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Washington State University Factsheets

Doctor of Philosophy in Biology

Faculty working with Students: 41
Students: 34
Students receiving assistantships or scholarships: 100%
Priority deadline:
  • Fall January 10
  • Spring September 1
Campus:
  • Pullman: Yes
Tests required:
  • 550 TOEFL Minimum score
  • 80 TOEFLI Minimum score
  • GRE General test
  • 7 IELTS Minimum score

Degree Description:

Our biology students generally focus on research in the broad areas of ecology, evolution, systematics, molecular biology, and animal and plant physiology.

Student Learning Outcomes:

All graduates will be able to:

  1.  To direct students for successful and productive careers in biological sciences, we will facilitate:
    • Achievement of the highest level of expertise in biological sciences, master knowledge of these fields and apply that knowledge to address novel and emerging problems.
    •  Presentations of student research to national and international audiences through both peer-reviewed and popular publications, professional meetings and conference proceedings.
    •  Participation in professional organizations.
    •  Development of professional foundations through activities such as teaching, internships, fellowships, and preparation of grant applications.
  2.  To prepare students to be leading researchers in the fields of biological sciences by training graduate students to do the following:
    •  Become independent researchers by developing expertise in their chosen area, thereby enabling original contributions that extend beyond their degree program.
    •  Apply sound research methods and tools to problems in their area of study.
    •  Communicate their research clearly and professionally in both written and oral forms.
    •  Develop a comprehensive knowledge of previous and current research in their field of expertise and be able to demonstrate clearly such knowledge.
  3.  Train students to be highly effective teachers in the fields of biological sciences by:
    •  Providing a teaching training course to all students in the program.
    •  Encouraging students to become engaging instructors in their chosen fields using modern pedagogical techniques.
    •  Teaching students to incorporate emerging scientific discoveries in lectures, thereby keeping the classroom experience cutting-edge for students.
    •  Teaching students to review and revise classroom materials to enhance the learning experience for students.
  4.  To enhance visibility of the master’s and doctoral programs in biological sciences nationally and internationally, we aim to:
    • Attract, secure, retain and graduate high-quality students.
    • Provide ample support and resources for fellowships, research, travel to conferences.
    • Place graduates in academic and professional positions in the U.S. and internationally.
    • Attract, retain, and support research-active faculty.
    • Ensure that cutting-edge and relevant courses are offered to graduate students.

Student Opportunities:

Our program offers teaching training and grant writing courses. Other professional development opportunities include weekly reading groups, ecolunch meetings and a graduate student research symposium.

Career Opportunities:

Most students continue into postdoctoral research positions. Other students pursue careers at community colleges or in Federal or State governments.

Career Placements:

Faculty positions at Purdue University, Kansas State University, University of North Carolina, University of Massachusetts, University of Idaho, University of Wyoming, State University of NY at Oswego, and University of Puget Sound. Recent graduates also hold positions in the Federal Government, such as National Park Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and Bureau of Land Management.

Faculty Members:

Bishop, John, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

plant ecology and evolution

Bollens, Stephen, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Brunner, Jesse L, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Disease Ecology

Busch, Jeremiah W, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Plant Evolutionary Genetics

Carter, Patrick Andrew, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary Physiology

Cavagnetto, Andy, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Dr. Cavagnetto’s research focuses on helping teachers provide greater opportunities for their students to engage in scientific practices in order to motivate learning of fundamental science concepts. This work has not only emphasized the use of inquiry approaches, but as importantly, the social aspects of science -specifically opportunities for students to engage in the construction and critique of evidence-based arguments.

Coffin, Allison, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

We study sensory hair cells: polarized epithelial-type cells that converts acoustic signals in the environment to electrochemical signals in the nervous system. These cells are exquisitely sensitive to sound and unfortunately to damage from a variety of sources including noise and some classes of medications. Research in the Coffin Lab uses cellular, molecular, bioinformatics, and electrophysiological approaches to understand the cellular events underlying hearing loss and develop drug candidates to preserve hearing.

Cooper, Cynthia, Ph.D.

Serves as: co-chair or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Zebrafish developmental mechanisms.

Cornejo, Omar Eduardo, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary genomics and population genetics

Cousins, Asaph B, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

The ability to monitor and predict how plants both influence and are influenced by future climatic conditions is critical for the health of our planet and for future food production. My research couples molecular biology techniques with plant physiology and mathematical modeling of photosynthesis to understand the mechanistic processes dictating plant-environment interactions.

Crespi, Erica, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecological & Evolutionary Developmental Biology

Dowd, Wes, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Dybdahl, Mark, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Animal Evolutionary Ecology

Evans, Raymond David, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecosystem Ecology

Gomulkiewicz, Richard, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary Theory

Hellmann, Hanjo Alfred, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Plant Physiology/Stress Response

Hufford, Larry Don, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolution of Plants

Kang, Chulhee, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

SR Calcium Regulation in Cardiac Muscle
Biochemical approaches for cancer-associated proteins and UV-damaged DNA to develop anticancer drugs. Enzyme and Plant engineering for effective generation for biofuel.

Kelley, Joanna, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary genomics and adaptation by statistical, molecular and genomic approaches to identify/characterize specific genes and pathways.

Kunz, Hans Henning, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Investigate chloroplast ion transport and homeostasis, discover and characterize new chloroplast ion transporters, design of organelle specific gene family targeting amiRNA library

Lee, Raymond W, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecological Physiology

McCubbin, Andrew, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

The research in our lab is centered on the developmental processes and signaling events associated plant reproduction. Presently we have 2 main foci, first signaling events involved in pollen tube growth, in particular to role of calcium dependent protein kinases (CDPK’s) in signal transduction in this process. Pollen tubes extend by tip-growth and it is well established that there is a steep tip focused calcium gradient and there is evidence that CDPK isoforms may by involved in downstream signaling events. We are investigating this using negative dominance and catalytically modified CDPK constructs as well as searching for CDPK substrates using the yeast 2-hyrid system.

McGuire, Michelle K, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Lactation Physiology/Nutrition

New, Leslie, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Owen, Jeb, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Medical and veterinary entomology

Porter, Stephanie S, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Evolutionary Ecology of Mutualisms

Portfors, Christine, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Hearing and Communication

Roalson, Eric, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular phylogenetics, genomics, and evolutionary origins of characters of interest, notably photosynthetic pathway novelties

Robbins, Charles T, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Nutrition and energetics of larger wild mammals.
1) use of stable isotopes to determine food habits of living and extinct bears,
2) seasonal fat cycles in bears and how they are influenced by food resources, and
3) foraging, energetics, and habitat use of free-ranging bears.

Rodgers, Buel D, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular endocrinology and genomics of muscle development.

Rollwagen-Bollens, Gretchen, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Schultz, Cheryl, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Ecology of at-risk species in response to key drivers: habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, habitat degradation, invasive species, alteration of ecosystem process, and global climate change.

Schwabl, Hubertus Georg, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Neuroendocrinology

Schwartz, Elissa, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

– Experimental and theoretical techniques to investigate mechanisms in virology, immunology, and infectious disease epidemiology
– Control of lentiviral infection, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and equine infectious anemia virus (EIAV).
– Mathematical and computational models of viral dynamics with clinical and experimental data to elucidate the determinants of virus control and escape.

Shipley, Lisa, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Foraging Ecology of Mammals

Skinner, Michael K, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Mammalian Reproduction/Environmental Epigenetics

Snyder, William E, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Community Ecology, Biodiversity, and Sustainability

Storfer, Andrew, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Landscape Genomics and Coevolution

Tegeder, Mechthild, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Molecular and physiological mechanisms of nitrogen transport; regulation of transport; flower/seed development; plant productivity

Verrell, Paul Adam, Ph.D.

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Research Interests

Animal Behavior

Watts, Heather

Serves as: chair, co-chair, or member of graduate committee

Contact Information:

Audrey Van Nuland
Abelson 301D
Washington State University
Pullman, WA
509-335-2300
Marrissa Alexander
WSU Vancouver
Science (VSCI) 230
Vancouver, WA
360-546-9636