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K-State Today

April 2, 2018

Division of Biology celebrates 50th anniversary with special symposium

Submitted by Division of Biology

Kansas State University's Division of Biology will celebrate 50 years of groundbreaking accomplishments with a special symposium from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, in Room 1109 and the atrium of Engineering Hall.

The symposium will highlight the research activities of past and present undergraduate and graduate students, and will feature four external keynote speakers. All members of the K-State community are invited to participate in this special symposium.

Formed in 1967 by combining the disciplines of zoology, botany, bacteriology, biophysics and environmental sciences, the Division of Biology has obtained more than $275 million in extramural support and formed one of the first long-term ecological research stations supported by the National Science Foundation, which became the Konza Prairie Biological Station. Division of Biology faculty have excelled in a variety of research areas, including grassland ecology, ecological genomics, cancer research and NASA-funded research as part of the space shuttle programs.

The Division of Biology offers bachelor's degrees in biology, fisheries, wildlife and conservation, and microbiology, a master's degree in biology, and doctoral degrees in biology and microbiology. As one of the largest academic programs on the Manhattan campus, the division has recently averaged more than 800 undergraduate students and 65 graduate students enrolled each year. Every graduate student is active in research and all are focused on the division's undergraduate teaching and training mission. At both the undergraduate and graduate levels, the division stands out for its continued encouragement of research excellence.

The Division of Biology is committed to all aspects of human and environmental health and well-being. The division pioneered the university's Johnson Cancer Research Center and is home to many interdisciplinary research initiatives, including the Arthropod Genomics Center, Bioinformatics Center, Ecological Genomics Institute and the Institute for Grassland Studies.

The celebratory symposium will feature the following four keynote speakers:

  • Ken Bayles, University of Nebraska Medical Center, will speak about bacterial biofilms and the essence of multicellularity. 
  • Jennifer Brisson, University of Rochester, will speak about environmental and genetic control mechanisms underlying morphological polymorphisms. 
  • Terry Dermody, University of Pittsburgh, will speak about viral triggers of celiac disease. 
  • Melinda Smith, Colorado State University, will speak about consequences of global change in grassland ecosystems. 

The symposium also will feature short talks by current biology graduate students and a poster session with contributions from undergraduate researchers. A detailed program can be found online

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