About the Division
Biological sciences have been a presence at Kansas State University for the 150+ years since its founding as the first land grant institution established under the Morrill Act of 1862, with classes and research in plant, animal, and microbial systems.
In 1967, the separate departments of zoology, botany, and bacteriology were dissolved and, along with a biophysics group from the department of physics, were reconfigured into a single larger unit, the Division of Biology. This experiment capitalized on the universalities of the cellular nature of all life and the recognition of DNA as the blueprint of all living organisms, whether plant, animal, or microbe, in organizing a single administrative unit with expertise across the biological spectrum, from molecules, cells, tissues, and organisms, through populations, communities, ecosystems and biomes. At the same time, the acquisition of a large Center of Excellence award from the National Science Foundation resulted in the construction of Ackert Hall and a rapid expansion of faculty numbers.
This 50 year experiment has been a resounding success, resulting in today's Division of Biology, a unit with over 50 faculty members, 65 graduate students, and 800 undergraduate majors. Our undergraduate majors earn 135 B.S./B.A. degrees per year, in Biology, Microbiology, or Fish, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology, and our graduate students earn 15 degrees per year in Biology (M.S. and Ph.D.) or Microbiology (Ph.D.). Our mission is to generate, through research, and disseminate, through teaching and outreach, new and existing high quality biological scientific knowledge, in a supportive and diverse environment, to students, professional colleagues, and the public.
Faculty research areas include molecular, cellular, and developmental biology studies, microbial and immunological studies, and ecological and evolutionary studies, using viral, bacterial, fungal, and eukaryotic plant and animal systems. Undergraduates, graduate students, and postdoctoral associates participate in vigorous and productive research programs led by Division faculty members. Faculty member success is evident by their achievements in competing for extramural research funding, currently averaging $9.5M per year, by their research publications, currently averaging 130 peer-reviewed journal papers per year. Eight of the Division's nineteen full professors have been designated University Distinguished Professor, the highest academic honor that the University bestows, more than any other unit at K-State. The Division of Biology is also home to the Bioinformatics Center, the Biology Microscopy Facility, Laboratory Animal Care Services, the Arthropod Genomics Center, the Ecological Genomics Institute, the Institute for Grassland Studies, the Kansas Lipidomics Research Center, and the Konza Prairie Biological Station.
Although Biology is large and extremely successful, the faculty, staff, and students achieve in a family atmosphere. We have an undergraduate studies and advising office, opportunities for academic and research scholarships, and an outstanding student body, winning prestigious scholarships, co-authoring research publications, and achieving post-graduate success in graduate or professional school. Graduate students are all funded as Graduate Teaching or Research Assistants, in a program that is focused on research achievement, and Ph.D. graduates move on to funded postdoctoral fellowships and associateships. Our alumni generously support our activities, establishing scholarships and named professorships, and providing support for research and development of students and faculty.
Explore the website, contact us with questions, and feel free to visit us on campus!
Dr. Brian Spooner
University Distinguished Professor
Director, Division of Biology