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Chair's Welcome


Graduation 2011
Dr. Primm at the SHSU May 2011 Commencement ceremony with B.S. in Biological Science graduate, Robert Fultz, and with current student Grace Borne.


On behalf of our faculty, staff, and students, welcome to the website for the Department of Biological Sciences at Sam Houston State University. This special University has a strong tradition of service to students and to the community. Truly, education here is more personal.

This Department in particular has historically excelled in the involvement of students in research and other scholastic activities, and this continues today. As of the Fall 2011 semester, the Department has over 700 undergraduate majors and 36 graduate students, guided by 18 full-time faculty and four staff members. We also have two adjunct faculty, one representative from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department,  and a number of involved retired faculty members. Our outstanding faculty have funding for scientific research from multiple organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Sigma Xi, Beckman-Coulter Inc., and the Wenner-Grenn Foundation. Research projects are being carried out across a variety of areas in biology, with collaborators across the country and world (Texas A&M, Utah State, University of Oklahoma, University of Texas at Austin, University of Texas at El Paso, Texas Tech, University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, among others). Research interests range from the molecular (protein function in flagella, plant hormone structure and function, drug discovery) to the cellular (bacterial physiology and genomics) to the organismal (systematics of invertebrate parasites, moths, and parasitic plants, physiology of ectothermic vertebrates, bird and fish mating strategies) up to function of entire ecosystems (small mammal surveys, freshwater aquatic ecology, predator-prey coevolution). Visit the faculty page for more information. Our students continue to present their research at a variety of regional, national, and international conferences. Recent activities outside the University include archeological digs in Botswana and a field biology course at the Puerto Vallarta Botanical Gardens in Mexico, with which we have a special collaborative relationship. While most of our laboratories and offices are located in the Lee Drain Building, we also have the excellent Center for Biological Field Studies, and collaborate closely with the Texas Research Institute for Environmental Studies.

You are invited to take a look around these pages, and view the exciting ongoing activities. The Bachelor's of Science in Biology degree is designed here to provide broad exposure to the field, yet also allow appropriate specialization in upper division advanced courses depending on the student's needs. As teacher-scholars, we hope to convey a love of scientific discovery to our students, and to the public at large. Many of our majors go on to graduate schools in biology, paleontology, and the biomedical sciences, to professional schools such as medical, veterinary, and dental schools, and to positions in education, wildlife, conservation, and others. We hope that to the large number of non-majors who take our courses we can open the wonderful world of biology, stimulate creative and critical thinking, show the relevance to medicine, the environment, and everyday life, and share respect for the scientific method and all of the technological advances that have resulted from its application. The field of Biology has experienced unprecedented recent growth in knowledge and applications, and thus offers many exciting and rewarding careers for students to pursue.

Our goal is to train the next generation of not only biological scientists and educators, but also science-literate citizens in all fields including those in journalism, law, business, and government. We invite you to join us in the bright future ahead.

Todd P. Primm, Ph.D.
Associate Professor & Chair
Department of Biological Sciences


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