Welcome to the Department of Biology

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Biology is the study of life. Its scope extends from molecules to organisms and ecosystems. It deals with fundamental questions such as the origin and evolution of plants and animals, interactions between living organisms and their environment, mechanisms of embryonic development, the structure and function of the living cell, the molecular basis of inheritance, the biochemical and genetic basis of human diseases, and the operation of the brain and the nervous system. Staff of the Biology Department conduct research and offer teaching programs in all these areas. The Department of Biology's well-equipped teaching and research laboratories are located in the Stewart Biology Building and the Bellini Life Sciences Building.

Areas of Research

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Prizes & Awards

Congratulations to Dr. Gary Brouhard who has received the 2017-2018 Leo Yaffe Award for Excellence in teaching!

Featured Articles

New work from the Alanna Watt lab identifying pathophysiological cellular changes that may contribute to ataxia of the Charlevoix-Saguenay region, or ARSACS. This work arises from a very fruitful collaboration between labs at McGill including the Brais lab (Neurology and Neurosurgery) and the McKinney lab (Pharmacology and Therapeutics).

  Ady, V., Toscano-Márquez, B., Nath, M., Chang, P. K.Y., Hui, J., Cook, A., Charron, F., Larivière, R., Brais, B., McKinney, R.A., and A.J. Watt (2018). Altered synaptic and firing properties of cerebellar Purkinje cells in a mouse model of ARSACS.
[read online]

Read a great article about research in the Simon Reader lab entitled Male guppies grow larger brains in response to predator exposure. (>> McGill Newsroom, June 4, 2018)

  Reddon, A., Chouinrad-Thuly, L. and Reader, S. M. (2018) Wild and laboratory exposure to cues of predation risk increases relative brain mass in guppies. Functional Ecology [read online]

Exciting research in the Woolley Lab: Using fMRI, an integrative sensory region (NCC) is uncovered that responds selectively to courtship songs in female zebra finches. Moreover, unlike auditory regions, activity in the NCC parallels behavioral preferences and thus appears to be a novel node in the avian circuitry for evaluating acoustic information for mate choice.

Van Ruijssevelt L, Chen Y, von Eugen K, Hamaide J, De Groof G, Verhoye M, Güntürkün O, Woolley SC, and Van der Linden A. (2018). fMRI reveals a novel region for evaluating acoustic information for mate choice in a female songbird. Current Biology 28:711-721. [read online]