SCHOOL OF BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES
The School of Biological Sciences is a premier center of biological education and research. Multidisciplinary research and academic opportunities exist in the areas of cancer biology, cell biology, developmental biology & genetics, mechanisms of gene expression, neurobiology, structural biology, virology and stem cells.
With 4,360 undergraduates and 377 graduate students, biological sciences is one of the largest schools at UC Irvine. Bio sci students comprise 19.4 percent of the campus population. The school has four departments: developmental & cell biology, ecology & evolutionary biology, molecular biology & biochemistry, and neurobiology & behavior.
The school offers bachelor’s degrees in biological sciences, neurobiology, biochemistry & molecular biology, developmental & cell biology, ecology & evolutionary biology, microbiology & immunology, plant biology, pharmaceutical sciences and genetics as well as a master’s in biotechnology. The school also offers doctorates in ecology & evolutionary biology, mathematical, computational & systems biology, molecular biology, genetics & biochemistry, neurobiology & behavior and neuroscience.
Dean Albert F. Bennett
Al Bennett, Ph.D., has served as dean of the School of Biological Sciences since August 2007. Dr. Bennett, a professor at UCI since 1974, previously served as chair of the school’s Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology for eight years and as chair of the Department of Developmental & Cell Biology for three years, as well as two appointments as acting dean. Dr. Bennett’s research has focused on the evolutionary and comparative physiology of animals, with special emphasis on how they adapt to diverse environmental factors, particularly temperature. He was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 1994 and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 1981.
The school has a highly distinguished faculty, as measured by many criteria. These include high National Research Council faculty productivity rankings and on-campus, national and international awards. Among the faculty are six fellows of the National Academy of Sciences, seven fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, two fellows of the Royal Society, and 32 fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. Professor Francisco Ayala received the Templeton Prize in 2010. Over the past four years, eight members of our faculty have received Distinguished Faculty Awards from the Academic Senate, including three for research, three for university service, and two for teaching. At the campus’ Celebration of Teaching event over the past five years, two of our faculty have won Professor of the Year awards, two have won the Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching, two have received the TA Development Mentor of the Year Award, and four of our graduate students have received the Most Promising Future Faculty Member Award.
Faculty members from biological sciences participate and figure importantly in about two dozen campus research units, centers and institutes, including the Cancer Research Institute, the Center for Complex Biological Systems, the Center for the Neurobiology of Learning & Memory, the Developmental Biology Center, the Institute for Immunology, the Institute for Memory Impairments & Neurological Disorders, and the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. The school sponsors five school centers: Chemical & Structural Biology (with Physical Sciences), Environmental Biology, Epigenetics & Metabolism (with School of Medicine), Evolutionary Genetics, and the Multiple Sclerosis Research Center (with School of Medicine). On behalf of the campus, the school has taken primary responsibility for coordination and oversight of a variety of natural lands that are available for faculty and student research. These include the Natural Reserve System of the University of California, including the UCI-managed Burns Piñon Ridge Reserve and the San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh Reserve, Crystal Cove and Anza Borrego Desert State Parks, and Orange County Parks Irvine Ranch Open Space. The school maintains our campus membership in the Organization for Tropical Studies, which permits students to participate in educational and research projects in tropical areas in Central America and South Africa.