All students do research during their first biology class at Lawrence. In Biology 130 – Integrative Biology: Cells to Organisms, students spend the last five weeks of the term planning and executing a research project under the guidance of a faculty mentor. The results of their projects are then presented in a symposium at the end of the term. After this introduction to collaborative research, many students work with professors on projects during the academic year and in the summer.

We are proud of the culture of undergraduate research at Lawrence. Students benefit greatly from practicing their discipline under the mentorship of faculty and are often transformed by this individualized learning experience. The research-rich atmosphere at Lawrence is one that welcomes unique individuals, nurtures diverse interests, provides personal attention, encourages open discourse and collaboration, values initiative, and celebrates accomplishment. Students have the opportunity to develop their own research projects and are encouraged to report their results in publications and conference presentations.

Collaborative student-faculty research is recognized as a key part of an education in biology and therefore supported by resources from Lawrence University. In addition, faculty have also been successful in procuring funding from external sources including the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, the Merck Foundation, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and others.

Recent and ongoing research projects in the Biology Department:


Bart De Stasio

  • Monitoring the presence and effects of invasive species in the Fox River and Lake Winnebago
  • Determining the abundance and effects of toxic algae on the food web in Green Bay

Beth De Stasio

  • Characterizing the effects of sup-9 channel mutations on mating behavior and motility in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans
  • Understanding changes in gene expression associated with event of early Alzheimer's (synaptic decline)

Kim Dickson

  • Investigating how the protein angiogenin is involved in cancer and blood vessel growth.

Alyssa Hakes

  • Understand how the spatial location of plants and plant traits influences the level of damage from insect herbivores.
  • Examine how herbivores influence the clonal growth and spatial patterns of plants.

Judith Humphries

  • Studying the gene regulation of immune responses in the snail Biomphalaria glabrata.

Nicholas Maravolo

  • The influence of hormones on programmed cell death in the liverwort Marchantia polymorpha

Brian Piasecki

  • Identifying and characterized genes required for the development and functioning of sensory cilia
  • The utility of comparative genomics

Jodi Sedlock

  • The speciation of insectivorous bats in the Phillippine archipelago
  • Cave conservation through research and education on Bohol Island, Phillippines

Nancy Wall

  • Investigating the evolutionarily conserved role of cell signaling molecules in establishing the left-right organization of internal organs in vertebrates.

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