecological factors that have influenced the genetics of colonies and populations, the behavioral mechanisms of cooperation, and the neural basis of social behavior.
Karen Warkentin's laboratory examines developing organisms in an ecological context.
David Waxman is interested in molecular endocrinology and cell signaling through transcriptional networks, cancer gene therapy and pharmacology, liver genes and transcriptional control, and orphan receptors and responses to environmental chemicals.
Eric Widmaier is primarily interested in the molecular and behavioral mechanisms that result in obesity or weight gain in mammals.