The Biology Department at the University of Missouri-St. Louis has a large, vibrant, and diverse graduate program. Graduate students can earn M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in one of two broad areas: Ecology, Evolution, and Systematics (EES) or Cell and Molecular Biology (CMB). We also offer a M.S. degree program in Biochemistry and Biotechnology in cooperation with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Overall, we have 132 students85 pursuing M.S. degrees, and 47 working towards doctoral degrees. Many of our graduate students are international. They come from countries all over the world, including Peru, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Guyana, Australia, Papau New Guinea, Nigeria, Egypt, Madagascar, India, Thailand, and China.
Graduate students in EES conduct research on a variety of topics in ecology, population biology, behavior, evolution, systematics, and conservation. A few examples of the research that is being conducted by EES students include the evolutionary origins and timing of Neotropical plant radiations, the disease ecology of birds, lek evolution and sexual selection, the social structure and dispersal of white-lipped peccaries, the conservation of biodiversity in the greater Himalayan region, the role of the genus Piper in the tropical understory and how it is affected by tri-trophic interactions, and odor communication and social odors in carnivores. Several graduate research fellowships are available to EES students through the Whitney R. Harris World Ecology Center.
Research by CMB graduate students is centered on topics in biochemistry, plant biology, microbiology, biotechnology, molecular biology, and cell biology. The research projects of graduate students include the roles of phospholipases in plant physiology and metabolism, the control of RNA stability in yeast, the roles of plant hormones in root development, the regulation of nitrogen fixation and hydrogen production in filamentous cyanobacteria, examination of protein secretion in bacterial pathogens, and the creation and molecular analysis of transgenic plants with improved nutritional qualities.
The graduate students in the Biology Department form a close-knit group and are highly supportive of one another. They work hard but also enjoy parties and other social events. The Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) is a recognized campus group that represents and advocates for our graduate students. The Department of Biology welcomes input from students and there is a graduate student representative on all major departmental committees.
Biology graduate students are also encouraged to take advantage of other first-rate educational institutions in the St. Louis area. Many of our students interact with faculty and/or students from Washington University, St. Louis University, the Missouri Botanical Gardens, the Saint Louis Zoo, and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center.