Biology

The Department of Biology provides students with a strong foundation in the biological or forensic sciences. Using inquiry-based learning and scholastic rigor, our curriculum stimulates academic excellence through independent thinking, interdisciplinary applications and critical analysis to develop tomorrow’s leaders in the natural sciences.

Degrees Offered

The Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science degrees are offered in biology and in forensic biology. Through an arrangement with Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, a degree completion program and a master’s degree program in forestry or environmental management are also available.

Biology Majors

Biology

Major Requirements for A.B. Degree in Biology

The A.B. degree in biology is recommended for those students interested in the biological sciences whose career goals do not require courses in physics or calculus, e.g., scientific illustration, science writing or environmental law. The major requires a minimum of 40 credit hours (10 courses).

BIOL 111 Integrative Biology: Molecules and Cells - 4 credits
BIOL 112 Integrative Biology: Organisms, Ecology and Evolution - 4 credits
BIOL 291* Introduction to Scientific Inquiry - 4 credits
CHEM 111 Chemical Principles I - 4 credits
CHEM 112 Chemical Principles II - 4 credits
One BIOL elective course at any level (4 credits)
Two BIOL elective courses at the 200 level or above (8 credits)
Two BIOL elective courses at the 300 or 400 level (8 credits)
*Will not be accepted as transfer credit and may not be taken at a consortium school. BIOL 291 should be taken no later than the fourth biology course. As a part of the writing sequence at Guilford, it should be taken after the completion of Historical Perspectives and before enrolling in IDS.
Total credit hours required for A.B. degree in Biology – 40 credits
Major Requirements for B.S. Degree in Biology

The biology B.S. major is recommended for students planning to pursue graduate study in any area of biology, or in the medical, dental, veterinary or allied health professions. The major requires a minimum of 56 credit hours (14 courses). 

BIOL 111 Integrative Biology: Molecules and Cells - 4 credits
BIOL 112 Integrative Biology: Organisms, Ecology and Evolution - 4 credits
BIOL 291* Introduction to Scientific Inquiry - 4 credits
CHEM 111 Chemical Principles I - 4 credits
CHEM 112 Chemical Principles II - 4 credits
PHYS 121 (Classical and Modern Physics I) or PHYS 211 (College Physics I)
PHYS 122 (Classical and Modern Physics II) or PHYS 212 (College Physics II)
*Will not be accepted as a transfer credit and may not be taken at a consortium school. BIOL 291 should be taken no later than the fourth biology course. As part of the writing sequence at Guilford, it should be take after completion of Historical Perspectives and before enrolling in IDS.

choose Two math courses (8 credits)
MATH 112 Elementary Statistics - 4 credits
 MATH 115 Elementary Functions - 4 credits
MATH 121 Calculus I - 4 credits
MATH 122 Calculus II - 4 credits
or choose one math course (4 credits)
MATH 123 Accelerated Calculus - 4 credits

Total credit hours required for B.S. degree in Biology – 52-56 credits

All biology courses involve fieldwork and off-campus field trips. Expanded study and research opportunities are available on the Guilford campus, at the North Carolina coast, in the mountains, and at regional universities and organizations. Several biology courses are included as options for the environmental studies major. Summer field courses offer students the opportunity to study in various places around the world.

Biology (B.S.) majors are encouraged to pursue independent research projects under the supervision of a biology faculty member through collaborations with other universities, summer REUs or with Guilford faculty. This research can lead to the generation of a senior thesis (BIOL 470) or departmental honors (BIOL 490). In addition, there are numerous opportunities for student participation in independent studies (BIOL 260 or 460) and internships (BIOL 290).

Forensic Biology

Major Requirements for A.B. Degree in Forensic Biology
This major will be valuable preparation for those interested in pursuing careers in the criminal justice system, the FBI or the SBI, as well as for work with humanitarian agencies investigating human rights abuses. In addition, students interested in law, journalism and creative writing will be able to double-major and thus acquire the knowledge needed to complement their other field of specialization.

The major requires a minimum of 32 credit hours (eight courses).

BIOL 111 Integrative Biology: Molecules and Cells - 4 credits
BIOL 115 General Botany - 4 credits
BIOL 245 Introduction to Forensic Science - 4 credits
BIOL 246 Forensic Chemistry - 4 credits
BIOL 313 Molecular Cell Biology - 4 credits
BIOL 341 Human Anatomy and Physiology I - 4 credits
BIOL 342 Human Anatomy and Physiology II - 4 credits
BIOL 349 Forensic Anthropology - 4 credits
Total credit hours required for A.B. degree in forensic biology – 32 credits
Major Requirements for B.S. Degree in Forensic Biology
The Forensic Biology B.S. degree is recommended for students planning to work in a public or private forensics laboratory. The major also prepares students intending to seek certification as forensic DNA analysts, forensic drug analysts, or to pursue graduate study in the forensic sciences.

The major requires a minimum of 56 credit hours (14 courses).

BIOL 111 Integrative Biology: Molecules and Cells - 4 credits
BIOL 245 Introduction to Forensic Science - 4 credits
BIOL 246 Forensic Chemistry - 4 credits
BIOL 313 Molecular Cell Biology - 4 credits
BIOL 341 Human Anatomy and Physiology I - 4 credits
CHOOSE TWO COURSES (8 credits)
BIOL 115 General Botany - 4 credits
BIOL 342 Human Anatomy and Physiology II - 4 credits
BIOL 434 Biochemistry - 4 credits
BIOL 443 Genetics - 4 credits
BIOL 349 Forensic Anthropology - 4 credits
CHEM 111 Chemical Principles I - 4 credits
CHEM 112 Chemical Principles II - 4 credits
PHYS 211 College Physics I - 4 credits
PHYS 212 College Physics II - 4 credits
MATH 112 Elementary Statistics - 4 credits
CHOOSE ONE COURSE (4 CREDITS)
MATH 115 Elementary Functions - 4 credits
MATH 121 Calculus I - 4 credits
MATH 122 Calculus II - 4 credits
MATH 123 Accelerated Calculus - 4 credits
Total credit hours required for B.S. degree in forensic biology – 56 credits
 

It is recommended that students pursuing the B.S. degree in forensic biology take CHEM 231, Organic Chemistry I and CHEM 232, Organic Chemistry II and/or CHEM 341, Instrumental Analysis. Your academic advisor will assist you in your course planning. Forensic biology B.S. majors are encouraged to pursue independent research projects that can lead to the preparation of a senior thesis (BIOL 470), or departmental honors (BIOL 490). Students should explore the practical aspects of a career in forensics by arranging for an Internship with a local law enforcement agency or laboratory during their junior or senior year (BIOL 370 or 470).

Biology Minors

General Biology Track

The minor requires a minimum of 16 credit hours (four courses). Appropriate prerequisites are necessary for upper-level courses.

CHoose no more than two courses (4 or 8 credits)
BIOL 111 Integrative Biology: Molecules and Cells - 4 credits
BIOL 112 Integrative Biology: Organisms, Ecology and Evolution - 4 credits
BIOL 115 General Botany - 4 credits
Two or three additional biology courses (at least one course must be at the 300 level or above) 8 or 12 credits

Total credit hours required for biology minor: general biology track – 16 credits credit hours

Field Biology Track

The minor requires a minimum of 16 credit hours (four courses). Appropriate prerequisites are necessary for upper-level courses.

CHoose up to two courses (4 or 8 credits)
BIOL 112 Integrative Biology: Organisms, Ecology and Evolution - 4 credits
BIOL 115 General Botany - 4 credits
Choose two or three ADDITIONAL COURSES (at least one must be 300 level or above - 8 or 12 credits)
BIOL 234 Field Botany - 4 credits
BIOL 233 North Carolina Freshwater Fishes - 4 credits
BIOL 235 Vertebrate Field Zoology - 4 credits
BIOL 242 Natural Science Seminars - 4 credits
BIOL 332 Invertebrate Zoology - 4 credits
BIOL 333 Ichthyology - 4 credits
BIOL 334 Animal Behavior - 4 credits
BIOL 336 Ornithology - 4 credits
BIOL 438 General Ecology - 4 credits
Total credit hours required for biology minor: field biology track – 16 credits

Cell and Molecular Track

The minor requires a minimum of 16 credit hours (four courses). Appropriate prerequisites are necessary for upper-level courses.

BIOL 111 Integrative Biology: Molecules and Cells - 4 credits
THREE ADDITIONAL COURSES (AT LEAST TWO COURSES MUST BE AT THE 300 level or above - 12 credits)
BIOL 291 Introduction to Scientific Investigation - 4 credits
BIOL 313 Molecular Cell Biology - 4 credits
BIOL 315 Microbiology - 4 credits
BIOL 340 Psychobiology - 4 credits
BIOL 343 Sensory Systems - 4 credits
BIOL 434 Biochemistry - 4 credits
BIOL 443 Genetics - 4 credits

Total credit hours required for biology minor: cell and molecular track – 16 credits

Forensic Science

The minor in forensic science provides students with a focused and coherent study of the techniques used by various disciplines to analyze evidence found at the scene of a crime. The focus is on the meaning and significance of physical evidence and its role in criminal investigations. Techniques and insights provided by the scientific areas of chemistry, biology, physics and geology are used to explore the utility and limitations that technology and knowledge impose on the individualization and characterization of forensic evidence.

The study of forensics makes science relevant and pertinent to the interests and goals of pre-law students and those interested in pursuing careers with the FBI or other law enforcement agencies, in pathology, in creative writing or with international agencies monitoring ethnic and political violence.

The minor in forensic science is not available to forensic biology majors.

The minor requires a minimum of 16 credit hours (four courses).

BIOL 245 Introduction to Forensic Science - 4 credits
BIOL 246 Forensic Chemistry - 4 credits
BIOL 349 Forensic Anthropology - 4 credits
JPS 200 Criminal Procedure - 4 credits
Total credit hours required for forensic science minor – 16 credits

Biology Facilities

Field Biology Laboratory

The field biology laboratory is not only a space for the continuing study of the flora and fauna of North Carolina, but is also a rich source of archival materials collected over many decades. The lab contains a collection of study skins and mounts of birds native to North Carolina, and a collection of bird nests from the Piedmont region. This laboratory houses two historical collections of bird eggs gathered in the 1800s, including the T. Gilbert Pearson egg collection. In addition, students have access to a herbarium of North Carolina plants, and reference collections of preserved reptiles, amphibians, and mammal skulls of species native to North Carolina and beyond.

Anatomy and Physiology Laboratory

Students investigate various aspects of human physiology using computer-based software for recording electrocardiograms, electromyograms, and electroencephalograms. Advanced studies in neuroscience include the recording of individual neuronal action potentials. An associated laboratory for field studies in fisheries biology houses a complete array of equipment for the investigation of aquatic ecology, limnology, and ichthyology.

Microbial Genetics and Molecular Biology Facility

Standard and advanced equipment in the molecular biology and microbial genetics lab provide students with the tools for the study of the phylogenetic relationship between microbial organisms and the molecular analysis of signaling processes in nematodes. In their independent research projects, students utilize instrumentation for the growth of organisms under a variety of conditions, and the isolation, purification and quantification of genomic DNA. Students routinely utilize the techniques of PCR, Pulsed-field Gel electrophoresis, fluorescent microscopy, recombinant DNA technologies and RNAi. The department has two fully-equipped laboratories dedicated to independent, student research projects.

Forensic Biology Laboratory

The forensic biology laboratory supports advanced forensics students in molecular cell biology and forensic anthropology. Students pursue the identification of drugs and toxins utilizing the gas chromatograph-mass spectrograph, which provides definitive identification of these substances. The laboratory is also where students investigate a variety of topics related to cause of death, e.g., identification of diatoms related to deaths by drowning, and skeletal damage due to ballistics, cutting and blunt force trauma. The highlight of the Forensic Anthropology course, the investigation of clandestine graves, utilizes the equipment and archival materials of the forensic biology lab for this capstone experience in forensics.

Forensic Chemistry Laboratory

Students utilize research-grade microscopes for the analysis of trace forensic evidence, and explore a variety of chemical methods for developing latent fingerprints. Forensic chemistry students employ the fully automated Shimadzu QP 2010 gas chromatography-mass spectrograph for the definitive identification of illegal drugs. Another major focus of the laboratory experience is the preparation of forensic DNA Profiles. After DNA extraction, forensic STR loci (including the CODIS loci) are amplified with the 9700 Thermocycler. Fluorescence detection of STR alleles is accomplished with one of the ABI 310 Genetic Analyzers. The ABI 7500 Real-Time PCR system is used to monitor DNA extraction from unusual forensic samples such as dentition. Computer-based GeneMapper software allows students to complete the construction of human DNA Profiles encompassing fifteen STR forensic markers.

Biology at Guilford

Why Biology at Guilford?

“You made my brain stretch, what exercise! Thank you for pointing me in the right direction and giving me a push when I needed it. You inspired me to be a better scientist.”­

- Letter from Annie Irving ’08, to Melanie Lee- Brown, Chair/Associate Professor

Recognizing that students learn best by doing, the biology faculty at Guilford is committed to an experiential approach. From the North Carolina coast to the waters of the Galapagos and the highlands of Nicaragua, we offer students a wide range of curriculum options and experiences.

Small class size (a maximum of 24 students) ensures individualized instruction in both the classroom and the laboratory and at Guilford. All students are guided by faculty members with terminal degrees (PhD) who have a diverse range of expertise within the field: forensics, microbiology, molecular/cell biology, immunology, neurobiology, plant physiology, aquatic and avian field biology.

The Frank Family Science Center was designed by the faculty to support their experiential approach to instruction and encourage collaboration. Students benefit from modern, well-equipped laboratories. There are dedicated labs for students conducting independent research projects. Students studying ecology, ornithology and other field courses utilize the 240-acre College Woods as a living laboratory. The Center truly is the center of science study at Guilford and a home away from home for biology students and faculty.

Experiential Learning Opportunities

Experiential learning is an integral component of an undergraduate education at Guilford. Internships, research and study abroad opportunities extend the learning experience beyond the boundaries of the classroom, providing students with the opportunity to explore and experience a rich variety of vocational and scholarly pursuits. Select from the areas below to learn more about some of the places our students have gone.

Medical, Veterinary, Dental

Medical Internship Sites
  • Women’s Hospital-Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
  • Moses Cone/Wesley Long Hospitals
  • Urgent and Family Care, Greensboro
  • Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center- Morgue
  • Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center- Departments of Neurology, Pediatric Oncology, Psychiatric Care
  • Yale University- Department of Pathology
  • Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA
  • Boone Orthopaedic Associates
  • Vaughn Integrative Medicine
  • Murphy Wainer Orthopedic Specialists
  • Eagle Family Medicine
  • Loyalty Assisted Living
Veterinary Internship Sites
  • Guilford-Jamestown Veterinary Hospital
  • After-hours Emergency Clinic
  • Carolina Equine Hospital
  • Valerie Schindler Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, NC Zoo
  • Piedmont Wildlife Rehab
Dental Internship Sites
  • Dr. Lisa Adornetto, DDS, Greensboro
  • Dr. Alex Poole, DDS, Greensboro
  • Dr. Jerry Reeves, DDS

Government and Forensics

  • Research!America, Alexandria, VA
  • APCO Worldwide Health Care Group
  • High Point Police Department Crime Lab
  • Greensboro PD Crime Scene Unit
  • Greensboro PD Inventory Control Unit
  • Burlington Police Department
  • Charlotte-Mecklenberg Police Department
  • Forsyth County Sheriff’s Department
  • Alamance County Sheriff’s Department
  • Gaston County Police Department
  • Federal Bureau of Investigation
  • NC State Bureau of Investigation
  • Rowan County Sheriff’s Office
  • City-County Bureau of Investigation (Raleigh/Wake County)

Laboratory Research

  • Duke University- Program in Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Duke University- Department of Neurobiology
  • Duke University Medical Center
  • Wake Forest University School of Medicine- Departments of Pathology, Biochemistry, Cell Biology, Cancer Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy, Microbiology and Anatomy, Nutrition
  • Wake Forest University-Departments of Biology and Chemistry
  • Transpharma
  • LabCorp
  • MWG Biotech
  • University of Kentucky Department of Immunology and Virology
  • University of Northern Kentucky Department of Biology
  • North Carolina State University Department of Microbiology

Field Studies and Study Abroad

  • University of Dundee, Scotland
  • School for Field Studies: Kenya, Australia, Costa Rica, Turks/Caicos Islands
  • Dr. Beatriz Juncadella, Empalme de Boaco, Nicaragua
  • NC State University (Marvin’s internship)
  • University of Alaska
  • University of North Carolina at Greensboro – bat migration
  • SciWorks of Winston-Salem
  • North Carolina Zoo
  • Shavers Creek Environmental Education Center, PA
  • Smithsonian Institution
  • Student Conservation Association
  • Golden Gate Raptor Observatory

For questions, please contact department chair Michele Malotky.

Biology Faculty