A student wearing a backpack walks between leafy trees


In the Department of Biological Sciences, challenging science courses are just one part of a holistic approach to learning. Our curriculum integrates traditional study with individual mentorship in the lab and service learning and sustainable projects in the community, for a truly interdisciplinary experience.



"Perhaps the most exciting part of our work is the immediacy of it all. Never before has there been a greater need to understand wetlands ecosystems, as it might soon be too late.​​​"

Kathryn Norman

MS '18

Department News

Group picture of students; text "To our graduates Congratulations. You are the heart of this department. Thanks for everything"

Congratulations, Class of 2020!

Video presentation of the 2020 Biology graduates at The George Washington University Department of Biological Sciences. Dr. Lill presents the names of awards winners and all of our graduates, while other faculty members also share their congratulation messages with the Class of 2020.

Image of a ruler next to a fungi sample

New Study Reveals How Wood Decay Drives Carbon Cycle

Through a combination of lab and field experiments, Associate Professor of Biology Amy Zanne and a team of researchers have developed a better understanding of the factors accounting for different wood decomposition rates among fungi. Their findings reveal how deciphering fungal trait variation can improve the predictive ability of early and mid-stage wood decay, a critical driver of the global carbon cycle.

Luke Fey wearing a mask and plastic face shield

Biology Alumni on the COVID Frontlines: Two New York Physicians Fight On

As the coronavirus turned New York hospitals into crisis zones, Doctors Luke Fey, BS ’13, and Alexandra Cummings, BS ’14, put themselves in harm’s way to confront a global medical emergency. “We’ve rallied together to fight the virus,” said Cummings, a pediatric resident at Cohen Children's Medical Center. “This is something we’ll remember forever and — cross your fingers — never face again.”

Ichosia Biotechnology

Biology Student Working on a Potential Replacement for Blood in the Transfusion System

Ichosia, a startup developed by sophomore microbiology major Lucas Vining-Recklitis with the help of three other students, is developing a genetically engineered red blood cell product for blood transfusions treatments.
Mudskipper fish and tiger salamander close up

Fins and Limbs Tell Evolutionary Tale

How did our earliest ancestors take their first small steps from water to land? Biology’s Sandy Kawano follows the trail of “walking fish” on their giant leaps for humankind.
An identified pollinator on campus (wasp).

Pollinators Find a Home at GW

Students are studying what kind of insects spend their days feeding off Foggy Bottom flowers to better understand how to support the local ecosystem. The CCAS research team aims to identify pollinators, such as this wasp, that frequent flower beds on the Foggy Bottom campus.
trees in the ghost forest against a blue sky

Study Highlights Vulnerability of Rural Coast to Sea-Level Rise

A new study by Biology's Keryn Gedan highlights the threat that climate change poses to rural land, including the potential loss of farm acreage as water rises.
Women in the GW greenhouse

The Caterpillar’s Role in Ecological Systems

Professor of Biology John Lill and his researchers collect roughly 3,000 caterpillars each summer to study the relationship between the herbivore diet and survival. Caterpillars are susceptible to parasitoid insects like bees and wasps, and their place in the ecological structure can affect much larger organisms like the nearly wiped-out American chestnut tree[KB1] .

research team working together

Save the Honeybees

Almost half of America’s bees have disappeared in just a decade, and the root of the problem is still uncertain. Assistant Professor of Biology Hartmut Doebel led a team of undergraduate research assistants on the case. The team zeroed in on one suspect: a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Ricky Zhu, a biology major and lead research assistant in Doebel’s lab, said that he and his fellow student researchers felt proud ownership over the work. “We nurture it. It’s our baby.”
Phoebe Elizaga, BS ’20

On the Roof of Africa

Phoebe Elizaga, BS ’20, embarked on a six-day trek with fellow students to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro and raise money for childhood cancer research. The biology major hiked through five different ecosystems, from rainforest to alpine desert to arctic snowcap, along the journey to scale the 19,341-foot mountain.