Academics

Choose the WLC biology program.

WLC biology students learn by working closely with faculty who are not only dedicated teachers, but also enthusiastic researchers. Like many major research universities, each WLC faculty member in the biology department holds a doctorate in their field and has made meaningful contributions to their field of expertise. But unlike these larger schools, you will never find yourself supervised by a "teaching assistant." You will work directly with the faculty. It should therefore come as no surprise that WLC biology majors have consistently scored above the national average compared to their peers at other American colleges and universities in the ETS major field test in biology.

BIO 265

WLC's location presents unique opportunities for the WLC biology student. Several nearby ecologically significant lakes, rivers and streams provide unique opportunities for field research in aquatic ecology. Across Wisconsin Avenue, the Medical College of Wisconsin presents remarkable opportunities for student research, education, and graduate employment. Research collaborations with the Milwaukee County Zoo and St. George's University in Grenada offers WLC students opportunities to participate in marine and freshwater biological monitoring and terrestrial herpetology studies in the tropics.

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Marine and Freshwater
Biological Monitoring

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Terrestrial Herpetology

Areas of emphasis (tracks) available within the biology major.

Ecological Sciences: The area of ecological sciences includes the study of animals and their relationship with each other and their environment. It also involves understanding the responsibilities we have in maintaining the physical and biological systems that support us all. Students in the ecological sciences will explore marine and fresh water ecology, vertebrate and invertebrate zoology, terrestrial ecology, and natural resource management. This area of emphasis includes extensive field work and emphasizes "hands on" experiential learning. All students will engage in research using the latest technologies associated with field and laboratory studies.

Cellular & Molecular Biology: The explosive growth in cellular and molecular biotechnology over the past 50 years presents many opportunities for lives of Christian servant leadership. Students in the cellular and molecular biology area of emphasis will be prepared for either graduate school or direct employment in the industrial or biomedical sciences.

Health Sciences: The Health Science Track is designed to prepare students for entry to post-baccalaureate professional programs leading to careers in medicine (M.D., D.O.), dentistry (D.D.S.), veterinary medicine (D.V.M.), pharmacy (Pharm.D.), physical therapy (D.P.T.), occupational therapy (M.O.T.), and chiropractic (D.C., D.C.M.), or as a physician's assistant, etc.

Biophysics & Biotechnology: Cross-disciplinary work at the intersection of biology and physics has recently led to rapid advances in such fields as biopolymers, molecular machines, nanotechnology, mathematical biology, medical imaging, X-ray diffraction, laser surgery, radiation biophysics, and nuclear medicine. The biophysics program is based on the recognition that traditional boundaries between disciplines are often artificial: experimental techniques and fundamental physical principles can be used to study and understand biological systems; understanding the exquisite design of living organisms, in turn, can inspire new ideas, techniques, and materials that are of use in the physical sciences. The biophysics track is designed to prepare the student for further academic or industrial work in the fields of biophysics and biotechnology.

Neuroscience: Neuroscience is an emerging field at the intersection of biology and psychology. Tools now exist to investigate the function of single isolated neurons in cell culture as well as the entire living human central nervous system using functional magnetic resonance imaging. Emphasis within this track is placed on the anatomy, development, genetics, physiology, and pathology of the nervous system. This track is designed to prepare students to address neuroscience questions at the cellular, systems, and cognitive level.

Biological Anthropology: This track is inspired to a large degree by the diversity of course offerings at Wisconsin Lutheran College in physical and cultural anthropology, which complement much of the current biology course offerings for students interested in pursuing careers in fields such as primate husbandry & research, medical & legal forensic science, paleontology, etc.

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Research opportunities available for WLC biology students.

The number of faculty-guided undergraduate research projects is constantly growing. Dr. Jarrod Erbe currently uses molecular genetic techniques to engineer microbial phosphate biosensors. Dr. Bob Anderson directs a number of well-funded projects in aquatic ecology in both local and tropical watersheds. Dr. Rob Balza heads up several research projects in heart development and stem cell biology. Dr. Angela Ebeling works with students in field and greenhouse soil science research.

Facilities available for WLC biology students.

In 2004 the biology department moved into the newly completed $17.2 million Science Hall (now called Generac Hall). This 81,700-square-foot facility allows undergrads to experience state-of-the-art equipment and techniques that students at many other institutions would not have access to until graduate school. Generac Hall contains several intimate lecture halls, four life science teaching laboratories, four research laboratories dedicated to the biological sciences, a student study room and a reference library. The ecology teaching laboratory contains integrated aquaria and terraria for teaching purposes (including a 500-gallon marine aquarium). The botany teaching laboratory is adjacent to an automated green house for botanical display and experimentation. The anatomy and physiology teaching laboratory includes facilities for human cadaver dissection. The molecular biology teaching laboratory contains walk-in cold and warm rooms for protein isolation and bacterial culture, as well as laminar flow hoods and incubators for aseptic animal cell culture. The research labs house an inverted fluorescence microscope, a real-time quantitative thermal cycler and a histology facility among other things.

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Lecture Hall

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Teaching Laboratories

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Aquarium

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Greenhouse

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Biology Laboratory

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Quantitative Thermal Cycler

Where do WLC biology majors go after graduation?

A bachelor's degree in biology from WLC is the foundation upon which one may build a successful career in a wide range of fields including: medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, biomedical research, education, zoology, natural resource management, etc. See the pie chart below for a summary of the fields in which recent WLC biology majors are employed. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the mean annual salary for life scientists at $69,020. For a complete listing of jobs available in the field of biology check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook. According to this report, job growth in the biological sciences is expected to be strong in the coming years, especially in the areas of molecular biology and biotechnology (two strengths of the WLC biology department).

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